Monday, October 5, 2009

Moar 2016 post-mortem

Posted By on 10.05.09 at 01:28 PM

Below the fold, because we've all had a lot.

* I'd previously missed this, but Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara makes Mayor Daley look like Cicero: "I think this (the 2016 Games) could be the last for mankind." Oh hell yes. I'm so sad Tokyo didn't get the games, even though it sounds like they weren't much more interested in winning than Chicagoans.

* Time Out Chicago's John Dugan talks to Ben Joravsky: "On the one hand, they didn’t want to spend a lot of money buying land and having to clear away, or clear away toxins out of land, so in order to save money they went to public land which is parks, and they treated it like it’s undeveloped acreage that can be just easily developed, and they were proud of that."

* Richard Roeper almost has a point - cites the New Yorker and everything. Then he moves on to Jon & Kate. And then Erin Andrews. The eternal sunshine of the spotless Roeper column.

* Neil Steinberg is cynical, except for this: "Mayor Daley, lauded outside the city's borders but seen as an arrogant bully at home, has been taken down a few notches. That's good. He should be less unbearable, for a while."

* I have some beef with Rick Telander: "It was a memo to Queen Oprah, to King Obama...."

[sigh]

THIS ISN'T DIFFICULT: for better or worse, Obama really didn't try very hard. It's cute that people are cracking open cans of postcolonialism (how arrogant of a president to give a speech to the IOC! oh wait...), but it just doesn't scan.

All month people were like "save us, Barack, you're our only hope," and the White House was like "we'll send Michelle, she's charming, but the President has kind of a lot to do," and people were like BUT IT'S THE OLYMPICS SEND BARACK and the White House was like "seriously, c'mon, health care" and people were like RRRARRRHH, so he flew in and gave a speech, which for a president is trying slightly harder than putting on a suit.

Let's game this out just so we're all clear:

Option 1: Obama tells Chicago and the IOC to leave him alone, and we lose. The result is that people blame him for not trying at all and being all un-American and shit and his reputation is tarnished.

Option 2: Obama really presses the flesh and rubs elbows and scratches backs in the Chicago Way, and we lose. The result is that people say he's a failure and unpowerful and his reputation is tarnished.

Option 3: Obama splits the difference - he gives a speech, but doesn't put his shoulder into it, and we lose. The result is that people blame him both for trying too hard and not trying hard enough, but since he didn't fully commit to options one and two, neither criticism has the weight it would otherwise have. In other words, if being unscathed by a loss isn't an option, being not very scathed was a practical response. Like it or not, that's what he did.

As Athenae points out, as long as Chicago was going to lose, and the smart money was never entirely on the city, Obama couldn't win (and if the city had won, it would have been a victory for him either way, just in a matter of degree). This isn't poker, or multidimensional 21st century political chess; it's tic-tac-toe.

* Krugman: conservatives are brats for cheering the city's loss just because it represents a loss for Obama (cf ibid). Y'all game out the Beltway ramifications; I just live here.

* On that note, all these points by Kos are perfectly well taken, but I can't help but think one of the reasons Chicago didn't get the games is because Chicago didn't really want it. Everyone from not-here saying stuff about 2016 should probably consider that.

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