Rightbloggers See Chicago’s Olympics Snub as Obama’s Foreign Policy Crisis — Which They Cheer


Last week rightbloggers were outraged when President Obama struck a conciliatory tone in his address to the U.N. General Assembly. They didn’t like that, nor did they like Obama’s warm reception there, and predicted this love-fest would only encourage our adversaries, with dire consequences for the United States.

Time will tell. But this week a different international organization to whom Obama applied rebuffed him and the United States. This rightbloggers celebrated as a triumph.

We speak of course of the International Olympic Committee decision to stage the 2016 Olympics in Rio rather than in Chicago, for which Obama had made a last-minute appearance at an IOC meeting in Copenhagen.

It was a result for which, with some rare exceptions, they’d been rooting all along.

“I believe it is always a worthwhile endeavor to promote and boost the United States of America and invite the world to see what we’re all about,” Obama said before the decision. In response, rightbloggers rushed to warn the IOC that Chicago was a seething criminal hellhole. “2016 headline: Violence greets Chicago Olympics,” predicted Don Surber, citing a recent incident of youth violence. “The group of Chicagoans who want to give the Olympics to Rio de Janeiro just got a boost courtesy of the Third World gangs that rule — and have ruled for decades — large swaths of the gun-controlled city,” said the Poca, West Virginia-based writer.

Invincible Armor suggested that rioting be instituted as a medal sport at the Chicago Olympics. When Michelle Obama joined the pitch, American Thinker said that the First Lady came from “a relatively high crime neighborhood,” though he generously allowed that “it is a testimony to Michelle and her parents that she emerged relatively unscathed except with a huge, but somewhat understandable, chip on her shoulder.”

“Will they judge the competitions ‘The Chicago Way’ with tilted, illegal votes?” worried Red Maryland. Inevitably, Bats Right Throws Right brought up Blagojevich, Tony Rezko, William Ayers, etc.

Chicago was only their secondary target, chosen because it had been the home of Barack Obama, whose advocacy of the Games was, in their view, the real crime.

Michelle Malkin was outraged that Obama brought former U.S. Olympians, Paralympians, and D.C. schoolkids to the White House to promote the Chicago bid, complaining that the event “wasted public schoolkids’ time as junior lobbyists for their Chicago cronies’ Olympics bid.” (We were surprised that she didn’t focus on the Paralympians, for an exploitation-of-the-disabled angle.)

Obama’s appearance before the IOC, the first by a sitting President, was judged a disastrous precedent. “A cursory key word check of the United States Constitution failed to turn up a match for ‘President as Olympic Games Salesman for Chicago,'” sniffed American Conservative Daily, “as a vital responsibility for the individual designated as Commander-in-chief, a role that Obama has chosen to ignore in Afghanistan.” Snooper’s Take Our Country Back said Obama was only “off galavanting across the world in the hopes that it will distract the rest of us from his DEBACLE in Afghanistan and his debacle of an UNCONSTITUTIONAL federal health plan.” A legacy-minded Krusty Konservative asked, “Will future presidents be expected to stop and help every American city that is vying to host the Olympics?”

Others were incensed that a Chicago TV outlet was allegedly “ordered” not to run anti-Olympics story — which shows how much credit they were willing to give Obama’s powers for evil, as the station in question was an outlet of the usually uncooperative Fox News.

A few assumed that Obama had somehow already rigged the process. Black & Right quoted a correspondent who suggested “that Obama was picked to run BECAUSE of the Olympics” — with his eye on becoming Mayor of Chicago. But “Daley wouldn’t have that and said ‘run for Pres.'” “Makes sense,” judged B&R. “Like most things done in that crooked city, the fix could be in.” “Some are suggesting the fix is already in for Chicago,” concurred Holy Coast. “I’m not so sure that’s the case, but given the worldwide swoon over Obama, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Olympic Committee were also stricken by the Obama virus.” “I wonder how South America will feel about getting screwed over by the world’s new dear leader,” said Dan Riehl, “combined with the usual arm-twisting done Daley’s style.”

Karen De Coster angrily asserted that the Obamas lobbied for the Olympics because “they are self-absorbed in their newfound power and attention to their minority rise.” To quote General Turgidson, we’re still trying to figure out the meaning of that last phrase.

When the voting was done and the low-crime town of Rio de Janeiro got the honors, rightbloggers were beside themselves with joy. (“All I have to say is “There IS a God,'” said Stop the ACLU.) Some were upfront about the role of personal animosity in their reaction (“When the Obamas got involved, particularly Barack, I wanted it to fail to put him in his place,” said Jill Stanek. “I expect I have bitter motives and must work on that. But someone also told me it is correct not to want evil people to succeed. The Lord knows.”)

But other rightbloggers suddenly saw the loss of the games as a serious reversal of American prestige with terrible implications for U.S. foreign policy. Oddly, this seemed to make them happier still.

“Wow, what an embarrassment for Obama,” said National Review‘s John J. Miller. “If he can’t work his personal magic with the Olympians, why does he expect it to work with the Iranians?” “How does this speak to his future involvement in negotiations?” asked Scared Monkeys.

“It is emblematic of three things,” said neo-neocon, “[Obama’s] poor judgment, his boundless egotism, and the disrespect he’s quickly gaining around the world with his far more vital errors on the international stage.” While “it would be easy to read too much into the rejection of Chicago,” said Rick Moran, “… this is a disaster for the president,” and compared the Olympic pitch to serious foreign policy initiatives at Camp David and elsewhere. “Having failed there,” he asked, “where does the Obama presidency go now?”

The committee’s vote also showed that the global community, to which Obama had allegedly pandered disgustingly at the U.N., was now turning on him. “World Rejects Barack Obama,” announced Erick Erickson. “It is kind of like the world community saying to President Obama, ‘Not only no, but Hell No,'” said Big Government. “It was a small thing,” said the American Spectator, “but in the context of the day, like Carter’s hapless episode with the rabbit, it became a metaphor for a presidency in trouble.”

Some thought the Obamas turned off the geographically diverse committee with their anti-Americanism. Dan Riehl suggested that Rio was chosen because the Obamas “are on record as having spent much of their lives not being proud of their country.” The Freedom Post also celebrated the Olympic Committee’s love of America: “Could [Obama] have possibly expected his seven minute speech to overcome the magnitude of denigration and vilification he has performed against the United States?” Gateway Pundit believed “Obama Bashed America Again Today During Plea to IOC… He sure hates this country.”

National Review‘s Victor Davis Hanson imagined IOC judges swayed by even more obscure political tropes: “The more we hear about Valerie Jarrett, Rahm Emanuel, Bill Ayers, and all his old Chicago friends… the more it hurts the president to be identified as a ‘Chicago politician’ who tries in heavy-handed fashion to implement change through the ‘Chicago way.'” This was “unappealing” to “the world at large,” he said. Who knew Valerie Jarrett was a big story in Cameroon?

So for a second straight week rightbloggers were dragged into foreign affairs, but show no increased aptitude for the subject — nor a decline in interest, provided the spice is right: they are still heavily covering the Roman Polanski affair, and keenly interested to know if Obama will pardon him, as well as other related angles (“Team Polanski has hired a Washington power player and buddy of Attorney General Eric Holder”). In other words, for them every topic — foreign or domestic, important or trivial — is really about Obama, so long as it can contains elements of failure or depravity which they can, by whatever means, attribute to him.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 5, 2009

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