The Powers That Be: the President and Mrs. Obama with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley making their unsuccessful pitch for the ’16 Olympics.

The Obamas’ journey to Copenhagen has produced a narrative more suited to Hans Christian Andersen than to David Axelrod.

The intrepid and hopeful young couple traveled far.  Along the way they encountered some scary individuals and faced many formidable obstacles.  And, although they didn’t get what they wanted, they returned home the wiser for the trip.  Kai never got the skates from the Snow Queen, but he and Gerda managed to live happily ever after (and probably even discovered a big pre-season Skates’R’Us sale at their local mall).

Of course, for anyone schooled in the RN approach to international travel —of which Rule One was: Don’t even think about getting on a plane until the favorable final joint communique has a been signed and sealed-— it’s hard to imagine how POTUS could have set himself up to take such a visible fall on a banana peel of such international proportions.

Far from flying towards a done deal, the smart money all along was on ABA —Anyone But America— with the odds in favor of Rio.  Perhaps there was even method in his madness.  Copenhagen may be just the latest stop in his ’09 International Apology Tour during which the USA is being reintegrated into the family of nations by means of demonstrating that it is in no way exceptional.  Just as, in our pre-Obama past, we were capable of ungodly wrongs and injustices, so now, in our new age of enlightenment, we understand that we are one among many with no greater expectations (and no rights to them) than the least of our brethren.

All that said……a day is a lifetime in politics.  And by tomorrow we’ll be back focused on war or peace or something else.  And by the end of the year this incident will be ancient history even for the few who still remember it.

And maybe the Obamas’ Copenhagen rationale was far more simple and straightforward.  True, they won’t be officiating at the apotheotic hometown opening ceremonies of the Summer Games of the XXXI Olympiad in the final year of his second term (or sitting in the Mayor’s Box at the dedicatory opening ceremonies in the fourth year of his post-presidency).  But at least they can now rest assured that, come August 2016, there won’t be any protesters lined up outside their house in Hyde Park excoriating them for not having done their best to bring the Games home.


A good idea whose time has not yet come: the bad news reaches the Loop.