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Tilting at Windmills

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October 9, 2009

PRESIDENT OBAMA WINS NOBEL PEACE PRIZE.... I didn't even know he'd been nominated.

In a stunning surprise, the Nobel Committee announced Friday that it had awarded its annual peace prize to President Obama "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" less than nine months after he took office.

"He has created a new international climate," the committee said in its announcement. With American forces deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama's name had not figured in speculation about the winner until minutes before the prize was announced here. [...]

[T]he committee said it wanted to enhance Mr. Obama's diplomatic efforts so far rather than reward him for events in the future.

Thorbjorn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee and a former prime minister of Norway, told reporters that Mr. Obama had already contributed enough to world diplomacy and understanding to deserve the prize.

A week ago, some of the president's detractors suggested some of Obama's international stature has waned. It looks like that's no longer the case.

The announcement will no doubt generate considerable criticism, some from conservatives who simply oppose the president reflexively, and some from those who believe the honor is premature given Obama's fairly brief tenure. An intellectually honest approach suggests the latter's concerns are not unreasonable.

But the accolade is nevertheless defensible. The Nobel Peace Prize, as I understand it, is awarded to the person (or persons) who've shown great leadership in advancing the cause of international peace. President Obama has invested consider energy and political capital in doing just that -- promoting counter-proliferation, reversing policies on torture, embracing a new approach to international engagement, and recommitting the U.S. to the Middle East peace process.

Thorbjorn Jagland, noting the president's efforts, added, "We would hope this will enhance what he is trying to do." I hope the same thing. If nothing else, if the prize helps give the administration the high ground in international settings, the honor may have a meaningful, and positive, impact.

The full citation, released this morning:

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

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. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the United States is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."


Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (77)

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Comments

Countdown to right-wing freakout in 3... 2... 1...

Posted by: sb on October 9, 2009 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

The WSJ already called it "grotesque", even before you started to count.

Posted by: Vokoban on October 9, 2009 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, like, we'll take it. If nothing else it represents a counterpoint to all the insanely bad press being heaped on our poor POTUS by the US corporate media.

But a right-wing freakout definitely loometh large. Let's try to enjoy it. After all it's not every day the Anti-Christ gets the peace prize - hasn't happened since Kissinger.

Posted by: slader on October 9, 2009 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

LOL - the nobel peace prize winner bombs moon

Posted by: Stephen Burns on October 9, 2009 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, it's going to be fun to watch the right wing go completely nuts over this. Expect the usual suspects to rail against those socialist Norwegians with their national health care and stuff, and I'm sure that at least one nutball is going to claim that the real reason President Obama went to Copenhagen last week wasn't to campaign for the Chicago Olympics but to put the fix in for his win of the Prize. (Um, Copenhagen is in Denmark, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the Nobel Prize, but all those Scandinavians look alike.)

It will also feed the meme that the Peace Prize, having gone in recent years to the likes of Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Yasir Arafat, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Teresa, is a pale shadow of its former self and is now nothing but a sop for the bleeding heart liberals who do nothing but go around the world and try to get everyone to just get along. (I expect they're forgetting that there was once a move afoot to petition the Nobel Committee to give the prize to George W. Bush. How'd that work out?) One talking point that's already circulating (Juan Williams at NPR hinted at it) is that this isn't about President Obama at all -- what's he done to deserve it? -- it's a slap in the face to the eight years of Bush's neocon swagger. After all, peace has a well-known liberal bias.

Get the popcorn. Make it the good stuff, with real butter.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on October 9, 2009 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's premature. Maybe they should just rename it "The Prize for the Person Least Like George W. Bush", or "The Prize Most Likely to Make Fox News Pundits Melt into a Puddle of Slime and Indignation".

Posted by: Ethan on October 9, 2009 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

Had Mr. Obama succeeded Mr. Gore as president he would have to do some doing rather than just undoing in order to warrant the prize. But he didn't. And under Mr. Obama, the U.S. is again a country we can talk with, not some crazy-eyed weirdo with weapons coming out the yin-yang. It is a country that no longer invades a country cause it argues (at least on surface) it might be a threat in the future (though it remains a country that doesn't punish those that undertook this action). And it is a country that no longer uses torture as a policy of state (though it remains a country that doesn't punish those that made this policy). And it is a country that no longer dismisses with scorn real threats to world well-being and peace such as global warming. In the context of the times, as strange as it may seem, he deserves his award. Congratulations, Mr. Obama.

