The limits of charm

  • Follow Editorials

We weren't among those who were critical of President Obama and the first lady for taking their Chicago Olympics pitch to Copenhagen this week.

If the Obamas hadn't given it a try, they would have been criticized for that too. And they'd probably be kicking themselves for not going. Other heads of state were in Denmark to press their cases to the International Olympic Committee as well.

That said, there may be some lessons to take from the episode.

Chief among them may be that U.S. presidential prestige and capital must be expended ever-so-carefully. By making a personal appeal for the games and failing miserably -- on the first ballot -- the president was seen as being humiliated on the world stage.

"The ego has landed," blared one headline.

"Obama's Olympic failure will only add to doubts about his presidency," screamed another.

We may look back and see this as the moment Mr. Obama's stature tumbled.

Another lesson: The Obamas have bumped violently up against the limits of their personal charm -- the power of which they appear to have vastly overestimated.

The president was somewhat less laudatory of his country than we would have liked; the United States is nowhere close to being as unwelcoming as either Mr. Obama or our critics would like to make out. But Michelle Obama's speech to the IOC was regarded as especially personal and touching.

They no doubt were jolted, then, when Chicago was dumped by the IOC on the first ballot.

The lesson may be that it's hazardous to start believing in your own press clippings. In the health care debate, too, the president has been ubiquitous, and yet public support for his reform ideas has continued a steep slide.

We would suggest, however, that there is at least one other rather momentous area where the president's charm could, in fact, still be most useful.

Perhaps the president noticed that while he was planning his Copenhagen trip to push for Chicago as an Olympic site, two young black men became the victims of savage gang-related beatings in Chicago, including 16-year-old Derrion Albert -- an innocent honors student who died after apparently being caught in a gang melee.

During one of last year's presidential debates, a questioner from Atlanta challenged Republican candidates to do something about black-on-black crime in U.S. cities. As the nation's first black president, Mr. Obama is uniquely situated to take that on. We hope he does.

He'll need more than charm. But it's not a bad start.

Comments (39) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Brad Owens
4582
Points
Brad Owens 10/03/09 - 03:57 am
0
0
"The Ego Has Landed"! Now

"The Ego Has Landed"! Now THAT is funny. Good for them for trying, I wish we had gotten it and I see nothing humiliating about not winning. Lots of other countries will 'lose out' too. But a part of me is waiting for Jimmy Carter to announce that the IOC is 'racist'!

WhippingPost
1
Points
WhippingPost 10/03/09 - 05:19 am
0
0
Obama's failure in Copenhagen

Obama's failure in Copenhagen still allowed him time to accuse the U.S. of some atrocity and apologize for our country. When the tv speeches start up today, or Monday at the latest, I'm sure we'll hear how it's Bush's fault that Chicago was the first to be dumped in the balloting. While "The Ego Has Landed" is witty, the fact is this Narcissist in Chief is undaunted. We, as a nation, will continue t be without a leader and will continue to be hammered with tv speeches about what a wonderful messiah Obama is and how he will continue to save us from the evil Bush. In the meantime, unemployment continues to skyrocket and the economy continues to tank. 2012 can't get here soon enough!

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 10/03/09 - 05:45 am
0
0
Here here WhippingPost

Here here WhippingPost

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 10/03/09 - 05:48 am
0
0
"A provision in the

"A provision in the Democrats' proposal to partially fund health care reform would tax medical devices and replacement parts like pacemakers, hearing aids and porcelain teeth, worrying critics who say the higher costs will be passed on to consumers." - Obama says no raise in taxes for middle and lower class Americans. Can we say "Mmm, mmm, mm. Barack Hussein Obama!"

concernednative
28
Points
concernednative 10/03/09 - 06:33 am
0
0
Lame Rush speak overburnened.

Lame Rush speak overburnened. Here is the hypocrisy of repubs some were already saying he had been told Chicago had won and was going to score points and take credit. Now that Chicago didn't win he was rejected by the world. So you had your spill for either scenario. But, it was amazing and saddening to watch repubs cheer the loss by an American city. Your hatred for Obama is beginning to make you root against America please do some self evaluation if you still love this country even though we elected Obama.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 10/03/09 - 07:55 am
0
0
concerned - the above quote

concerned - the above quote was not a Rush-speak. It was a headline article yesterday.

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 10/03/09 - 08:10 am
0
0
Charm never works for long

Charm never works for long without truth. As Christians pray for all truth to come to light; which is an easy pray to answer as God doesn't have to over ride someone's will, we will see who all people really are including ourselves. That is a good thing; until we know something is broke we won't fix it.

