Peace, dude

by Maria on October 9, 2009

Wow, that was fast! President Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

I am sure many Americans (and others) will be thinking “It’s too soon. He hasn’t done anything yet!” Or even “Dude can’t even pass health care already, but he’s been elevated to international sainthood?”.

But this isn’t about domestic politics, or about what he’s done yet. President Obama has changed how the world feels about America. He’s lifted the planet’s mood. This guy is global Prozac.

There’s more to it than just the Bush presidency being a total downer for everyone in the world who cares about multi-lateralism or just wants to do business with the US. The tidal wave of bad faith Bush’s presidency created washed away any chance of progress in so many international initiatives.

Obama’s not a game changer per se, but he’s changed how people feel about playing the game, or whether they even want to.

Or, as the Nobel committee says;

“Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play”.

Of course that’s not the view of everyone outside of America. I’m at an informal meeting of donors, government reps and NGOs to talk about independent media and economic development. It’s a pretty international crowd, and opinions are about evenly split on whether Obama’s peace prize is sublime or ridiculous.

A Norwegian colleague says he’s torn. On the one hand, it’s a rush, the kind of news that makes you gasp in disbelief and get the giggles. On the other, it reflects how the prize was captured by the Norwegian parliament in the 1940s and has since moved far away from its original vision. The ‘leader of the free world’ and its army would never have won the prize for fighting militarism, as Alfred Nobel stipulated in his will a hundred years ago.

My worry; does the award give Obama more impetus to get stuff done, or is it just a slightly embarrassing prize for him turning up and breathing?

Either way, at least on his next trip to Scandinavia Obama won’t come home empty-handed.

{ 143 comments }

1

Walt 10.09.09 at 10:12 am

I had to check the link to make sure it wasn’t a joke that I wasn’t getting. That’s just bizarre.

2

alex 10.09.09 at 10:12 am

I would have loved to see him win it for actually achieving something. As it is, this is just embarrassing. I am actually surprised and disappointed, as I think about it, that he let a nomination go forward. I thought he seemed more grounded.

3

Maria 10.09.09 at 10:15 am

I’m not sure nominees get to veto their consideration. Does anyone know for sure?

4

dsquared 10.09.09 at 10:23 am

I’ve always thought that the Nobel Peace Prize committee could usefully take a leaf out of the National Eisteddfod’s book, and consider simply not awarding their prize in a year when none of the entries looked good enough. Surely it ought to be a basic criterion for winning a peace prize that you shouldn’t be currently fighting a war, or at the very least that you shouldn’t be increasing your commitment to a war you’re already fighting?

5

FlyingRodent 10.09.09 at 10:26 am

I would’ve thought “repeatedly bombing countries you haven’t declared war upon” might be a sticking point for the committee too, but that just shows what I know.

6

Doctor Slack 10.09.09 at 10:27 am

People have no control over whether they’re nominated. They can, however, turn down the prize. Hopefully Obama will be smart enough to do so, because it’s quite ridiculous. Beyond ridiculous, as he’s in the process of escalating the war in Afghanistan.

7

Doctor Slack 10.09.09 at 10:28 am

4: The funny thing is, the Peace Prize Committee has done just that before. They didn’t award a prize in 1948, I think it was, because there were no suitable living candidates.

8

Rck Moran 10.09.09 at 10:34 am

I came here because I knew I would get some honest reaction on this from the center-left. I am not disappointed.

A sitting president? That’s my only concern. It is, I believe, an attempt to meddle in our domestic politics. Knowing who has received this award in the past – those not disposed to speak kindly of the US – to have this award given to an American politician still serving in office can only boost his domestic standing. This calls into questions the motives of the committee.

I don’t think this is necessarily “ridiculous.” If you can give a peace prize to Yassar Arafat, the goalposts have been moved considerably with regard to the “ridiculous” charge.

9

alex 10.09.09 at 10:37 am

@3, 5: You’d think POTUS would have got wind of something like this, given he’s POTUS, fercrissakes…

10

a.y. mous 10.09.09 at 10:39 am

@1 – Me too!

This is ridiculous. Lost faith in the Nobel Peace Prize. The U. S. of A. should be censored, not feted for its current (and recent past) behaviour. And _this is_ for the President of the U. S. of A. Not Barack Obama.

11

chris y 10.09.09 at 10:43 am

My gob is well and truly smacked here. The ghost of LBJ, who actually achieved a considerable change for the better in American society while also running an endless unwinnable war, must be wondering what he did wrong.

OTOH, the Peace Prize was terminally discredited when it was awarded to Kissinger, so what the hell.

12

Johan A 10.09.09 at 10:43 am

I have to weigh in on the “This is ridiculous” side. I’m a fan of Obama’s, I’m delighted to see the steps the US is taking to become a respectable player in international diplomacy again, but the Norwegian parliament is destroying the last vestiges of respectability of the Peace prize. So far Obama’s only been doing his job. This isn’t meant as a prize to Obama, it’s meant as a kick in the Republican groin. (As such, it will fail and backfire.)

13

Deliasmith 10.09.09 at 10:46 am

Once you read it’s happened you see it was inevitable: three of the last eight have gone to US politicians. To put it another way, John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale are the only Democratic presidential candidates not to have won it since the Vietnam War (when, historians will recall, satire died as Henry Kissinger won it).

And…

Eistedfodd admirers – no prize was awarded in 1966, 1967 and 1972.

14

Ray 10.09.09 at 11:00 am

“You’re black? Oh, how wonderful! Have a prize!”
It’s ridiculous. Some of the things Obama wants to do are good, and could merit getting the prize. (Other things, not so much) But to get the prize because he makes a certain kind of liberal feel all squishy inside is insulting and embarrassing.

But, since Kissinger, etc, etc…

15

alex 10.09.09 at 11:00 am

I am so looking foward to the next 24 hours in the blogosphere… from a safe distance, anyway.

16

Frederic 10.09.09 at 11:01 am

It is an appalling lapse of judgement by the Nobel Committee.

17

nickhayw 10.09.09 at 11:15 am

Obama is a fly-killing ninja. As such, he does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

18

Ray 10.09.09 at 11:21 am

Someone just pointed out that the deadline for nominations is February 1st.
http://nobelpeaceprize.org/en_GB/nomination_committee/selection-process/
At which stage Obama’s contribution to world peace really was nothing more than not being George Bush.

19

James Conran 10.09.09 at 11:26 am

Embarrasing and ridiculous, gladdened though my heart was by his election victory, and sure though I am that I will never see a more sympathetic American president. Iraq goes on, Afghanistan intensifying and spiling ever more into Pakistan, yet to prove his bona fides on Israel-Palestine or climate change or indeed civil liberties…

Some excellent speeches which have restored nuclear disarmament to the international agenda – but no actual achievements on this front yet.

I guess this will be a political liability more than anything to him?

20

Detlef 10.09.09 at 11:29 am

What Ray said. Deadline February 1 and:


February-March – Short list. The Committee assesses the candidates’ work and prepares a short list.

