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02 October 2009


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I'd like to know who else might have been in Copenhagen at this time; might there be more going on?


""I hold the value of life is to improve one's condition. Whatever is calculated to advance the condition of the honest, struggling laboring man...I am for that thing."

If going to Copenhagen would do that - I suppose so, he would have gone :)

Paul in NC

Col. Lang:

I respectfully, diametrically disagree.

Paul in NC


Thanks. Is that where W.M.D. (Weapons of Mass Destruction) comes from? Sam Nunn provided the attack Iraq rational, sorry, tongue in cheek.

Your second comment about Vancouver is why I'm glad Rio got the Olympics. Let them put up with the security. Trying to secure this country is ridiculous. I'd rather take my chances with the "terrorist" (whoever they may be) than put up with this B.S.

Patrick Lang

Paul in NC

Well, friend, that's what this is all about. p

Sidney O. Smith III

Dunno’ if Lincoln would have gone to Copenhagen but here’s hoping he would have attended the opening ceremonies in Rio.

The first thing he would notice is that Rio de J and Brazil appear much further along the path of reaching a post racial society than Chicago and the USA.

Then, one would think, Lincoln would want to inquire as to how the Brazilians ended the institution of slavery and at what cost.

And finally Lincoln, perhaps, would wonder if Brazil, like the US, has Jacobins (neoconservatives) who rely on the legacy of a civil war to legitimate and promote a clash of civilizations pitting the US against the Muslim world, all in the name of spreading freedom and enlightening mankind, of course.

(not anti-Lincoln, tend to take the Foote approach in that Lincoln was a brilliant nationalist; as for the Jacobins then…well…read Kagan/Ledeen now.)

Babak Makkinejad


I heard that you have to fight women off in Brazil.


Brazil made the quite reasonable argument that South America has never hosted the Olympics yet. And Brazil is not at all a third-rate backwater. If there's a snub here at all, it's directed more at the Northern Hemisphere in general than the U.S. in particular. Further, given the many scandals that have surrounded the IOC gang over the years, it's hard to see them as an arbiter of "prestige".

There's a lot that Obama can legitmately be criticized for, but this is a complete non-issue.

Byron Raum

I do agree that the President is diminished, but I don't see that as a preventable flaw. He's essentially come down to mortal size.

The one serious problem that Obama has is that he is, essentially, a scientist. By that, I mean that he wants to try to examine every possible viewpoint before deciding which one to adopt. This isn't what a politician naturally does. It also makes it harder to govern a country where there are few people like you. He's going to have to stop doing that. Not everyone is deserving of intellectual respect.


I heard a little sound-bite on the radio on my way home from work this evening from President Obama, "You can play a good game, and still lose." Seems rational to me.

Chicago's chance at hosting the Games was probably a long shot. Given that the Committee is trying to spread things around a bit to credible contenders in regions that have not hosted the Games, it would seem quite politic for them to have settled on Rio de Janeiro.

I give a different read to Obama's motivation for this effort (beyond the "Hey, it's my home town" line, that is). I think that it is quite conceivable that this was part of a conscious campaign - recall in this context if you will, his speech to the Muslim/Arab world, his address to the Iranian nation, and his recent appearance at the UN wherein he made the case that the USA was no longer going to "Cowboy" it, and was instead (GASP!) soliciting co-operation - with all of these actions working toward the end of a rehabilitation of our nation's image in the world. I mean, seriously, could you conceive, in your wildest imaginings, The Dick or The Decider delivering ANY of these speeches? You know, those guys who brought you the latter day Crusade, the scornful rebuff of the Iranian approaches in the wake of 9/11, and the immortal "Yer either fer us or agin' us" doctrine? Folks, repairing the damage that bunch wrought isn't going to be quickly accomplished; it's going to take time and persistence. So, for the President to show up, visibly LOSE out on achieving some supposed American aim, and then to have the man NOT throw a hissy fit, but instead to have him graciously accept the outcome? Well, to borrow a somewhat overused phrase, one hopes that this may communicate something of a "Change You Can Believe In" to the world at large. A truly strong nation finds humility to be a more fitting state (walking softly, but carrying a big stick...). Leading by example, making oneself worthy of emulation; these are goals to which we should aspire. The USA is still a Big Dog (and quite capable of continuing to soil the carpet, unfortunately), but really, doesn't "Primum Inter Pares" have a nice ring to it? Ahh, makes for a welcome change. If we hope to be capable of overmastering the self-destructive impulses that are blindly frog-marching us towards Empire and all of its attendant sorrows, this is where we must look for succor.


