Dear Member of the International Olympic Committee:
Ben Joravsky, one of Chicago's most distinguished political reporters, has this advice for President Obama with regard to visiting you in Copenhagen:
"Near as anyone can tell, the race to host the
2016 Olympics has come down to Chicago versus Rio. Most accounts have
Madrid and Tokyo falling further behind as the International Olympic
Committee gears up to make its decision on October 2.
A crucial factor seems to be President Obama. If he
shows up in Copenhagen to charm the IOC delegates, Chicago will
probably prevail. If he doesn't, the favorite is Rio. But even as Mayor
Daley and other Olympic boosters urge him on, Obama isn't making any
promises-he's said only that the First Lady will be there to make a
pitch for Chicago. The media's also calling on him to go: on September
11 the Sun-Times even ran an open letter to the president, begging him to catch that plane for Europe, and the Trib followed suit four days later.
Well, here's my advice: Don't go, Mr. President.
It's not just that you have more important things to
do-remember that little health care problem?-or that the games are
looking like bad news for your cash-strapped hometown, since they're
sure to mutilate the parks and gobble up billions of dollars that could
otherwise go to needy schools and city departments that are reducing
services as basic as trash collection.
It's that having the games in Chicago will ultimately be bad for you and detrimental to all that you want to accomplish.
Once you make a grand pitch for Daley's games, they'll
become your games too. Every scandal, cost overrun, and delay (and you
were around this town long enough to know there will be plenty of each)
will be laid at your feet by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin,
and all your other haters.
If you forgot how dirty Chicago politics can be, read
Blago's book and remember you were lucky to get out of this swamp.
Don't be foolish enough to dive back in."