For those who didn’t hear, Chicago didn’t get the Olympics. In fact, of the four cities in contention (Rio, Madrid, Tokyo, and Chicago), Chicago got bumped out in the first round. Which I don’t get. Given the history of ballot stuffing, you’d think we’d get further than that.
I figured all along that Rio was going to get it, and that feeling only intensified as time marched on. By way of contrast, everyone was telling me the fix was in. Oddsmakers had Chicago as the slim favorite to win. News reports crowed that Emperor Obama’s speech (glad to see the country is running so smoothly that he could hop on over there) put us over the top. One guy I work with has a relative who’s a connected contractor in Chicago (plumbing), and he was being told it was done deal.
Me, I was hoping that my political instincts were correct. They usually are, but there’s always that chance that I’ll get it wrong. I never saw the R’s burying their own candidate just to keep the money spigot open under Obama, and I really should have. I thought Obama would have too many liabilities to win the White House. Wrong bongos. And so, I had fears that I was completely misreading the situation, and we Illinoisans would be stuck with a shitload of taxes while Daley’s buddies made out like bandits, sticking us with the bill.
(This is also why I hate Chicagoans so much. They could easily vote for someone else and end the taxes and abuses, and no one gives a shit. Daley won his last election by a landslide, but with the record lowest turnout in Chicago history. I have no sympathy for Chicagoans getting screwed, but when it starts spreading to those of us outside the city, I get pissed.)
Here’s why I thought Chicago had no chance to win the Olympic bid:
1) During the World Boxing Championships, when countries sent athletes from all over the world, there were three defections. No one is going to want to attend an international event where that can happen.
2) The IOC likes totalitarian regimes. China, Nazi Germany (the former head of the IOC said Germany’s Olympics were the best he ever saw).
3) Every country is arrogant and subject to regionalistic emotionalism. But here’s the difference between America and other countries – we’re seen as having no reason to be arrogant and regionalisticly emotional. France, Britain, Japan, Russia, everyone else can with their long histories and accomplishments, but America has nothing to brag about. Having our President, his wife, Oprah Winfrey, and so on give speech probably triggered a “Who do these people think they are?” moment.
X-Factor – Combining the last two, I wonder if the apprehension of Roman Polanski this week (my ancestral home of Poland is trying to use some clout to get him sprung) might have influenced things a bit.
The more pedestrian explanation (Occam's Razor aside, I don't buy that it's this simple) is that the vote went by blocks -- several countries in Asia for Tokyo, several in Europe for Madrid, several in South America for Rio, and three votes in North America for Chicago. Doesn't explain how the US has ever hosted, though, so I regard that as a fiction.
The Chicago delegation worked the room and are completely shocked they didn’t get it. They felt they did everything right, and can’t understand what went wrong. I can tell them exactly what went wrong – they were playing Chicago politics. Chicago politics is all about, “I did this for you, you owe me.” You expect repayment for the things you are doing. International politics follows the Texas model – If you can’t take their money and their gifts and vote against them anyway, you have no business being in politics.