If President Obama puts in a major effort, as he said he would and I have no doubt he will, then the odds change dramatically. When this decision is made next year, Obama will be at the peak of popularity as an international leader and personality. Other heads-of-state, who would have no reason to support the American bid under war-monger Bush or his look-alike successor, can be persuaded to gain points with the new leader of the free world by supporting the Olympic bid through their representative on the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
With ties to Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Obama is arguably the most international President we have since our English-bred founders. Most certainly, a number of national representatives on the liberal leaning IOC will find it appealing to indirectly endorse the election of America’s first African-American (with an Arabic name, no less) to hold the Oval Office. The OIC will like the image of President Barack Obama cutting the ribbon at the opening ceremonies.
Obama helps the Chicago bid in other ways. Chicago’s shortcomings in infrastructure will be quickly corrected by an infusion of federal dollars. If Obama removes U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the rising tide of indictments would likely crest before reaching the fifth floor of City Hall. Political leadership in Chicago will again be “stable.”
While any President may want the Olympics, Obama has the strongest motivation to put this higher up on his priority list. No only will he be lobbying on behalf of his country, but for the benefit of his home town – and the political machine that got him where he is today.
Another Obama advantage is taming the civic wolves. A lot of civic organizations, largely minority groups led by local community organizers, have already fired warnings across the bow of the local Olympic support committee. Civil unrest is never attractive to the IOC. Once their beloved Obama endorses the plan, these voices of opposition will fall silent.
From no chance, Obama, in my view, has transformed Chicago into the city to beat for the Olympics.