Confucius says: Chicago was never a shoo-in. The Southern Hemisphere has only had one Olympics, and that was in a country full of white people. The IOC really wants to establish its cred as a “global” player, so when Brazil and its charismatic left-populist leader put together a credible bid, that was immediately the front-runner.
Nevertheless, Confucius is a bit surprised that President Obama decided to throw his weight behind something that wasn’t a sure thing, and in such an unprecedented fashion. One would have thought that Rahm would have called Richie and made sure the duffel bags of cash had been delivered and signed for. What is the world coming to when Chicago pols can’t figure out how to successfully bribe a body as transparently corrupt as the IOC? O tempora! O mores!
Still, there are two factors that haven’t been mentioned much about the IOC. First, they’re all Europeans of a certain social standing. Ergo, they’re instinctively anti-American. The ability to slap down the “hyperpower” must have looked just delicious. Our own elites (not discounting the president, the Œc. Vol. suspects) believe that because they’re europhilies and operatively anti-American, Europeans see them as different than the unwashed masses they despise. Guess what, kids, you can’t get the stink of us mongrel, money-chasing, bible-thumping madmen off of you. American trumps cosmopolitan. Deal with it–and embrace your own country, warts and all.
Second, aside from Jonah Goldberg’s and John Miller’s joking assertions of it, nobody’s mentioned racism or the wisdom of sending three black Americans–the President, First Lady, and Oprah–to headline your presentation. Americans (except for a few toothless bigots, of course) look at these three as glamorous exemplars of our hip, world-beating civilization. It’s almost outside our ability, conditioned as we are by 40 years of aggressively anti-racist socialization, to consider the fact that this may have, in fact, hurt the bid.
Why? Because Europeans are racists, to an degree that is shocking to any American who’s spent any time on the Continent with his eyes open. Europe was a a refuge for a lot of black Americans up through the ’40s and ’50s, as life there beat all hell out of Jim Crow, segregation, and the ubiquitous anti-black racism in the U.S. But even then, blacks were rather condescendingly regarded as exotics and mascots to brandish against iniquitous America (the fact that this particular charge was true
helped them believe their entire indictment).
Our élites’ reflexive belief in Europe’s superiority to us leads them to attribute all sorts of virtues and miss all sorts of faults. The fact that Europe is now more racist than America is one of these instances. Not to mention the IOC’s long-standing links to certain, uh, political movements that were characterized by, among other things, concern for Blut und Boden.
Confucius isn’t saying that President Obama’s appearance hurt the bid–just that you can’t rule it out given whom you’re dealing with.
Most likely this was always in the bag for Brazil–who’d have far less compunction about and a lot more oil revenues with which to win the Games the old fashioned way: with sacks of cash to the IOC members. But anti-Americanism was likely a big factor, and one can’t rule out racism as an ancillary factor that would dilute the otherwise seemingly dispositive presence of the President of the United States.
If any good is to come of this slap at the President, perhaps it will disabuse him of his faith in his own powers of suasion and his apparent belief, on display at the UN, that he is somehow better than and a man apart from the country which elected him.
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.