I’m going to have to take exception with the premise put forth by my colleague, Dalitso Njolinjo, who earlier opined here that the losers in the recent Olympics bidding kerfuffle were Chicago, Obama and America. It was an interesting analysis and sparked a spirited and useful discussion in our comments section, but it simply doesn’t ring true for me. The real losers in this battle, if there are any to be found, are among some of my conservative brethren around the web. In particular I would point to Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard, among others.
To be sure, there were plenty of valid arguments against having the Olympics in Chicago, and those of you scoffing at them should take a good look in the mirror. Public support (crucial to such an endeavor) was luke warm in the Windy City at best. There were also very valid concerns about Olympic funds being channeled into the pockets of corrupt, bad actors, and Chicago is a poster child for such activities. (Though, truth be told, as a New York native, I could take exception to their claim to the title.) Above and beyond all that, though, is the fact that cities which host Summer Olympics events generally wind up far in the hole financially. Yes, many jobs are created initially (along with traffic congestion and related headaches) but it winds up being a sugar rush, providing short term stimulus while leaving a big debt in its wake.
(Please note that I specify the summer Olympics here. Winter Olympics tend to run a bit less to finance and leave behind a ski resort, such as is found in Lake Placid, New York, which dwarf their mountain competitors and actually make money.)
No, the real losers here are opponents of the Obama administration who got caught doing an end-zone celebratory dance as soon as the news came down that Chicago had been eliminated. It’s nobody’s business but Chicago’s in the end, and even if it might not have been a good idea, they still came off as rooting against America. You may be used to rooting against President Obama, no matter what he does, but this was a flat out bone headed maneuver. There simply is no way to paint any good lipstick on that pig. When you cheered for the loss, you cheered against America. End of story.
This is political blundering at its worst, and the conservatives who took part in it all have a big helping of egg on their faces today.