21

DHM 10.09.09 at 11:42 am

If the Nobel is delivered in the manner of US foreign policy, they’ll be picking razor-sharp shards of it out of wedding guests in Maryland

22

Salient 10.09.09 at 11:46 am

It’s cool, everybody. They renamed it the IOC Consolation Prize Nobel Anticipatory Peace Prize. By the terms of acceptance, Obama is required to evolve the war in Afghanistan to non-military status by the end of this year, and reduce the US military budget by one quarter before 1 Feb 2010.

(Sigh.) In a sane and sensible world, “This guy is global Prozac” would not justify a Peace Prize. But we don’t live in a sane and sensible world, and arguably, we live in a world that needs as much global Prozac as the market will provide. So OK.

But I hope they admit Kanye West to the reception ceremony. “I know this is a historic moment for you Mr. President and I’mma let you finish, but Henry Kissinger was one of the best war-escalating Peace Prize recipients of all time! Of all time!”

Maybe some fine folks will stage a ceremony protest, realizing their harsh words for Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan are likely to be reprinted in papers the world round.

I look forward to having blog post screeds with the title The Ego has been Refueled forwarded to me for the next 48-72 hours. The folks who cheered when Obama was listened to “rejected” by the IOC Switzerland the ENTIRE WORLD, will now do an about-face and claim Obama is now provably part of a global conspiracy to take away their guns.

And that response, my friends, will make this “slightly embarrassing prize for him turning up and breathing” worth every blush.

23

Maurice Meilleur 10.09.09 at 11:58 am

And the GOP will get plenty of help from idiot stenographers like Gibbs and Cowell, who wrote the story Maria linked to, and who repeat Republican talking points for them unprompted. Check the last graf in the first version of the piece, which they removed (to their slight credit; what was it doing in there in the first place?) literally just as I was typing this:

‘Only a week ago, President Obama suffered a blow to his prestige when the International Olympic Committee, meeting in Copenhagen, awarded the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro despite a personal appearance by the president to promote a bid by Chicago. CNN quoted Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, as saying on Friday: “Oslo beats Copenhagen any day of the week.”‘

I should be able to draw the conclusion that the prize is inappropriate–which I do–without having to hear the adolescent slur that it’s all a part of the great big international ego trip that is the Obama presidency. I admit Salient’s vision of the GOP’s nutcases swinging about wildly is amusing, but still.

And I’ll add OT that if the graf does at least quote Emanuel correctly, Obama needs to stuff Biden in his mouth, or vice versa. You’re supposed to be defending the castle, dumbass, not picking up the cannonballs and carrying them the rest of the way in.

24

Chris Dornan 10.09.09 at 12:04 pm

Yes, I agree with all the above, but what really worries me is how this is going to play out politically. It is going to make it impossible to do just what Salient is proposing: scaling down any strategic commitments or making meaningful concessions for fear of looking as if he trying to please cheese-eating surrender monkeys. In a blackly ironic way, it could mark the highpoint of his peace-making political career.

25

john theibault 10.09.09 at 12:15 pm

This article is sobering about “aspirational” Nobels: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/07/30/dangerous_prize

26

Thom Brooks 10.09.09 at 12:19 pm

I am glad Obama won it, although I take the award to primarily congratulate his style of leadership: this is surely worthy of reward given the poverty of good sense we’ve been dealt by Bush & co.

27

Steve LaBonne 10.09.09 at 12:21 pm

WTF?? What in God’s name were they thinking?

The ghost of LBJ, who actually achieved a considerable change for the better in American society while also running an endless unwinnable war, must be wondering what he did wrong.

Wake me up when Obama has actually achieved any meaningful change in American society.

28

Russell Arben Fox 10.09.09 at 12:21 pm

He should respectfully decline the award. Seriously. Right now.

29

Walt 10.09.09 at 12:24 pm

Can he, though? I don’t see any way he can “respectfully” decline it.

30

Steve LaBonne 10.09.09 at 12:27 pm

He should respectfully decline the award. Seriously. Right now.

Seconded. Thirded. Fourthed.

Can he, though? I don’t see any way he can “respectfully” decline it.

Anything that can be paraphrased as “I am not worthy”. Eg., “I haven’t really been in office long enough to have accomplishments deserving of such an award” (which has the advantage of being true.)

31

Ginger Yellow 10.09.09 at 12:30 pm

My worry; does the award give Obama more impetus to get stuff done, or is it just a slightly embarrassing prize for him turning up and breathing?

Third option: it’s a big “F- you” to Bush and the Republicans.

32

Ano 10.09.09 at 12:30 pm

The nobel committee should win the nobel prize for satire.

33

Steve LaBonne 10.09.09 at 12:34 pm

The nobel committee should win the nobel prize for satire.

Nah, satire has been dead since they awarded the Peace Prize to Kissinger.

34

Salient 10.09.09 at 12:34 pm

This article is sobering about “aspirational” Nobels

Blast, I wish I’d thought to use “aspirational” and not anticipatory, above. I will console myself with the belief that the word ‘anticipatory’ sounds funnier.

I admit Salient’s vision of the GOP’s nutcases swinging about wildly is amusing, but still.

I joke because I feel exactly as Chris Dornan does, about this. They’ve very nearly guaranteed a holding pattern or even escalation in U.S. force presence in Afghanistan and Iraq through at least 2010. They know not what they f—ing do.

35

Salient 10.09.09 at 12:36 pm

Ooh, I like the idea of awarding a Nobel Prize for Satire. This needs to become a meme, stat.

36

Paul 10.09.09 at 12:38 pm

“Global Prozac” is a good epithet. How about Saint Obama ? I voted for the man , but he is not impressing me just yet. He is (in large part) a media darling, but I wonder if his foundation is built on solid rock or sand ? Lincoln is his hero, but he is nowhere near a Lincoln. Whether we admit it or not a lot of African-Americans and Liberals give the man a pass, because of his pigmentation. And a lot of Americans criticize him at evry turn for the same reason – although they won’t admit it. Yes, race does play a great part with this President.

37

ChrisNBama 10.09.09 at 12:38 pm

For all the concerns that the Nobel Peace Prize is undeserved, or at the very least premature, it seems to be quite inline with the founder’s wishes:

“to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

In short, this award seems to be reserved for heads of state more than the average joe. Whereas there are people we’d prefer be honored, not many folks have the sort of stature as envisioned by the founder, Alfred Nobel, to actually qualify for the award.

That said, while I have my own reservations about this pick–namely that it will provide fodder for his political enemies–it seems that Obama certainly qualifies for the award in the spirit that it was originally intended.

38

Joshua W. Burton 10.09.09 at 12:42 pm

Does the guy carrying the nuclear “football” have to stand on the podium with him when he accepts it, or do they have a procedure where he can sit a few rows back and just knock people out of the way if necessary?

39

Harry 10.09.09 at 12:43 pm

Declining it very publicly is the only possible way of making political capital out of this. (I know that, with other Nobel Prizes, there is no way of vetoing one’s nomination, and no real way of declining in advance).

Ridiculous. It would be hilarious if, as several people have said, it didn’t create sucha risk of bad consequences.

40

rea 10.09.09 at 12:43 pm

Obama’s contribution to world peace really was nothing more than not being George Bush.