Posted by: snicker-snack on October 9, 2009 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

LOL - the nobel peace prize winner bombs moon

I was sitting here watching with the third baseman, and those bastards at NASA cut to three boring space commentators at the moment of impact. WTF? I guess we'll see it later.

As for nominating a president for the Nobel Peace Prize only two weeks into his first term, WTF to that, too. But anything that sends a few more wingers into uninsured MIs has some merit.

Posted by: shortstop on October 9, 2009 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

The moon was not bombed, contrary to all you conspiracy nutz.

Sheesh, I even heard someone yesterday saying that we would f**k up the moon's gravity, causing our own gravity to fluctuate, eventually floating us all in to space? It's bizarre when you realize how dumb (most) people are.

The NPP to our POTUS is fitting.

No amount of right-wing shrilling can negate the fact that he has boosted international dialogue. Yeah, there are still some suck points around the globe, but in general the tone is more intelligent than belligerent.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on October 9, 2009 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

And in a stunning development, sure to make their heads explode, ....

The question is: Can the dislike of conservatives for all matters Peace Nobel Prize reach even more epic proportions?

Posted by: SRW1 on October 9, 2009 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

The moon was not bombed, contrary to all you conspiracy nutz.

Ha, I thought Burns was joking. Didn't realize the wingers were actually freaking out about this.

Posted by: shortstop on October 9, 2009 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Simply planting that amount of hope in thw world deserves the prize.

I admit it was easy after Bush. But hey: all Willy Brandt needed to do was kneeling in Warzaw.

Posted by: Vokoban on October 9, 2009 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure the Nobel Committee has done us any favors here. The validity of the argument that the honor is premature means we're going to continue to be on the defensive against the hysterical right. I should be elated, but I'm just depressed in anticipation of the hateful shit we're going to have to listen to over the next few weeks, to which I don't feel we have an adequate response. The Nobel Committee has done nothing but set us up for more domestic unpleasantness, or perhaps something far uglier. Someone please talk me down.

Posted by: DKF on October 9, 2009 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

The prize makes perfect sense if you think of the Nobel committee as the Mayor of Munchkinland and Obama as Dorothy.

Posted by: scott_m on October 9, 2009 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

Surely this is warrants impeachment proceedings.

Posted by: SaintZak on October 9, 2009 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

You know, I thought all the wingnut Repugs were such followers of Christ. It does not make any sense that they would knock Obama for getting the Peace Prize. The Bible says "Blessed are the peacemakers". You would think that having an American President receive such an honor would fill their "patriotic" hearts with pride. But I forget--- the repug wingnuts live in the Bizzarro world where up is down, good is bad, peace is war, etc.

Posted by: chris on October 9, 2009 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

Obama haters just can't catch a break, can they. Before this, they have no idea how to label this guy. Now what do they do?

Posted by: Big Red on October 9, 2009 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

think the commitee wants to influence future events as much as celebrate past ones. Sort of a 'thumb on the scale' approach.
.
IOW, Obama will now feel honor bound to try a little harder.


Posted by: Paul Dirks on October 9, 2009 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

As a member of the VRWC, may i just say LOL?

Posted by: Joe on October 9, 2009 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

It was a mistake. It's premature and it only feeds the wingnuts who claim Obama is the anti-Christ with everyone under his spell. It's nice to have hope and all, but in terms of achieving something worthy of the prize, the committee just made his job far more difficult. This was dumb.

Posted by: Bernard HP Gilroy on October 9, 2009 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

We don't have to listen to the usual suspects as they melt down. Do tell me when Limbaugh has his stroke.

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 9, 2009 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

And there was Mourning Joe Laughing at the President this morning, while Micha goe "Oh Joe!" with those sad puppy dawg eyes. Hey Joe - I think Rush was right about you. You would prefer they were hurling shoes at him?

