Monday, April 26, 2010

Obama Responsible For Chicago Crime

Rush Limbaugh engaged in even more hysterics than usual today, remarking

Look at this from the Chicago Sun-Times, such a long list of real true violence in Obama's hometown. Folks, five pages of this, every crime in the recent past. Three dead, several injured from weekend violence. You know, you might think that Clinton and Obama would be worried enough to address this violence, but, instead, Obama and Clinton are out there (obsessed about Arizona).

Most people would believe that the President of the United States has about as much impact on crime in his hometown of Chicago as he does in, say, Dubuque, Jacksonville, or Olympia, Washington. Which is marginally more than you or I have, and marginally is headed out of town.

But let's take the bait. Figures for 2010 aren't in yet, of course, but for the first 5 and one-third months of Obama's presidency

Based on data released by Chicago Police, the first half of this year revealed 199 homicides versus the 229 for the same time period last year. Last year’s statistics indicated higher violent crime, but with fewer arrests.

Motor vehicle theft hit a home run with a decline by 23.2 percent. Overall crime rates dropped by 10.4 percent, and decreased or remained constant in all the 25 CPD districts, except for one. Violent and property crime declined in every category in every district. In general, violent crime diminished by 4.4 percent.

And in January of this year, Reuters found

The FBI's latest nationwide figures show that violent crime for the United States as a whole declined by 4.4 percent in the first half of 2009, compared with the first half of 2008, led by a 10 percent drop in murders.

Falling crime in urban centers such as New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles....

President Obama, as with any President, has virtually nothing to do with the crime rate. But for many of a right-wing mind, a crime spree over the course of one weekend trumps long-range or medium-range trends, or reason. This past winter, we were treated by the likes of Limbaugh and Beck to ridicule for believing in global warming (let alone its origin in human activities) because there was a snowstorm. At that moment. In one region of the country. For many of the disciples of the right, that was proof enough there is no climate change. (No doubt this lack of perspective will be absent upon the inevitable heat wave in the upcoming summer.)

In the same riff, Limbaugh commented

Well, you go to Chicago this past weekend, that list of crimes was this past weekend -- that's Chicago, Obama's monument for all of his years community agitating and organizing while in Chicago, and he has never gone back there.

At least twice since becoming President, Obama has gone to Chicago: for Valentine's Day weekend in 2009 and in June, 2009 for a speech on health-care reform. Either Rush forgot about both trips or he was lying. Your call.

Actually, Limbaugh's criticism of Obama for allegedly ignoring Chicago was quite mild. One can only imagine the vitriol if the President were to address directly urban problems in his own hometown. The man Rush Limbaugh condemns as a "racist" and concerned primarily with minorities would have come under far more scathing criticism.

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