« Does Chris Christie look fat in this? | Main | Libertarians and Open Networks »

October 09, 2009

Comments

It's a ridiculous decision, but then the NPP has been ridiculous at least since 1973, so whatevs.

The notion that Obama could pacify the wingnuts by turning down the prize is, of course, absurd. As we already know, there is nothing Obama could do short of resigning and then blowing his brains out on national TV that would pacify the wingnuts. (And even then they'd be calling him an attention whore.)

What message would that send to the rest of the world? Something along the lines of 'Thanks, guys, but I'm really all about war'?

Well, as the supreme leader of Rome 2.0 (h/t Jim Henley), he pretty much is. Which brings us back to the absurdity of the prize to begin with.

This one is silly turtles all the way down. I'm going to sit back and enjoy the show.

Come on, he should turn it down just to demonstrate he has some sense of dignity and self-worth. This is the gold star pasted to your forehead for showing up in class, the ribbon handed out to you at the marathon for passing the first water station. It's a freaking embarassment to get the Nobel peace prize at the beginning of your term.

Come on, he should turn it down just to demonstrate he has some sense of dignity and self-worth.

Yeah, I got another Nobel Peace Prize in my box of Wheaties this morning. Pisses me off, I think I chipped a tooth on it.

"I am gobsmacked that some Democrats want the president to turn down the prize for his own good. What message would that send to the rest of the world? Something along the lines of 'Thanks, guys, but I'm really all about war'?"

Well, that depends on what reasons he gives, doesn't it? Just about every analysis I've read thus far* says he should refuse on grounds his efforts haven't borne fruit yet -- which isn't unprecedented**.

*Chait, Crowley, Ezra, Sewer, among others

**Lê Ðức Thọ

I am of mixed minds. The committee kind of showed what direction they were heading a while ago when they said they were looking for a person currently in the middle, not the end, of a process, hoping the award would generate some positive reactions to the recipient's actions.

I am not sure Obama really deserves the award, yet. So a part of me thinks he should turn it down in a very respectful, honoring the award, kind of way. At the same time, the explosion on the right is fun to see. Other than that, Uncle K has it right about what it would take for Obama to do to avoid the screaming and ranting right.

" primarily for tinkering with the worst excesses of the wars their guy started. "

No, he won the Nobel Peace prize for saying all of the things that Europeans want to hear about how America is bad and he is going to make it better. He should accept it, even his policies won't be that popular in a few years internationally but he certainly has created an aura of American humility that is worth some recognition.

The bigger challenge will be when he actually has to put American well being ahead of international politics (I have no doubt he can and will) and loses the luster.

First, it's not unusual for the Peace Prize Committee to reward heads of state for charting the right course.

Second, prizewinners aren't responsible for second-guessing judges. Obama didn't give himself the prize. Refusing the prize really would be narcissistic. Who is he to second-guess the Nobel Peace Prize Committee about who's promoting peace? That's like saying Taylor Swift should have preemptively declined the video music award because everybody knew that Beyonce had the best video.

Third, refusing the prize would undermine Obama's credibility on peace-related issues. Refusing the prize would imply that he doesn't think he's on the right track for peace.

I have mixed feelings about this. My first instinct was to oppose this as it feels like a crude attempt to influence our domestic politics. I don't think the Nobel Peace prize should be involved in partisan politics. So it seemed unseemly for Obama to accept the award.

But then I looked up the list of Nobel laureates, and both Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson received the prize while in office. So, given that precedent, I think Obama has to accept. To insist that Obama should be regarded differently from other sitting presidents awarded the prize, is itself a way of injecting partisan politics. I'm a Republican, I oppose Obama, but I've decided not to freak out about this.

Marty, when has Obama said America is bad. I thought that was the job of the Republicans lately.

I don't think that Obama deserves this. He might at some point in the future, burt he doesn't now.

On the other hand to turn it down to pacify Republicsn would be idiotic since nothing, as noted up thread, will pacify them. Even ritual suicide won't do the job.

It is true that there will be those (Hi Brett!) who will turn the acceptance into an attack on Obama's character. That's to be expected: it is the more dignified and smarter version of the also to be expected rtigtwing hysteria. And like other forms of rightwing outrage over Obama's Presidency, it's going to get expressed regardless so isn't worth worrying about. In fact there was some rightwing just a day or so that was trying to push a new meme about Obama being a narcissist. So the overtly crazing stuff is as ineveitable as the sun coming up as are the less overt and more subtle attacks on character.

"Refusing the prize really would be narcissistic. Who is he to second-guess the Nobel Peace Prize Committee about who's promoting peace?"

Yeah, who does that guy in the oval office, with the PDFs, and the situation room, and the whatnot, think he is, to doubt the judgement of a committee of Swedes on geopolitics?

Classic.

So, by extension, Oy, you should defer completely to President Obama on all decisions of war and peace because he has a situation room and some PDFs.

Obama deserves it far more than did Teddy Roosevelt (*that* was weird). Teddy not only loved war, but said so! Oh well, I guess, like everybody else, the Nobels just don't have the sense of humor they once did.

Of course Obama should accept it. I don't know that I would quite substitute 'Europeans' for the Nobels, but of course Europeans are relieved Obama is president of this country - so is practically everyone else in the world, including a majority of Americans. The people who are unhappy about it are: al Queda, US Republicans...and probably Berlusconi...

he won the Nobel Peace prize for saying all of the things that Europeans want to hear about how America is bad and he is going to make it better.

