The Campaign Spot

Eric Holder, World Cup Pitchman

You won’t find anything about it on the DOJ web site, but Attorney General Eric Holder went to Zurich, Switzerland, to help pitch the U.S. bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

I’m sure someone out there will tout the economic benefits of hosting the cup, but . . . the U.S. attorney general? For a sales pitch about how terrific a host nation we would make? (Other U.S. representatives included former President Bill Clinton and actor Morgan Freeman.) Sure, British prime minister David Cameron made the trip, but A) it’s a shorter trip for him and B) his country is soccer-crazy, so the political benefits are clear.

The word from DOJ is that President Obama asked Holder to represent the federal government to “make clear that the United States has the capacity to host a World Cup that is both secure and welcoming to the people of the world.” As if Americans didn’t do that every World Series, every Super Bowl, every NHL and NBA championship, every annual U.N. summit, the Pittsburgh G-20 summit, the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the Nuclear Security Summit earlier this year, and dozens of other events that attract hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors . . .

Hey, isn’t there some massive issue back home about some leakers and their allies who need to be prosecuted? Is this really the best way for the U.S. attorney general to spend his time?

I can hear the Holder critics now: “Considering how much we loathe his usual decision-making, yes, this is indeed the best way for Eric Holder to spend his time.”

UPDATE: And . . . Russia wins the competition to host in 2018.

ANOTHER UPDATE: And, Qatar wins 2022. Perfect choice, FIFA. Tough alcohol-consumption laws, coupled with an average temperature of 104 Fahrenheit in summer.

A U.S. failure to win competitions to host the Olympics or the World Cup is fairly small potatoes. But it is interesting that after hearing so much about how President Bush hurt the country’s reputation, we now have a president who literally bows to foreign leaders in order to show he respects them, and the United States still loses these competitions. And we come up short even though this country has some of the finest, if not the finest, venues, hotels, and infrastructure in the world, and still lose out to places like Rio de Janeiro (which resembles a Grand Theft Auto game without the reset button), Russia (corruption), and now balmy Qatar.


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