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02 October 2009


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Bill Wade, NH

I didn't know he was such a gambler, I agree - this is bad. My girlfriend and I were talking about this the other night, she's an Obama supporter, while I'm not (unlike Bush - I do have respect for him). She was pretty much against him doing this, "beneath the dignity of the office". Too bad.


"an already diminished president" - "that the president is not his own man" - "Now we know that the Chicago money that drove his campaign"

tad hyperbolic, there, don't you think?


It was a foolish political move to make such an appeal. If you are right about his Chicago "handlers" I am saddened, but not surprised.

Clifford Kiracofe

Is our President being set up? Imprudent, if not rather tacky, for him to go lobbying personally for Chicago. Bad advice no doubt from the ballerina at his elbow.

As for those Chicago types lurking behind our President, one might single out as "of interest" one Penny Pritzker.

It is possible to Google around for information on the Pritzker family and its alleged relationship to organized crime. Meanwhile here is a Wiki:

There is considerable information on the Pritzker family in the very controversial book entitled "Supermob" by Gus Russo. http://www.amazon.com/Supermob-Korshak-Criminal-Associates-Americas/


The first thoughts that come to mind are the cliches: "Nothing ventured, nothing gained;" " How can anybody knock a guy for trying to bring jobs to America?"

But an analytical reason from the NYT

"Among the toughest questions posed to the Chicago bid team this week in Copenhagen was one that raised the issue of what kind of welcome foreigners would get from airport officials when they arrived in this country to attend the Games. Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicago’s official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be “a rather harrowing experience.” "

Remember how many people are on the no-fly list for trivial reasons such as Cat Stevens.


I'm sore afraid you're correct. He seems to lead with his chin in the ring with his GOPher haters.


All applicants had their head of state turn up. This is an example of a situation where having a non-executive head of state is an advantage. Sending along your king, queen, emperor, whatever does not involve expending political capital or receiving derision back home for a failed bid.
BTW if he hadn't turned up the usual suspects would be condemning him for his lack of patriotism. And don't feel bad about it, it probably will keep Chicago afloat financially for few more decades. Ask most Londoners how happy they are to be paying the bill.

Paul Hartvigson

The view from Copenhagen:

Getting the Olympics is the prize of another president - Lula da Silva.

Obama flew in here, made a speech, met the queen and PM, and was out again in 4 hours 22 minutes. Not here to work for change, but to play two spins at the wheel at the casino of the Olympian elite.

Meanwhile Prresidente Lula was working the crowd for two days, like the fighter he is, a working class president like the US never had. He fought four campaigns before getting elected, in a country of massive inequality.

The Americans showed up with the secret suits inspecting the Christiansborg palace on Tuesday, getting security up to American standards.

The Brazilians flew their flag from the smartest hotel in town for a week here.

It looks like the US is overstretched. and the Brazilians invested in reaching their objective.

Paul Hartvigson, Copenhagen, Denmark

PS. Today the police of this fine democracy was busy dislodging protesters from church towers etc. where they flew banners like "Right city, wrong date". Cause a lot of would like to see Obama here. Not to peddle Chicago to the Lords of the Ringes, but to do something useful at he World Climate Summit in Copenhagen in december.


Professional sports owners are professional leeches. Examples like Los Angeles make that clear. For years, football owners have ignored one America's most lucrative markets, simply because the public won't shell out big bucks to host them.

Sad that Obama would stoop to begging for such leeches.


Before the election, I seem to recall reading on this very blog a rejection of Obama as "The One." Obama was a blank page on which people etched their own personal dreams - much to the disgruntlement (is that a word?) of Col. Lang. Then Obama got elected, reality set in, and his popularity came down from the stratosphere and settled into the 50-55 percent range.

Now Col. Lang has declared him to be "diminished."

For my money, he can hop all over the globe trying to bring events, jobs and nascent industry to the U.S.

With 10 percent unemployment in our land, I can't think of anything better a president should be doing.


The "Cult of Personality" can only go so far...

William R. Cumming

WEll personally I am relieved. As a person with some background in Emergency Planning note that I mark the real start of the impact of terrorist threat as the Munich Olympics in 1972. An argument can be made that the Atlanta Olympics in 1984 and other large scale domestic events have driven some of the policy approaches to domestic terrorism preparedness. What is completely unknow to the general public is that until the Utah Winter Olympics the security and federal efforts to provide services at each Olympics or similiar events in US were typically unfunded and taken out of the hid of Executive Branch organizations. Last I heard we (US) face long term deficits and the price for safeguarding an Olympics is now probably over $2B so thankfully that will not become a drain on the federal fisc. Interesting that the President did not focus on the costs to the taxpayer and continues to act as if it is his money, the Treasury, and the FEDS. While taxes may well be the price we pay for civilized society, the power to tax is also the power to destroy. Glad Brazil has the worry and effort and cost. Oh and did you catch the fact that Brazil may want nuclear weapons capability.

