The Chicago Farewell

A more dangerous nation is the president’s legacy.

“On Tuesday, January 10,” President Obama said Monday in Hawaii, “I’ll go home to Chicago to say my grateful farewell to you, even if you can’t be there in person.” The president sees his remarks “as a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you’ve changed this country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here.” 

Since 2009, the president added, “we’ve faced our fair share of challenges, and come through them stronger. That’s because we have never let go of a belief that has guided us ever since our founding—our conviction that, together, we can change this country for the better.”

The president’s chosen venue of Chicago certainly isn’t much better. In 2016 a full 762 homicides took place in Chicago, up from 485 in 2015 and the biggest increase in 60 years. The 762 homicides, an increase of 57 percent, are more than New York and Los Angeles combined. In Chicago, shootings also jumped 46 percent to 3,550, and most of the victims lived in poor and minority neighborhoods. True to form, on this president’s watch, the entire nation has become a more dangerous place.

The president supports the Black Lives Matter narrative that racist cops are out to gun down African Americans. The president has hosted leaders of this hatemongering group, which celebrates the killing of police officers. In 2016, at least 64 law enforcement officers have been shot and killed, the most in five years. In July, Micah Xavier Johnson assassinated five police officers in Dallas, Texas.

President Obama wants to admit more Islamic refugees, whether or not they are sufficiently vetted, and this has made universities more dangerous. Last November Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Muslim refugee from Somalia, rammed his car into a building at Ohio State University then began stabbing people, injuring 13. 

American nightclubs are also more dangerous, as Omar Mateen killed 50 people at the Pulse club in Orlando, Florida. It was the deadliest mass shooting in American history, but not the only one. In December of 2015, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik gunned down 14 innocents at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California.

As police learned, Farook and Malik had plans to attack schools and motorists on the freeway. In similar style, sporting events have also become a target-rich environment for terrorists. The 2013 Boston Marathon bombers were two Muslims from southern Russia, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar.

On President Obama’s watch, even U.S. military bases have become sites of terror attacks. At Ford Hood in 2009, self-described “Soldier of Allah” Nidal Hasan gunned down 13 unarmed American soldiers while screaming “Allahu Akbar!” Nidal’s attack claimed twice as many casualties as the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. The Fort Hood victims included private Francheska Velez, 21, pregnant and preparing to go home.  

The President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, called this terrorist act of mass murder “workplace violence,” not even “gun violence.” The president teared up over the Sandy Hook massacre, but not Fort Hood.

The 2012 terrorist attack in Beghazi confirmed that American facilities abroad are also more dangerous. The president, like his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, blamed the attack on a video. He said Hillary Clinton’s home-brew server posed no threat to national security, and sent emails under a pseudonym.

During the past eight years, Obama has deployed the IRS, the Justice Department and State Department against his domestic opposition. He also launched high-tech harassment of journalists, as Sharyl Attkisson described in Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.

Like Chicago, on President Obama’s watch the entire nation has become more dangerous due to the Iran nuclear deal. By some accounts, this deal alone could qualify the president as one of the worst of all time. On foreign policy themes, Alan Dershowitz, not known as a right-winger, believes the president is one of the worst in history.

As the president’s narrator-protector David Axelrod explained in Believer, even those who voted for Obama can’t help but take issue with his some of his domestic policies. Those policies were on the ballot in 2014, and as the president conceded, he took a “shellacking.” That result, and the defeat of the president’s designated successor Hillary Clinton in 2016, hardly suggest that the nation is better off.

That seems to be the theme of the president’s Chicago sign-off, despite the present danger, a weak economy, and the $20 trillion national debt that will burden generations to come. The nation should expect no confessions or apologies from the “amazing journey,” the president wants to celebrate. And of course, the January 10 Chicago speech will not be the last time the nation hears from the most loquacious president in history. 

He will remain in Washington and many expect him to be an activist ex-president in the mold of Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter, whom Steven Hayward profiled in The Real Jimmy Carter as the nation’s worst ex-president. Obama has a tough act to follow but he’s well trained for the task.

Tags: Chicago, Obama