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Jewish World Review
Oct. 6, 2009
/ 18 Tishrei 5770
The Second City Becomes Fourth City
Debra J. Saunders
If you want to understand why some conservatives were gleeful
over Chicago's fourth-place finish in its bid to host the 2016 Summer
Olympic Games after President Obama and the first lady flew to Copenhagen
to pitch the American city to the International Olympic Committee
consider this quote in the New York Times from Anita DeFrantz, an IOC member
from the United States: "I hate the fact that these elegant people were
here, and then our country got treated that way."
These elegant people? So the other folks who didn't win for
their cities are what? Slobs? You see in that sentence all the presumption
of Obama and his political base. The 2008 presidential campaign reveled in
the argument that the cosmopolitan Obama would boost America's image abroad.
Alas, the Copenhagen experience suggests that international types may have
fuzzy feelings about the United States post-Dubya but that doesn't
necessarily mean that America will reap tangible benefits. And unlike a
beauty contest, the IOC losers can't even bring home a Miss Congeniality
The Drudge Report cribbed this headline after the news that
Chicago placed fourth out of four cities in the running: "The Ego Has
Landed: World Rejects Obama." Sure, that verdict is hyperbolic, but Drudge
hit on the self-conceit that preceded this fiasco.
Before Chicago got voted off the island, senior White House
adviser Valerie Jarrett explained the purpose of the Copenhagen trek to ABC
News, thus: "So many of them (the IOC members) said they're not just
selecting a city. They are selecting people because this is really about
That quote may explain why both Obamas talked so much about
themselves Mrs. O used the word "I" some 20 times in her brief, largely
autobiographical remarks when they were supposed to be selling the Windy
City as an Olympics venue.
Only now do they see: The IOC wasn't looking for relationships,
but a great location. Besides, there's a certain congruity in Obama's
Chicago losing to Rio de Janeiro. As one who has extolled "the burdens of
global citizenship," Obama of all people should be thrilled that South
America now can stage its first Olympics.
You just know that if George W. Bush had lobbied in person to
win the Games for a Texas city and lost, his critics would have been
unapologetic in their joy over his failure to deliver. They'd be bashing his
intelligence, his motives and probably Texas. Of course, it was easy to kick
Bush because so many people did it.
But now that Obama is in the Oval Office, erstwhile Bush bashers
want everyone to be a cheerleader. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman,
for example, has discovered "the politics of spite" and not after looking
in the mirror.
After eight years of watching some on the left root for defeat
in Iraq and snicker at every international slight against Bush, I must admit
it is rather special that the left has discovered patriotism to such an
extent that there now is a duty to root for Chicago to host the Games.
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© 2009, Creators Syndicate