Which might well be the biggest contribution to the cause of world peace anyone’s made in the last decade.

41

Leinad 10.09.09 at 12:45 pm

Good to see the Nobel Committee back on the paint fumes.

42

JoB 10.09.09 at 12:46 pm

4 – it’s not the Nobel Pacificism Prize, now is it?

43

Sebastian 10.09.09 at 12:52 pm

I don’t think this will matter for Obama at all, either way. I don’t think he should decline, either (because that would just create more of an uproar and distraction)
I do think it’s a terrible, terrible move for the noble peace prize.
Because
a) the remaining shred of legitimacy it may have had with some conservatives is now definitely (and, sad to say, justifiably) gone and
b) what a waste of resources. The prize can do actual good if awarded to some lesser known person or entity – to provide moral legitimacy and in some cases even important funding. Shirin Ebadi was such a case. Ramos Horta and Bishop Belo were. The anti-landmine campaign arguably, too.

Not good at all.

44

Steve LaBonne 10.09.09 at 12:54 pm

JoB- actually, that’s fairly close to being what Nobel intended: “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition [emphasis mine] or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” I don’t think he’d have been at all amused by an award to the head of an actively belligerent state.

45

Maria 10.09.09 at 12:57 pm

37 – Though, in fairness, the committee has publicly rewritten the criteria for the award. Nobel would likely disagree with where they’ve taken it, but the committee has explicitly changed the rules to, they say, move with the times.

46

Salient 10.09.09 at 12:59 pm

We’re not the only ones thinking about a declined award.

Front page of nobelprize.org:

Facts on the Nobel Peace Prize
Has anyone declined the Nobel Peace Prize? Learn more about the Peace Prize Laureates here!

47

belle le triste 10.09.09 at 1:01 pm

to be fair, “being a lincoln” is not going to win anyone any pacifism prizes

48

novakant 10.09.09 at 1:19 pm

Oh, so Obama has dismantled the military-industrial complex ? Cool!

49

ajay 10.09.09 at 1:20 pm

Obama’s contribution to world peace really was nothing more than not being George Bush.

Soft bigotry of low expectations.

50

Salient 10.09.09 at 1:21 pm

Dr. Slack, it’s always been my understanding that there was supposed to be an award in 1948, and it was going to be a rather big deal, but the guy who was to get the award was assassinated… hence the otherwise curious language in the announcement that “there was no suitable living candidate” in 1948…

…but the Nobel prize site is frustratingly inconsistent about this. On the one hand, the website asserts that the committee did not award a Peace prize to Ghandi posthumously because posthumous prizes are prohibited; on the other hand, it asserts that this rule was established in the 70s… :-/

51

dsquared 10.09.09 at 1:24 pm

Declining it very publicly is the only possible way of making political capital out of this

I don’t see this at all. Let’s be clear – this is the Nobel Prize For Not Being Bush. It is the big “welcome back” from the international community, which has more or less written the USA off over the last eight years. Throwing it back in their faces can’t be done respectfully because it’s clearly not a prize for Obama’s achievements, any more than Krugman’s was for new trade theory; it’s a prize for America, for not being Nixonland any more.

And the political capital will create itself. The wingnuts are going to go apeshit about this. And they’re going to do so in the nastiest way possible and damage themselves badly. Specifically, I predict that they’re going to do enough “affirmative action” jokes to irritate the black vote into showing up for a midterm in the same numbers they did for the Presidential. The jujitsu approach of acting graciously and allowing his enemies to demonstrate what kind of people they are is Obama’s chief political strategy.

52

Barry 10.09.09 at 1:25 pm

Sebastian 10.09.09 at 12:52 pm

“…I do think it’s a terrible, terrible move for the noble peace prize.
Because
a) the remaining shred of legitimacy it may have had with some conservatives is now definitely (and, sad to say, justifiably) gone …”

First, perhaps us liberals should care less about what you right-wingers think – and much less so after the administration of George ‘Deciderer’ Bush. When we’ve cleaned up the mess you left us, we’ll have a moral requirement to listen to you.

Second, you’re talking as if the right cared about the Nobel Peace Prize; my take is that they scorn it, because they value war more highly.

53

dsquared 10.09.09 at 1:28 pm

a) the remaining shred of legitimacy it may have had with some conservatives

Norway to conservatives: the culture wars are over and you lost.

54

Harry 10.09.09 at 1:29 pm

Ok, daniel, I can see that, and its cheered me up immensely.

55

L. H. 10.09.09 at 1:37 pm

…any more than Krugman’s was for new trade theory

I agree with everything you’ve written so far but this? I’m surprised that anyone (outside of American conservatives) would think that Krugman’s prize was that premature. Is this view common?

56

Steve LaBonne 10.09.09 at 1:40 pm

Ok, daniel, I can see that, and its cheered me up immensely.

Ditto, and I’ll try to look at it that way. (Not that I think we remotely deserve it as a country, either…)

57

matthias 10.09.09 at 1:42 pm

Kissinger was a war criminal and just kind of a monster overall. But he did, in fact, do quite a bit to de-escalate the Cold War. Obama “changed the mood?”

58

Russell Arben Fox 10.09.09 at 1:44 pm

Declining it very publicly is the only possible way of making political capital out of this.

I completely agree with Harry in this.

Throwing it back in their faces can’t be done respectfully because it’s clearly not a prize for Obama’s achievements, any more than Krugman’s was for new trade theory; it’s a prize for America, for not being Nixonland any more.

I completely disagree with dsquared in this, as I do with his later, all-too-celebratory claim that “conservatives lost the culture war.” Obama and his people would never, I hope, be so stupid as to casually dismiss a large chunk of the 47% of the voting population who cast a vote for someone besides Obama, and we who identify in one way or another with the left shouldn’t think that way either. Much of the wingnut opposition to Obama is driven by racism and other forms of useless bitterness, but not all of it is, and embracing the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s well-intended but ultimately silly gesture as a way of giving the finger to Kansas won’t do one damn thing to help get health care reform passed.

59

Salient 10.09.09 at 1:45 pm

On the plus side, Obama can basically dust off the Cairo speech and give it again:

We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world – tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West America and the world includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars.

So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end.

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam the rest of the world are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, “Be conscious of God and speak always the truth.” That is what I will try to do – to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.

Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.

For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.

This is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes subjugating one another to serve their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; progress must be shared.

Et cetera.

60

David 10.09.09 at 1:46 pm

“Let’s be clear – this is the Nobel Prize For Not Being Bush.”

Didn’t Jimmy Carter and Al Gore already both win that one?

61

The Raven 10.09.09 at 1:47 pm

“Surely it ought to be a basic criterion for winning a peace prize that you shouldn’t be currently fighting a war, or at the very least that you shouldn’t be increasing your commitment to a war you’re already fighting?”

You are my new hero.

I suppose it could be worse. After all Henry Kissinger was given (I am unable to write “won”) a Nobel Peace Prize.

62

engels 10.09.09 at 1:47 pm

If this was given to Obama on the basis of a comparison with Bush then by the same logic he ought to get the literature prize and the science prizes.

