first, the olympics; next, healthcare? thoughts on rejection

Barack Obama reacts to Chicagos elimination from contention as host of the 2016 Olympics

Barack Obama reacts to Chicago's elimination from contention as host of the 2016 Olympics.

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.

obama may need that ‘reset’ button again – for healthcare

The "Reset Button" given by U.S. Secretary of State Hiullary Clinton to Russian Foreign Minister Dmitri Larov to symbolize the "resetting" of U.S.-Russian relations. The Russian word "Peregruzka" printed on the button actually means "overcharged" or "overload," not "reset."

The "Reset Button" given by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Larov to symbolize the "resetting" of U.S.-Russian relations. The Russian word "peregruzka" printed on the button actually means "overcharged" or "overload," not "reset."

president obama waved the white flag yesterday, basically signaling the end of the ‘public option’ for healthcare. this is precisely why he wanted the vote to take place in congress before the august recess: he can’t control congress when they’re back in their districts listening to the people (and the lobbyists). so while the bush administration was often heavy-handed with its handling of congress, president obama has the opposite problem: he can’t get even his most important ideas through a house and senate that his own party controls.

first, president obama pulled the plug on the flag@whitehouse.gov website, where citizens could report instances of individuals and websites making claims that the white house thought were ‘fishy’ (essentially anything that criticized the president’s healthcare overhaul). this was seen by many as the beginnings of an ‘enemies list,’ which wouldn’t have been the first, but would have been the first such white house sponsored, publicly nominated list.

now, with the president’s own administration (in the person of health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius)  conceding that the ‘public option’ is not a necessary part of the healthcare overhaul, and with blue dog democrats quickly responding, ‘now, that’s not a bad idea,’ the entire healthcare ‘overhaul’ appears to becoming little more than shuffling the deck by adding some new regulations and oversight rather than re-dealing from a fresh deck.

so maybe it’s time that obama recalled that ‘reset’ button that secretary of state clinton infamously gave to russian foreign minister sergei lavrov, and allowed the button to realize its full, denotative potential. indeed, given the estimated cost of the proposed healthcare public option, there would be no better word to describe it than ‘peregruzka‘- overcharged.

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