Posted by: John R on October 9, 2009 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

...and some from those who believe the honor is premature given Obama's fairly brief tenure

Of course that would be the same people who now hold him fully responsible for the fallout of 8 years of Bush administration incompetence and corruption.

Posted by: DelCapslock on October 9, 2009 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

President Obama indisputably has the *potential* to achieve concrete results in world peace. I wish the Committee had waited to recognize him until he actually did.

Posted by: Chris S. on October 9, 2009 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

"The Bible says "Blessed are the peacemakers." Chris

The Bible (at least the New Testament) has a well known liberal bias.

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 9, 2009 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, this is great. He deserves the prize.

And for the a-holes who disagree, you think Arafat and Begin were more worthy? No way. No how. This time they did NOT make a mistake.

Posted by: Steve on October 9, 2009 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

But, but, he hasn't DONE anything!

-except wipe the slate clean of Cowboy Swagger. (Old Europe, you're either with us or against us, my way or the highway, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran, we're on a crusade)

Now the heavcy lifting that goes with the prize. And he's only got seven and a half years to do it. Sisyphus had it easy. . .

Posted by: DAY on October 9, 2009 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

He wins it for being Not-Bush. More charitably, though, he has clearly led the charge in changing America from a bullying and torturing nation with active disregard regard for human rights back toward what it used to be in the pre-Bush years. We lost far more than eight wasted years when we failed to elect Gore (and four when we failed to elect Kerry), and if it wasn't for his ability to inspire people (alright, and the ability of Bush, Cheney, and the republicans to inspire disgust) we'd probably be stuck in conservative hell under McCain and Palin. Given all the fine people who have been shipwrecked on republican rocks, from Max Cleland on, conquering the Republicans is a real accomplishment with great dividends for humanity in general and America in particular. Moreover, how unlikely was it for America to elect a biracial president? - that alone is a historical milestone of gigantic significance for social progress.

Also, it is noteworthy that the people who immediately came out against this are the Republicans and the Taliban.

Posted by: N.Wells on October 9, 2009 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK
The Bible (at least the New Testament) has a well known liberal bias.

Not to worry, Andy Schlafly is gonna fix that.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on October 9, 2009 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Grrr, "active disregard for human rights".

This does raise the bar for Obama, and he will be conscious of it through the rest of his presidency. That will be a really good thing. I like his instincts, but it doesn't hurt to strengthen his motivation to do the right thing. (Besides, if he does really well, they could always give him another one afterward.)

Posted by: N.Wells on October 9, 2009 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

USA! USA!

Posted by: Skamy on October 9, 2009 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

So he was nominated after being in office 12 days?

Posted by: Royko on October 9, 2009 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Too bad he has to go overseas to pick the award up. It would be sooooo sweet to have it given to him in , say, Chicago...

Add to the list of thigs he's trying to acomplish to take the wind out of al Qiada's sails his ongoing efforts to close gitmo, his willingness to include the Taliban in his efforts to turn the Afghan war around, his turning around the cold-war jumpstart perpetrate dby Bushit and his illthought-out missle defense system at the Russian border, and his attempts to bring the gay community in from the cold. That's a part of the peace price, the humanirtarian side, that's oft overlooked.

PLUS: Boneher and DeWhit just shat their pants. What fun.

Posted by: Stevio on October 9, 2009 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

Still doesn't make up for giving it to Kissinger

Posted by: martin on October 9, 2009 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

I'd say he won the prize legitimately, without even being in office yet.

Obama probably locked up the Nobel on Nov 4th when he saved the planet from John "Bomb bomb bomb Iran" McCain and his retarded sidekick.

Posted by: Racer X on October 9, 2009 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Will this make it harder for the President to pour 40 000 more American soldiers into Afghanistan? Let's hope...

Posted by: Simon on October 9, 2009 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Congrats to President Obama! That said, this is horribly premature, although I am sure that the levels to which our Country sank over the prior 8 years (and just the expected rebound from that post inauguration) had a whole lot to do with this.

Maybe instead the committee should have awarded the prize to the millions of Americans who voted Obama in to office--they had more to do with the changing of America's position in the world than anyone or anything else.