63

Russell Arben Fox 10.09.09 at 1:48 pm

Well said, David. At least Jimmy Carter’s and Al Gore’s years of “Not-Being-Bush” credentials offered the committee more of a fig leaf than this award does.

64

Salient 10.09.09 at 1:49 pm

And really, my earlier playful comment that this is “the Nobel Anticipatory Peace Prize” is a lot more true and makes a lot more sense when you think about it in terms of the acceptance speech Obama is going to give.

65

dude 10.09.09 at 1:53 pm

What a howler…You begin to wonder if an international organization can damage their brand further after nominating Arafat as a recipient but then they elect Obama after he’s been president for 11 days!!! The balloting closed 11 days after he had been elected. Hilarious.
http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2009/10/nobel-oblige-in-peace-prize-careful-what-you-dont-wish-for.html

66

belle le triste 10.09.09 at 1:54 pm

oslo can of course retrieve all wingnut credibility by giving the lit prize to bill ayers for “dreams from my father”

67

dsquared 10.09.09 at 1:57 pm

Obama and his people would never, I hope, be so stupid as to casually dismiss a large chunk of the 47% of the voting population who cast a vote for someone besides Obama

Are you seriously trying to claim that every single McCain voter is so rabidly partisan that they would regard it as a disgrace (rather than an honour, which it palpably obviously is) if the President of the USA were to accept one of the world’s highest honours, on behalf of the USA?

68

Salient 10.09.09 at 1:59 pm

engels, I’m not completely unconvinced that Obama would be (or will be) undeserving of the Literature prize. I mean, it was awarded to Churchill for “brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”

69

Alex 10.09.09 at 2:02 pm

Actually, early indicators of the impact are disappointing. LGF looks subdued. Malkin’s comment thread has already broached the “affirmative action” jape, but there’s nothing really creative yet. Redstate isn’t that insane either. They’re all essentially going “WHAT!??” at each other.

Perhaps they need to work through the Kubler-Ross cycle a bit further before they really freak.

70

Steve LaBonne 10.09.09 at 2:05 pm

Perhaps they need to work through the Kubler-Ross cycle a bit further before they really freak.

Give us time to get the popcorn going.

71

Salient 10.09.09 at 2:05 pm

It begins! Free Republic:

“President Barack Obama has been named the 2009 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and winner of baseball’s National and American League Cy Young Awards.”

72

salacious 10.09.09 at 2:05 pm

d2, it just fits too neatly into the narrative of inexperienced unamerican arrogance. It’s not even necessarily a partisan thing–I can see plenty of democrats and independents feeling vague distaste about the whole thing.

As a first approximation, respectfully declining could be a very smart play. “Not while we still have work to do in afghanistan, economy is still ravaging ordinary americans, etc.”

I suspect he’s going to stall for time while they try to anticipate how the media narrative will evolve.

73

Steve LaBonne 10.09.09 at 2:07 pm

By the way, how long until Obama reveals that his real name is Nicolae Carpathia?

74

belle le triste 10.09.09 at 2:07 pm

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson returns his Nobel prize to protest the US government’s involvement in Afghanistan and the poor review of Annie’s new LP on Pitchfork

75

Russell Arben Fox 10.09.09 at 2:08 pm

Are you seriously trying to claim that every single McCain voter is so rabidly partisan that they would regard it as a disgrace (rather than an honour, which it palpably obviously is) if the President of the USA were to accept one of the world’s highest honours, on behalf of the USA?

Hardly. I am, however, claiming that treating the Peace prize–or allowing conservative stooges to set us up to treat the prize as–a victory lap in the continuing culture wars will almost certainly not win Obama one vote or one sympathizer, but rather will make his job harder. While a graceful, humble declining of the award will rob his opponents of ammunition, and will perhaps win him a vote or a sympathizer here or there. (Besides, I would be astonished if anything more than a tiny percentage of McCain voters would agree with you that the Nobel Peace Prize is “one of the world’s highest honors.” )

76

Russell Arben Fox 10.09.09 at 2:10 pm

I can see plenty of democrats and independents feeling vague distaste about the whole thing.

Salacious, I agree.

77

Salient 10.09.09 at 2:14 pm

Umm, LGF is no a longer hard-core crazy right wing website.

But here’s some more Free Republic:

I am surprised they didn’t give him the prize for science to because of his amazing ability to READ a teleprompter.

I thought affirmative action was just an American phenomenon.

Who would of thought you could accomplish to much in life just by being black and able to read.

And in another sense, he deserves it to: For bowing to a Saudi king (did it close to, if not within the 10 day window). In a sarcastic sort of way…

I think they felt sorry for him, and gave him the medal as a consolation prize for not being able to bring the Olympics to Chicago.

And Barry, there’s plenty of confirmation for your hypothesis:

If he truly had America’s interest at heart he would tell the committee thanks but he can’t accept the award and promptly order the 40,000 more troops that the General requested to Afghanistan.

OK, I’m done exposing this thread to carcinogens now.

78

Antti Nannimus 10.09.09 at 2:17 pm

Hi,

How soon we forget. This award has nothing to do with George Bush, who already had a fork in him. What did Obama do for world peace? In 2008, through his vision, courage, leadership, and audacity, Barak Obama saved the entire world from the specter of a John McCain-Sarah Palin U.S. presidential administration. For that alone he deserves a Super-Nobel prize with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry on top!

Have a nice day!
Antti

79

Salient 10.09.09 at 2:18 pm

I can see plenty of democrats and independents feeling vague distaste about the whole thing.

I can see basically everyone who has been advocating for withdrawal of armed forces from Iraq and agitating against escalation in Afghanistan just cringing at the news, or at least feeling awkward about it.

80

Ano 10.09.09 at 2:21 pm

Engels:

If this was given to Obama on the basis of a comparison with Bush then by the same logic he ought to get the literature prize and the science prizes.

I LOLd

81

Phil 10.09.09 at 2:22 pm

The jujitsu approach of acting graciously and allowing his enemies to demonstrate what kind of people they are

It’s a great approach – a year on he still strikes me as cooler than any POTUS has a right to be. But I wonder how it plays with people who aren’t predisposed to like leftish intellectuals. I suspect that to a lot of people his shtick comes over as “acting gracious and cleverer than you” (“I think it’s important to realise that I was actually Black before the election”…), and I suspect a lot of those people aren’t particularly charmed as a result. But if you can’t exclude ignorant bigots, who the hell can you exclude?

82

Mrs Tilton 10.09.09 at 2:22 pm

Alex @60,

Redstate isn’t that insane either

O ye of little faith. Did you seriously believe, even for a moment, that Erick Erickson would disappoint? Here is the very first sentence of his post on the matter at 8.22 this morning, Inbred Cracker Time:

I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news.

I won’t track red-clay mud all over CT’s floor by giving the malignant thicko a link, but I imagine the post must still be on Red State’s front page.

83

Alex 10.09.09 at 2:24 pm

Oh yes, there we go:

Obama HUMBLED?

Mr. ARROGANT, RACIST with the chip on the should ENTITLEMENT?

Obama is a sorry excuse for a human being and EVERYTHING you should NOT look up to or want your kids to emulate. Obama is EVIL. I wonder … is their an international ACORN group pulling the strings for this insane stuff?