Of course that's not what he said, Marty.

PDF's? I have PDF's. Unless I'm mistaken, Obama gets PDB's. Sometimes they deal with the PRC.

Obama deserves it far more than did Teddy Roosevelt (*that* was weird). Teddy not only loved war, but said so! Oh well, I guess, like everybody else, the Nobels just don't have the sense of humor they once did.

I guess he negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese war. But, per Alfred Nobel's wishes, the award is supposed to go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses." So, yeah that's pretty weird. Of course, Yasser Arafat doesn't meet that standard either.

I'll just bracket the question whether Obama deserves the prize for a second (I don't care, one way or the other), to think about the politics.

The idea that it would be good politics to turn down the prize so that people would think that President Obama isn't a narcissist is flawed because it assumes that people respond to evidence on these types of issues, i.e. it assumes that somebody who thinks that the President is a narcissist would see him decline the prize, take in that information, and change his or her view. I think that isn't true. If you wanted to square the idea of the President's narcissism with his refusal to accept the prize, the proper headline would be, "Obama Thinks He's Too Good For the Nobel Peace Prize." The facts wouldn't matter--Obama could claim that he declined the prize because he doesn't think he's earned it yet, etc., but almost everybody who wants to dislike him will keep disliking him. On top of that, he will have snubbed the international community and given up an opportunity to portray the American people as peaceful to the world (which is an image that we could use).

I think that a better political move would be to do the following: (1) Accept the prize on behalf of the American people, who are eager to put their best foot forward in the post-Bush era. Express honor at being selected among all the other great candidates, but also express pride that the American people voted to become engaged citizens of the world, etc. (2) Go to accept it, and take a bipartisan smattering of useful politicos along for the ride. Make sure they sit in the front row, and get a little camera time. Share the spotlight with a few key players and maybe shore up some warm fuzzy support for later initiatives in foreign or domestic policy. (3) Maybe gild the lily a bit by donating the $1.4m to some bipartisan cause, like a Christian aid charity, or tsunami victims in American Samoa. Emphasize the importance of personal responsibility, individual action, and ties among people alongside international diplomacy.

Obviously people who dislike the President will still hate him, but he'll have done all of us a favor on the world stage, he'll have used a PR opportunity to maybe grease a few political wheels, and he'll have given $1.4m to a good cause. Everybody wins, no?

So, by extension, Oy, you should defer completely to President Obama on all decisions of war and peace because he has a situation room and some PDFs.

More than the Nobel committee, yes. And I hate Obama.

Uncle K: "silly turtles all the way down"

-- made my day. :)

Accepting the award won't MAKE obama look like a narcissist. He's been a narcissist his whole life. This is just Europe's way of saying if you suck our dicks will give you a prize.

Marc Ambinder's a democrat? I've been reading his blog for years but I never would have guessed that.

Walking around my federal office building this morning I can say everyone was pleased as punch. Of course some of that is assuming he abolished NSPS, but they're happy about the Nobel, too. I figure everyone'll stay pleased about it until CNN says they're not supposed to be.

Are there still any posting rules around here?

Turning down the prize would almost certainly be a bad choice diplomatically, so Obama shouldn't do that just because the wingnuts are saying/doing wingnutty things.

But awarding the prize to him at this point is just weird. He may or may not do really good things for peace in the future, but it seems way too early. I don't even really understand what the judges were thinking. I would say that it highlights how crassly political the whole thing is, but I can't even really understand it from the political point of view. It seems much more like a "we think you're really swell, thanks for being around" award than anything else. Like when Time magazine put a mirror on the front and named "YOU" as the person of the year.

Are there still any posting rules around here?

Is "dick" against the posting rules. I don't normally consider it a swear. Sorry if I offended anyone. My point was that this is clearly the result of sucking up to Europe. "Sucking up" is OK, right?

(Closing Italics)

In response to Swebastian: I agree on the weird. When I saw the headline that Obama got a Nobel my first reaction was that it was given in a fit of spite towards the America of the previous administration. Obama has, at least partly by virtue of the fact that he isn't Bush. raised AMerica's prestige abroad considerable asmby polling data.

Of course I'm just guessing about motivation here. I think that the Nobel committee reduces the prestige of their prize when they hand it out befrore the hoped-for accomplishment actually happen.

http://www.gproxy.info/init.php?u=Oi8vd3d3LnR5cGVwYWQuY29tL3NlcnZpY2VzLyJodHRwOi8vbmV3cy5iYmMuY28udWsvMi9oaS9ldXJvcGUvODI5NjU3OC5zdG0iPg%3D%3D&b=5 Here's another example of socialist european moral authority.

How 'bout, he should turn it down because he doesn't deserve it? He's behind schedule closing GITMO, behind schedule disengaging from Iraq, expanding our presence in Afghanistan, ignoring his promise to end the civil rights abuses of the Bush admin, fighting the release of innocent detainees, and claiming "sovereign immunity" for administrators guilty of violating the law. And he's ended which armed conflicts, again?

Here's another example of socialist european moral authority.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8296578.stm

Is Irrumator the troll who kept breaking the site with unclosed tags?

It's ironic that the man who's expanding Bagram Airbase and making plans for perpetual war in Afghanistan should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but irony has been dead on that one since Henry Kissinger got it.

That Republicans will loathe knowing that the President of the United States is a man internationally respected and liked goes without saying: Republicans love their party more than they love their country.

I guess [TR] negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese war.