Posted by: bubba on October 9, 2009 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

As Josh Marshall noted, this is not merely a rebuke of Bush and the GOP that created him (though it is that), it's also a message to the Villagers that their reflexive attempts to discredit Obama put them in an isolated, fringe position in relation to the world at large. George W. Bush wasn't merely a bad president; he represented something uniquely dark in American history. And the DC press that enabled him is implicated in the many bad acts he perpetrated.

Posted by: jimBOB on October 9, 2009 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

He should distribute the prize money among the american people- 30 cents for everyone!

Stim-u-lus! Stim-u-lus!

Posted by: nb on October 9, 2009 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

"He should distribute the prize money among the american people- 30 cents for everyone!"

If my math classes have been worth their money it is ca. 0.4 cent / citizen

Posted by: Vokoban on October 9, 2009 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Congratulations President Obama!

Posted by: MissMudd on October 9, 2009 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

The disagreeable agree to be disagreeable

TMP headline juxtaposition: "Conservatives Blast Obama's Prize ... Taliban Calls Prize 'Unjust'"


Posted by: koreyel on October 9, 2009 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Equally enraging the American right and the Taliban. So delicious.

Posted by: shortstop on October 9, 2009 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

The nomination for the award ended February 1, meaning Obama had all of two weeks since being sworn in to invest "consider [sic] energy and political capital in doing just that -- promoting counter-proliferation, reversing policies on torture, embracing a new approach to international engagement, and recommitting the U.S. to the Middle East peace process."

I didn't know he accomplished so much in the first 2.5 weeks in office. It's a wonder he hasn't solved world hunger and poverty since then.

Posted by: Pully Bulpit on October 9, 2009 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Equally enraging the American right and the Taliban."

There is a difference between them? I never noticed!

Posted by: bubba on October 9, 2009 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

And the DC press that enabled him is implicated in the many bad acts he perpetrated.

Judith Miller of Fox News, and formerly the New York Times, would disagree with that statement.

Posted by: Pug on October 9, 2009 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Congrats to Pres. Obama.

It would be nice if he donated the money to an international aid program, like one of the international orgs that remove landmines or provide aid to military conflict refugees. Would be a nice gesture and reinforce the words of the Nobel Committee: "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."

Posted by: Kris on October 9, 2009 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

There is a difference between them? I never noticed!

Well, sure, no one normal ever noticed, but having the Taliban and terrorists as their sole partners in disapprobation will just heighten the wingers' impotent rage.

Posted by: shortstop on October 9, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't know he accomplished so much in the first 2.5 weeks in office. It's a wonder he hasn't solved world hunger and poverty since then. - Pully Bulpit


Let's just say that if you'd have turned on your brain functions, the thought that nomination deadline and decision day may not have been the same might have crossed your mind.

Posted by: SRW1 on October 9, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Congratulations to President Obama. And shame on George W. Bush, whose mendacity, incompetence, corruption and tyranny poses such a contrast to Obama.

I mentioned it in the open thread, but this morning on NPR, Faux News commentator Juan Williams and host Steve Inskeep were sneering that Obama was given the prize as a repudiation of Republicans. it never seemed to occur to them that George W. Bush was so bad that the change in direction Obama represents is truly prizeworthy.

This year will be the first in memory I give no money to my local NPR station's semi-annual fund drive, and I plan to cite this sorry incident among others in telling them why.

Posted by: Gregory on October 9, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

For all of you who are whining about Obama being nominated by the Feb. 1st deadline (2.5 weeks into his term), the committee has had since then to CONSIDER his worth. So the prize is not predicated on his 2.5 weeks in office. Geez, people.

I have been and continue to be critical of Obama, but the left-wingnut pile-on I'm seeing this morning is disgusting!

Posted by: msmolly on October 9, 2009 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

There is a difference between them? I never noticed!

No, there's not a difference at all. The American right beheads and stones those they hate. They force American women to cover their face. They execute those that switch from Christianity to another religion. They give Al-Qaeda a safe haven and help them plan the mass murder of 3,000 civilians.

You are spot-on in your analysis.

