Monday Morning Quarterback

Posted: Oct 06, 2009 12:00 AM

I well remember from my days in college football how much we players did not like being second-guessed by Monday morning quarterbacks. Even so, we do have to go to the videotape to analyze how the home team is doing.

Last Friday, President Obama staged a high-stakes, lightning strike on the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC, meeting in Copenhagen, was subjected to the full-court press to select Chicago for the 2016 Olympic Games.

I was rooting for Chicago. I think every American was rooting for the City of Broad Shoulders. Given the fact that we have Muslims competing in the Olympics, the American team probably didn’t use Carl Sandburg’s description of Chicago as “hog-butcher to the world.” Even with that discretion, even with a “Diversity Plus” Obama appeal, the IOC turned Chicago down flat.

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Hardly had Air Force One lifted off, hardly had the Presidential party waved good-bye to Hans Christian Andersen’s little mermaid in the harbor when the IOC announced Chicago had been eliminated. No gold. No silver. Not even a bronze. It was an embarrassing fourth-place showing for the Windy City. Blown away by Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, and Tokyo.

When he was campaigning last fall, candidate Obama charged that George W. Bush had “taken his eye off the ball.” He said that Bush had turned from prosecuting a “war of necessity” [Afghanistan] to fighting a “war of choice.” [Iraq]

Those are all debatable points, to be sure, but then-Sen. Obama persuaded the American electorate and he won the right to call the shots. So, presumably, when your hand-picked commanding general, Stanley McChrystal, reports to you on what is urgently needed in Afghanistan, you would then be obliged to focus like a laser on Afghanistan.

Has anyone seen what’s become of March’s “new strategy” Commander-in-Chief Obama announced with some fanfare barely six months ago? He quickly followed up that announcement by putting in place his new general and outlined his plans to phase out combat operations in Iraq. We could then presumably rest easy that he was going to pursue Afghanistan to victory. And catch Osama bin Laden, too.

Since that time, the headlines have been all about health care, and understandably so. So what part of health care and what part of Afghanistan was this trip to Copenhagen? Didn’t his advance team warn him of going out on a limb? Couldn’t these famous Chicago vote counters count votes for Chicago? It was as if the President was set up for a high visibility belly-flop in the Olympic diving competition.

Worse, it virtually guarantees a return trip to the Danish capital in December. Left-wing blogs are almost threatening him. If he could spare time for a quick side-trip to

Copenhagen for the Chicago Olympic bid, he’d better darned well find time to attend the UN’s global climate change conference slated for that ancient European city later this year.

What if health care is just then at crisis stage? Current time lines show health care moving to the President’s desk just before Christmas. The UN-sponsored global climate change conference is slated for December 7-18th. The conference is being hyped in the European press. Danish Environment and Energy Minister Connie Hedegaard is putting democracy itself on trial:

“If the whole world comes to Copenhagen and leaves without making the needed political agreement, then I think it’s a failure that is not just about climate. Then it’s the whole global democratic system not being able to deliver results in one of the defining challenges of our century. And that is and should not be a possibility. It’s not an option.”

So, unless Mr. Obama delivers the goods, democracy is finished. Climate change criers want a cap and trade bill. It’s a bill that economists tell us will be a massive job-killer. We could have a U.S. unemployment rate above 10 percent by December. Unless Mr. Obama comes across with the goods, Minister Hedegaard is prepared to throw cold water not only on the UN conclave, but on the very possibility of democratic change itself.

How can President Obama not go to Copenhagen? Even if health care isn’t settled yet. Even if cap & trade (read: cap & tax) isn’t inked yet. It isn’t hard to see what’s ahead for him. It may be a cold first Christmas in the White House for an increasingly embattled young President.

Well, he can take cold comfort from one fact. He won’t get a piece of coal in his stocking. Coal will doubtless be banned in Copenhagen. I think something is rotten in the state of Denmark.