Well...that's kind of a simplistic way of describing what happened. The award of the Nobel to TR was far more 'political' than is the present one to Obama. The former *was* ass-kissing to a ridiculous degree. The war TR mediated a settlement to (after it was basically over) was about China, and imperialistic designs thereon - those of Russia, Japan, and the US. TR hardly regarded peace and brotherhood as abstract values unto themselves! Obama's Peace Prize is actually about resolving or preventing conflict.

Judging from Irrumator's comment, I can see that blustering sissydom didn't die with TR.

I'm with JanieM. What's amazing is that everytime I think rock bottom has been hit, some idiot pops in with a drilling machine.

Trying to close the italics.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if it is a case of the European judges madly misjudging the political ramifications.

If there thought is something along the lines of "Obama seems like a good hope so we'll support him" they probably failed to realize that giving him the Nobel Peace Prize at this point is much more likely to hurt or at best be neutral rather than help. It is tough to believe that you can't productively help someone you like, but the prize judges really should have realized that this action wasn't going to help.

Or I suppose they could have been going in an "in your face, Bush" direction, but you would hope that people awarding the most prestigous peace prize would understand how silly that kind of action would be.

So I'm thinking "doesn't get it/cultural confusion issues".

I think Josh Marshall has it about right:

And Obama has begun, if fitfully and very imperfectly to many of his supporters, to steer the ship of state in a different direction. If that seems like a meager accomplishment to many of the usual Washington types it's a profound reflection of their own enablement of the Bush era and how compromised they are by it, how much they perpetuated the belief that it was 'normal history' rather than dark aberration.

To add my own take to that, I'd say it is a reflection of the still present reality of US hyperpower. Even a small adjustment in US policy and attitude towards diplomatic engagement vs war making looms large on the global stage and affects the lives of millions of people. That, and insofar as many of the serious challenges facing us are trans-national and require multilateral solutions, a re-emphasis on multilateral negotitation by the US and throwing our prestige behind that way of tackling problems is likely to be helpful across a broad spectrum of issues, rather than merely in one particular area. Thus the cumulative impact of the US turning back towards an emphasis on diplomacy is larger than it seems on first inspection.

Is Irrumator the troll who kept breaking the site with unclosed tags?

I'm the one who just fixed the italics? See my 11:31 post. It's one thing to disagree with me on substance, but elevating a minor formating error to a personal attack is absurd.

Is Irrumator the troll who kept breaking the site with unclosed tags?

It's ironic that the man who's expanding Bagram Airbase and making plans for perpetual war in Afghanistan should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but irony has been dead on that one since Henry Kissinger got it.

That Republicans will loathe knowing that the President of the United States is a man internationally respected and liked goes without saying: Republicans love their party more than they love their country.

I don't even really understand what the judges were thinking.

Seriously? Or is that rhetorical?

It seems pretty obvious to me that this is more a thumb in the eye to Cheney/Bush, and to the neocon approach to the world in general, than any positive reflection on Obama.

Like I said, I find it pretty silly, given that Obama's basically a centrist hawk on foreign policy. But as a repudiation of the last 8 years, it does make a certain amount of sense.

Obama should turn it down -- I am sure there is some graceful way (the truth maybe?) such as "I am flattered but I have not accomplished anything worthy of a Nobel Prize."

Obama does not need friends like the Nobel committee. There is something unseemly about their award plus it shows a tin-ear for American politics if they thought such an award would help Obama.

I guess he negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese war.

He also sold out Korea to the Japanese with this peace treaty (and an incredibly nasty period of colonial occupation followed which we can blame for many of the problems on the Korean peninsula today), in exchange for assurances from Japan that they wouldn't touch our colonial holdings in the South Pacific, most notably, the Philippines.

"Refusing the prize would imply that he doesn't think he's on the right track for peace."

I think you are reaching. I don't believe that many people would interpret it that way at all.

Turning down the prize in a graceful and appropriate way would show that Obama has not lost his common sense and modesty.

Jesurgislac, it's pretty rich for you to call someone else a troll when you constantly spew all manner of hateful filth, including posting pictures of dead bodies. I guess it takes one to know one.

When von titled his post after a Camus novel, I found myself looking at Lottman's bio of Camus. When he was awarded the prize, his leftist critics rejoiced, claiming that this represented the apex of his career and everything was downhill. Camus knew it as well and told his friends that winning the Nobel was a disaster. I also reflect on the fact that Camus died 2 years after getting the prize, just as he was finally overcoming his writer's block.

I fully agree with the opinion that it is too early yet. I do not expect that Obama will deliberately go against what the price is for but I'd would have liked to see some real results first (even failed ones, if there was honest effort behind them).
What I think he should do is to make that a topic at his acceptance speech, saying that he has yet to actually earn it and that he will really try.
I think there will be a lot of opportunity for that in the next year (and 2010 might have been a much better date)
Maybe he should start by extraditing Kissinger to the ICC ;-)
As far as the decision goes, I see it as just another kick in the groin of Chain-Eye/Bush&Accomplices (like the Carter decision).
So, when will one of the Clintons follow? ;-)

President Barack Obama should receive two Nobel Peace Prizes, three Oscars, and one androgynous blow-up doll of shifty sexual persuasion.

One Peace Prize to return to the Nobel Committee on behalf of reasonable folks, like himself, of either domestic political party, who believe maybe it's early yet.

One Peace Prize to donate to ACORN on behalf of the scum in the Republican Party and the cowards in the Democratic Party who cut their funding.