Frankly, the NPP jumped the shark when they gave it to Arafat, a butcher with the blood of hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent civilians on his hands. What's worse, after receiving the prize, Arafat said "thanks" and went back to orchestrating the killing of innocent civilians.

I predict the 2010 NPP will go to Ahmadinejad for renouncing his nuclear weapons program and agreeing that the Holocaust did in fact happen.

In 2011, Iran will test their first nuclear weapon.

Bush will be blamed.

Posted by: Pully Bulpit on October 9, 2009 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

"The validity of the argument that the honor is premature means we're going to continue to be on the defensive against the hysterical right. I should be elated, but I'm just depressed in anticipation of the hateful shit we're going to have to listen to over the next few weeks, to which I don't feel we have an adequate response."

Considering the right wing doesn't consider the Nobel Peace Prize legitimate in any case, it wouldn't matter whether he won now or later, they'll still have a conniption fit. Right wingers aren't interested in peace. Can you name one thing they haven't gone into hysterics about? That is their MO, fear and hysteria because they know their supporters can't manage to think for themselves.

Personally, I think President Obama set the tone in the first two weeks of his presidency, one that set the world's collective minds at ease, i.e. no more worries about preemptive strikes. That is fine with me!

Posted by: e on October 9, 2009 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

the left-wingnut pile-on I'm seeing this morning is disgusting!

I attributed it to residual PTSD from the previous 8 years. This and the obsessive need to blither on about nothing.

Posted by: MissMudd on October 9, 2009 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Congrats to President Obama!

As I was reading about this, I flashed back to all the early call machinations from primary...

Poster at TPM succinctly describes my http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/10/gibbs-gets-wake-up-call-honors-mr-president-youre-a-winner.php#comment-3627663">thought!

Posted by: sduffys on October 9, 2009 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

I have been and continue to be critical of Obama, but the left-wingnut pile-on I'm seeing this morning is disgusting!

Feh. There's not that much piling on from the left. Many liberals, here and elsewhere, are showing surprise at the timing of this but shrugging and saying, "Okay, then, I see where the committee is going with this." The real bitchery, even in this thread, is coming from the right, including one person who used to pretend to be a progressive but has now embraced his full emotionally unstable authoritarianism.

Posted by: shortstop on October 9, 2009 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

My initial reaction was that Obama's foreign policy accomplishments haven't been significant enough, especially since all his major initiatives are domestic (i.e. health-care reform, energy policy, financial market stabilization and recovery, etc). But then I realized how big a role U.S. domestic policy plays on the international stage.

Obama's efforts to prevent world-wide financial armageddon, even between Nov.4th and Jan. 20th, are enough to secure this prize. The fact that Obama took the lead in getting the world's largest economies to quickly come together and act jointly in stimulating the world economies is overlooked, but very significant. Save-the-day McCain and his northslope barbie couldn't have done that, especially with Phil Gramm the-inventor-of-the-disaster as his chief economic adviser.

Posted by: about time on October 9, 2009 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

I have no problem with the prize going to Obama, when you look around the list of candidates is pretty slim and a message has been sent. It's like America just of a hallmark card from Europe saying, "We've missed you, get well soon".

Posted by: andyvillager on October 9, 2009 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Dear gods - someone needs to learn HTML!
Correct link to SDUFFYS pathetic attempt...

Posted by: sduffys on October 9, 2009 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Woke up to the lovely sound of millions of right-wing heads exploding. Truly a glorious morning despite the rain and darkness. Have a nice day.

Posted by: ckelly on October 9, 2009 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly, the NPP jumped the shark when they gave it to Arafat, a butcher with the blood of hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent civilians on his hands. - Pully Bulpit

Frankly Pully, your obviously not only suffering from a lack of computational capacity in your though processes (cf my previous comment on your deliberations), but also from a selective memory. If you want to denigrate the NPP, does the year 1973 and the name Henry Kissinger remind you of a 'butcher with the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians on his hands'?

And you do realize that 1973 preceded 1994, do you?

Posted by: SRW1 on October 9, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

C'mon shortstop, even MSNBC is criticizing the pick. It's not just "emotionally unstable" authoritarian types like me.

