the city of chicago was eliminated in the first round of voting from hosting the 2016 olympics. president barack obama, first lady michelle obama, and tv mega-personality oprah winfrey invested much time and effort in the campaign to bring the olympics to chicago, but to no avail.
my choice, rio de janeiro, seems to be inching closer to being named as the host city. symbolically, it would be a significant choice because:
Rio de Janeiro would be the first South American country to host an Olympics, and only the second country in the Southern Hemisphere to host (Australia, which has hosted two, is the other).
given rio’s reputation as a entertainment and vacation paradise, brazil’s love of sport, and the fact that the olympics would bring instant prestige and economic value to this burgeoning city, rio is the best choice. besides, a south american host for the western-dominated olympics is long overdue.
the president invested much political capital in the bid for the olympics, and diverted at least some of his attention away from the present healthcare debate. with the rejection of chicago in the first round of voting, some are interpreting chicago’s rejection as a rejection of obama’s use of his waning personal celebrity status to influence debates and votes, both nationally and worldwide.
the fear, of course, was that by asserting himself as ‘lobbyist-in-chief’ for the chicago olympics, president obama was placing himself in the precarious position of potentially (and unnecessarily) being rejected personally. some felt that any rejection on the international stage harms the president’s credibility in domestic battles in congress.
i am curious to see whether this translates into further falling poll numbers for president obama in the healthcare debate.