One Oscar, in which has been planted a nuclear warhead, to drop on external enemy Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

One Oscar, in which has been planted a nuclear warhead, to drop on internal enemy Taliban the next time they meet under the title of the RNC.

One Oscar, in black face, to shove up Erick Erickson's fundament to celebrate the defeat of the Confederacy.

And one blow-up doll of indeterminate gender to give to Irrumator, whose substance-free birth was a minor formatting error, to distract him from commenting here.

John Thullen,

It's just sad that your bizarre rants are what passes for leftist "humor" around here.

while it's true that the GOP is going to scream like two year olds no matter what Obama does, or what people say about him, or which side of the river the sun rises on, this Prize is absurd.

he should decline it with a simple "this is a bit premature. if it's all the same to you, i'd rather defer acceptance until these efforts have borne fruit. call again in 5 years."

As someone said above, the prize is supposed to go"to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses."

Obama has certainly done the 1st and 3rd on that list. The goodwill he's worked for at the UN, the Cairo speech, the international townhalls all fit with the first. He's actively trying to make peace on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and he's started direct talks with Iran. He's consistently ignored the war mongers, particularly in urging calm when North Korea was launching missles - and now it looks like North Korea might be coming back to the negotiating table. You could argue that his vision for a world without nuclear weapons, and the concrete steps he's taken to start down that path (negotiating a new treaty with Russia and leading the security council session on nuclear disarmament). And he's worked to defuse Cold War holdout tensions between the US and Russia, most recently by scraping missile defense projects in eastern Europe.

It's all well and good to assert that Obama hasn't done anything, but it's not true. Iraq, Afganistan and Gitmo are all big problems, but they are clearly not the sum total of his presidency so far. It's also clear that Iraq and Gitmo are slowly being unwound - I know not fast enough for most of us, but it is happening. Afganistan is harder, but it's clear that Obama is trying to push towards a strategy that involves less bloodshed (restricting the use of air strikes, trying to buy off certain elements of the Taliban). Whether or not you think that's possible or desirable is up in the air, but the sum total of what he's done so far and what he plans to do in the future is well in line with the stated purpose of the prize.

I love it when a guy named "irrumator" goes all reasonable on people.

The Washington Post argues that the prize is not intended to honor Obama, but to influence him:

"An aspirational Nobel is designed to promote a cause, and sometimes it backfires spectacularly. One example is the 1994 prize given to, among others, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for promoting Middle East peace. Few today would question the conclusion that the prize was awarded prematurely [...]"

(The WaPo also worries whether a Nobel Peace Prize winner will have the guts to declare war on Iran. I don't think it (the prize) slowed Kissinger down any, though...)

I think Obama handled the situation as well as could be expected. The decent thing would have been to turn the prize (which, as seen above, is basically a bribe from a group of lobbyists) down, but no politician in history has been quite that humble. Obama did say, in his acceptance speech, that "throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it’s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action..." So at least he's not claiming to have earned the prize :)

(Also, I don't think that it's a coincidence that trolling has become this prevalent now that Hilzoy's retired. Come back, Hilzoy! We need you!)

(Also, I don't think that it's a coincidence that trolling has become this prevalent now that Hilzoy's retired. Come back, Hilzoy! We need you!)

I heartily second that!

I love it when a guy named "irrumator" goes all reasonable on people.

irrumator!

reminds of that Kathy Griffin line: screw you! i don't go to where you work and knock the d!cks out of your mouth!

I should also point out that the deadline for 2009 Nobel Peace Prize nominations (also the cutoff date; no peaceable achievements taking place after that date are to be considered when deciding on the final winner) was February 1, 2009, 11 days after Obama's inauguration. Given that, any claims that this prize is for anything Obama has actually done doesn't hold water. All he managed to do in his first 11 days was not be George Bush.

(although, tbh, not being George Bush ought to be worth something)

It certainly looks like he has lucked into a golden opportunity!

I really hope that, by the end of his Presidency, he has accomplished something that would warrant this award. But today it is, to put it mildly, premature. So, just suppose for a minute that he chose to decline (on the grounds that it is not yet deserved). What happens?

Internationally, his stock rises even higher. Which can perhaps be put to good use in achieving various goals -- some of them even related to this prize.

As for domestic politics, it leaves the far right still enraged. But even more of the center sees that as reason to write them off as hopeless. So, a significant political gain for him at home.

It would take a lot for someone to decline. But the opportunity is surely there for him.

irrumator!

Hey...based on my research, it basically just means someone who enjoys performing fellatio. You'll excuse me if I fail to see what the big deal is.

(Latin nerd)

Actually, an 'irrumator' is not someone who performs fellatio, but someone who (implication: forcibly) compels another to perform fellatio on him. A more literal translation of 'irrumator' would be, perhaps, 'face-f***er'.

See the first lines of this unintentionally hilarious translation of Catullus' poem 16.

(/Latin nerd)

Hey...based on my research, it basically just means someone who enjoys performing fellatio.

You've got the pitcher and the catcher backwards, so to speak, but you're in the ballpark. You see the word in Catullus. It's a pretty disgusting handle to use. Highbrow disgusting, maybe, but disgusting none the less.

(I hope this closes the Italics)

What Mad the Swine said.

ITALICS OFF!

