To paraphrase William Shakespeare's renowned query, made more appropriate since it took place in Denmark, the big question is why there is so much furor posed in the Main Stream Media citing Obama's mostly Republican critics over the president's decision to help Chicago win its bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics?
Obama's choice to attend the International Olympic Committee meeting in Copenhagen, in tandem with wife Michelle and prominent Chicago residents such as Oprah, is in line with other world leaders, such as Britain's prime minister Tony Blair who went much further to Singapore to secure London as the venue in 2012 and Russia's Vladimir Putin who flew an even greater distance to Guatemala when he successfully scored the 2014 Winter Olympics for the city of Sochi in his nation.
It may well be that these government leaders upped the ante regarding the expectations of the IOC delegates and it seems a small price to pay considering the relatively scant time Obama will attend to Chicago's big pitch.
Yet his Republican antagonists insist Obama's action will take time away from what they deem more significant undertakings, such as -- are you ready for a big laugh -- health care reform, which they have been sabotaging from the outset. They assert in their continuing and mostly lockstep reasoning that Obama is wasting time on such a "frivolous" enterprise rather than addressing the nuclear build-up in Iran, our economic quagmire and the continuing mess in Afghanistan.
Indeed, Senator Christopher Bond (R-Missouri) found it "baffling that he (Obama) has time to go to be on (sic) Copenhagen, to be on the Letterman show and almost every other channel except the Food Channel and Fox, but he doesn't have time to talk to General McChrystal."
In fact, as the White House points out, Obama regularly consults with McChrystal, the Afghanistan commander, but what do facts matter when the key agenda on the part of most Republican leaders is to run Obama down at every opportunity? Yet the newspapers (consider today's main story in the Los Angeles Times) and broadcast/cable programs, such as those hosted by Anderson Cooper and Lou Dobbs on CNN, Brian Williams on NBC, Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer on ABC, Katie Couric on CBS and Bill O'Reilly on Fox News have allowed what should have been a relatively apolitical and harmless action to be debated as possible irresponsibility on the part of the president.
And why? Obama is expected to be in Copenhagen for only several hours, and during the eight plus hours in the air to and from Washington he will be able to study reports and be in telephonic contact with everyone he needs, which is how he conducts much of his business in the first place.
It's not as if he's suddenly taking a weekend holiday and will be spending the day cavorting at Tivoli Gardens, and another traveling to Funen Island, the home of Hans Christian Andersen. His critics make it appear that, even during his relatively brief trip abroad, he will be totally incommunicado from pleading requests for his time by heads of state, cabinet secretaries and congressional leaders.
This brouhaha is nonsense and the only downside is if Chicago doesn't get the bid. Frankly, I'm not sure it will, considering the superior glamour of chief opponent Rio de Janeiro and the fact that South America has never hosted the games. And if that happens Obama will lose a bit of sparkle, but, as an advance warning to the Limbaugh fanatics and GOP doomsayers, I'd say so what? Obama is not a miracle maker and, hell, he will have tried. However, there's a stronger possibility that Chicago has little chance at all if he doesn't make the attempt.
And during it all he and the government will continue to perform any necessary actions. But this is a point the Republicans continuously deflect, because truth for them is lately in short supply.
Michael Russnow's website is www.ramproductionsinternational.com
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