Obama and the Olympics

Just in case you missed it, the IOC announced that Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has won the race to host the Olympic games in 2016.  Congratulations to the Brazilians.  It is a great honor for you to be the first South American country to host the games.

There has been some talk, coming from the British press who has shown no love for President Obama, that this will undermine his presidency.  I have to disagree.  Any undermining effect from Chicago losing the Olympics on the first ballot (in sports lingo, this is a blowout) is negligable.

How?  This is America.  Now there is a cultural aspect of our lives where we “love a winner” (some liberals may be the other way around) and Obama definitely lost but history was working against us anyway.  Brazil is the only top 10 economy that has not hosted a games and South America has never hosted an Olympic Games either.  The United States did it last in 2002 in Salt Lake City.  We were handicapped.  I was surprised to hear the bookies though the US had the best odds.

In President Obama’s context I think this loss is irrevelant to anything else he is doing except in this one way:  President Obama, in the midst of selling health care reform to the American people (Gallup’s September numbersRasmussen’s September numbers), spirited off to Copenhagen to try and win the Olympics for Chicago.

What I wondered was what Obama expected to win and I guess it had to be some momentum.  I do not think his poll numbers will take a dive because Chicago lost (if they do Obama has other problems) but if he had won maybe he could have captured some momentum with the American people.  In that sense maybe this was a good situation for President Obama to try and use to springboard off back into health care but I doubt that would have worked.  I am skeptical he would have received anything more than a temporary boost in approval rating.


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