55 F-100
1
Points
55 F-100 10/03/09 - 08:35 am
0
0
The bloom is off of the rose

The bloom is off of the rose as far as Prezbhojangles' rock star image is concerned. The U.S. citizens are seeing his imcompetence, and the foolishness of this failed attempt to bring the Olympics to Chicago. How much did it cost the U.S.A. to fly two 747's, a DC9 for the vehicles, the Secret Service protection teams for Prezbho and Ms. Prezbho, and all of the receptions? The U.S.O.C. has the responsibility of convincing the I.O.C. to bring the Olympics to the U.S.A., not Prezbho, who BTW failed miserably without the teleprompter czar to tell him the words to say. Not only was it a miserable failure, it was an expensive miserable failure.

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 10/03/09 - 08:40 am
0
0
It's just the Olympics for

It's just the Olympics for crying out loud. And, the decision to hold them at Rio was probably made right after the last summer olympics and way before the presidential election. Y'all and the AC are pathetic.

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 10/03/09 - 08:50 am
0
0
CONCERNED, your charge of
Unpublished

CONCERNED, your charge of Republicans cheering over Odumba's failure is an ultimate case of the pot calling the kettle black. When Bush was in office, when the economy was good, you claimed he had nothing to do with it. When the economy dipped, you claimed he had everything to do with it. Odumba's total incompetence is showing more each day, shining this week with the failure of his "public option" in his healthcare bill in a Democrat controlled, fillibuster free senate. To quote Ray Parker Jr., "Who you gonna call?

justthefacts
22174
Points
justthefacts 10/03/09 - 08:52 am
0
0
concerned, I agree. It is a

concerned, I agree. It is a terrible thing when you see Americans pulling against American interests. But, this is the President's fault. When he calls his opponents liars on nation TV, tells his opponents to shut up..you lost, blames all his ills on previous admins, and basicly thumbs his nose at others, all while his supporters call opponents racist. What do you expect. I have never seen the country so divided. The "buck" stops on his desk.

apex24
0
Points
apex24 10/03/09 - 09:09 am
0
0
As I said yesterday, why

As I said yesterday, why would you want to hold the Olympics in the most corrupt city in the United States. Why????? Obama knows!!!!!

convertedsoutherner
2
Points
convertedsoutherner 10/03/09 - 09:09 am
0
0
prezbho has no one to blame

prezbho has no one to blame but himself, his teleprompter, his arrogance and incompetence. I'll bet this was the first time that the committee had ever heard so many I's and me's and had never seen anyone read their proposal from a teleprompter. His head looked like it was on a swivel. Also, why would the IOC give the olympics to a country where their leader tells everyone how terrible America is?

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 10/03/09 - 09:12 am
0
0
JUSTTHEFACTS, didn't you
Unpublished

JUSTTHEFACTS, didn't you hear? Obama has borrowed Bill Clinton's line when it comes to buck passing. It goes, "Hey, the buck never got here!"

Riverman1
84887
Points
Riverman1 10/03/09 - 09:14 am
0
0
Obama would have been better

Obama would have been better off sending the Chicago politicians to Denmark to deal with the IOC. The IOC is notoriously corrupt and only responds to bribes.

convertedsoutherner
2
Points
convertedsoutherner 10/03/09 - 09:23 am
0
0
IL is $64 BILLION in debt and

IL is $64 BILLION in debt and said to be going bankrupt. Valerie Jarrett (prezbho me-shell assistant) buys up land to use for olympics. IL being the most corrupt, I can imagine the politicians were very disappointed they wouldn't be able to skim off their payback. The prezbho clan look like a bunch of kids that just won the lottery. The economy is in the tank and they spend money like there is no tomorrow. Guess they're getting all they can while they can.

Irish
0
Points
Irish 10/03/09 - 09:24 am
0
0
http://thekansascitian.blogsp

http://thekansascitian.blogspot.com/2009/10/federal-judge-sets-trial-dat... insult to injury yesterday a federal judge (pursuant to complaints from military personell about the legitamacy of the CIC) ordered Barrack O"bama to produce the actual Birth certificate long form.....his lawyers tried to get it dismissed but the judge said he has until 1/20/10 to produce the document or go to trial... Why wouldn't the president of the USA be willing to show his Birth Certificate. It's not like Bill Clinton refusing to produce his health records or Tim Geitner and his tax returns.....

MrAlwaysRight
0
Points
MrAlwaysRight 10/03/09 - 09:36 am
0
0
They went, they lost, they

They went, they lost, they came back. NBD! Can we now move on to something that matters, like the economy???