Patrick Lang


This is not about my personal opinion of him. It is about how much leverage he has in world affairs and in Congress. pl

Cloned Poster

Set-up big time; sad to see, meanwhile Blair is


Obama is being taken for a ride.

Paul in NC

Oh, good grief! Much ado about very little. The man stepped up for America, tried and failed. Would you have him not make the effort? Why? As a calculated political consideration?

Would that we had more of his "at least I tried" attitude in our body politic.


Some might be blowing this one a bit out-of-proportion - nothing new in that. It was his home city & he used the trip to call McChrystal in for a talk.

As to prestige, there is a diehard core that interprets everything about the President negatively. Mindless partisanship is what is being diminished, one hopes.

Patrick Lang

Paul in NC

"Would you have him not make the effort?" YES

"As a calculated political consideration?" YES. pl


Interesting take. People don't seem to get Obama. His point is to step down, just slightly, from the imperial presidency and embrace the world with respect and some semblance of humility.

Its OK to openly seek an honor from our friends and yes, occasionally they say "no", so what? A little arrogant for us to think that the President always gets what he wants.

This is NOT the same as showing up at a diplomatic meeting without sufficient staff work so that a claim of progress can plausibly be made, or a substantive disagreement among our allies on matters of national interest. They like Rio better than Chicago, so what? So do I (although the visitors best not wander too far from the venues unprotected)

If anything, a negative response to the trivia which is the Olympics could lead to a favorable response on something else. Had he not made the trip, many would say that Chicago lost the bid because the President of the Untied States was too high and mighty to take a day out of his schedule for his hometown.

Much ado about nothing in MHO.


I hadn't thought of the airport hassle for the foreigners. I'm sure that played a large part. It would for me if I was a Pakistani.

The Atlanta Olympics were in 1996, I think. Richard Jewel, person of interest, seems more recent than 1984.

Personally, I'm glad Rio got the job. Let them put up with the headache and enjoy the prestige for South America. Oh, and displace the natives to build the venue.

Sidney O. Smith III

The Cantab Realist -- Professor Stephen Walt -- believes President Obama’s decision to go to Copenhagen was a mistake but not a grave one. Worded differently, “Who Told Obama to Go to Copenhagen?”


Congratulations to Rio. (But I am not sure hosting the Olympics is all that it is cooked up to be.)

William R. Cumming

Jackie you are absolutely correct. LA was summer 1984 and Atlanta was summer 1996! Senator Sam Nunn panicked over the incompetence in the Executive Branch and result was the Defense against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act, Title XIV of the 1997 DOD Approps Act.

By the way VANCOUVER coming up for winter Olympics and huge stress being placed on US security by that Canadian event. Again huge outlays by the feds.


Even Spain deployed their Monarch and Prime Minister to try to land the Olympics. So our chief of State did the same. He championed a U.S. City.

If he had not gone, then he would be criticized for that as well. Yes, the election was 10 months ago and the recession continues, and there is Obama fatigue, and the professor is inexperienced.

Sad to hear and see all those anti-Americans reveling in the news. Not the foreign anti-Americans, rather the partisan hacks who despise their own country.

Chalk this up to the logical result of American exceptionalism and the contempt with which the world views the U.S. after the disasters of the previous unitary executive. After the preceding 8 years of arrogance, do we really think they (the rest of the world) would fall all over themselves to rush to the windy city. Seriously Doubt it.

Which perhaps, is the point, is he so inexperienced and insulated that he actually thought Chicago had a chance?


A look at scholarly articles on the web shows that most Olympics have had a net positive economic impact for their hosts.

And only if we take our President to be a Sovereign who is diminished when it is seen that His Will is not Done, is it wrong for the President to try to win a competition for the US of A.

Please, let's get away from such imperial or god-like notions of the Presidency.

Patrick Lang


I confess to being touched by the republican earnestness with which so many of you reject the idea of a "royal" presidency.

I suppose that Lincoln would have gone to Copenhagen. pl


It's AMERICA'S loss; not Obama's. Thus, the jubilation on the part of so many of the President's conservative critics is unseemly and disturbing. Good for him for trying.

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