Olympic Bid A No Win Situation for Obama


Barack and Michelle Obama Address the IOC

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Copenhagen to support the bid of their home town Chicago to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Their efforts mirrored those of the President Brazil to support the winning bid of Rio de Janeiro. In the end, Chicago’s proposal failed to gain the support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

In response to Chicago’s unsuccessful proposal President Obama remarked; “One of the things I think is most valuable about sports is that you can play a great game and still not win.”

Obama Addresses IOC

Obama Addresses IOC

The effort to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to Chicago unfortunately placed the president in a no-win situation. As a former Senator from Illinois whose home town was Chicago; the President had to weigh in on the campaign for the games. The potential for Chicago’s bid to fail was always there. If he failed to participate and Chicago’s bid failed the President would be criticized for not making an effort, particularly in light of the participation of the Presidents and Prime Ministers of the other finalists in the process.

This reality has however been lost on the right-wing corporate run media. Leading up to his visit, media pundits complained that he was trying to take on too much, that there were more important things for him to focus on at home. Jon Stewart coverd this on the Daily Show Thursday Night.

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With headlines like “Olympic ‘nopes’ beat out hope in Chicago” on CNN.com, and “Olympics loss weighs on Obama’s agenda” and “Analysis: Chicago loss is blow to Obama” on MSNBC.com you would think that President Obama was solely responsible for the Chicago proposal and its failure. The “Analysis” headline kicked off an article by Associated Press writers Jennifer Loven and Julie Pace who pounced on the loss of the bid as an example of the failure of “Obama’s fabled charm and powers of persuasion.” They wrote “President Barack Obama’s high profile failure to win the games for Chicago could feed the negative narratives already nipping at his heels — that he is a better talker than deal closer, more celebrity than statesman. And this could hamper his efforts on weightier issues like health care, climate change, war.”

WHAT?! When did Chicago’s bid for the Olympics in 2016 become a matter of State diplomacy? On what planet do these two live? While it is true that the President and First Lady were avid supporters of the Chicago bid, they are hardly responsible for the proposal or its failure to succeed.

They continued; “He is trying to do too much at once. He’s too casual with the use of his own time.” They went on to speculate that while “the votes of the IOC members are notoriously hard to count ahead of time, so are those in the U.S. Capitol. Will Obama do as poorly predicting how health care votes are leaning in Congress and make similarly ill-fated strategic decisions?”

It is one hell of a leap to compare Obama’s participation in Chicago’s Olympic bid to the efforts regarding health insurance reform. Such a leap of “logic” is actually absurd.

The only saving grace of this AP story was in the closing of the article, which got lost in its early framing.

“Keep in mind: If Obama had not gone to Denmark and Chicago lost, he no doubt would have been blamed for not making an effort.”

With slanted analysis such as was presented by these Associated Press writers, who needs Newt Gingrich’s Twitter tweet “Somehow charm and oratory don’t seem to work in foreign affairs but historians have warned that foreign policy is different than campaigning.”

So much for that so called liberal media bias.

  5 comments for “Olympic Bid A No Win Situation for Obama

  1. RHackett
    October 3, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Amazing how all of these flag lapel pin wearing Americans are happy and giddy over the US losing an Olympics bid.

    Glad to see they’re showing their true colors.

  2. Charles Carroll
    October 3, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Wow, RHackett, in your twisted mind, is there an equivalence between cheering a lost Olympics bid and cheering for our loss in a war? And the objection to Obama being involved is not the juvenile assertion of the writer that the President is “trying to do too much.” It’s that a President who never stops telling us what an urgent disaster he’s “inherited” can take a weekend off of being President of the United States and decide to be a two-bit President of Chicago.

  3. RHackett
    October 3, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Wow Charles. Obama spent a weekend promoting the US to the IOC.

    Bush spent how much time at his faux ranch clearing brush while there were troops fighting on two fronts. Yet no complaints by conservatives.

    Your criticism of Obama’s actions says as much about you as your sense of love of country. Which is decided more by whose in office than what is actually beneficial to the nation.

  4. Charles Carroll
    October 4, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    It’s not because he was away from his desk, RHackett, it’s because he’s clearly away from the switch. Does it seem right to you that he’s spoken with Gen. McChrystal ONCE in the last 70 days? That this General is pleading for additional troops? That Obama absolutely focused on the importance of Afghanistan during the campaign yet does nothing while good men and women die? Who knows, right? I am unpatriotic and Bush’s ranch didn’t meet your authenticity standards. I guess those are the real issues.

  5. RHackett
    October 7, 2009 at 7:38 am


    Obama has two of the best military minds (Jones and Blair) dealing with national security issues. Do you really believe the Afghanistan issue is being ignored?

    Away from what switch? I’m certain the President can be contacted by the McChrystal (and Petraeus) just as easily on AF1 and presidential limo as he can in the Oval Office. Lastly, McChrystal has several individuals between he and Obama in the chain of command. You apparently don’t know much about the military and the significance of that in the military hierarchy.

    You clearly have blind hatred of Obama. Admit it. Nothing he will do is going to make you happy.

    What’s the old line. Obama could walk on water and you’d be screaming that he can’t swim. It’s kind of funny for us who voted for Obama. It wasn’t that long ago conservatives considered criticism of the president to be unpatriotic and Unamerican. Now they’re reminding everyone they’re just exercising their rights.

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