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Subject: Obama with another first? rss

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Scott Russell
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Is Obama the first US President to go lobby the IOC? (I really don't know, there may be precedent.)

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that he's doing it? (Appropriate activity for US President?)

I heard on NPR public figures finally admitting something I've always believed. Olympics and other large spectacles (Superbowl as an example) do cost the host city more than they bring in unless really "fancy" accounting is used. Although there is a counter-argument that international trade does get an uptick. The counter-counter is that so do all the seriously contending cities.

My main gripe is even with tickets ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, residents who don't want to and/or can't afford to attend still get to pay a fair chunk of change. (This can be extended to public finance for sports stadii also.)

What do you all think?
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I think it is fine for the President to take a day and lobby for the Games to be held in Chicago.

If he is successful, it will mean an immediate influx of jobs to plan and build the facilities that will be needed.

There may be an overall loss, but jobs now would be a good thing.
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At first I was a little irritated ("Doesn't he have better things to do?"), and then I thought that maybe that was a little uncharitable (I mean, it's not really a big deal, all things considered).

Tony Blair lobbied for London to get the Olympics, so there is precedent there, at least.

Nothing really wrong with wanting to help out your home town (or university, or state, or whatever), frankly.
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Colonial One wrote:


Nothing really wrong with wanting to help out your home town (or university, or state, or whatever), frankly.


At the same time Lobbying for the games to be in the US.
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MWChapel wrote:
Colonial One wrote:


Nothing really wrong with wanting to help out your home town (or university, or state, or whatever), frankly.


At the same time Lobbying for the games to be in the US.


Well, sure. It'd be a different story if Obama lobbied for the Olympics to be held outside the US. That'd be a bit... unusual.
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Colonial One wrote:


Well, sure. It'd be a different story if Obama lobbied for the Olympics to be held outside the US. That'd be a bit... unusual.


I think some people are stating that he is lobbying for it to be in "Chicago", in his home turf, but forgetting that if it's not Chicago, it'll be outside the U.S. all together. He is not just lobbying for his "home turf". Get it?
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I think it's fine. It kind of bothers me that something like half of Chicago doesn't want the Olympics but there's still a movement to get it. Seems like there should be overwhelming support for something like this if it's going to go forward. But the principle of a President lobbying to get the Olympics to come to this country is fine.
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qzhdad wrote:
Is Obama the first US President to go lobby the IOC? (I really don't know, there may be precedent.)


I believe he's the first to do it directly, yes.

Quote:
Is it a good thing or a bad thing that he's doing it? (Appropriate activity for US President?)


I don't think it's either. I don't think it's inappropriate, though I wouldn't mind if he were doing something else.

Quote:
I heard on NPR public figures finally admitting something I've always believed. Olympics and other large spectacles (Superbowl as an example) do cost the host city more than they bring in unless really "fancy" accounting is used.


What show was it? I wouldn't mind seeing how they came to that conclusion. The Olympics are typically money-losing, but the Los Angeles games, for example, turned a profit. A great deal has to do with how much construction the city needs to do for the games, how well it can reuse the venues after the games, and what services the city is equipped to offer before it wins the games. I think Chicago's in good shape to turn a profit, and the spending it'll drive on new development/infrastructure strikes me as likely to be profitable over time.

I'd be surprised if events that didn't require lots of construction cost a city money (like the SuperBowl or World Series). But a lot has to do with methods of measuring the cost and benefit.

Quote:
My main gripe is even with tickets ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, residents who don't want to and/or can't afford to attend still get to pay a fair chunk of change. (This can be extended to public finance for sports stadii also.)


If the city of Chicago manages to execute on its plans, there's no taxpayer money involved. I'm not sure I buy that this will happen, but it is possible. So the only cost to an individual would be the inconvenience of having all the visitors in town for the games.

I'd love for them to come to Chicago, but then I'd love to make it to some of the events and I'd almost certainly see a whole lot of family/friends while they're in town.
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Furthermore, I figure the outrage meter is set a little high, especially as the US has been the leading debtor nation for a good long time now, and a huge consumer of Mideast oil (if not the leading consumer) for just as long. Those two things together mean that the spectacle of the President of the United States performing fellatio on oil sheiks or Chinese debt-holding premiers is far more common (across party affiliations) than it used to be.

As far as I'm concerned, a strip act for possible customers is less degrading than the back-alley tricks the Office of the President has been turning for the last 20-30 years.
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FlyingArrow wrote:
I think it's fine. It kind of bothers me that something like half of Chicago doesn't want the Olympics but there's still a movement to get it.


Support for the games is a malleable thing. In February, it was 2:1 in favor of having them in town. Now it's about a dead heat. Wanna bet that if Chicago wins the games it'll go back up?
 
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It’s fine for a President to lobby for the Olympics.

I just worry about it placing this President in an uncomfortable position.

I mean, he has to give a speech in a foreign country where he does NOT get to apologize for America tyranny to win popularity from the citizens there, and instead, he must contend that his country is somehow better at something than those other countries. Talk about awkward.
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I have no problem with the Prez lobbying for Chicago.
But...
I'd rather see Rio de Janeiro get the nod.
 
