On Friday President Barack Obama will be in Denmark making his pitch (and leveraging his international popularity) for Chicago’s shot at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Some are wondering if this gamble will be worth it.
The White House knows that the decision to go before the International Olympic Committee is fraught with political risk: The president could be embarrassed on a world stage if he doesn’t land the games.
Plus, more than a few Americans are surely scratching their heads — with his inbox crowded with a troop request for Afghanistan, a new secret nuclear site in Iran, sky-high unemployment and a health care bill in Congress, does the president really have time for this?
Everyone knows that the president loves his sports, from fencing with a Jedi lightsaber to his love of basketball. Obama has proudly been not sports neutral at all, doing everything from giving his March Madness picks on ESPN to giving continued shout-outs to the Chicago White Sox. But is it necessary that he go so “home team” that he’s continuing to push Chi-town for the Olympics get? After all, what happens if Chicago doesn’t get picked? Then what? And who had the juice to call in this favor? I didn’t know the Daleys were still rolling like that. It was a long time ago when Richard J. Daley, the father, got President Kennedy to show up for a fundraiser in the middle of the friggin’ Cuban Missile Crisis. But then, Daley did make sure Kennedy won Illinois in his presidential bid against then Vice President Richard Nixon.
Illinois was a cakewalk this time around for Obama, being he was the senator from there and it is his adopted home state. So I think most of this is about super loyalty for his home town. I won’t knock the president’s hustle too much. If anyone can charm the international community for a summer games, it’s him. But I still think it’s a little odd.