Celebrating American failure

Talking Points Memo reports that a host of prominent right-wing pundits– including those Very Serious People at the Weekly Standard — could not have been more delighted when the International Olympic Committee ousted Chicago during the first round of the voting for the 2012 Olympics. When the decision was announced, the editor reported, “cheers erupted.” ...

Walt-Steve-foreign-policy-columnist20
Walt-Steve-foreign-policy-columnist20
Stephen M. Walt
By , a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.
579989_091005_limbaugh2.jpg
579989_091005_limbaugh2.jpg
NOVI, MI - MAY 3: Radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh speaks at "An Evenining With Rush Limbaugh" event May 3, 2007 in Novi, Michigan. The event was sponsored by WJR radio station as part of their 85th birthday celebration festivities. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Talking Points Memo reports that a host of prominent right-wing pundits-- including those Very Serious People at the Weekly Standard -- could not have been more delighted when the International Olympic Committee ousted Chicago during the first round of the voting for the 2012 Olympics. When the decision was announced, the editor reported, "cheers erupted."

As readers here know, I thought it was a mistake for Obama to get involved in this issue, and I predicted that the "right-wing smear machine" would try to exploit it. But hosting the Olympics would almost certainly have been a boon for Chicago -- a great American city -- and good for the United States overall. So why were these right-wing apparatchiks cheering?

Talking Points Memo reports that a host of prominent right-wing pundits– including those Very Serious People at the Weekly Standard — could not have been more delighted when the International Olympic Committee ousted Chicago during the first round of the voting for the 2012 Olympics. When the decision was announced, the editor reported, “cheers erupted.”

As readers here know, I thought it was a mistake for Obama to get involved in this issue, and I predicted that the “right-wing smear machine” would try to exploit it. But hosting the Olympics would almost certainly have been a boon for Chicago — a great American city — and good for the United States overall. So why were these right-wing apparatchiks cheering?

Simple. They were happy because they could not care less about the actual United States of America or ordinary American citizens: What they care about is their privileged positions, political clout, and personal income. And those things depend on trashing the Democrats and trying to get the GOP back in power no matter what it takes, which at the present means seizing any pretext to bash President Obama. So if the IOC decision makes Obama look bad, they are for it, even if it means fewer jobs for Americans in the Midwest and less prestige for the country as a whole. 

Am I being too harsh? Here’s a simple test: Have any of these organizations of individuals issued an apology for their selfish and sophomoric behavior?  The Weekly Standard removed a post from its Web site describing the cheers that filled their offices when Chicago lost, but that’s a sign of embarrassment, not remorse. Right-wing gasbag Rush Limbaugh was openly unrepentant, saying, “For those of you … who are upset that I sound gleeful, I am. I don’t deny it. I’m happy.”

So the next time you see or hear William Kristol or Rush Limbaugh wrapping themselves in the flag and waxing eloquent about how much they love “America,” just remember: They were happy when the United States lost.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Stephen M. Walt is a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University. Twitter: @stephenwalt

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