Out of Monterey CA comes some sharp commentary that makes a loyal Chicago Democrat seethe with indignation:
Editorial: Chicago, Olympics don’t go together
Even without the Olympics, summer in Chicago is a bad idea. Think heat, humidity and humorless Chicagoans eating oversized sausages. Think 1968 Democratic Convention. Combine Olympic-size crowds and Chicago-style performance and the city will have about as much appeal as a rainy night in Newark.
Newark, eh? That’s mean.
No matter what the Obamas may tell the Olympic committee in Copenhagen later this week, the only way this would make sense is if they made bribery an event.
Chicago politics barely resembles politics as we know it. Here, grand juries issue reports about voting machines. There, grand juries indict political machines.
How corrupt is Illinois? Even if you have followed the saga of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, you may have forgotten that his predecessor is still in prison for racketeering and fraud.
So? You have a problem with that?
The Chicago Sun-Times once ran a front-page story bragging about how not a single alderman had been indicted or convicted that year.
A few decades back, the same newspaper ran a long series that perfectly illustrated what’s wrong with the Olympics idea. It showed what happened when the Sun-Times opened a bar, cleverly named the Mirage. Every city and county employee who had any say over the process, from the liquor license to the fire inspection to the building and health permits, had a price beyond the statutory fee. Each and every one. The plumbing inspector. The electrical inspector. More than 25 in all. All caught on tape.
They could do the same for sleazy deal-makers and all that Olympics spending, and snarky California editors would have another golden moment in investigative reporting to report. Besides, who do you think inspired the dynamic free-lance duo who exposed ACORN?
Have things changed since? Not that we’ve heard. Imagine how many palms would need to be greased in order to build an Olympic village, an aquatics center, a new stadium or two. Take the actual cost estimate and double it.
Again, what an opportunity for enterprising reporters!
Do we really want the whole world to watch Chicago put on a modern pentathlon of bid rigging, election fraud, kickback, extortion and money laundering?
Oh, I get that whole-world-watching business: ‘68 in Lincoln and Grant parks and “police riot” proclaimed by ex-Governor Kerner, who later went to jail convicted of sleaze.
Softball is out as an Olympic sport. Do we want to see it replaced by Chicago-style hardball? How about some racket ball? Some say arm wrestling should be added to the lineup. How about arm twisting?
O.K., have your fun. Hardball, racket ball, arm-twisting, huh? Give me a break.
Some things simply don’t go together. Like salad and ice cream. Like playoffs and the Giants. Like Chicago and the Olympics.
Hell of it is, it might happen.