I'm betting Kanye West will interrupt Obama's acceptance speech and let the audience know who really should have won.

Posted by: Pully Bulpit on October 9, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly Pully, your obviously not only suffering from a lack of computational capacity in your though processes (cf my previous comment on your deliberations), but also from a selective memory. If you want to denigrate the NPP, does the year 1973 and the name Henry Kissinger remind you of a 'butcher with the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians on his hands'?

Kissinger doesn't have the blood on his hands, the president does. Kissinger never had the power to order a thing. It all went back the the president.

However, I'll agree with you that Kissinger should not have won it. Unfortunately, I'll doubt that you'll ever agree with me that Arafat was also a poor choice. Or be able to show me what concrete steps Obama has taken to deserve the prize more than anyone else.

Posted by: Pully Bulpit on October 9, 2009 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

N. Wells,

"Moreover, how unlikely was it for America to elect a biracial president?"

In all honesty, the term "biracial" sounds pretty stupid. In the United States, Obama is for all practical purposes a black man. He identifies himself as such, most blacks regard him as black, and if he were an anonymous person, anyone who saw him on the street (white, black, or anything else) would automatically see a black man. If he lived during the Jim Crow era, he would have experienced the exact same discrimination (segregated facilities, etc.) as any other black person.

If you're going to argue that Obama is "biracial" because his mother and mother's family is white, then you should also consider most African-Americans biracial since most have a great deal of white ancestry in their backgrounds. Even many who have two black parents have 50% or more white ancestry.

Posted by: Lee on October 9, 2009 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Pully, for the record: We have agreement on Arafat having been a poor choice.

On Kissinger: you're way underplaying his role.

On Obama: I'm with the 'too early' crowd. But even given that, if you think turning international diplomacy of the US and its perception in the world around from the Bush folly years is nothing, you're mistaken.

And maybe you should read the text for the announcement of the decision and contemplate the reference to the prizes for Willy Brandt and Michail Gorbatchow and the timing when those were awarded.

Posted by: SRW1 on October 9, 2009 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Lee, I largely agree, in that I couldn't decide whether to go with biracial or black, and Obama clearly carries every last bit of baggage that goes along with being black in the U.S.A., and he has triumphed despite that. On the other hand, he is biracial, which is no less a handicap, and I prefer to view him as a personal symbol of the diversity and the unification that I would like to see in American society, so I went with "biracial". To the unfortunate extent that people need to identify with someone on racial grounds, I would hope that whites could see Obama as 'one of theirs' as well as black people seeing him as 'one of theirs' as well, so that he becomes truly 'one of ours'. His election was really a great thing for all of us, with regard to the rule of law, stopping torturing, social equality and progress, and so on and so forth: and I'd hope for all of us to be proud of his and our accomplishments. (Yes, I know, and I'd love for everyone to get a pony.....)

Posted by: N.Wells on October 9, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Leading up to his election and in the face of sneering criticism from democratic primary opponents, media talking heads and republicans, Obama was a strong advocate of multilateralism and engaging the international community with an outstretched hand, instead of a high hand.

Remember the grief he took during his campaign for saying the US should engage our enemies without pre-conditions. Such a proposition only seems crazy to American conventional wisdom. Other people around the world took notice of his courage.

To be sure, if there were a Nobel War Prize, Bush, Cheney and McCain would be hard to beat.

However, I think it's typical of American myopia and egocentrism to be unable to empathize with how the rest of the world, including the NPP Committee, has seen Obama develop over the last two years.

Posted by: Winkandanod on October 9, 2009 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Never before has so much been given by so many to someone who has done so little.

Posted by: Crawdad on October 9, 2009 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm just depressed in anticipation of the hateful shit we're going to have to listen to over the next few weeks, to which I don't feel we have an adequate response." - DKF

Two responses:

(1) How is this different from the hateful shit we always have to listen from these shitheads? If it's not one thing, it's another.

(2) The response is that the NPP is symbolic of the world's relief that the USA is no longer run by shitheads like GWB. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: bdop4 on October 9, 2009 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK
I think it's premature.

