Rumor has it that something in the neighborhood of ninety percent of Americans was looking forward to the Summer Olympic Games coming to Chicago. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. The International Olympic Committee in charge of doling out the Olympic Games to cities has decided to send the 2016 affair to South America. I really didn’t have a pit bull in this fight. Whether it’s held in Rio de Janeiro or Madrid or Tokyo or Chicago I seriously doubt if I would have bothered to attend. But regardless, I have to admit to a certain sense of national pride and would have found it pretty exciting if Chicago had pulled the deal off. So even though I may not have manifested any excitement watching President Barack Obama, Mayor Richard Daly, super celebrity Oprah Winfrey, and former Olympic gold medal winners Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Nadia Comaneci, and basketball star David Robinson, lead the effort to bring the Olympics to Chicago, deep down I was actually wishing them the best of luck.
I was listening to NPR when the announcement was made. Despite the best efforts by everyone involved Chicago was eliminated. The 2016 Summer Olympic Games were going to go to Rio de Janeiro. The decision was somewhat disappointing, but only somewhat. I went on doing whatever it was I was doing. I heard the news late in the morning. I went on to have a pretty average day.
But late that night, I saw video clips of Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh celebrating the fact that Chicago’s Olympic bid failed. And if the Olympic bid failed, the last minute pitch by President Obama means that Mr. Obama’s can be clearly associated with failure. Mr. Beck called the failure sweet. Mr. Limbaugh proved that no disappointment to this country is worthless if it can be used as part of a partisan attack on the Obama administration. Mr. Obama is the first United States President to ever appear before the International Olympic Committee and add his voice to the chorus pleading for the games. And Mr. Obama is the first and only President of the United States to be rejected by the committee. And these high profile conservatives are absolutely loving it. Back in January Mr. Limbaugh said that he wished that then President-elect Obama failed. Mr. Limbaugh is remaining true to his word savoring any and every failure that he can.
Mr. Beck said he loved America so much and hates to see the country in so much trouble. But that love of America takes a back seat to his hate for Mr. Obama. Indeed, someone who loves America so much that they’re ready to cry on screen and on cue as if he was Tammy Faye Baker sans the heavy duty mascara application would probably be a little more sensitive to America’s loss. Instead, the crocodile tears of caring have quickly turned into cheers of triumph. All of America’s problems have evaporated now that Mr. Obama is a failure. Mr. Beck is as happy as a school girl.
Other conservatives said that they wanted to make the fight for healthcare reform in America Mr. Obama’s Waterloo. For some, it appears that his Waterloo was making the decision to become Chicago’s pitchman for the Olympic Games. Now, some people are asking if this rejection is a signal that Mr. Obama doesn’t have the global political clout many thought he had. Some are wondering if Mr. Obama has been politically wounded over this humiliating loss. At least that’s the perception. And how come nobody is saying that Ms. Winfrey suffered a humiliating loss as well?
In reality, Mr. Obama didn’t have a very heavy hand in this contest of Olympic magnitude. Despite the impression some want to give that Mr. Obama was pinning his political future on getting the Games for Chicago, it is my understanding that his decision to enter the fray at the eleventh hour was more of a “why not” type of approach. If Chicago’s bid was rejected and Mr. Obama didn’t do what he could to help people would ask, why not. And really, there is not much political skin would come off his proverbial nose if he tried and didn’t succeed. Mr. Obama still has to deliver on his healthcare reform promise, he still has to clean up the mess on the terror war, he still has to juggle a struggling economy, and he has to deal with political opponents who feel so emboldened to call him a liar during his political addresses. I’m pretty sure that after receiving the news, the President went on to have a pretty average day.
The failure to get the Olympic Games for Chicago is not the be all, end all for Mr. Obama or Chicago or America. Out of the dozens, potentially into the hundreds, of cities that applied, only one was going to win. The fact that the games have never appeared in South America gave Rio an edge that no one could surmount. It’s time had come. All of South America should be proud. And I’m pretty sure had Rio lost the people in South America would be unified in disappointment. I’m pretty sure that few, if any, high profile South Americans would be publicly gloating over Rio’s lost and breaking out the champaign. Maybe it was that lack of political unity that did Chicago in. Maybe the International Olympic Committee simply saw that there is no unity in the United States to put on the best show possible. From that respect, it looks like the people on that committee made a very wise decision.