I think Obama is a great human being and may be a great President. And I think one of his greatest traits is that he realizes that, as Churchill put it, Jaw, Jaw is better than War, War - that talking to people, even to awful people, costs us nothing and can strengthen our diplomatic hand elsewhere if they refuse to moderate their awfulness; and that we can't bomb the whole world into submission. And while I'm not as overwrought as some, I have my disappointments in Obama's Presidency thus far (he has moved little or not at all on important issues including Habeas, DADT, global warming, and war generally); even so, I still have hopes that he's doing about as well as any President can in the context of our current country. In particular, on these issues Obama is still saying, and some of his appointees seem to genuinely believe in, the right things. There's a lot of inertia driving our country in the wrong direction on all of those issues, and a course change will take time. So, on balance, I am an unreformed Obamaphile.

But my main response is that however dramatic the change from Bush, however sharp Obama's intellect, however great his potential, however grand his intentions, however sterling his character, he hasn't really earned the prize. Not yet, at least. I agree with everything the committee said about him, and I value those things about him - but so far it's still mostly intentions.

I don't know if Cleek's response is remotely feasible - I don't think an honoree gets the option of deferring the prize - but Cleek's sentiment is right. When Obama accepts the prize - and on balance I think he will, and probably should, accept the prize - he should (and, I think, will) make it clear that he accepts it on behalf of an American people moving towards progress, and that he hopes one day to have earned the honor the committee has bestowed upon him.

beyerstein: "So, by extension, Oy, you should defer completely to President Obama on all decisions of war and peace because he has a situation room and some PDFs."

I guess irony escapes you.

"Who is he to second-guess the Nobel Peace Prize Committee about who's promoting peace? That's like saying Taylor Swift should have preemptively declined the video music award because everybody knew that Beyonce had the best video."

So can we expect Glen Beck to leap onto the podium when Obama's getting the award and swipe the plaque from his fingers and announce to the world everybody knows John McCain was the one who deserved it?

And let's start a pool to guess what Obama does with the prize money: keep it or donate it, and if donate, to which charity?

I'm guessing he'll be forced to donate it.

My pick for a charity: Chicago's Let's Talk, Let's Test Foundation, which can use the money right about now.

What I think he should do is [say] that he ...will really try...Maybe he should start by extraditing Kissinger to the ICC ;-)

Hartmut wins the thread!! (so far)

Oh well...I was using definition 2 from here, but it seems that yours is the more accepted definition.

Uncle Kvetch,

May I humbly suggest that urban dictionary is probably not the best source for Latin.

Marty: "he won the Nobel Peace prize for saying all of the things that Europeans want to hear about how America is bad and he is going to make it better."

Oh no, he didn't. In this humble European's opinion, Obama should never have won the prize, because although he promotes peace and may do more of it in the future, he not only accepts, but praises and promotes gross human rights abuses.

"Refusing the prize really would be narcissistic. Who is he to second-guess the Nobel Peace Prize Committee about who's promoting peace?"

Narcissists probably don't turn down awards they don't deserve. Maybe humble narcissists do. And anyone is free to second-guess the Nobel committee on who is promoting peace.

This award is ridiculous. I didn't know that they have given awards in the past for aspirations--if so, probably some of the past awards have been ridiculous too. There's a chance Obama might do something to deserve a Nobel Peace Prize someday--maybe he'll bring peace to the Israelis and Palestinians (though he's been going about it in a seemingly inept way lately) or maybe he'll do a Kissinger, wreck a country and call it peace. But why not wait a bit and see what happens?

If they wanted to slap George Bush, as some suggest was the real motive, the thing to do is invent an Ignoble Prize or a war prize or gold medal in the torture olympics. It's sort of confusing when you give a peace prize to one guy in order to slap down someone else.

Thullen says: "One Oscar, in which has been planted a nuclear warhead, to drop on external enemy Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Now you're on the right track, finally. But won't that be two or more warheads, geographically dispersed? And will we have to pay the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for those Oscars, or do you think they'll donate them as a gesture of patriotism?

Warren Terra says: "And I think one of his greatest traits is that he realizes that, as Churchill put it, Jaw, Jaw is better than War, War - "

That jaw jaw certainly did Churchill and England a lot of good good, when the German bombs bombs started falling on their heads heads...

This is great news. I am very happy that he won. He deserves it.

I have to admit that I am having a lot of fun reading the reactions of people on these blogs. Too funny.

Win the Nobel Peace Prize? Yes we can!

On extending an Olive Branch to our adversaries, President Obama has been awarded one of the most Prestigious Awards in the World -- The Nobel Peace Award. For his efforts and courage on a world stage to engage with the enemy, to sit at the table and break bread, to engage in peaceful dialouge with respect, and to extend to our "alleged" enemies an Olive Branch and not a Stick, the GOP jealousy ask -- But, what has he done?

What he has done, in the face of much criticism, as stated above, is to extend an Olive Branch to our adversaries, because only peace can bring peace. He has fostered and ignited the will to good, which in turn, will increase goodwill around the world. In the face of ridicule, President Obama has set the tone and direction toward unity, cooperation and oneness, recognizing our interconnectedness with all nations around the world -- that we are all brothers/sisters and souls of the one Great Life from which we have all originated from. This is a very big deal Indeed because it is a Consciousness change which will change the actions of men on earth.

First of the exchange between the Roman degenerate (Irragator), John Thullen & cleek is priceless.

And Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize, while managing one of the most lethal militaries on earth certainly appears to be ironic.

That jaw jaw certainly did Churchill and England a lot of good good, when the German bombs bombs started falling on their heads heads...

