Friday, October 02, 2009
Blame where due
Of course, it's entirely George W. Bush's fault that Chicago didn't get the 2016 Olympic Games.
UPDATE (Fri Oct 2 @ 12:32 p.m.): I wrote the one-sentence post above as a joke, based just on reading a news headline on my Blackberry over lunch. But when I turned to the New York Times' report on the International Olympic Committee's decision which reportedly left the U.S. bidders "stunned" and refusing comment, Chicago having been considered "a favorite" and certainly unlikely to be eliminated in the first round of voting I found that our chattering classes are already hard at work laying the groundwork for the finger-pointing that I thought would be only parody (italics mine):
The 10-person Chicago bid team, led by the president and Mrs. Obama, put on a presentation heavy on emotion and visual images without getting too deep into he details of the bid.
“To host athletes and visitors from every corner of the globe is a high honor and a great responsibility,” Mr. Obama whose Chicago home is a short walk from the prospective Olympic Stadium. “And America is ready and eager to assume that sacred trust.”
In the official question-and-answer session following the Chicago presentation, Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, asked the toughest question. He wondered how smooth it would be for foreigners to enter the United States for the Games because doing so can sometimes, he said, be “a rather harrowing experience.”
Mrs. Obama tapped the bid leader Patrick G. Ryan, so Mr. Obama could field that question.
“One of the legacies I want to see is a reminder that America at its best is open to the world,” he said, before adding that the White House and State Department would make sure that all visitors would feel welcome.
And from the Chicago Tribune's telling of the same tale (italics again mine):
The city's presentation ended at 2:52 a.m., with President Obama answering a final question from the floor.
The question: Sometimes foreigners entering the United states can go through a rather harrowing experience. With the influx of so many thousands of people during the Games period, how do you intend to deal with this?
Obama responded: "One of the legacies I want to see is a reminder that America at its best is open to the world."
He pledged the "full force of the White House and the State Department to make sure not only that these are successful Games but that visitors all around the world will feel welcome and will come away with a sense of the incredible diversity of the American people."
Perhaps with the Bush administration in mind, he added: "One of the legacies, I think, of this Olympic games in Chicago would be a restoration of that understanding of what the United States is all about and the United States' recognition of how we are linked to the world."
Yes, in the Gospel According to Barack, all in America before The One was darkness and evil, but now all is hopey-changitudinous goodness. Even direct intervention by The One Himself wasn't enough to overcome the lingering poison of Boooooosh!
From the first NYT article quoted above, however, we can find an entirely sufficient factual rebuttal to this particular "Blame Dubya" argument: "New York’s bid was eliminated in the second round of voting for the 2012 Olympics." Even in 2005, then post 9/11, with Dubya still at the helm nationally, and with both Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg leading the presentation the U.S. fared better in the I.O.C.'s deliberations, at least making it to the second round of voting.
UPDATE (Sat Oct 3 @ 7:45 a.m.): One of Rich Lowry's email correspondents complied a fabulous "Top Ten" list of reasons why Chicago didn't get the Olympics, and guess what's Number One? Elsewhere, InstaPundit links Dana Loesch, who links CMR.com quoting disgraced U.S. Senator Roland Buris as saying "that the image of the U. S. has been so tarnished in the last 8 years that, even Barack Obama making an unprecedented pitch for the games could not overcome the hatred the world has for us as a result of George Bush." Examiner.com also attributed the same statements to Burris, but someone on Burris' staff had the good sense to scrub the Bush-blaming from his official press release congratulating Rio de Janeiro for winning the competition. (Jokingly or not, the WaPo's Dana Milbank in turn blames ... Burris!)