Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 2, 2009
POLITICS: Nolympics

So, as you've probably seen, Chicago was eliminated in the first round of bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympics, despite (I assume despite) President Obama's personal lobbying for the Games.

Now, as a New Yorker, I really would not want the Olympics anywhere near my city, and the Olympics don't exactly have a grand history of making money for the host city (ask Montreal) or necessarily good press (ask Munich), but I take at face value for the moment that Chicagoans really wanted this one and felt it would be good for the city. Certainly great effort and expense was put into the bid, and many hopes seemed to be riding on it.

I'd questioned Obama's priorities in making the trip, but now he has a much bigger problem. It's one thing for the President to make a phone call or two to lend a subtle hand to this sort of effort; that would have been fine with me. But by the President and First Lady both making personal appearances and elevating this to the top news story of the day and a test of personal and national prestige, Obama stood a significant chance of being humiliated, and doing so for what is hard to describe as a critical national interest. Most of us on the Right assumed, whatever we thought of the trip, that Obama would never be fool enough to make it if he didn't already have deals done to get this in the bag for Chicago. Apparently, we overestimated him.

This is why you don't publicly stake your prestige on something that's not (1) hugely important (2) a done deal or (3) ideally, both. All presidents suffer defeats and embarrassments, but you generally don't walk right into one on an issue of purely local importance to your home city. Obama's and the nation's standing in the world can't help but be chipped away by this; the next time he goes jetting off to a summit or some other international event, people won't be so quick to assume that he has all figured out in advance how he's going to get what he wants. That aura, that mystique is a thing of value that the President is supposed to husband carefully for when the nation really needs it. Bush was impotent by the end of his presidency because he'd burned that up, but he had it for the better part of five years. Obama's losing it already.

What a waste.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:11 PM | Politics 2009 • | War 2007-12 | Comments (35) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Very odd indeed. I assumed based on all the bluster that they had insider information. I'm not going to waste much time claiming Obama is to blame for Chicago losing, but if Chicago had been selected he definitely would have claimed credit.

Rio is a fun place to party.

Posted by: largebill at October 2, 2009 12:54 PM

I don't understand why he put so much of his personal prestige on the line. That said, I always thought the odds were against the US getting it because we have had what 4 recent ones-Lake Placid, LA, Atlanta, Salt Lake City-throw in Calgary and Vancouver-North America has had 6 in the last 30 or so years. BTW-if any American city should get it, it should be NYC.

Posted by: dch at October 2, 2009 1:08 PM

The Olympics is a local issue?

Posted by: javaman at October 2, 2009 1:13 PM

Wasn't local opinion in Chicago running about 80-20 against the bid?

Posted by: Paul H. at October 2, 2009 1:14 PM

He's in trouble. Great!
Now he might actually push for HC for all, and regulate the financial industry. It might not be for the right reasons (self-aggrandizement), but it will be a HUGE win for the American people.

Posted by: Berto at October 2, 2009 1:22 PM

It makes sense for Rio to get it, since they've never had an Olympics in South America (it's a pretty chaotic place, so there are likely to be massive logistical challenges, but it's still worth a try). I don't see Spain as being a country of the magnitude that it should get two Olympics in less than 25 years.
As for Obama, I don't see this as any lingering black mark on his international clout, but I would agree he's expending capital where he doesn't need to, which isn't really the best idea. And he should be starting to realize that the foreign goodwill he's been showered with for not being Bush is a mile wide, but an inch deep.

Posted by: Jerry at October 2, 2009 1:27 PM

Foreign Goodwill=bad mouthing your country, seeking approval from our competitors, adversaries and enemies and subvert US interests to others.

Posted by: dch at October 2, 2009 1:41 PM

Berto - Setting aside whether you are morally correct (a different argument), your statement is politically obtuse.

This extremely high-profile setback, entirely the fault of the President and his advisors, will make it all the harder for him to "actually push for HC for all, and regulate the financial industry".

These decisions are the essence of leadership, something that for Obama was an utterly new concept nine months ago (and apparently remains so). Namely, picking your battles smartly, knowing that both victories and losses are self-perpetuating.

