Right Thinking From The Left Coast
No legacy is so rich as honesty - William Shakespeare

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Vancouver--The Detroit of Canada!

Okay, I kid, it’s not THAT bad.  But this story, via Mish, shows that getting the Olympics is no guarantee of long-term financial investment.  I’ll get to that in a second.

If Obama ends up becoming a one-termer, or at least goes down as one of the most unpopular two-term Presidents in history (fingers crossed, eh, Dubya?) historians will likely look back and determine that this relatively innocuous event is when he really started losing his political mojo.

As you may remember, Obama, Oprah, and a bunch of Chicago boosters went to Copenhagen to lobby the Olympic Committee to award the city the 2016 Summer Games last October.  Instead, Chicago was the first one eliminated, to the utter amazement of the CNN talking head in the clip above and just about everyone else.  It was such a shock, one of the boosters let out this laugher after the vote was tallied:

“I hate the fact that these elegant people were here,” U.S. IOC member Anita DeFrantz said of the Obamas, “and then our country got treated that way.”

If that quote doesn’t encapsulate the snobbish sense of entitlement of your typical Obama supporter, I don’t know what does.  At the time, Obama and his party were in the midst of a nasty healthcare fight that saw several rollicking townhalls where Democratic congressmen were basically lucky that tar and feathers weren’t readily available, and this is probably what’s going to end up defining his presidency in the end.  But up until that day, Obama had probably reached the apex of his political influence, with a fawning media that felt he could do no wrong, and the impression was that the IOC would roll over to his charm and give him what he wanted, just like everyone else in his life had up to that point.  This was Obama’s first tangible stumble as President, and it showed his opponents that he wasn’t invincible. 

It’s been all downhill ever since, aided by an economy that just won’t heal, and a lot of bad blood created over the healthcare fight that saw Obama completely compromise his public image just to get something, ANYTHING, signed.

Now, on one level, I can understand Obama trying to get the Olympics for his hometown.  If conducted properly, they can be transformative events for the host city; having visited Salt Lake City before and after the 2002 Winter Games, I saw with my own eyes how much of an impact on the city’s infrastructure and demographics it had.  Whether it will be best for the city in the long run remains to be seen (unlike most people, I’ve never found Utah’s predominantly Mormon culture threatening in the least, and actually thought it helped to keep a lot of mischief-making, community-degrading social engineers out), and there was enough controversy and corruption in how the Salt Lake Olympic lobbyists were awarded their bid that Mitt Romney had to come in and clean things up.  Chicago, being Chicago, wasn’t any different in this regard.

But maybe he actually dodged a bullet, as Mish’s link to The Province reveals (emphasis mine):

Sixty-six per cent of Vancouver’s pricey Olympic Village condos remain unsold — a total of 483 units at the massive False Creek development that served as athletes’ housing during the two-week 2010 Games.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, whose city remains on the hook for more than $1.03 billion of the cost of the project, predicts it will take a “full two-year term” to sell the remaining units.

“There is some concern we’re going into another [economic] dip,” Robertson said last week. “[But] I have full confidence in the developer and the marketing taking place.

I hope the market kicks in and they get sold. I’d like to see it fill up sooner rather than later.”…

Today, six months after the 2010 Olympic Games, the village resembles a ghost town.

He’s going to have to rely on a lot more than hope--just ask Obama and his supporters.

Posted by on 09/08/10 at 08:01 PM in Health Care   Politics   Cult of Personality   Those Wacky Canadians  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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