Obama: Going for the Gold

Wonder if there is an event in the Olympics for injured runners limping along on a treadmill? If so, I’m officially in training. I chased the belt for a solid 50 minutes this morning. Doesn’t get much better than that. Unless of course you’re compiling a list that includes root canal and colonoscopy. Woot.

Anyway, what’s with the controversy over the Prez heading to Copenhagen this week to make a personal pitch for Chicago to host the Olympics in 2016? (See Politico, “Barack Obama risks prestige for Chicago Olympic bid.”)

Good grief. If the most powerful and influential woman in the world — Oprah — is going, shouldn’t Obama at least tag along?

OK. I understand. We’re dealing with perceptions here. Plenty of big fish in the skillet: health care, Afghanistan, Iran, Great Recession and so on. And a week or so ago the Prez said he wouldn’t attend the International Olympic Committee gabfest. Instead, he figured he would be in D.C. taking a cattle prod to members of Congress, sparking them to action on health care legislation.

And yeah. I guess he’ll be criticized if he comes back with nothing more than Oprah’s autograph to show for the trip. From Politico:

Former Vice President Al Gore staffer Chris Lehane said the expectations will be high for Obama’s trip: “If they don’t come back with the gold, clearly there will be the same questions that American basketball would get if they don’t come back with the gold — they are expected to win.” (Note to Chris Lehane: Move to Cleveland. Then you’ll get a real-world lesson in dashed hopes linked to high expectations involving sports. I digress.)

But then Mrs. Prez O in the same Politico article opines:

“You’re darned if you do, and you’re darned if you don’t,” said first lady Michelle Obama in a briefing with reporters Monday. “I’d rather be on the side of doing it, and I think that’s how the president feels. This is not one of those where you worry about what happens if not.”

As I said, I’m sure I’m missing the bigger picture here. But it seems to me that hosting the Olympics would be good for the United States and for Chicago. And since we are embarked on a jobless recovery (NYT: “U.S. Job Seekers Exceed Openings by Record Ratio“) at what may be finally the end of the Great Recession, any economic growth and stimulus — and new jobs — resulting from this should be positive.

So Mr. and Mrs. Prez, and Oprah and Team U.S.A.:

Go for the Gold!


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