He is on a downward spiral, and I say that dispassionately, not gleefully. He now needs to suck it up and put points on the board somewhere. You are correct that victories on what you mention would do that.... but it ain't gonna happen, it's a bridge just that much farther with this humiliation (and that is what it was) today.

And BTW, your statement that "It might not be for the right reasons (self-aggrandizement)....." is quite correct, and getting pretty long in the tooth. YOU see it.... what on earth makes you think the rest of us don't?

Posted by: Andrew X at October 2, 2009 2:01 PM

"Olympics don't exactly have a grand history of making money for the host city (ask Montreal)"
You left of the 36 Games was a fiasco for Hitler as well.
I think Atlanta did quite well as did Salt Lake, minus the graft and corruption. But to mention SLC and some of the issues they had would put Mitt in the spotlight. When cherry picking fact we do not what to shine the light on our guys.

Posted by: javaman at October 2, 2009 2:14 PM

Let's not forget Los Angeles '84, done in the height of the conservative '80's. The nothing less than heroic Peter Ueberroth left the games at conclusion with a $250 million surplus.

What're your bets that Obama's and Daley's Chicago could have done the same?

Posted by: Andrew X at October 2, 2009 2:20 PM

javaman - First of all, the Olympics really are a local issue, at least to the US, which has no shortage of other ways to win national prestige and has had the Olympics already four times in my lifetime.

Second, yes, the Olympic record has its ups and downs, point being, there have been plenty of downs.

Third, as you'll recall I am no fan of Mitt, to put it mildly, but his record with Salt Lake was quite good and was a big selling point in his 2002 campaign when the facts were still fresh; SLC was in deep trouble already when they brought him in to rescue the 02 Games.

Say what you will, Romney would not have made this mistake.

Posted by: Crank at October 2, 2009 2:21 PM

To quote Obama's own recent name-calling (lest I be tarred by the "RACIST!" smear), this jackass president can't even guide a single plank of his radical agenda through Congress despite the fact that radical Dems control both chambers under Reid and Pelosi. Aside from the fact that the US electorate lost its collective mind and elected this commie tool, Obama's last significant 'win' before that was probably his lawsuit on behalf of ACORN to force BofA to make sub-prime loans to tens of thousands of unqualified "minorities". Why anybody still thinks this incompetent Community Organizer (read: race baiting victim pimp, grievance monger shakedown artist) is capable of much of anything, let alone being President of the USA is beyond me. America is in grave peril with Captain Peachfuzz at the helm.

Posted by: Morton Doodslag at October 2, 2009 2:24 PM

This really shows how deep anti-Americanism is in the "elites" of Europe. It didn't matter a whit that their favorite son Obama was President or Cowboy George W. Bush, America still triggers intense feelings of jealously to Europeans. That's really the worst part of Obama and the Democrats sucking up to the Euros as they don't give a damn about Americans and they will take any chance they can to stick it to us. Maybe finally Americans will realize this.

Posted by: Tom at October 2, 2009 2:42 PM

If Chicago had been eliminated a little later in the process, we might be able to conclude that Teleprompter Jeezus hadn't actually screwed the pooch here.

Tough break, Obama supporters. Hey, you know he'll succeed at something someday, right? I mean, a guy with his list of accomplishments...

*snicker*

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 2, 2009 3:12 PM

I think you're correct Crank. Chicagoland, Wisconsin and Western Michigan would not have benefited from the Olympics at all. Only the city of Chicago. What would have stopped them from modeling the financing around a model like Atlanta or Barcelona?

Posted by: javaman at October 2, 2009 3:22 PM

I keep getting the double image of the 1) clip of him tripping as he goes through a doorway, and 2) the new office kid being sent out to get the coffee for the big-wigs in the Important Meeting. So, bringing back the carefully balanced coffee cup, he trips and it spills. Who sent him to do this, for what, is my question? Over and over, the silly go-fer, tripping on the doorway with a cup of coffee in his hand...

Posted by: ABPierce at October 2, 2009 3:41 PM

POTUS just gotten an international pie in the face. Although he did find time, apparently on the tarmac, for a cup of coffee with McChrystal. Maybe this trip is a step in the right direction?

Posted by: dave at October 2, 2009 3:58 PM

This shows that he is an bush leaguer playing in the pros. Given that Obama has never run anything more significant than Acorn training seminars, we shouldn't be surprised that he's learning on the job.

Posted by: aclay1 at October 2, 2009 4:28 PM

We are in real trouble with this guy...he is after all, only a community organizer.

Posted by: Increase Mather at October 2, 2009 5:27 PM

C'm on you Grumpy Guses. Look on the bright side, at least this screw-up didn't cost 4000+ American soldiers lives.
Since that was the last guys mulligan (along with almost 3000 dead in a terrorist attack on his watch), I'm not ready to call this the end of the Presidency yet.

Posted by: Berto at October 2, 2009 5:49 PM

How about, instead of having it in one city, the games were spread all across the country, with different events in different states and cities, wrestling in Iowa and Oklahoma, basket ball in New York and Chicago, swimming in Florida and California... It would showcase all of America, and allow more non-Americans to experience more of the greatness and variety of our country...

Posted by: Joe at October 2, 2009 6:37 PM

You know guys I loath him as much as the next guy. But I only wish the best for our country. I am not saying anyone has gone over the line, but lets not be like the Kos Kids,or the Huff Po morons who were cheerleading for American GI deaths and military defeat. I want Obumbler to catch Bin Laden, keep up the heat in Afghanistan, throttle Iran and pursue what is the interest of this country with ruthlessness. The Olympics are a minor thing and yeah he lost some personal mojo, but lets not applaud America losing anything.

Posted by: dch at October 2, 2009 10:14 PM

Way to go, Crank. Keep cheering against America.

Posted by: Magrooder at October 2, 2009 10:33 PM

Berto, you are a simple-minded SOB.

First, it wasn't Bush's fault that the Twin Towers went down; I'm not blaming Clinton either. That was a long-term, bipartisan cluster-hump. FDR had the same problem with Pearl Harbor.

As for the war in Iraq/Afghanistan, the Democrats had many opportunities to stop that, including voting against the AUMF. You do remember that, right?

On the other hand, you're probably one of the simple-minded knee-jerk idiots who buy into the "Bush lied, people died" mantra, which establishes the basic fact that you know nothing about how intel collection and gathering work. Short version: since at least the early 80s the US has relied 99% of the time on SIGINT (signals intelligence) as opposed to HUMINT (human intelligence). They just didn't have agents snooping around in the Mideast.

"Kneejerk" Berto is right about one thing; failing to locate the Olympics in Chicago is hardly an administration-killer. On the other hand, it is yet one more data point in a series which underlines the lack of perspective of this administration. Should Barry burn even an iota of his political capital on the Olympics, when far more pressing issues face us, including government-controlled health care, insane spending and proposed tax increases, and the utter lack of seriousness with respect to Iran?

Even if the reader doesn't agree with my take on these issues, certainly they're far more important than Chi-town gravy-trains.

Posted by: Casey at October 3, 2009 1:34 AM

Hey, look at the good news. His walking around on the international stage having forgotten to put on his trousers at least took the spotlight off the rising unemployment.

How's that hopeenchange working out for you lefties? Have you lost your jobs yet? Maybe that room in your Mom's basement is still available. What? Your Mom lost her house?

Posted by: Peter at October 3, 2009 4:52 AM

Very odd indeed. I assumed based on all the bluster that they had insider information. I'm not going to waste much time claiming Obama is to blame for Chicago losing, but if Chicago had been selected he definitely would have claimed credit.

Rio is a fun place to party.

Posted by: Baseball Picks at October 3, 2009 6:34 AM

I really don't look at it like cheering against America. I look at it like keeping billions of dollars out of the hands of the corrupt Daley machine. I'm not supposed to be thrilled about that?

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 3, 2009 8:43 AM

1. Obama & his supporters need to accept that the Greater Chicago area is not the whole country.

2. Magrooder, you might consider reading the post. My point is, by stupidly burning his credibility here, he's wasted an asset that the country may need some day.

Posted by: Crank at October 3, 2009 1:01 PM

I don't know. Maybe some of you will disagree with me. I feel like it's better to have my patriotism questioned whenever I oppose Obama instead of being called a racist. At least it's something different. Used to be questioning someone's patriotism was not allowed. So more free speech now. There's a change I can believe in.

I do not believe that what is good for Chicago is necessarily good for the rest of America. What is good for corrupt Chicago politicians is probably not at all good for the rest of America. I am with the 45% of Chicagoans that didn't want the Olympics there.

Posted by: klrtz1 at October 3, 2009 11:40 PM

Off topic, but how about this war talk with Iran. Hilarious.
I love that un-named government sources (thank God, because no one can ever be held responsible) are all scared of Iran's commitment to have inspections of their nuclear facilities.
Basically, if I yell "boo' , I can get half the country to pee their pants in fear.
Hilarious. What a bunch of clowns.

Posted by: Berto at October 4, 2009 2:51 PM

Good stuff, Berto. Totally off-topic, nonsensical gibberish. But compared to your usual blather, good stuff.

"Look at me, I'm Berto! Boosh! Flapdoodle! Whoozat? Get it off me! Get it off me! Cheney is the Dark Lord!!!!"

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 4, 2009 7:33 PM

"My point is, by stupidly burning his credibility here, he's wasted an asset that the country may need some day."
Crank, if this is your point, it's a bit curious. Almost no one expected Chicago to win the bid. The fact that South America has never hosted an Olympics was the biggest decision.
People were saying it was a longshot back in 08. The Boston Globe, from June 08. (Again, my pain with links)
"Though Chicago made the cut for the 2016 Summer Games along with Tokyo, Madrid, and Rio de Janeiro, the Windy City has some catching up to do. The International Olympic Committee's working group, which evaluated the seven bidders, put Chicago equal with Doha, Qatar, in third place on technical merit. Chicago wasn't listed first in any of the 11 categories and was fifth in sports venues, transport concepts, and government support/legal issues/public opinion. Its best areas were accommodations, past sports-staging experience, and safety/security."

I don't think he wasted credibility, because everyone knew it was very unlikely. And I don't fault him for going - largely because I didn't expect them to get it.

Magrooder may be off base in saying what he did, by for the overwhelming volume of comments (and cheering, from what I heard) on the right celebrating this though - he's spot on. The Right's embrace of all things they hated 2 years ago, and continued embrace of ODS marches on.

Posted by: Dave at October 4, 2009 7:41 PM

Of course it's good stuff, spongeworthy. I can't help it, I'm a DFH (it's easy to spot us, we're the ones who are always proven correct).
Remember this one from DFH's Greatest Hits?
It's going to take a hell of a lot of years to clean up the mess W is making for this country.
Look at Crank's posts now. He's upset Obama hasn't fixed all of W's screw-ups in less than 10 months.
Cute kid, that Crank.

Posted by: Berto at October 5, 2009 2:57 PM

The Scottish SPCA is appealing also in behalf of information after it responded to a phone from a staying at the village's Hawkhill Cottages who spotted the brood swart and immaculate female cat in the terrace, dragging her behind leg.
Our pretty Monday passed away, during the course of the Rainbow Tie and into the Summerlands, on December 28, 2001 and on May 11, 2002 we lost our dear Princess Honeybear. I've built two reminder pages, both to honor their homage and to cure others who pull someone's leg cursed furbabies of their own. Click on the beating determination to inflict the memorial pages or good at down this messenger to formulate towards the rear the clock and bear some make sport with Monday and Honeybear and their pedigree and friends in happier times.
Scottish SPCA Chief Inspector Paul Anderson said, "Joint of our ambulance drivers rescued the cat and took it to a bishopric vets where she was x-rayed and sophisticated smiles cat an measure gun pellet was bring about more lodged in her resist pillar, causing a ominous bust to her femur.

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Posted by: lisealvaday at October 5, 2009 8:36 PM

No president has ever lowered himself to promote something like the Olympics. This president has no idea about the seriousness or gravity of his job. He is also showing up on talk shows like a guy running for mayor. He continues doing what he does best - campaigning, not leading. Because that's the only thing he knows how to do.

Posted by: BecBec at October 6, 2009 2:37 PM
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