The Corner

Robinson: ‘Obama Invited A Comeuppance’

From Eugene Robinson, via

Told ya.

I wrote earlier this week that President Obama’s trip to Copenhagen to lobby for Chicago’s Olympics bid could be futile or even counterproductive. Obama-mania notwithstanding, the U.S. president is always seen at international gatherings as the ultimate Bigfoot, and nobody likes to be Bigfooted. Chicago used the Powell doctrine of “overwhelming force” to try to win, but in this context the deployment of presidential power and charisma only served to invite a comeuppance.

The Olympics movement is a strange culture with its own etiquette and mores. I don’t think Chicago would have won the games if Obama had stayed home, but, clearly, his going didn’t help. The International Olympic Committee likes a little humility, and — almost by definition — no POTUS can be convincingly humble. The first lady would have had a better shot on her own.

I have to be happy for Rio de Janeiro and all of Brazil, though. Rio is one of the world’s great cities — a place where sea, mountains and urban electricity all meet in a setting so beautiful it melts your heart. The city knows how to throw a party — carnaval happens every year, and it’s the greatest show on earth. Parabens, cariocas!

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