In the high profile lobbying contest to win hosting rights to the 2016 Olympics Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has completely shellacked President Obama.
In the grand scheme of things the location of the 2016 Olympics isn’t of great importance. In fact, Chicago is probably better off for having lost. However, Obama’s involvement in Chicago’s bid displays in microcosm one of the key problems with the Obama presidency.
Having stood aloof from the selection process, the president swooped in at the last minute, made a pretty speech and expected to swing the vote.
By contrast, the rather more effective President Lula da Silva was far more engaged. He apparently understood that the result would be decided well before the TV cameras were turned on. Lula was so confident he had the votes that he supposedly pressed the Obamas to go to Copenhagen.
President Obama’s approach to the Olympic selection process mirrors his approach to the far more important issues being decided on Capitol Hill. Stand aloof from the messy politics and trust that golden voice to swing the necessary votes.
It appears that we have an applause line President. He looks great on TV and gives a great speech. These are fine qualities in a politician, but fall well short of what is require to make an effective leader. When it comes to shaping legislation and winning diplomatic fights he is doing about as well as you would expect for a guy with a whole half term of Senate experience.