Which, of course, disproves Churchill's point and, thus, war war is better than jaw jaw. You see.

Right. If someone gives you an award, it's not your responsibility to second-guess the judges. You accept graciously and thank them for the honor they have bestowed upon you. It's presumptuous for the winner to tell the judges who they should have picked.

It's their award and the onus is on them to award it wisely. If they choose badly, it reflects on them, not on the recipient.

You may not think you're the most worthy candidate, but who cares? We don't tune in to the awards ceremonies to find out who the contestants think deserved to win. We want to know what the judges think.

Oh god, Irrumator and Jay Jerome in the same thread, and Pericles turns up to hiss his usual foul breath in my direction.

Donald: This award is ridiculous. I didn't know that they have given awards in the past for aspirations--if so, probably some of the past awards have been ridiculous too. There's a chance Obama might do something to deserve a Nobel Peace Prize someday--maybe he'll bring peace to the Israelis and Palestinians (though he's been going about it in a seemingly inept way lately) or maybe he'll do a Kissinger, wreck a country and call it peace. But why not wait a bit and see what happens?

What goes through the minds of the Nobel Peace Prize committee? Who knows. Maybe they just wanted to give him a free trip to Sweden. I agree with you, but the thread's gone silly.

I should also point out that the deadline for 2009 Nobel Peace Prize nominations (also the cutoff date; no peaceable achievements taking place after that date are to be considered when deciding on the final winner) was February 1, 2009

I see this line everyplace today, and I realize I'm micturating into the proverbial windstorm to even point this out, but: This. Is. Sheerest. Nonsense.

From your friendly neighborhood wikipedia:

Nominations for the Prize may be made by a broad array of qualified individuals, including former recipients, members of national assemblies and congresses, university professors (in certain disciplines), international judges, and special advisors to the Prize Committee.
For those of you playing at home, that means that all 535 members of congress plus heaven knows how many professors were empowered to offer a nomination - and that's just in this country. I wouldn't be surprised if the total number of people so capable were in the tens of thousands worldwide.

The obvious and inevitable result is that everyone of any prominence on the world stage is at least nominally a nominee for the Nobel prize (including especially the world's monsters, as it's a rare globally significant monster who doesn't have at least one rabid fan elected to some national legislature or serving as the right sort of professor someplace; you can be almost certain that Mugabe, Kim Jong Il, whoever heads the SLORC, and Qaddafi are nominated every year).

So if you have some idea of when the nominees were winnowed, that might be interesting. But pointing to the deadline for nominations is just ignorant.

Uncle Kvetch,
May I humbly suggest that urban dictionary is probably not the best source for Latin.

Yes, you may. Duly noted. 8^)

Some Democrats?

Certainly we've learned not to fall for the "some people say" line by now.

Before you find yourself gobsmacked you might ask conservative columnist Marc Armbinder who these Democrats are.

The only people he mentions are John Dickerson (writer for the contrarian loving Slate magazine) and non-Democrat Mickey Kaus who writes columns titled "Obama's First Debacle" and "Obama Embarrassed".

And Dickerson only brings up Obama turning down the award in reference to Kaus.

"he hasn't really earned the prize."

Both wrong and beside the point. The change in America's posture in the world is a dramatic improvement and a necessary if not sufficient condition for peace. Obama's approach has moved the world more in the direction of peace than anything else this year.

But the award is aspirational. Like that to Desmond Tutu in 1984 spurred the movement to end apartheid in South Africa, so the award to Obama is intended to help Obama in his declared moves towards peace in the world.

I don't think the rest of the world cares much about the domestic side of US politics (no one can believe US doesn't have universal health care) but do care very much that Obama is encouraged and supported in rectifying damage done to the rest of the world during Bush era, tackling the problem of nuclear proliferation, and trying to advance Israel-Palestinan peace process.

It amazes me that those on the right don't at least scratch their heads and say, well i don't think he's doing anything right but if the rest of the world thinks he is and thinks more highly about the US because of him, that is a good thing.

"Right. If someone gives you an award, it's not your responsibility to second-guess the judges. You accept graciously and thank them for the honor they have bestowed upon you. It's presumptuous for the winner to tell the judges who they should have picked. "

If he could judge it purely as a private individual, without considering political ramifications, he ought to turn it down. (In my somewhat anarchical way I think he should do that anyway, but obviously there are political ramifications.) There's no rule I've ever heard that says one has to agree with a committee of people that decides to honor you. They might give it to me for my sterling qualities as a mediocre writer of comments in blog threads--I would probably turn it down as it seems unlikely to me that my comments have contributed significantly to world peace. Though I could use the money.

"I agree with you, but the thread's gone silly."

To Jes--yes it has, and maybe I'm contributing a bit to the silliness now. But I blame the Nobel Committee, ultimately.

May I humbly suggest that urban dictionary is probably not the best source for Latin.

Maybe we can make an exception for Catullus. He was pretty, um, urban.

Jesurgislac, it's pretty rich for you to call someone else a troll when you constantly spew all manner of hateful filth, including posting pictures of dead bodies. I guess it takes one to know one.

Posted by: Pericles | October 09, 2009 at 11:55 AM

LOL, someone got their feelings hurt.

Anyway, what's up with all these right-wingers naming themselves after Greek and Roman androphiles?

Something strange is happening to right-wing masculinity.

