09/30/09 — Denmark or bust: Olympic trip might yield results, but is it right time?

View Archive

Denmark or bust: Olympic trip might yield results, but is it right time?

If it were a normal year, with a less than heaping helping of problems, President Barack Obama's trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, might have been a nice diversion and completely appropriate.

With a little extra time on his hands, why shouldn't the president load up Air Force One and head over to the meeting of the International Olympic Committee selection officials to make a personal plea to bring the Olympics back to the United States?

It might, then, be worth the huge amount of money it is going to cost and the time away from more pressing matters.

But truth be told, the president's visit to Denmark to pitch Chicago for the 2016 Olympics might seem like a classy goodwill gesture to bring home a lucrative honor to the United States, but it is, in reality, an ill-timed diversion from more serious issues, like the economy, the war in Afghanistan and health care reform.

And, frankly, it seems like a task first lady Michelle Obama and TV personality Oprah Winfrey ought to be able to handle on their own.

The idea that a president has time to fly across the world to make a personal pitch about a sporting event seems to be in direct contrast to the commander in chief's seeming concern about all the really important issues this country is facing right now.

There will be some who will call any commentary about the Copenhagen trip petty. They will say that critics are looking for anything to criticize and that the president simply will never be able to please some people -- even if what he is doing is merely a chance to promote the United States.

But the problem is that this action and some of his other choices suggest that President Obama either has bad timing -- or has difficulty with priorities.

A trip to Copenhagen is a luxury this country does not need right now. It is a personal favor, of sorts, for his hometown at a time when he should be thinking about his country as a whole and addressing much more serious matters.

It would be nice to get the Olympics, but that will not change the future for the many millions of Americans who face job loss and other concerns.

President Obama should have sent a letter -- and his capable wife -- to handle this one.

Frankly, the government could use the savings.

Published in Editorials on September 30, 2009 11:05 AM