I thought Oprah had more pull, guess she's not big in Copenhagen.

As for airport security, it could get real ugly after the terrorists took a page from the drug mules and hid the explosives in a cavity only a proctologist would search.

William R. Cumming

Arun! Would be interested in some of your articles! Send off line to vacationlanegrp@aol.com


Speaking as someone who lives in Vancouver, Chicago just dodged a bullet. Our city is suddenly up to its eyeballs in debt. Cuts to city services and tax hikes have begun even now, before the 2010 Games have taken place.

otiwa ogede

oh my god!
presidents are politicians?
someone call the police!!

Clifford Kiracofe

"the prestige of an already diminished president was wagered, and lost"

Yes indeed this is precisely the issue, IMO.

Was our President set up is my question. Set up by the ballerina at his elbow and others? And why? For example, is a weaker President more under the thumb of the pro-Israel Lobby?

How did this get past the NSC and State Department?

18 of 94 votes? The White House can't count votes, or assess possibilities, or consider consequences?

Republicans should not be gleeful...all citizens of this Republic are in the same boat floating or sinking in international waters. US prestige has taken a hit.

The President needs to take a look at those advising him in the White House and make some necessary deletions. The political issue is NOT reelection in 2012...the issue is US national security and our international standing. Supposedly there were "adults" around to keep an eye on things...where are they?

The is not US exceptionalism or narcisism IMO. There is something else behind this and it is design not stupidity...

Here is some analysis from POLITICO:

Chicago was knocked out in the first-round of balloting – winning just 18 of 94 votes — making Obama’s trip to Copenhagen seem not just unsuccessful but entirely ineffective.

A few Democrats were glum, some conservatives were downright gleeful and the White House scrambled to explain that Obama had no regrets about making the trip – despite the fact that it exposed the limits to the power of his high-wattage international popularity.

“I have no doubt that it was the strongest bid possible, and I’m proud that I was able to make that case in person,” Obama said after returning to the White House from Copenhagen.

But even before Air Force One made it back to Andrews, political finger-pointing broke out. White House officials insisted that Obama decided to go only after very aggressive lobbying from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who offered assurances that the city’s bid was within striking distance of winning.

Many political pros said they wouldn’t even consider letting Obama put his prestige, popularity and time on the line to go to Copenhagen unless he thought Chicago was a lock, or a near-lock. Some even speculated that Obama must have had some inside information about the strength of Chicago’s bid that prompted him to go – something the White House denied.

But at least one Olympics expert said that if the White House aides truly believed Daley’s assurances, they were simply naïve.

“Obama and his advisers have proven to be less smart post-campaign than in the campaign,” said John Hoberman, a University of Texas professor who studies the International Olympic Committee. “The specter of a smart politician like Obama walking into this is not pretty. The question is whether he took the trouble to consult any sort of expert about what he was getting into…..Really smart people can get swept up in a really ignorant way when it comes to dealing with the Olympic movement. It appears this is what has happened again.”

“This is not a huge hit, but I didn’t think it was worth the risk,” Hoberman said. “At the end of the day, it appears that these crafty Chicago politicians did get themselves in way over their heads.”

Obama also faced questions of whether this defeat would tarnish his reputation abroad at a moment when he’s struggling with a variety of international issues, and whether he let his hometown allegiance get in the way of cool-headed decision-making as to whether he should have invested the power of his office behind the Chicago bid.

Three of Obama’s top advisers – chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and senior advisers David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett – all hail from Chicago.

Even the on-again, off-again nature of the trip contributed to sense that the White House was making it up as they went along. White House aides publicly raised the trip as a possibility, then Obama’s attendance was ruled out, then it was announced that an advance team was scouting for him to go, then the trip was back on. All in the course of a couple of weeks.

