No Olympics? Blame Bush
Somehow, nearly 10 months after he turned over the keys to the White House to Barack Obama, Former President George W. Bush is to blame for the IOC’s decision to hold the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio rather than Chicago.
So says Illinois Senator Rowland Burris, who was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Barack Obama when he was elected President.
Current Movie Reviews reports that Burris said in an interview just after the announcement that:
“…the image of the U. S. has been so tarnished in the last 8 years that, even Barack Obama making an unprecedented pitch for the games could not overcome the hatred the world has for us as a result of George Bush.”
I guess if the master orator couldn’t convince the IOC to hold the games in his adopted hometown, it must be because the world hates us because of the policies of President Bush.
There’s been a lot of “Blame Bush” going around, but this is pretty much beyond the pale.
There will be a segment of the body politic that will blame former President Bush for everything that goes wrong over the next 3 years or so. Of course, the further removed we are from the Bush presidency the more ridiculous it will seem.
Is it possible that the IOC wanted to place the 2016 Summer Games in Rio because they have NEVER before been held in South America? It seems plausible to me. The very hubris to think that the IOC would just roll over and let President Obama rub their tummies and give him whatever he wanted is a bit breathtaking. But when he (and Oprah … but that’s another column) were not able to get Chicago past the first round of voting, well of course it’s President Bush’s fault.
Chicagoans had no doubt. With a direct plea from a president who ran as a “citizen of the world,” there was no way Chicago could lose, yes? The stunned looks on their faces when the ballot was announced told the entire story. At least with the IOC, President Obama didn’t have the juice they thought he did.
And that’s what it boils down to. If Former President Bush were to have had any bearing on the IOC decision, it would seem to make more sense for them to award the games to Chicago. What better way to make a statement that “ Hey America, we really, really happy with the new guy”, than to give the plum of the summer games to the President’s hometown. But instead, the games went to Rio. Is that a repudiation of President Obama? I don’t think so. It’s not any more plausible that the IOC decided against Chicago to poke a thumb in the President’s eye than it is that they did it to punish the U.S. for the policies of a president who is no longer in office and has no bearing on current policy.
Chicago’s bid for the Olympics was expensive, and had problems along the way. Analysts had questioned Chicago’s ability to fund the games with private money. There were serious concerns about cost overruns, and some Chicagoans were worried that they would be stuck with that bill.
You can imagine why Rowland Burris might make such a statement to try to deflect criticism from his patron. After traveling to Europe to personally make the closing arguments, it had to be something of a disappointment to have things go so poorly.
But President Bush’s fault? Not so much.