Why Chicago's Olympic Elimination Is a Good Thing

Five reasons that the decision to reject the Windy City's bid is for the best

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Despite the Obamas' fervent entreaties for the "most American of American cities," Chicago was the first city eliminated from the running for the 2016 Olympics. Many of the first reactions on Twitter riff on the consequences for President Obama, who invested himself personally in the effort.

Chicago eliminated in first round of voting; Obama to be impeached tomorrow. (Matthew Yglesias, Think Progress)

I'm not sure the politics are that bad for Obama. Most people will say, "at least he tried." Internationally, there's a bigger downside. (Jonah Goldberg, National Review)

But for the city itself, is it such a big deal? A spate of negative commentary this morning explains why the defeat of Chicago's bid may be for the best:

  • Chicago Never Convinced Residents It Was a Good Idea, says David Trang at 37 Signals. "Chicago sold the features, not the benefits. Chicago didn't tell its citizens why the games would be good for Chicago. Chicago didn't lay out the lasting legacy of the games for the city. What's really in it for us? Why should we really support it? What happens after they are over? 8 years of work for a few weeks of sunshine. Then what?"
  • Investment Would Be Better Spent on Housing and Education, says Kevin Powell at the Huffington Post. "What the people of Chicago (and other urban American cities) deserve is a domestic Marshall Plan -- an action agenda that will, once and for all, deal with failing schools, terrible housing conditions, limited job, career, and business opportunities, and a culture of violence, mayhem, and hopelessness that led to the very recent beating death of a teen named Derrion Albert, at the hands of other teenagers, no less."
  • For the Price, Chicago Didn't Need the Publicity, says Nick Gillespie at Reason. "Some supporters talk about "The Olympic Effect," the idea that being will to pour money down a rathole shows the world your city is ready to be a big-time playa. Well, maybe, but Chicago is doing far better than average right now and hardly needs that sort of publicity."
  • Only Mayor Daley Would Have Reaped the Benefits, suggests Edward McClelland at Salon. He refers to the Olympic push as "a vanity project to revive Daley's approval ratings, and a boondoggle that will benefit the city's elite, at the expense of ordinary Chicagoans...there's a suspicion that the Olympic Village, the velodrome, the swimming pool, the white-water rafting course, the hurdles and the starting blocks will all be built by the mayor's pals, at inflated prices. That's how Chicago works."
  • America Benefits More If Brazil Gets It, says Steve Clemons at the Washington Note. "Tokyo, Chicago, and Madrid are all interesting cities -- but to succeed in refashioning international institutions to anticipate global realities over the next four to five decades, bid developing nations like Brazil need to be the focus. Brazil is already doing a great deal in renewables, climate change, and broader political and economic stabilization efforts in the Southern Hemisphere to justify serious attention -- and it makes sense to continue the acknowledgment of Brazil's gains and course by the IOC granting Rio de Janeiro the 2016 Games."
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