Democratic strategist Paul Begala had warned ahead of time that this might be a miscalculation on the part of Obama, already struggling to beat back a growing sense that he’s simply overbooked, what with Iran, Afghanistan, health care and unemployment all crowding for his attention.

“If he doesn't get it, he looks bad,” Begala said on CNN earlier this week. “You know, he does have a full plate. If I was working for him, I'd say, sir, don't go.”


a point worth considering, via vanity fair:

'Maybe the Europeans were afraid that they’d have to shake hands with Sarah Palin at the Opening Ceremonies.'

but seriously, i don't think this is more than a day's worth of impact for obama. what's going to be more negatively impacted will be the republicans who will celebrate the failure of an american president promoting his country internationally.

does anyone really think the olympics vote will impact negotiations with israel, iran, north korea?

Patrick Lang


That was my experience. pl


I was workin' for security in a minuscule overrated country isle where they hosted the Int'l Olympic Committee back in '05, & I'm just f***in' grateful that this year the host city didn't get bombed the very next day like London then when they won (more endless conspiracies & all the c***trap). I was so lookin' forward to the Japs winnin' the vote though. Well, probably'll have to wait 'nother few decades more or so to see that happenin'.

Nancy K

I think it was obvious that Rio would be choosen, as no city in South America has ever been choosen before and the US has been choosen several times if you count the winter Olympics also.
I saw nothing wrong in Pres Obama appear before the committee in support of his country and city. The other leaders were also present.


"I heard that you have to fight women off in Brazil."

Best thing I ever heard (read) on this site so far, Babak.


Just to underscore your point: NBC Chicago reported on Obama's role recently, noting, "In a surprise appearance at an Olympic-bid rally in [Washington] park last year, only days after clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama outlined a dream scenario for him and his Chicago allies.

Then-Senator Obama told the bouyant hometown crowd that `In 2016, I'll be wrapping up my second term as president, so I can't think of a better way than to be marching into Washington Park alongside Mayor Daley, alongside Rahm Emmanuel, alongside Dick Durbin, alongside Valerie Jarrett, as president of the United States and announcing to the world, Let the games begin!'"

Soon after inauguration, Jarrett got an ethics waiver, allowing her to lead the White House lobbying for the Olympic Chicago bid. David Axelrod was the recipient of the major PR contract from the $43 million Chicago Olympic Bid Committee. All the Chicago real estate backers of Obama's campaign, including campaign finance co-chair Penny Pritzker, stood to make out like bandits if Chicago got the bid. You can fill in the blanks...


seems like the TSA had something to do with losing the bid. http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/chicagos-loss-is-passport-control-to-blame/

This is the best site on all info on the Chicago bid. http://www.chicago2016.com/2016/

As for losing Plan A (Olympics) for economic recovery, Chicago has no Plan B.


In my opinion Chicago has lucked out and Obama did no injury to his rep or cred and may have enhanced them.


This is a big let down, albeit on relatively minor event.

My sense, Obama still hasn't realized the magnitude of damage to US image Bush has done. It will take more than few speeches to fix it. It's the whole vibe that need to be redo.

The voting defeat is a big knock out. Not even close or let alone going to final round. My sense, most voting members of IOC have fairly bad experience with US port of entry, the finger printing, the questioning, the creditcard/hotel/ticket tracking, all in all combined with GWOT/middle east war just creep the shit out of tourists, specially emergind countries. And they are the one who has money and traveling. Increasingly event like Olympic will be visited by more than western tourists.

Overall, gotta fix this. The recurring pattern of US being isolated/avoided by the world is subtle but increasing. I've heard story over and over again. Trade shows (eg. Comdex), conferences (science, trades), G20 meeting or IOC voting are an indication. These events are important for trades, technology, arts, sports, etc.

The world is going to pass us by if nothing changes.


So, President p--k trashed the office of President to pay off his real bosses - Mayor Daley and freres.

What s surprise...
I'm shocked, shocked....
that this empty suit narcissist would demean the Presidency....of a country he doesn't even like.

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