Warren Terra, I think people are pointing to the deadline to illustrate that Obama had only been president for 10 days when he was inaugurated. I think critics are conflating nomination and winning; I agree that it would be weird for Obama to win the NPP 10 days after being sworn in, but he was not. His win must be chiefly based on the stuff he's said/done/not done since the nomination. That doesn't mean it isn't too early, but it's not just 10 days. I might be missing something crucial.

Jinchi, you're wise to take this early generalization with a grain of salt. I wouldn't just take Marc Ambinder's word for it, either. But I'm hearing similar nonsense from liberal journalist colleagues and operatives. I couldn't believe the early chatter. The POTUS wins the Nobel Prize and everyone's fretting over what the town hall/talk radio opposition is going to say.

Expect a raft of "think" pieces agonizing over whether Obama should accept the prize from people who are nominally committed to the idea that Obama's doing a great job on the whole peace thing.

You've got the pitcher and the catcher backwards

Yes, I had understood that an Irrumator is someone who forces someone else to fellatiate him.

I think we should call our commenter an adherent of the Irrumator School of foreign policy, which is based on a very simple idea: everything in world affairs can be reduced to whether you are the Irrumator or the Fellator, and there is no other choice.

Awesome... Obama just pwned the Obama "defenders."

It may not be your "responsibility" to second guess the judges, but it shows a hell of a lot of class to do so, especially when the facts are so embarrassingly obvious.

Left/liberals are critiquing this award for more than simply political reasons, i.e. "it will piss off the Right and make things worse for him." They might simply have intellectual reservations, that no matter how crappy the prize has been awarded in the past, we can hope to raise its standard in the present, and at present, Obama doesn't deserve to win.

The best thing about all this scolding of critics is that Obama basically agrees with the fundamental critique: "To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize, men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace."

While I doubt this will lead him to decline the award, he certainly is "second-guessing" the judges and is now, according to Beyerstein, guilty of crass narcissism.

How dare you Obama? At long last! Have you no sense of decency???

Come on, he should turn it down just to demonstrate he has some sense of dignity and self-worth.

Agreed. He should never have accepted the presidency based on that travesty of a Supreme Court decision.

Craven, this whole blog is a text-based format, so I assume you can read. Still, you'd think you might notice that, so far as I can tell, pretty much every single person advising Obama to accept the award, including those doing so within this thread, have advised him to do so while expressing some sense of humility. Despite your overblown assertions about how Obama has "pwned" us to the contrary.

Obama will accept.

oh well. i expect he'll phrase his acceptance in terms of aspirations, and not of accomplishment.


For some perspective I found this at George Stephanopolous blog:

Best Obama Nobel jokes(some funnier than others):

Courtesy of conservative activist Keith Appell:

Barack Obama’s Teleprompter: Big Guy says Bill Clinton called and was gracious in defeat; offered to fly Kanye West over 4 the Nobel awards ceremony.

Erick Erickson: Obama is becoming Jimmy Carter faster than Jimmy Carter became Jimmy Carter.

Ana Marie Cox: Apparently Nobel prizes now being awarded to anyone who is not George Bush.

Headline over AP analysis by White House correspondent Jennifer Loven: He Won, But For What?

Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review: I want to buy the world a coke.

Ezra Klein: Obama also awarded Nobel prize in chemistry. "He's just got great chemistry," says Nobel Committee.

Adam Bromberg, CRC: Nobel Prize Committee must be staffed by out of work comedy writers.

Kristina Hernandez, CRC: It was the Beer Summit that put Obama over the edge.

- George Stephanopoulos


"Peace" is a dirty word in America; or, rather, the belief is that peace can most effectively be achieved through war. War on Iraq and Iran to keep them from possessing nuclear weapons; war on Afghanistan to revenge ourselves on the regime that harbored bin Laden; war here, war there, all in the name of peace.

Well, if the people who think that way don't like this: good. They need to learn what peace means to the rest of the world. Peace means: not war.

My first reaction to this was, "Well, that's silly." But the one person in the world with the greatest power to promote peace is the President of the United States. And if, every day of his Presidency, he feels some obligation to live up to the expectation to promote peace, well, then it will have been worth it.

I think we should call our commenter an adherent of the Irrumator School of foreign policy, which is based on a very simple idea: everything in world affairs can be reduced to whether you are the Irrumator or the Fellator, and there is no other choice.

I basically agree with that. It would be honor.

Obama Nobel: But what will the wingnuts think?

They'll think it's further proof that he's a cheese-eating appeasenik, if not the anti-Christ steering us down the path to a cruel and godless one-world government.

Cue Armageddon.

I'm a Republican, I oppose Obama, but I've decided not to freak out about this.

Good call.

irony has been dead on that one since Henry Kissinger got it.

True dat.

There is something unseemly about their award plus it shows a tin-ear for American politics if they thought such an award would help Obama.

My guess is that the Nobel committee's impression of domestic American politics is kinda like your or my impression of the insane drunken couple down the block who resolve their marital spats by trying to run each other over in the driveway.

To the degree that our internal disputes entered into their decision, it probably took the form of trying to give the keys to whoever seemed less drunkenly insane.

Anyway, what's up with all these right-wingers naming themselves after Greek and Roman androphiles?

Dude, you missed RedState in the glory days! It was like reading a script for a remake of Ben Hur.

Something strange is happening to right-wing masculinity.

You got the tense wrong.

Kristina Hernandez, CRC: It was the Beer Summit that put Obama over the edge.

That was pretty funny!

