As an American, I was disappointed that Chicago lost its bid to host the Olympics. While my cynical side sees what it takes to be the seedy truths about the Olympics (politics and corruption), my better nature still has a fond regard for what the Olympics is supposed to stand for. In any case, I think it would have been good for the US to host the Olympics, even though Chicago would probably have been in debt for quite some time.
While the loss bothered me, what bothered me more was the fact that folks in Americans for Progress cheered and clapped when they learned that Chicago had lost. I was also bothered by the fact that conservative pundits like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh were eager to have Chicago fail. I was, however, pleased that Joe Scarborough criticized Rush for his remarks.
I do understand that there are some downsides to hosting the Olympics (such as the possibility that the host city will lose money) and I am aware of legitimate concerns about Chicago (such as its infamous corruption). I am also quite aware that Chicago’s failure to get the Olympics hurt Obama’s standing and also provides the conservatives with ammunition to use against him. That is, of course, why some conservatives have been pleased with Chicago’s loss.
While I do understand the motivation of these conservatives, I believe that they are acting wrongly. While political fighting is to be expected and is, within limits, legitimate, there are times when we need to act as Americans rather than as Democrats and Republicans (and those few third parties that exist). True, getting the Olympics would have been a win for Obama. But, it would have also been a win for the United States. To cheer Chicago not getting the Olympics seems to be to cheer for an American defeat. That is, to say the least, unpatriotic.
To beat someone to the punch, I have the same view of folks who hoped that the US would do badly in Iraq so as to harm the Republicans. While I was against the war and the following occupation, I have consistently wanted us to succeed. After all, I am morally opposed to scoring political points at the expense of the good of the people.
Naturally, I am willing to consider logical reasons as to why it is better that the Olympics is not going to be hosted by the United States. However, the main motivation of the conservative critics has been to see Obama fail. Now, I can understand why they want him to fail on things they regard as being wrong (that is legitimate politics) but to want him to fail in this matter seems to be rather hateful politics.
From a practical standpoint, the conservatives who have cheered this event might be doing harm to their own cause. While some of their loyal followers are no doubt cheering along, I suspect that a significant number of Americans are not happy when America loses and they are even less happy to see the self-proclaimed champions of America cheering at our loss.