Obama Should Not Be Criticized for Lobbying for the Olympics to Be in the U.S.

After he became president, Lyndon Johnson used to say that if he walked on water his opponents would criticize him for not being able to swim

That’s why it’s important to remember that GOP Chairman Michael Steele’s job is to be a political hack. He will criticize Obama no matter what he does on this..or any other…issue.

If the president didn’t go to Copenhagen to push for the Olympic Games being in the U.S., Steele’s criticism would have been that Obama was not willing to stand up for America, especially if other national leaders lobbied in person for the games and they were not awarded to Chicago. If Obama goes, Steele criticizes him for spending time on something he calls trivial.

What nonsense.

The Olympic games are not tivial and they don’t always lose money (Anyone else remember the LA games which, with Peter Uberroth at the helm, actually made money?). And national pride rather than the bottom line is the most powerful incentive for many, perhaps event most people.

The games aren’t being being pushed on Chicago; the city fervently wants them. The American media prefers the Olympics occur in the U.S. because the live coverage will be based on central time and the ratings will be much higher. U.S. athletes prefer that they be here as well so that there’s less travel time and they’ll compete with a home field advantage.

To me that makes this not just an appropriate but a logical job for the president that is at least as important as any photo op he might otherwise have at the White House that day.

How can this president, any president, or any world leader be faulted for pushing for an event of this magnitude to take place in her or his country?

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About Stan Collender 126 Articles

Affiliation: Qorvis Communications

Stan Collender is a former New Yorker who, after getting a degree from the University of California, Berkeley, moved to Washington to get it out of his system. That was more than 30 years ago.

During most of his career, Collender has worked on the federal budget and congressional budget process, including stints on the staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees; founding the Federal Budget Report, a newsletter that was published for almost two decades; and for the past 11 years writing a weekly column for NationalJournal.com and now RollCall.com.

He is currently a managing director for Qorvis Communications, where he spends most of his time working with and for financial services clients.

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