Free Republic, the Web forum for people who really don’t like republics or freedom.

84

Salient 10.09.09 at 2:26 pm

What did Obama do for world peace? In 2008, through his vision, courage, leadership, and audacity, Barack Obama saved the entire world from the specter of a John McCain-Sarah Palin U.S. presidential administration.

!

…Antti wins.

85

JoB 10.09.09 at 2:27 pm

37- fairly is not completely and, though I don’t care much what he actually would have thought, your quote surely does anything but disqualify Obama. Maybe, see 44 – there should be an addendum – “The prizes might shock those with a pure AngloSaxon angle on anything.” If this prize makes US/UK citizens realize that there is opinion out there which is not voiced from a US/UK point of view, the prize will not be as ridiculous as I first thought ;-)

86

Alex 10.09.09 at 2:30 pm

Actually, I was aware that Charles Johnson had met some of the people he thought he agreed with, and had a horrible surprise, but I wasn’t aware just how far this had gone. The current front page has a story on Big Tobacco lobbyists morphing into climate change dodgers, another on Michelle Bachmann being crazy…it’s almost like consensus reality in there.

87

Uncle Kvetch 10.09.09 at 2:31 pm

I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news.

They’re disappointing me. I was expecting lots of One-World-Government stuff, rootless cosmopolitan, transnationalist, loved by foreigners, etc…but it looks like most of it is just going to be blackity-black-black-black. Yawn.

C’mon, wingnuts–you’ve never let me down before.

88

Maurice Meilleur 10.09.09 at 2:33 pm

Russell, I think the prize was a mistake, too, and so I’m sympathetic to your arguments, but really: ‘a graceful, humble declining of the award will rob his opponents of ammunition …’?

If the last 8 months (at least) have taught us anything, it’s that grace and humility to the GOP’s base are only signals that they should start kicking harder. At this point, Obama should do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, because the calculations of politics assume a system that is no longer functioning as it ought to. I predict that if he declines, the same people on the right who will be screaming today about his ego and the meaninglessness of world opinion will accuse him tomorrow of false modesty and not wanting the US to look like a strong and virtuous leader in the eyes of the world.

89

Steve LaBonne 10.09.09 at 2:35 pm

C’mon, wingnuts—you’ve never let me down before.

They’re not as creative as you give them credit for, I’m afraid. It really is the blackity-black-black that by far most sticks in their craw. “Black person in charge” is like antimatter in their bizarro mental universe.

90

LFC 10.09.09 at 2:37 pm

Declining, no matter how it is phrased, would be taken as an insult to that portion of the ‘international community’ which still regards the prize seriously and whose good will Obama needs to pursue many of his as-yet-unfulfilled objectives. Also, as dsquared said upthread, there is really no way to decline graciously and without looking absurdly unctuous and actually more self-important than if he just goes, accepts, makes the speech, and has done with it. Declining is not on; I would be extremely surprised if it happens.

91

dsquared 10.09.09 at 2:40 pm

Besides, I would be astonished if anything more than a tiny percentage of McCain voters would agree with you that the Nobel Peace Prize is “one of the world’s highest honors.”

but that was 47% of the American population, and most of them don’t know what the Peace Prize is? Christ, Russell, if you think America’s like that, why do you still live there?

92

salacious 10.09.09 at 2:42 pm

LFC, that’s probably true, although Obama might make a rational calculus that he has capital to spare internationally and would prefer to trade some in for an improved domestic image. And even if he does accept it, he sure as hell needs to project mild embarrassment: “ok, well, if you say so guys….”

93

Joshua W. Burton 10.09.09 at 3:05 pm

The race angle is actually the crucial clue to make sense of this farce. It’s not about GWB at all.

It’s a belated attempt to spit on Woodrow Wilson’s grave.

94

smarter than YOU are 10.09.09 at 3:07 pm

Salient wrote:

“Umm, LGF is no a longer hard-core crazy right wing website.”

But it is still pro-USA and pro-Israel.

95

james 10.09.09 at 3:12 pm

He should graciously accept it. Acknowledge that there is a long way to go towards achieving true and last peace. Then move on to another topic.

Most people on right think the Nobel Peace Prize is a complete joke after it was awarded to Yaser Arafat in 1994.

96

Ray 10.09.09 at 3:18 pm

Think of it this way guys, Your REPUBLICAN President had such a NEGATIVE affect on our WORLD, that the nobel peace prize commitee is willing to acknowledge the courage of a man who’s willing to put forth the dedication and resilience towards cleaning up YOUR President’s screw ups, WITHOUT those actions even being accomplished yet!!!! Far fetched?…Maybe. But I guess the excitement of having a President who actually has our well being at heart, still hasn’t grown old!!!!!!

97

Barry 10.09.09 at 3:27 pm

dsquared: “Are you seriously trying to claim that every single McCain voter is so rabidly partisan that they would regard it as a disgrace (rather than an honour, which it palpably obviously is) if the President of the USA were to accept one of the world’s highest honours, on behalf of the USA?”

Russell Arben Fox : “Hardly. I am, however, claiming that treating the Peace prize—or allowing conservative stooges to set us up to treat the prize as—a victory lap in the continuing culture wars will almost certainly not win Obama one vote or one sympathizer, but rather will make his job harder. While a graceful, humble declining of the award will rob his opponents of ammunition, and will perhaps win him a vote or a sympathizer here or there. (Besides, I would be astonished if anything more than a tiny percentage of McCain voters would agree with you that the Nobel Peace Prize is “one of the world’s highest honors.” )”

So far, the rightwingers seem to interpret ‘graceful’ and ‘humble’ as ‘weak’ and ‘unamerican’. Frankly, how about we do the best that we can, and let the sh*theads freak?

We’ve had 8 years of letting the id rule the country, and it didn’t turn out so well.

98

NomadUK 10.09.09 at 3:29 pm

Well, that’s that:

Mr Obama – woken up with the news early on Friday – said in an address at the White House that he was “surprised and deeply humbled” by the award.

He said he did not feel he deserved to be in the company of some of the “transformative figures” who had previously received the award.

Speaking outside the White House, he said he would accept the prize as a “call to action”.

99

NomadUK 10.09.09 at 3:29 pm

Damn HTML thingies.

100

Moe 10.09.09 at 3:58 pm

“Peace Dude” another wingnut from Alaska???? The beauty is that Barack Obama is our President – saving us and the “ugly americans” most of which I believe wrote blogs here – from the Palin regime Thank God….Imagine a “first Dude” (sick, trailer trashy, embarassing)….yep even us people on the left do believe in God. Thank you “Antti” for your lovely words…..the rest of you need to soul search – most especially the ones that are mentioning race. George W. promoted such hatred of America —-Obama has his work cut out for him. By awarding him the Peace Prize recognizes his character — so congratulations Barack and get busy proving yourself.

101

anxiousmodernman 10.09.09 at 4:02 pm

Wow. We all fall a little deeper down the rabbit hole.