Irish
0
Points
Irish 10/03/09 - 09:41 am
0
0
Barrack O'bama has spent more

Barrack O'bama has spent more time With OPRAH than with his commander in Afghanistan. Tells you where his priorities are does't it......spends days and weeks on the talk show circuits and 25 minutes with McCrystal....Troops die while he is in Copenhagen trying to make money for his Chronies but he can't decide whether or not to support our troops.....

convertedsoutherner
2
Points
convertedsoutherner 10/03/09 - 09:49 am
0
0
Their outrageous spending on

Their outrageous spending on this trip to prove their arrogance and incompetence to the IOC is part of their lack of concern for the economy. I wish we could get a comparison total of the amount spent on trips by previous administrations and what has been spent by this prezbho clan, up to this point.

Grasshopper
7
Points
Grasshopper 10/03/09 - 09:53 am
0
0
The limits of charm. Proud

The limits of charm. Proud to be a pagans. mmm mmm mm!

Roeschen
1
Points
Roeschen 10/03/09 - 11:32 am
0
0
I am so glad our economy is

I am so glad our economy is on the mend and all of our troops are home, businesses are hiring again - everything is looking up. Actually, the facts are, our troops are still fighting and obama hasn't met with anyone pertaining to our troops, the number of jobless has risen to the highest level in years, and nobody is hiring and there are no new jobs. But obama can run all over the world - at our expense I might add, attempting to get the Olympics in Chicago but instead sounding like a fool. Yep, that is real important. He is a hypocrite and a liar. Isn't he the one that castigated the CEOs for flying in their jets? How is he any different?

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 10/03/09 - 12:06 pm
0
0
"And, the decision to hold

"And, the decision to hold them at Rio was probably made right after the last summer olympics and way before the presidential election. Posted by JohnQPublic on Sat Oct 3, 2009 8:40 AM - IF it was decided after the last summer olympics then aren't you mad that Obama speant 1.2 million tax dollars on nothing for something that had already been decided? I am.

jack
10
Points
jack 10/03/09 - 12:08 pm
0
0
BimbObama needs to unlearn or

BimbObama needs to unlearn or at least know when to use "I' and "me" and it ain't when attempting to win the Olympics. "The United States" and "we as a nation and City of Chicago", may have gone a little further than I and me. Same for disparaging this great nation. Yes, the ego HAS landed and that ain't mud on his face.

jack
10
Points
jack 10/03/09 - 12:15 pm
0
0
As I said yesterday, why

As I said yesterday, why would you want to hold the Olympics in the most corrupt city in the United States. Why????? Obama knows!!!!!
Posted by apex24 on Sat Oct 3, 2009 9:09 AM...Many of BimbObama's corrupt Chicago buddies would have cashed in big time were the Olypics held there.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 10/03/09 - 12:26 pm
0
0
We now know that The
Unpublished

We now know that The Chronicle gets its news from Drudge. With four countries, three had to lose. Big whoop.

T.Cartledge
0
Points
T.Cartledge 10/03/09 - 12:32 pm
0
0
Yall do it wasn't Obama's

Yall do it wasn't Obama's idea to have Chicago as the host city for 2016 Olympics...It was the US Olympic committee's. Obama's job was to tell them why should they have it. I'm kind of glad though that they didnt pick Chicago. Crime rate is too high...yet again..so is Rio de Janiero.

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 10/03/09 - 01:03 pm
0
0
The only good that has come

The only good that has come of this is that it showed the world, and the few remaining Americans that don't already know, that the republiCONS put party over country.

WhippingPost
1
Points
WhippingPost 10/03/09 - 01:12 pm
0
0
The primary thing the rest of

The primary thing the rest of the world learned about Obama is that it's all about Obama and very little else matters. So far, the world has responded with a rather consistent rejection. Just 3 more years and America can join the world community.

mable8
2
Points
mable8 10/03/09 - 01:44 pm
0
0
What a waste of taxpayer

What a waste of taxpayer monies; the big O had no business going to Denmark in the first place. The jerk needs to stay in Washington DC and take care of business--he delegates too much to his underlings that HE affectionally refers to as "czars," knowing that the US Constitution prohibits this (no one is permitted to claim himself as king, emperor, dictator--and this is his desire). How is it that he can waste precious time and money in making a bid for a short-term public display of grandiosity and not have the time to confer with the commanding officer in Afghanistan or Iran? His incompentence was obvious before the election; it is extremely evident now. The US has NO LEADERSHIP, but we do have a power hungry, egotistical person in charge of everything and his bad-mouthing the American citizens needs to cease immediately. The present administration is disgusting.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Fire closes Broad Street

An early morning fire is closing parts of downtown Broad Street and motorists are advised to avoid the area around Ninth Street.
Search Augusta jobs