No wonder President Obama came away from Copenhagen empty-handed. Let's face it: the president doesn't have lots of experience in saying good things about the United States. The POTUS explained that he wanted the Olympics in Chicago because America needed to repair its image after what was going on during the past few years. In other words America sucks because of George Bush.
One of the legacies I want to see coming out of Chicago 2016 hosting of the Games is a reminder that America at its best is open to the world. And as has already been indicated, we are putting the full force of the White House and the State Department to make sure that not only is this a successful Games, but that visitors from all around the world feel welcome and will come away with a sense of the incredible diversity of the American people.
And I'm very impressed with part of the presentation that we made matching up host families for the athletes who are going to be there, because, as I said, Chicago, we've got -- we've got everybody. This could be a meeting in Chicago, because we look like the world. And I think that over the last several years sometimes that fundamental truth about the United States has been lost. And one of the legacies, I think, of this Olympics Games in Chicago would be a restoration of that understanding of what the United States is all about, and the United States' recognition of how we are linked to the world.
One of the first things managers taught me when I entered Advertising Sales was you never put down your own product. Whether it was a right decision for him to have attended that meeting or not, the only purpose of him going to the IOC meeting was to be the closer, the heavy hitting Chief Salesman. But the President told the IOC that America's world image is the pits. Hell, if your closer doesn't have confidence in the product, why should the buyer have any confidence?
President Obama can't blame IOC politics for the loss, like David Axelrod tried to neither spin, nor can he blame his right wing radio boogey met Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. The only one President Obama can blame is himself. He gave the IOC a reason to say no.
What Obama doesn't understand is whether you are selling magazine ads, a city for the Olympics or a peace strategy, being liked may get you the meeting, but it will never get you the sale. The truth is as long as America is the leading country in the world; everyone is going to delight in knocking us off our mantle. Rush Limbaugh said on Friday:
"He doesn't realize that the hatred for this country has not abated, and there may be some love for him but certainly there's no respect for him. And there certainly isn't a lot of love. We're being governed by an imbecile, folks, this does not happen. This is why presidents don't go to these things. You never know. And, by the way, how much did they spend on the bribes? You take two airplanes over there and you can load a lot of bribes in them. I think we have a metaphor for weakness here."
In the end Chicago didn't get the Olympics because our "rainmaker" did not know how to close, which has implications way beyond the Olympics. When he announced he was dropping the land based missile defense shield, whether it worked or not was not the issue, a true closer would have realized that the only thing that matters is that the Russians thought it worked. If the POTUS was truly the countries international "rainmaker," he would have extracted a concession such as sanctions on Iran, as a quid pro quo for dropping the program.
There is a great movie scene from the movie Glengarry Glen Ross that most people involved in sales can recite verbatim. In the movie, Jack Lemmon is salesman, who gets up to get a cup of coffee during a sales meeting. The new Sales Manager (Alec Baldwin), screams at him "Put That Coffee Down!" Lemmon looks at him quizzically. Baldwin screams at him again, "Put That Coffee Down! ---Coffee is For Closers." Even more than coffee, foreign policy is for closers, and unfortunately for the future of the United States, the man running our foreign policy is not a closer.
See also: The Obamas Violated First Three Rules of Selling
Sammy Benoit is the Editor of the Political Blog, The Lid