102

Henri Vieuxtemps 10.09.09 at 4:15 pm

Well, he did cancel missile deployment in Poland and Czech Republic. Probably moved that Doomsday Clock a couple seconds back.

103

Sebastian 10.09.09 at 4:34 pm

“First, perhaps us liberals should care less about what you right-wingers think – and much less so after the administration of George ‘Deciderer’ Bush. When we’ve cleaned up the mess you left us, we’ll have a moral requirement to listen to you.”
uhm – who is the “you” in that sentence? If that refers to me, I’m most likely considerably to your left, which is why I’m not particularly excited about a centrist pol with already high exposure getting a prize that could do a lot of good for a lesser known genuine progressive. (cf. also the comments about actual Obama policies above).
And yet, I do think it’s worthwhile to try to maintain some common goals with at least parts of the conservative movement, especially where human rights, democracy, and poverty reduction are concerned. That’s of course very limited, but think of someone like Aung San Suu Kyi as a good example of how this can work. I just don’t see the prize having any effect whatsoever if it’s not viewed as somewhat nonpartisan at least.

“Second, you’re talking as if the right cared about the Nobel Peace Prize; my take is that they scorn it, because they value war more highly.”
who is “they”? Dick Cheney? Maybe. The entire conservatice movement? I don’t think so. And note that I said “last shred of…”

And as for d2 scenario – really? You think that? In which country have you lived these last months? I think right-wingers will spew, liberals will be outraged by some of their more crazy spewing, blacks and young people will still not show up in large numbers for midterm elections and median voter types won’t care. The political effect of this for US politics is going to be zero.

Btw. there is a precedent for declining the nobel peace – Le Duc Tho refused the 1973 prize with Kissinger (and Kissinger apparently attempted in vain to return it. Apparently the runner up in 1973 was Helder Camara, which brings me full circle: The alternative to giving the price to politicians is often to give it to genuine progressives, sometimes even actual leftists like Camara.

104

Michael Bérubé 10.09.09 at 4:35 pm

An interesting defense of the prize, with caveats and a point or two about North Korea, Iran, and … especially … Honduras.

As for the idea that anything Obama does could rob his opponents of ammunition: Russell, perhaps you have just returned from an eight-month vacation on a remote South Pacific island? The man’s choice of mustard is an outrage. Perhaps if Bill Ayers finally copped to being the author of Dreams from … no, wait, that didn’t seem to work either.

105

Jamaicafest 10.09.09 at 4:35 pm

It would have been better if the Nobel Committee had waited a few years to be in a position to assess the impact of President Obama’s peace initiatives before considering him for a prize.

106

JoB 10.09.09 at 4:36 pm

And he did, almost, do away with the abomination called G8. Probably made the world a more, well, worldly place.

107

Substance McGravitas 10.09.09 at 4:56 pm

He should, right now, choose some family bankrupted by their child’s illness to give the money to and accept the award, while insisting on his unworthiness.

108

mpowell 10.09.09 at 5:52 pm

I’m sorry Russell, but I think your argument has the consistency problems that others are pointing out.

If 47% of the electorate is so rabidly anti-Democrat that Obama accepting this prize will piss them off even further, then that 47% is already a lost cause. If, on the other hand, this simply serves as a reminder to the persuadable that Obama is really hugely more popular and effective in his approach in dealing with the international community than the Republican alternatives, I don’t see any benefit in turning down the prize. The whole lesson Obama brings to the table is that respectful engagement is the best path forward. Spurning the Nobel committee is playing the game like a Republican.

On another note, I think this award is defensible. Maybe Obama doesn’t deserve full credit, but beating John McCain may have done quite a lot of good for world peace, in spite of the wars that Obama apparently intends to continue.

109

Steve LaBonne 10.09.09 at 7:07 pm

On reflection I think Obama has now done precisely the right thing, by accepting the prize (which really creates far less to-do than turning it down would do) while making it clear that he knows it’s not a reward for his personal achievements (which he rightly describes as modest compared to some of the past winners) but rather a call to action. As much as I often disagree with him, the man does have a lot of class and he can generally be relied on to hit the correct tone on occasions such as this.

110

D.R.M. 10.09.09 at 7:12 pm

LBJ, who actually achieved a considerable change for the better in American society

Yeah. From 1948-1964, poverty was declining at a rate of 0.89 percentage points a year. Then LBJ passed his War on Poverty, and since then poverty has been declining an average of 0.00 percentage points a year. What a considerable change for the better, ending all progress against poverty in America.

111

JoB 10.09.09 at 7:13 pm

Look at the other bright sides: at least you won’t have to say WTF? to this specific BS 2 or 6 years down the road:

“He’s just doing it to earn his place in history as the President of World Peace.”

112

The Raven 10.09.09 at 7:20 pm

Not for “not being Bush.” For defeating John McCain. Since McCain would probably have invaded Iran upon taking office, I suppose Obama has, in fact, made a great contribution to world peace. My brothers and sisters are very disappointed.

113

Colin Danby 10.09.09 at 7:34 pm

It’s not hard to make the prize committee rational: (a) the prize is an effort to intervene in the world, not a retrospective evaluation of accomplishment, and (b) the U.S. administration seems to be at a decision moment over escalation in Afghanistan, among other things. It’s a transparent effort at positive reinforcement.

There’s also a larger point about the cultural economy of awards. Annual awards are publicity machines. You want publicity, you need controversy. What would be more boring than prizing a succession of uncontroversial do-gooders?

114

akatsuki 10.09.09 at 8:06 pm

As long as he continues to cover up war crimes and torture – I can’t really say that awarding a peace prize to a man complicit in such immoral acts is warranted. Regardless of what he might achieve on the world stage eventually.

115

Jenna Moran 10.09.09 at 8:58 pm

I am pretty sure that it can’t be an award for not being George W. Bush. To pick just one example, Maya Angelou has been not George W. Bush for longer and is also more different from George W. Bush than President Obama. For example, Maya Angelou has never been President of the United States, a prominent feature of George W. Bush’s life, while President Obama has. Also her last name is even longer than President Obama’s, while “Bush” is very short. If there were to be an award for not being George W. Bush she would beat out President Obama by a landslide, and would be comparable in her ability to give an acceptance speech afterwards.

116

dizzy 10.09.09 at 10:02 pm

Colin Danby “the prize is an effort to intervene in the world, not a retrospective evaluation of accomplishment, and (b) the U.S. administration seems to be at a decision moment over escalation in Afghanistan, among other things. It’s a transparent effort at positive reinforcement.

Another example –
The prize for the anti-mine organization was offered when countries like the US, Chana & Israel had still not ratified the convention.

117

Erisian 10.09.09 at 10:17 pm

I hereby nominate the Nobel Prize Committee in Oslo for the Ig Nobel Award for Peace in 2010.

118

Bill Jones 10.09.09 at 10:46 pm

Do you have any candidates for people who have killed more people than Obama in the last 9 months?

119

soru 10.09.09 at 11:07 pm

@114: On the other hand, the gap between the number of people he _could_ have killed and those he actually _did_ is probably greater than anyone else you can name.

Except maybe the head of maintenance at the Aswan or Three Gorges Dam..

