President Barack Obama must be quite grateful to David Letterman for taking the spotlight in this week-end’s news round-up. The President went to Copenhagen to lobby the International Olympic Committee for a Chicago Olympics in 2012. The IOC turned him down, flat, and somewhat rudely. You can’t blame them. I’m sure they have enough imagination to foresee the huge Tea Party that will congregate at any event Obama brokers, and they already have enough headaches with drug-fueled athletes and corrupt judges.
The real issue is, what the hell was Obama thinking? Since when is the President of the United States a sports promoter? Well, probably since unemployment hit almost ten percent, the economic recovery stalled, he got his brains beat out over health care reform, and he caught sight of that alluring yellow sack the Mrs. wore to Copenhagen. The White House staff must have smelled a week worth of bad news around Monday – two weeks ago. Looking for an easy win, the President took his Chicago Olympics show on the road. And it was a huge mistake. It’s always a huge mistake when a President pulls this kind of grandstand play: remember Bush on the deck of that aircraft carrier?
Obviously Obama inherited a mess, and there’s no way to clean that mess up in a few short months. But is he even trying? So far the administration’s answer to the recalcitrant recovery is “throw more money at it”. And that’s just not going to work. There’s more to it that just the money. This country is in a slump because the disheartened citizenry is looking into a bleak future, and everyone is either tired of the constant urination contest in Washington, or actively participating in it. It takes more than the government’s deep pockets to fight societal ennui– it takes leadership. One good speech by Franklin Roosevelt was probably worth a billion bucks in “stimulus”. Obama is a great speaker, but he isn’t coming-off as a sincere speaker, as a leader who has the reins firmly in hand and has a real plan and is sticking to it. He looks like a a deer trapped in some awful big headlights.
There is a decided lack of authority emanating from the most powerful person on Earth. That’s bad – for everyone. And playing these silly attention-getting games like lobbying the IOC for your home town aren’t helping. Especially when it pulls the Olympics off the sports page and puts it on the politics page. The man has to stand up and start yelling, and get people in line behind him.