Amateur Hour

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on March 5, 2012

Did it really not occur to the Obama administration from the beginning that a G8 summit held in my beloved home city needed more lead time than it got? Wouldn’t it have been better to not have scheduled the G8 summit in my beloved home city, given the fact that it did not have the lead time it needed to prepare? And to the extent that this sudden decision to move the G8 summit to Camp David was a reaction to the possibility of protests in my beloved home city, why did the Obama administration not realize from the outset that a summit held in my beloved home city might attract protests, especially given the presence of the Occupy movement, and other groups that are used to making spectacles of themselves every time a host of world leaders converge upon a particular municipality?

Of course, the decision to take the G8 summit away from Chicago will serve to harm the local economy, which was looking forward to the uptick in business that would have come from having the summit in the City of Big Shoulders. Hotels and restaurants will have to scramble to make alternative plans in order to realize something close to the revenue they were expecting to get from the summit. Cab drivers will have to find other ways to rake in the dough. Promising it to Chicago, and then taking it away so suddenly, will only serve to cause chaos, confusion, and resentment. The city has been given something of a black eye. And all of this is thanks to the actions of Chicago’s favorite son. One wonders what might have happened if Barack Obama got Chicago the 2016 Olympics. Maybe he would have arranged to have the games moved to Camp David at the last minute as well.

  • Martin Johnson

    Good.  This never made sense to a lot of us.  It appeared to be all downside and very little upside—the risk of riots or other great embarrassment was huge, and if it came off well all it would prove is that Chicago can handle a big meeting, as if that’s in doubt.

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