120

Barry 10.09.09 at 11:09 pm

Michael Bérubé 10.09.09 at 4:35 pm

” As for the idea that anything Obama does could rob his opponents of ammunition: Russell, perhaps you have just returned from an eight-month vacation on a remote South Pacific island? The man’s choice of mustard is an outrage. Perhaps if Bill Ayers finally copped to being the author of Dreams from … no, wait, that didn’t seem to work either.”

Thank you, Michael. Ruessell, as Michael has put it so nicely, it’s been a rare thing in the last 9 months for the the right to be other than frothing angry at everything that Obama has done and not done. And this frothing anger is from people who, to put it bluntly but accurately, kissed Bush’s *ss as he trashed things for 8 years.

People like that are not going to be appeased. Obama has spent several months trying to appease a large chunk of them; they spurned him.

You, Russell, are not representative of the right. Most of the people on the right would repudiate you the minute they realized that you don’t support corporations sucking the lifeblood out of this country, and don’t support the war of the day.

121

mars 10.09.09 at 11:28 pm

What has Obama done to deserve the Peace prize?

Um…How ’bout this: He kept the world’s largest nuclear arsenal out of the hands of John McCain, a man whose idea of foreign policy begins and ends with bombing runs.

Hell, they should give BHO the NP Prize for each of the next 3 years, too.

122

Lee A. Arnold 10.10.09 at 2:40 am

It is a great decision and Obama absolutely should accept it. In addition to pissing off the Right it has revealed the Left’s congenital inability to think strategically into the future further than 10 minutes. The point is how do we get to a better world. It starts with rhetoric that reaches into the heart, and lots of it. The ancient world knew this. The Nobel Committee has chosen to shift in some years from awarding accomplished peacemakers to setting up the rhetorical means for making it happen. There’s a good deal of danger in that, for the Committee — and they have also made it hard for Obama in some immediate ways, such as in his Afghanistan policy. But this ups Obama’s hand in dealing with the leadership in Mideast countries where their publics have aspirations for peace and they can use the Nobel to vocalize it in a way which isn’t dangerous to them from their own governments. Obama can also use the acceptance speech to talk to people more generally, and if he is to become a true world leader, which is what we need, this is the way to go. I am heartened by the fact that the Nobel Committee has some grasp of what the world needs, and is willing to place a bet. Only in the West do we think that things can be changed just by getting elected — it’s insane. The work merely begins, then. Good leaders can’t do it in a vacuum (and this is pretty much what the U.S. Left provides, in any practical sense.) Daniel got it partly right at #51 and I’m surprised everybody else didn’t think of that when they first heard the news. I have begun to wonder whether Obama’s biggest problem — the virulent Right being despicable clowns — isn’t really the cynics in his own party. If he doesn’t get all the help he can, then how stupid is everybody, anyhow?

123

Salient 10.10.09 at 3:10 am

Final thought of the day: This award, obliquely or not, inadvertently or not, is Oslo’s gift to Americans without health care.

OK, can’t resist one more final thought of the day:

Nobel died in 1896 and did not leave an explanation for choosing peace as a prize category… Scholars who studied Nobel have said it was Nobel’s way to compensate for developing destructive forces (Nobel’s inventions included dynamite and ballistite)… the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an Irish nationalist organization, did carry out dynamite attacks in the 1880s and he was instrumental in turning Bofors from an iron company to an armaments company whilst he owned it.</b

So, while I sympathize with and even share the concerns of akatsuki and others, I’m not specifically convinced that Alfred Nobel would be spinning in his grave about this.

And (to be romantic for a moment) if the conferral of this award in any way helps to ensure that there is no U.S. escalation in, and in fact there is withdrawal of U.S. armed forces from, Afghanistan and Iraq, it would be entirely within the bounds of reason and propriety for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize committee to award the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize committee with the 2010 Peace Prize.

124

roger 10.10.09 at 4:57 am

Decline it, accept it – who cares? The more important news is that Obama also won the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes, according to the latest announcement:

“The latest PCH winner is a man who can use an extra 500 billion dollars – which is exactly the amount of the prize this year! Publisher’s Clearing House is proud to announce that this year’s Winner is a Mr. Barack Obama of Washington, D.C. The PCH prize came at the perfect time, as Mr. Obama was wondering how to make good on a promise he had apparently made to put in place something called a “public option”. ‘I was looking in the drawers of the waterhutch and under the cushions of the sofa in the Lincoln Bedroom, thinking that I’d dropped five hundred billion dollars somewhere. Then PCH came along!” Barack and his family were frankly ready to lose their house. ‘I’d never keep this place if all I do is shovel trillions of dollars to the superrich, who own a buncha busted banks and asked for my help!” But the power of positive thinking – and The PCH Prize! changed Mr. Obama’s life: “What a blessing! I have a chance for reelection, and can extend health care without getting my friends in the insurance business mad at me. Thanks again, Publisher’s Clearinghouse. You made it all happen!”

125

JoB 10.10.09 at 8:58 am

salient, LOL!

126

Jörgen in Germany 10.10.09 at 11:27 am

Obama deserves the prize just for beating McCain in the election. Just think where we would be, and where the world would be heading, otherwise

127

Thom Brooks 10.10.09 at 12:38 pm

I think that removing the neo-cons from power is clearly an accomplishment well deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize.

128

epignosis 10.10.09 at 3:19 pm

Could not help but notice that the Nobel Peace Prize was not awarded during 1939-1943. Was there no “hope and change” person available. Perhaps it was to the benefit of Norway that some nations remained capable of waging war to purchase freedom for others less capable.
Perhaps, respectfully, the awarding committee members should be asked their opinions.

129

Erisian 10.10.09 at 6:35 pm

@121 (Mars) and 126 (Jorgen),
Gee, you are both so right. This man of hope and peace (yeah, right) has kept the bomb out of the hands of someone who actually knows what hell war is, and at the same time does nothing to keep it out of the hands of whacko extremists like Kim of N Korea or Ahmadinejad (sp?). Now that he has been annointed the prince of Peace (prize) he will sit back while the Taliban get the bomb when they take over Pakistan.

PARITY FOR ALL guarantees nothing but chaos!

130

Martin Bento 10.10.09 at 9:04 pm

Could’ve sworn I commented in this thread, but I don’t see it. Have I been censored, and, if so, why? What I said was that Obama, having generally continued and in some cases furthered Bush’s WOT policies wrt civil liberties, executive power, and due process, certainly does not deserve the prize, but perhaps having gotten it, he will feel pressure to live up to it, particularly if taunted about it when he does not. Is that an unacceptable statement here?

As for all those who think Obama deserves the prize simply for beating McCain, give me a break. Had Obama not run, Hillary Clinton would be in the White House now, pursuing very similar policies, probably with some of the same staff. She campaigned as well as he did, but didn’t strategize as well and was overconfident early on. Obama significantly underperformed the Democratic average this election, and McCain made serious blunders like suspending his campaign and nominating Palin. It would’ve been very hard for any competent Democrat to lose this election, and Obama probably should have done better.

