Just exactly what motivated the Obama’s much-ballyhooed trip to Denmark to bring the Olympic Games back to their home town of Chicago? George Will and other conservative are claiming narcissism played a major role in the debacle. But is that really true?
Frankly I think the answer is “Yes”, in part. President Obama frequently seems to believe that any time he weighs in on a subject that his words must automatically result in compliance. That, of course, is a fallacy – the president’s opinion here at home is just one among many – the most authoritative, in many circumstances, but hardly carrying the force of royalty.
Overseas, it has become apparent, his charisma wows the public more greatly than it impresses foreign leaders, notably Nicholas Sarkozy of France. The Obamas’ appearance in front of the International Olympic Committee made the limits of personal appeal painfully clear.
Hopefully the stinging public rebuke Obama suffered there and the corresponding lessening of his aura of invincibility will lead directly to a lessened sense of certainty here at home where the fiscal, health care, and environmental agendas he and the Democratic party have championed deserve to be cut down to size in like fashion.
Yet it’s clear to me that Obama’s narcissism, while practically palpable, is not what took him to Copenhagen. Instead I believe what motivated the ill-advised spectacle was the need to repay the markers he took out in past years while building the base for his political career. It’s the Chicago way and has been for decades under the Daley and Democratic regime. The fact that Barack Obama is now president doesn’t erase those debts.