Saturday, October 03, 2009

Olympic Failure

There has already been more than enough gloating by conservative and Republican pundits over the failure of the President and First Lady to secure the selection of Chicago as the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics, and I have no interest in adding to it. However, the incident is useful in highlighting a weakness of the current administration.

The last minute effort by the President frankly had the feel of an amateurish stunt. Those who know anything about the process of selecting sites for major events understand this: a big name can help open doors on the front end, but the selection will ultimately be based on the minutiae of the bid itself -- financial issues, facilities, hotel accessibility, infrastructure needs, etc., as well as less tangible issues that might make a difference. Unless Chicago was already the front runner, speech making about dreams of fathers for their daughters was not going to make any difference, and the President frankly didn't belong there unless it was for the purpose of sealing a deal that was already essentially complete. Obviously, that was not the case. If the Obama's looked amateurish, they were surpassed on that front by a mindless media that cooed that committee members were struggling to maintain the appearance of objectivity prior to coronating the President and Chicago with their keys to the kingdom, or at least the upcoming summer games.

Unfortunately, this flaw is pervasive with the President. Unlike his predecessor, who failed to get out sufficiently to communicate his message, the current President seems determined to attach his supposed rock star status to everything. This overexposure, which gives him the resemblance of a candidate more than an officeholder, leaves the impression of a visionary executive without operational support. The President finds himself promising more than he can deliver, and his administration has the appearance of an empty shell.

During the actual campaign, some mention was made that the President, coming from the Senate, had no executive experience, and that lack of experience may indeed be his undoing. In any executive office, visionary leadership must be accompanied by operational competence, and in the Obama administration, such confidence is either lacking or unacknowledged. Of course, many Republicans will gloat over this gap in competence, and it is easy to be glad that disagreeable policies are floundering.

Nonetheless, the nation is in the midst of the greatest combination of domestic and international concerns in several decades. It would be encouraging to get a sense that those running the show are at least competent to do so.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on target!

7:52 AM  

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