Besides which, winning the election was his self-interest and his job. Had his opponent been a reasonable Republican like Linc Chafee, he would have campaigned just as hard and rightly so. Johnson didn’t get a Noble for beating Goldwater, nor Humphrey for beating Wallace, nor Edwards for beating Duke, all of whom were worse than McCain. The whole notion is preposterous.

131

Anne 10.10.09 at 11:44 pm

His acceptance was classy. But you guys are missing the point. They are awarding him the prize now because they can’t be sure of later.

132

Lichen 10.11.09 at 12:23 am

Well, I have noticed many conservative sites have been happy to proclaim Obama a failure. (Usually over and over.)

So, I’m not sure if the claim “too early to make judgements” really holds up on their part.

133

Anand 10.11.09 at 4:24 am

I would argue that the award of the Nobel Prize is perfectly logical. Bear with me as I try and do a behavioral experiment – just as a thought experiment. Supposing you have control of the board. Supposing you were a member of the Nobel Prize committee. Naturally, you felt a certain sense of responsibility about things, but also felt that you had some measure of control over how you would like to see things go moving forward. Now take a look at this website : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/sci_nat/04/climate_change/html/climate.stm. On the site, you have a slider. You get to move the slider up and down. Isn’t it perfectly logical to say that whereas you don’t know for sure that climate change is going to cause an increase in temperature of 7 degrees, the expected losses from not acting are extremely high (given that the damage function is convex), and so you would rather go with hope, change and the possibility of action? You want to consider the possibility that the world years from now might look like the figure on the right rather than the figure on the left. Is it really illogical to say that you would rather err on the side of caution if the question is one of not letting the climate in Africa get shot to hell and quite simply one of avoiding catastrophe?

134

mars 10.11.09 at 5:45 am

@ Erisian 10.10.09 at 6:35 pm

Your pal McCain also know what hell it is to get caught taking a bribe…

135

mars 10.11.09 at 5:45 am

@ Erisian 10.10.09 at 6:35 pm

Your pal McCain also knows what hell it is to get caught taking a bribe…

136

Erisian 10.11.09 at 6:29 am

@mars

On the lesser of two evils I’ll take someone who understands war and peace and might have been “caught taking a bribe…” over someone who rolls over for a belly rub from 5 Norwegians and basically looks like he cowers from anyone threatening him with a rolled newspaper. Besides, pot/kettle wise, ANYONE who came up through the political machine in Chicago has at least an understanding – if not an outright friendship – with corruption in politics.

It’s time to grow up and come back to this planet. POTUS has done jack squat with his domestic agenda besides bankrupt my great grandchildren and “nationalize” the auto industry and immediately hand ownership over to the UAW. Stimulus package? Viagra or soft core porn are both more stimulating than his $878 billion gift to who knows who (certainly the government doesn’t know). His attempted gift to the trial lawyers? The big bad insurance industry MUST be put in their place but keep away from tort reform!

Because of the Bush43 administration, the choice of Palin as a running mate, and a few other misadventures on McCain’s part my dead uncle Ernie could have won the election if he was the Democratic nominee.

But, the bottom line is; whether or not you like or agree with Obama, there is no way he has accomplished anywhere near enough of a “portfolio of work” to have truly earned the Peace Prize.

137

Barry 10.11.09 at 12:52 pm

epignosis 10.10.09 at 3:19 pm

” Could not help but notice that the Nobel Peace Prize was not awarded during 1939-1943. Was there no “hope and change” person available. Perhaps it was to the benefit of Norway that some nations remained capable of waging war to purchase freedom for others less capable.
Perhaps, respectfully, the awarding committee members should be asked their opinions.”

Oh, so you’re a WWII vet? And if American, one who went to the UK in 1939 or so, volunteering to fight against fascism (i.e., not waiting for two years).

138

Salient 10.11.09 at 1:02 pm

Martin:

* Acceptable and probably the consensus opinion, if I have any ability to gauge these things. Actually, I think the consensus privately-held liberal opinion probably vacillates between what you expressed and what akatsuki expressed.

* Nobody seriously believes Obama deserves the prize for beating McCain; it’s a joke.

* In real life, I have been more critical of this prize award than any hard-line conservative website ever could be (after all, exactly what about escalation of war in the Middle East, continuance of policies which violate human rights and human dignity, and intensified drone attacks on civilians would bother those folks?), but I stand by my jokes here.

* Man, whatever happened to Lincoln Chafee?

139

Salient 10.11.09 at 1:21 pm

Cardinal sins against grammar aside, Alan Grayson somehow pre-emptively nailed this:

America understands that there’s one party in this country that’s in favor of health care reform, and one party that’s against it, and they know why. They understand that if Barack Obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world, Republicans would blame him for overpopulation. They understand that if Barack Obama could somehow bring about world peace, they’d blame him for destroying the defense industry. In fact, they understand that if Barack Obama has a BLT sandwich tomorrow for lunch, they will try to ban bacon.

Alan Grayson Obliquely Predicts Nobel Peace Prize, Tells Bacon Joke

And here’s the follow-up, in which Grayson again expends whatever admiration he had accumulated by wishing for Barack Obama to win another couple Nobel Peace Prizes for Iraq and Afghanistan.

I wish we lived in a world where this guy was categorically out of line…

140

Venus 10.11.09 at 9:36 pm

Or as a comment I read on Pandalous mentions ( http://www.pandalous.com/topic/the_nobel_committee_and ), he should share his prize with Bush.

141

Martin Bento 10.11.09 at 9:43 pm

My initial swallowed comment had a bit of snark about the Nobel Peace Prize for War Crimes.

Salient, This dailykos diary has a Rachel Maddow clip wherein she makes the case for Obama’s prize for 11 minutes. The case consists of campaign rhetoric, immediate post-election rhetoric and beating McCain: other than beating McCain, it is all rhetoric, much of it unremarkable in substance (though not delivery) for a liberal and much of it undermined by subsequent actions. Well, OK, he’s taking to Iran. I do not think Maddow is joking. The author of the kos diary said this brought him almost to tears. There is a lot of this around.

142

please grow up 10.11.09 at 9:53 pm

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/10/liz-cheney-obama-given-nobel-prize-for-opposing-american-dominance.php?ref=fpblg

“Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Liz Cheney attacked President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. “Well, I think what the committee believes is they’d like to live in a world in which America is not dominant. And I think if you look at the language of the citation, you can see that they talk about, you know, President Obama ruling in a way that makes sense to the majority of the people of the world,” said Cheney. “You know, Americans don’t elect a president to do that. We elect a president to defend our national interests. And so I think that, you know, they may believe that President Obama also doesn’t agree with American dominance, and they may have been trying to affirm that belief with the prize. I think, unfortunately, they may be right, and I think it’s a concern.” “

She’s right more or less, even if few of you have figured out the obvious.
It’s republicans vs the world, or it should be. Obama is the best we’re going to get, so give him some credit.
But to the degree he’s not what Cheney fears, so much the worse for all of us.

end of lecture

143

Alex 10.11.09 at 10:04 pm

Could not help but notice that the Nobel Peace Prize was not awarded during 1939-1943.

No, the Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst were not known for being eager to facilitate demonstrations of liberal internationalism.

Comments on this entry are closed.