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49xjohn wrote:


There may be an overall loss, but jobs now would be a good thing.


It's this kind of thinking that puts our country into huge deficits.

"Generations after us will have to pay for what we buy now."

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okiedokie wrote:
49xjohn wrote:


There may be an overall loss, but jobs now would be a good thing.


It's this kind of thinking that puts our country into huge deficits.

"Generations after us will have to pay for what we buy now."



This is the American Way.
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okiedokie wrote:
49xjohn wrote:


There may be an overall loss, but jobs now would be a good thing.


It's this kind of thinking that puts our country into huge deficits.

"Generations after us will have to pay for what we buy now."



Not really. As Perfalbion pointed out, Chicago might pull a profit. It is speculative to be sure, but there is a good chance.

Your kind of thinking would mean no speculation and I would hate to see that applied to the free market.
 
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qzhdad wrote:
Is Obama the first US President to go lobby the IOC? (I really don't know, there may be precedent.)

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that he's doing it? (Appropriate activity for US President?)

I heard on NPR public figures finally admitting something I've always believed. Olympics and other large spectacles (Superbowl as an example) do cost the host city more than they bring in unless really "fancy" accounting is used. Although there is a counter-argument that international trade does get an uptick. The counter-counter is that so do all the seriously contending cities.

My main gripe is even with tickets ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, residents who don't want to and/or can't afford to attend still get to pay a fair chunk of change. (This can be extended to public finance for sports stadii also.)

What do you all think?


It is a debasement of the office. It was wrong when Tony Blair* did it and it is wrong for Obama to do it. Of course, Obama has no problem debasing either his office or his country.


*edit I know Tony Blair was not a president, my understanding is that he was the first head of state to lobby for Olympic games.
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qzhdad wrote:

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that he's doing it? (Appropriate activity for US President?)


I don't think it's inappropriate, but do think it's unnecessary. I realize the president has the dual roles of symbol and executive, but a little more of the latter and a little less of the former would be nice, regardless of who the president is.

Still, lobbying for an event intended to foster international goodwill isn't the most egregious extraneous thing any of our presidents have done, so, meh. It sure beats discussion of whatever president's dog (Checkers excepted, natch).

(Of course, that said, my personal bias is for it since my city would reap the benefits of cycling and other Olympic events that Chicagoland can't accommodate.)
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perfalbion wrote:

What show was it? I wouldn't mind seeing how they came to that conclusion. The Olympics are typically money-losing, but the Los Angeles games, for example, turned a profit.


It was Morning Edition and the reporter specifically addressed the LA games. In his opinion a lot the of costs weren't considered when determining that LA had a profit of a few hundred thousand dollars. If those costs had been counted, it would have lost money too.

He also brought up a country that is still paying for its Olympics from a while ago, but can't remember which one.
 
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qzhdad wrote:
He also brought up a country that is still paying for its Olympics from a while ago, but can't remember which one.


Probably Greece. Their games were more than a bit of a financial mess.

It's certainly accurate to say that the games lose money a whole lot. I don't know what problems with the LA accounting were pointed out, but LA was the only one to even show a profit on paper in modern times. So it's not like they're a bonanza.
 
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perfalbion wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
He also brought up a country that is still paying for its Olympics from a while ago, but can't remember which one.


Probably Greece. Their games were more than a bit of a financial mess.

It's certainly accurate to say that the games lose money a whole lot. I don't know what problems with the LA accounting were pointed out, but LA was the only one to even show a profit on paper in modern times. So it's not like they're a bonanza.


The LA definitely sounded like it could be argued either way. It wasn't clear how they evaluated the "leftover' improvements in general either.
 
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I guess I didn't really like him (or the other heads of state) going. If you buy into the idea that lobbying is ok (next topic), then it made some sense for Michelle Obama to go, but I'd rather not have governments getting directly involved. I know that since 1936 (and maybe before), the Olympics has been political, but I like the concept of at least pretending that the concept of the Olympics isn't.

Why is lobbying allowed at all. The cities have already presented their cases, shouldn't the location be determined by that rather than personalities?
 
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qzhdad wrote:
Why is lobbying allowed at all. The cities have already presented their cases, shouldn't the location be determined by that rather than personalities?


We could just go back to the old system where you basically bribed the IOC to get the games, I suppose.
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Scott Russell
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And, are they really telling Chicagoans that they won't be putting up any money? Not even sin taxes?
 
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perfalbion wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
Why is lobbying allowed at all. The cities have already presented their cases, shouldn't the location be determined by that rather than personalities?


We could just go back to the old system where you basically bribed the IOC to get the games, I suppose.


That's what we did in SLC... and it worked! It seems like Chicago needs to learn a thing or two about bribery.
 
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perfalbion wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
Why is lobbying allowed at all. The cities have already presented their cases, shouldn't the location be determined by that rather than personalities?


We could just go back to the old system where you basically bribed the IOC to get the games, I suppose.


I'd think Chicago would be more comfortable with that system anyway?

Perhaps kissing ass lobbying is cheaper than bribery, so I shouldn't gripe too much. whistle
 
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