This week saw a flurry of public condemnations make their way towards President Obama from Republican politicians for his trip to Copenhagen to promote the United States’ bid to host the Olympic Games. It seems that nothing can deter Republicans from opposing this president, including the prospect of having the premier sporting event for the first time in twenty years (by the time 2016 rolls around). The Olympics would have brought with it construction jobs, tourists and an opportunity for America to display a more positive image to the world. The Chinese, despite a horrible human rights record, managed to do this during the 2008 Beijing games.
For whatever reason, undoubtedly political, Republicans are proving to be a self-destructive force in their opposition to the president. In some countries, such as Great Britain, the opposition party is known as the “Loyal Opposition”. We have no such opposition party in this country. If President Obama is for getting the Olympics, Republicans are opposed to it. The reaction from Republican politicians is laughable and childish, but has proven to be true throughout President Obama’s short tenure.
“Listen I think it’s a great idea to promote Chicago but he’s the president of the United States, not the mayor of Chicago,” Minority Leader John Boehner said. “And the problems we have here at home affect all Americans and that’s where his attention ought to be.”
Where, Mr. Boehner, was your opposition when President Bush visited Beijing for a week last year as our economy was crashing? What purpose did his presence serve other than to spend more vacation time as president? President Obama actually tries to do something positive, winning the Olympic Games for his country, and all you have to say is that he should be at the White House 24/7 as Republicans in Congress oppose everything that he puts forward anyway. It is truly mind boggling how Mr. Boehner is in a leadership position.
Speaking of Republican “leaders”, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is among the Republicans rooting against America. Gingrich posted a duo of Tweets bashing President Obama for his efforts:
President Eisenhower had a rule that Presidents of the United States went to the meetings after success had been assured
Somehow charm and oratory dont (sic) seem to work in foreign affirs (sic) but historians have warned that foreign policy is different than campaigning
Using Gingrich’s logic, one should never compete in something unless they are guaranteed to win. There was no conceivable way that the White House could have known the outcome of the vote. They figured that the benefits of winning would outweigh the political risk of losing. Clearly the Republican leadership was more interested in sabotaging the President and country for political gain than they were bringing the Olympics home. I might remind people that Democrats did not act this way in 2005 when New York was rejected by the IOC.
Which brings me to my final thought. If Republicans want something to complain about, it should be the IOC. The IOC is not a representative body. There are two members from the United States out of nearly 100 total. They weren’t even allowed to vote since we had a city in contention. The Europeans, meanwhile, have roughly 50 members (depending on your definition of “European country”). That is a 50 to 2 disadvantage that we faced when you compare the number of European members vs. American. This unbalanced approach needs to be addressed before the United States even considers putting up a city again. North America has roughly the same population as Europe. This formula is equivalent to giving Texas 50 electoral votes and New York only 2 when the states are fairly close in population. Only the IOC could come up with a system that is worse than the Electoral College.