Tags: obama | chicago

Obama's Chicago Needs Change First

Thursday, 02 Oct 2008 03:33 PM

By Jim Meyers

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During his White House run Democrat Barack Obama has spoken often of the need for “change” and “reform,” but if there were ever a place in need of change and reform it is Obama’s Chicago.

That’s one of the telling points author David Freddoso makes in his new book “The Case Against Barack Obama.”

[Editor's Note: Get “The Case Against Barack Obama” FREE — Go Here Now].

Writing about the book for the Wall Street Journal, Fred Siegel — a contributing editor for the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal — observes that Freddoso describes “the tension between Mr. Obama’s public persona and his practical politics.

“The key, for Mr. Freddoso, is the Chicago world in which Mr. Obama made himself first a community organizer and then a state senator, before heading off to Washington in 2005. It is by viewing Chicago that the gap between Mr. Obama's rhetoric about reform and his career as a conventional Chicago pol is most visible.”

And Chicago is a city in decline, Siegel notes:

  • In recent years the city has lost its two leading banks and thousands of jobs in the futures and commodities markets.

  • Chicago’s middle class continues to flee — between 2000 and 2006, 63,000 people left the city.

  • Chicago has the highest retail sales tax in the nation, 10.25 percent, and is the only city with a head tax on employment.

  • Corruption and crime continue to thrive — Chicago has a murder rate three times higher than New York’s.

    Siegel writes: “And yet, Mr. Freddoso argues, reform for Mr. Obama ‘is something to discuss during election campaigns, not to be implemented or followed’ when it might jeopardize his ambitions.

    Continuing his report on Freddoso’s book, Siegel writes: “By his own admission, Mr. Obama's eyes were long on the prize of becoming the mayor of Chicago. Thus his willingness to make common cause with Tony Rezko, Allison Davis and Valerie Jarrett, locally wired political figures who did well for themselves by using state dollars to build publicly subsidized slums…

    “What Mr. Obama did was unexceptional. He simply cultivated the people he needed to cultivate in order to climb the greasy pole of local preferment, giving beautiful speeches along the way.”

    [Editor's Note: Get “The Case Against Barack Obama” FREE — Go Here Now].

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