(NOTE:Josh Kornfield, Contributing Columnist)
President Obama, the national messiah and embodiment of change, fell from Olympus and lost his divine radiance.
After a showy primetime address to Congress that didn’t move him an inch in his health care negotiations, or win over the American people, Obama hopped a flight to Copenhagen. There, he lobbied before the International Olympic Committee to make his hometown of Chicago the site for the 2016 summer games.
It seems odd to me that a president who has fulfilled only a small portion of his campaign promises, and is in the midst of a fencing match over the issues, would divert the country’s attention. Instead of helping the nation, this effort would pad the pockets of a small number of businessmen in only one American city.
Leading our nation during one of the most consequential periods of its history, Obama has recently created more political clout than he likely will for the duration of his presidency, yet he squanders it on a trivial issue that has the faint je ne sais quoi of corruption.
Even if Obama’s dedication to the Chicago business leaders who put him in office wasn’t the motivating factor for his gymnastic vault across the pond, the act itself naturally prompts too many ethical questions. Obama, the first American president ever to lobby for the Olympic games, has fulfilled his campaign promise to be unlike all of his predecessors – you know, like some of the guys who are on our $5 and $10 bills. I know many of you (including me) have a tremendous amount of respect for the president, but I think we can all come together and agree that this act was foolish.
Chicago did not just lose to Rio as the site of the 2016 games; it was the first city eliminated. Do you think Ahmadinejad, Chavez and the North Korean rock star Kim Jong-il will be easily intimidated by a guy who couldn’t convince merry sportsmen to place the Olympics in the best city, in terms of infrastructure, among its competitors? Obama got egg on his face in front of the international community and those who oppose his reforms here at home. Now, watch as the judges raise their scorecards. The president will not wear a medal for this.
Josh Kornfield is a sophomore majoring in international studies and political science. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.