The Nobel Peace Prize has quite often been given to people who changed perceptions and initiated processes, not just people who had already acheived concrete, lasting results. Insofar as the former is more likely to draw attention to and improve the success of efforts that still have a risk of failure, one might say that such awards are more important than the latter kind.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 9, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

How is this different from the hateful shit we always have to listen from these shitheads? If it's not one thing, it's another.

Exactly. This gives us a break from the fuming about what he eats, how he walks or what his wife wears. I haven't seen or read his press statement, but I'm guessing it was an exercise in gracious humility which the right is already spinning as unbridled "arrogance."

Posted by: shortstop on October 9, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Well, it's nice to see cmdicely here. How's life as a 3L (if my sense of time passing isn't off, as it often is)?

Posted by: shortstop on October 9, 2009 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Insofar as the former is more likely to draw attention to and improve the success of efforts that still have a risk of failure, one might say that such awards are more important than the latter kind. - cmdicely

That goes in the same direction of what I meant in my reference to the NPPs awarded to Brandt and Gorbatchow, where the risks the NPP committee took worked out well. But then there are the counter examples of the Arafat/Peres/Rabin and the Kissinger/Le Duc Tho cases where it didn't. In contrast to Kissinger though, Le Duc Tho at least had the decency not to accept the award.

Posted by: SRW1 on October 9, 2009 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Ya know, I've been posting on this site long enough that, hopefully, I won't get the same treatment here as I did over at Think Progress (where a disturbing number of commenters leave out the "Think" part).

The thing is ... I honestly, truly, don't think he deserves the award.

Yet.

He's escalating Afghanistan, is dragging his feet on climate change, hasn't stood up to Israel as he should, and hasn't even suspended DADT through his Commander-in-Chief powers.

Although, given the American right's opposition to everything under the sun, and all the stuff they've stalled (or outright killed), the lack of progress isn't nearly all his fault. So there is that aspect.

There's also one thing that may backfire with this:

The right lost its ever-loving mind when Obama was elected. They lost it more when he was inaugurated. And they've continued to have it dissipate as Obama's term has progressed.

But this may push them over the edge, into outright and unashamed violence. I really do think that.

The time may (and I think will) come when his accomplishments will prove his worth for the award (just like Al Gore, who definitely deserved it, IMHO). But I just ... I dunno ... I think it's a tad early is all.

Anyway ... well, there it is. Have at it.

**grabs fire suit for inevitable flaming**

Posted by: Mark D on October 9, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

TERRORIST BOMBS MOON!

The moon - that nocturnal inspiration to poets and lovers for centuries - was viciously attacked this morning by Muslim terrorist Barack HUSSEIN Obama and his co-conspirators within THE GOVERNMENT.

A clear message has been sent by this radical jihadist to good and decent people everywhere. There is no room for misinterpretation: if they can target the moon - THE MOON! - in such a ghastly and unprovoked matter, it only proves - conclusively - that Main Street is not safe. Our children must be protected from the radical, hideous agenda of this man and his vile administration. Mark my words, my fellow Americans - today the moon, tomorrow Anytown, USA. OH, THE HUMANITY!

At the moment this lunar holocaust was taking shape, an announcement was made on Oslo, Norway awarding Barack HUSSEIN Obama the Nobel Peace Prize.

Coincidence? I wonder....

But seriously, folks....

http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Posted by: Tom Degan on October 9, 2009 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Wait ... the Nobel PEACE Prize? Did I miss the announcements?

When will our troops be home now that the illegal wars of aggression are over?

Where did we put all the prisoners after closing Gitmo?

Oh we haven't done those things yet?

Nobel PEACE Prize? Nevermind ...

Posted by: Grimm on October 9, 2009 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I for one want him to wear the medal everytime he addresses Congress (state of the union, joint address, whatever) just to remind everyone that he is a Nobel laureate. This is something that cannot be taken away - he will always be a Nobel laureate, no matter how you spin that the Nobel Peace Prize isn't the same in 2009 as it was in, say, 2000 (can't remember who won, but it must have been someone we would all consider "worthy"). I am happy for the US that our elected leader has received such a prestigious award and I hope it will help us achieve the goals of the prize.

Posted by: BC on October 9, 2009 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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