The essayist Phil Nugent has an excellent post on the theme of this prize being a signal from the world to the US celebrating our finally rejecting Bush and Bushism.

Some excerpts:

The Nobel does have one very real purpose, and that is that, by giving it to the right person once in a while--a Dalai Lama, a Lech Wałęsa, a Desmond Tutu, an Al Gore--you can really piss off some people who richly deserve to be pissed off. The Committee has done its best to suggest that Obama was given the award because of the things he wants to do, but I suspect that he was given the award for something he is, or rather isn't: i.e.. he isn't George W. Bush, or Bush's designated successor. Which ought to be recognized as a very low bar, but there's more to it than that.

The Bush years should be--will be--remembered as the country's moral low point since the end of slavery, a time when an inane little man with no qualifications but his family connections lost a democratic election, was appointed to the job of leader of the free world anyway, by his father's old cronies and party colleagues and with the complicity and approval of the press, and then proceeded to spend his full term ignoring the needs of the country and its people while using the time to instead order up legal rationales for an imperial presidency dedicated to the justification of torture and wars of choice, while creating a climate of fear that was meant to provide a reason for all of it. It was a horror show, and for those of us not of boundless faith, there were moments during it when it felt as if it would never end and that the most rotten people in America had succeeded in permanently reshaping the country and its values to make a better climate for their lizard skins.

...

In light of this, the award should rightly have been given, not to Obama, but to the voters of the United States, who made the real heroic choice last November. But to have done that would have come too close to admitting the real reasons for giving the prize to Obama, which would have amounted to saying aloud that America, from the moment that the Supreme Court decided that honor and intellectual decency were things that it would be happier without, to at least the 2006 midterms, seemed about as much of a lost cause as Poland under martial law and South Africa during apartheid. And you don't win a peace prize, or get chosen to distribute them, by saying things like that.

Congratulations to President Obama!

Could a front-pager please remove the spam comment at 2:30?
(and, if you do, this one while you're at it).

From the Phil Nugent piece Warren T cites:

If you have to give someone an major international humanitarian award every year, then, given the state of the world, you're going to spend a lot of time making symbolic gestures.

Truer words never.

This classy statement from John McCain is worth noting. I take back some of the nasty things I've said about the Senator. He isn't all ego and opposition all the time, there are times when he seems to feel the broader context and rises above the shouting of the day. Good for him.

Regardless of whether or not this prized is deserved (my initial reaction is that it seems a bit premature), one of the memes coming from Republicans sounds as if it were an Onion headline:

Republicans outraged American leadership is globally respected: "This is a national catastrophe..." party leaders say.

Yeah, yeah, I'm not saying American is adored overseas, but you get my point...

"The Bush years should be--will be--remembered as the country's moral low point since the end of slavery[.]"

Hyperbolize much?

I suppose the belief that the enemies of one's own time are the greatest enemies humanity has ever faced is not confined to the right. Bush, for all his incompetence, did far less harm than LBJ and Nixon in terms of sheer warmongery, and the latter could give him a good run for his money in terms of corruption, etc.

What a ridiculuous award. Obama hasn't done anything yet to warrant such an award. I don't think that he should turn it down, but, boy, it sure looks silly.

p.s. I don't understand your points regarding the Iraq war.

At first this seemed ridiculous to me, but on reflection the Nobel committee may be cannier than we think.

First off, given that the deadline to be a candidate was, I think, 1st February, I think Obama's inclusion on the list reflected the fact that he was the first non-white person in the past half-millennium or more who could credibly claim to be the most powerful person in the world, and the leader of the most affluent society in the world. One of the Nobel foundation's gravest sins was its slowness in recognising the moral authority and achievements of anti-colonial and civil rights leaders in the twentieth century (Ghandi being the most notorious omission). By a certain historical narrative, Obama could be seen as the culmination (or at least a powerful symbolic waypoint) of a very long process of battling a racial order in world politics.

That is to say, I don't think the Nobel people were engaged in anything so churlish as giving Bush the finger, nor even anything so parochial as acknowledging Obama's importance with respect to US history -- I think a more sweeping point was being made in a chronological and global sense.

Now, that might not have been enough for him to win the prize. I think they gave him the prize in the end not because they are ignorant of the cut-and-thrust of American politics, but because they are trying to encourage Obama to rise above the cut-and-thrust. Partly as a political tactic, partly because he is aware of the debt he owes to people like MLK and Ghandi, Obama does try to project an aspirational and inspirational message. Almost paradoxically, however, he is an extremely pragmatic politician, and he holds very uncontroversial centrist views (if you eliminate the wacky American right-wing fringe from the spectrum, who are way out of touch with the rest of the industrialised world).

I think therefore they are giving him the prize to put the issue of legacy front and center in his mind, to remind him to look beyond the political expediencies of the present, so that his inspirational vision isn't steadily erased by a multitude of daily concessions.

This might not work, but I think there is something more insightful going on than saying "Bush suckzz!".

Or else maybe he was the compromise candidate, and everybody got tired of arguing late into the night, and all agreed on Obama so that they could go home at last and get some dinner.

Rush Limbaugh admits to being Taliban.

I'm calling in an airstrike.

Donald Johnson,

"If they wanted to slap George Bush, as some suggest was the real motive, the thing to do is invent an Ignoble Prize or a war prize or gold medal in the torture olympics."

already done, though no member of the Bush Administration seems to have won one. Some of the actual winners are hoots, though.

Maybe they wanted to give Obama the award before the Morlock's got him?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad