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The Rio Games—and those GOP games

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Rick Horowitz
October 6, 2009
— I’m fine with Rio.

Really. A great city, by all accounts, in a rising star of a country that deserves to be better known and better loved. And that’s even before you factor in some of the world’s greatest music, and the beaches, and Carnaval, and…


So absolutely—give the 2016 Summer Olympics to Rio de Janeiro. To Brazil. To a part of the planet that’s never hosted the Olympics. I’m fine with it, even if it means that our neighbor just down the road, Chicago, takes a gold-medal hit to the ego.


I’m happy for Rio. But it never would have occurred to me to gloat over Chicago’s loss. As a fellow American, I mean.


Being a gracious competitor is one thing. Being a Republican apparatchik is something else again.


You’d have thought, from the paroxysms of glee that greeted the news in certain GOP quarters, that Chicago’s first-round elimination by the IOC was the greatest thing that had happened to the country in decades. To this country, I mean.

How do you explain it? Was the delighted-in-defeat crowd overjoyed at avoiding the inevitable cost overruns? The crowds? The security concerns? The traffic jams? The construction dust?


Or was it enough that Barack Obama had tried, and Barack Obama had failed? Tried to bring the Olympics to his adopted home town, that is. To Chicago, one of America’s own great cities.


He made the effort. It wasn’t sufficient.


“LET’S PARTY!!!”


These folks need to find some hobbies. Some better hobbies. Spending their days reveling in presidential humiliations (real or imagined) is no way for grown-up boys and girls to get normal people to take them seriously. On the other hand, it’s a perfect way to convince normal people, whatever they might think about the current president and his policies, that these folks who keep flailing at him, who set their “north” by wherever Barack Obama sets his “south,” are still not ready for prime time.

And it’s not just the Olympics, of course.


Most famously, it’s been health-care reform, and one of the GOP’s leading lights caught saying out loud what his colleagues had only been whispering: Defeat reform because it’ll “break” Obama. It’ll be his “Waterloo.”


Not that health-care reform was a bad idea, necessarily. Or even if they did think it was a bad idea, it still wasn’t the best reason to take it down. The best reason to take it down was to stick it to Obama.


I swear—if Barack Obama were an construction engineer, these guys would be rooting for a bridge collapse.


If Barack Obama were a race-car driver, these guys would be cheering for the oil slick.


If Obama were a librarian, they’d be rooting for illiteracy.


If Obama were a farmer, they’d be praying for drought.


If Obama were an immunologist, they’d be rooting for the plague.


If Obama were a pilot, they’d be hoping for wind shear.


If Obama were a priest, they’d be singing the praises of atheism.


If Obama owned a cruise ship, they’d be wishing for a tsunami.


If Obama were a power grid, they’d be hoping for a blackout.


If Obama were hamburger, they’d be cheering for e coli.


If…


Congratulations, Rio. Condolences, Chicago.


Delighted-in-Defeaters? Get a life.


Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. Write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

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