Tuesday, October 06, 2009

George Will Gets It Wrong On Obamas' IOC Copenhagen Speeches

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama may bea malignant narcissists, but their speeches before the IOC in Copenhagen don't prove the claim. George Will seems to think that it does, but he gets it wrong.

What the Copenhagen speeches show is an abject failure to persuade the IOC that Chicago had a superior bid to other cities in the competition combined with a failure to understand the IOC and how they chose cities to host the Games.

It also exposed yet another failure of the Administration officials to recognize no-win situations and put the President in a bind no matter how he responded to the challenge.

If Obama didn't go and Chicago didn't win, Obama loses.
If Obama goes and Chicago doesn't win, Obama loses.

Obama would only claim partial credit if Chicago wins the bid, and it is all too apparent that the Chicago bid was wanting even without Obama stepping in. Obama went because other cities had their respective national leaders go and promote the cities involved in the competition.

If you actually read the speeches, as oppose to read the punditocracy, you'd see that the speech was wanting on that very issue - the Obamas were supposed to be selling Chicago, and they didn't make the sale.

Here's the text of the speeches.

The speeches were supposed to persuade, but they do nothing of the sort. They are completely devoid of any reason to actually vote for Chicago over any of the other cities. That's the primary failure of the speeches.

Read Michelle and President Obama's speech, and it's all about the family and their attachment to sports; it was not about how the Bears or the Cubs and the White Sox make Chicago a huge sports town where the fans will make the Olympics commercially successful. After all, this is about the Olympics making money and being a successful operation.

It's about their personal connections to the city - not about the City itself and what it can do for the Olympics. That was a huge mistake. I'm not sure who thought that the Obamas' personalizing Chicago would help it win over the IOC, but it was a failed gambit. It would have been better had they not spoken at all since they completely missed the point of why they were there in the first place.

Had they instead spoken of the fans' devotion to teams despite failure to achieve for decades (Cubs fans!) they might have seen how the City could embrace all manner of sports that don't normally garner the kind of respect that basketball, swimming and gymnastics usually gets. I'm talking about the secondary sports that could use a boost from a fanatic crowd that would come out to cheer. None of this came across in the speeches.

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