Friday, October 09, 2009

President Obama's Nobel Prize

President Barack Obama has just won this year's Nobel Peace Prize, and the blogosphere and the conservative talkshow weenies are going off like a 4th of July fireworks display.

I have to admit, it surprises even me a little.  He's been in office less than a year, he's still fighting 2 wars (even if he is pulling out of Iraq), the American conservative movement maintains a constant state of low-level simmering hostility to him.  But everybody needs to keep two things in mind:

This. Isn't. Barack. Obama's. Fault.

He almost certainly didn't know it was coming.  The Nobel Committee plays its cards so close to the vest that we won't know who the other candidates were for this year's prizes until 2059.

He didn't ask for it.  As far as I know you can't nominate yourself for any Nobel Prize.

Even if someone did nominate him and then tell him they had, the Nobel Committee famously makes its own decisions.

Personally, I think they gave it to him for trying to make peace.  After 8 years of Dubya wandering around waving a (metaphorical) six-shooter, a president who says, "Let's talk" instead of "Let's invade" is an amazing relief, even if you don't agree with every decision he makes.  I am gobsmacked that everyone is blaming him for this decision!  This is incredible.

Yesterday, Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida gave a wonderful speech to Congress, (thanks to my Facebook friend Lauretta for the link!) in which he lambasted both the Democrats and the Republicans on health care.  In this speech, he said:  "If Barack Obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world, the Republicans would blame him for overpopulation... If the President has a BLT sandwich tomorrow for lunch, the Republicans will try to ban bacon."  This is the guy who said that the Republican advice to people without health insurance was, "Die quickly;" he's worth listening to.

So now that Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize, what will the Republicans try to ban?  Peace, or Nobel Prizes?


  1. I think the "Right" already declared Nobel Peace Prizes pointless after Al Gore was awarded one.

    I find this a little odd myself. Maybe they're trying to make up for their long snub of Jimmy Carter?

  2. I've never understood the Nobel Committee, myself.

  3. Friend of mine at Thomason Tracts has concluded that the Nobel Committees have reserved one award per year to be used to poke the American Republican Party. In 2007 it was Gore's Peace Prize, in 2008 it was Krugman's Economics Prize, and this year it was Obama's Peace Prize.

  4. And who can argue?

  5. "Peace" is a rare bird.

    And who gets to define it, qua "Nobel" dimensions?

    I think they should give it whenever it's appropriate. Maybe whenever it's justified. It might be that no one deserved it for 10 years or more.

    Just giving speeches shouldn't qualify.

    Maybe Joan Baez should get it.