The rejection by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of Chicago as the host city for the 2016 summer Olympic Games is a huge blow to the prestige of president Obama, his wife Michelle and the city of Chicago. Even the magic of Oprah Winfrey, who went to Copenhagen as a representative of the city that made her a star, could be seen as diminished.
It is significant to note that Obama did not simply make a one-day push for the Olympics by going over there. He’s been part of a promotion machine that has been hyping Chicago for several years now. Since he was inaugurated he had met with foreign leaders, had jawboned officials all over the nation and world, and even had set up a special Chicago 2016 office in the White House. Yet Rio de Janeiro won the Games despite “a huge crime rate and very high poverty level”, according to one CNN host.
Said Obama advisor David Axelrod of the Chicago loss: “I don’t see this as a repudiation of the president and first lady.” But Chicago not only lost, but lost embarrassingly in the first round. Countered NBC’s pro-Obama analyst Chuck Todd, “I wouldn’t say he (Obama) has egg on his face, but it’s a gut punch.”
And Todd has backhandedly made an accurate analysis in such a statement. After all egg is easy to wipe off but a sucker punch can have much more long-lasting effects, causing internal bleeding or organ damage. Todd’s words may have been prophetic.
The media went bonkers over what seemed a certain Chicago victory. Nancy Snyderman on MSNBC called it “a stunning blow to the US”. And actually she has too has it backhandedly right. It was a repudiation not just of Obama, but of America in general and corrupt urban America (Chicago) as well. Yet Obama did not even see it coming…
So what really went on behind the scenes?
It likely was a combination of factors, the first of which is that the bloom is off Obama’s rose. His popularity among Americans is sinking and Europeans are not nearly so impressed with him as they once were. Much of Obama’s prestige has been a media mirage.
Second, IOC is a very shady organization. Remember the corruption around the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City which were saved by intervention from Republican businessman Mitt Romney? This is standard stuff. And in Chicago, IOC probably saw a type of entrenched corruption that might even challenge its own, so they backed down. After all Tony Rezko is a really scary guy.
Bush administration official Brad Blakeman called IOC “thugs” and this is not so far from the truth. After all, IOC is another left-wing internationalist group like the United Nations so you know that politics and corruption are going to rule its decisions.
But perhaps the most significant – and unspoken – reason for the Chicago smackdown is that IOC was actually looking at the facts. Perhaps they read about more than 200 school children gunned down so far in Chicago in 2009. Perhaps they read about honor student Derrion Albert who was recently beaten to death in a black gang war. Perhaps they read about the corruption surrounding former Illinois governor Blagojevich and sitting US senator Roland Burris.
Perhaps they looked at the racist statements of Reverend Wright and feared for the safety of the caucasian athletes from Europe. Perhaps they feared that 1970s mad bomber and Chicago celebrity William Ayers, who said he “didn’t do enough” in bombing the Pentagon, New York police headquarters and a military recruitment center, might go whacko and attack the Olympics. Perhaps they heard about 47 members of Chicago’s Daley mayoral administration being jailed for corruption.
All in all, perhaps they just thought that Chicago was far too creepy for the Olympics. And that would be a very good call.
Just think about it. Would internationalists choose a city that is violent, more corrupt than themselves, and worst of all American? Hasn’t Obama himself often disparaged America while his wife said that “for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country”, referring to her husband’s campaign? Could all of those quotes and facts have cumulatively sunk in with IOC? After all they are sinking in with increasing numbers of Americans who are offended by Obama and his favorite city.
It is important to recall that politically-correct IOC would have started with a bias against America and in favor of a third-world nation like Brazil anyway. Because South America is a continent that never has hosted the Games. So IOC would have favored Rio just out of a sense of equality. And who wouldn’t think that way? After all, the US has hosted eight Olympic games. Why not let Brazil have a go?
The big problem is that Chicago and Obama and many Americans were clueless about the perils that Chicago faced. Up until the announcement was made, they literally believed that Chi-Town was the shoo-in candidate.
So where did this hubris come from?
It came from Obama himself, and from his big ego. Which appears to be getting in his way since his inauguration. Because Obama is not mature enough yet to know that perhaps he is not so powerful or beloved as he thinks. He simply does not really understand life just like other arrogant young presidents like Clinton and Kennedy.
The media are covering big-time for Obama because they see the IOC defeat as yet another failing grade on his presidential report card. Since his popularity peaked on January 20, it’s been all downhill from bailouts to the stimulus to the health-care bill to his statement that we Americans “do not consider ourselves a Christian nation” to the terrifying flyover of New York City by Air Force One. Obama has not seemed to understand that leading the United States is different from a community organizer training session. His audience no longer is captive and captivated but skeptical and wary and even hostile. And thus his hubris makes Obama look uninformed and weak in the face of his mounting troubles at home and abroad.
To be fair, other national leaders showed up in Copenhagen to pitch their nations to IOC. So Obama certainly felt that he needed to fly there in order to lock in the “certain” choice of Chicago. But many Americans believed that it was not an appropriate use of presidential time and money, particularly in these trying days. And what about that Big Carbon Footprint?!
What must have blindsided Obama was not just the rejection, but that Chicago was first out. Because it means that there was more in the works than he anticipated. And when you fumble and appear so clueless in front of the world, you may start to get a sinking feeling that you are in much deeper than you think. Jimmy Carter anyone?
This IOC fiasco is going to add to the long-term negative implications for Obama. Americans will see it as another big stumble, Obama’s corrupt supporters in Chicago are going to be furious and ready for an internecine war, and Obama will see his national polls fall further. Some in the Obama Media are already soft-pedaling the loss in every way imaginable. But this ignominy can’t help, and adds to the growing sense that president Barack Obama is in over his head in ways that he himself does not yet understand. And that is the most frightening part of all.
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