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Saturday, October 10, 2009



So Obama and the U.S. fail to get the Olympics and the Right cheers. Obama, and the U.S. win the Nobel peace prize and they moan. They accuse the Nobel Selection Committee of low standards after defending the Bush administration for eight years. As a pundit said quite recently, if Obama did get rid of nuclear weapons, the Right would complain he was destroying the defense industry. All of this from folks that accused the Left of obsessing over GWB. Sweet irony!


I think most of the world is groaning, A.I. This article, in fact, mainly discusses the reaction of liberals to the award.


Getting rid of nuclear weapons would leave the US (and any other nation that disarms) at the mercy of cheaters. Every treaty from the dawn of time has cheaters. The cheaters could be Al Qaeda or anyone else. Is that what you want?

The Nobel Prize has long since descended into the realm of political favoritism, rather than for true peaceful achievements. Even BHO said he did not deserve it.

A.I., take off the rose-colored glasses and see the world as it is.


I am not inclined to be hard on A.I. He is virtually the only one of my commentators with courage enough left to defend Obama. Believe me, A.I., I have seen this before, and with Bush.

But when defending the indefensible, it is usually necessary to avoid the point. Your reply is an example. Of course the right is going to criticize Obama no matter what he does, just as the Left did with Bush. Bush's record on AIDS in Africa, for example, was just the kind of thing that a Democratic President would be proud of. How much credit did he get from the Left? Well, he could a snub from Bono.

As my post lays out in gory detail, this prize looks absurd to nearly everyone. Even the New York Times couldn't think of much good to say about it. The prize discredits itself. If you believe in international institutions, that might matter. AS John Bolton points out, it is an albatross around the President's neck. Suppose peace looks elusive toward the end of his first term, or worse, new conflicts have broken out and old ones are more intensive. Won't that make the President look worse than he would have without a peace prize? This award was a disaster.


No KB, Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize is something far less than a disaster. There are pluses and minuses for Obama and his administration to be sure. But it is far from a defining moment in his Presidency as were Iraq, 9/11 and the "great recession" during Bush's term.

Yes, the Left has been critical of the award. Their pundit reactions though have been more or less incredulity and bemusement, not the teeth gnashing of the Right. And while I understand your (the Right's) need too grasp at every straw to portray Obama as a narcissistic man a no accomplishment, over-reaction is discrediting all reaction. So, for my part, I'll not get too excited about any consequences or merits of this award selection until Kanye West weighs in.


I congratulate and support our President and my Commander-In-Chief. He's had alot to clean up since the previous Administration threw us and the World into a big hole fiscally, economically, and politically.


A.I., you will have to excuse KB since he has been a professor for so long and a blogging one at that, that "elitist" attitude has set in with him. He has turned into just what he condems in the world of academia. Somehow, I believe President Obama is not losing any sleep over what little KB thinks in little South Dakota. By the way, I'm from little South Dakota too and I "support my country and my President." (remember that KB, from back in your boy Bush's days? lol).


Gee, Mac, we are getting testy. It's okay to support your country and your President. I just don't think that not being George W. Bush should earn a Nobel Peace Prize.

A.I.: How do you distinguish the "incredulity" of the Left from the "teeth-gnashing" of the right? See Maureen Dowd's column, "Gandhi Wuz Robbed." That's MAUREEN DOWD! And who is reminding everyone of Jimmy Carter's killer rabbit? Eleanor Clift!

I think the award is a disaster, for the Nobel Prize. It confirms conservatives dim view of it. It may be a disaster for Obama as well, if, as Ms. Clift warns, it becomes a permanent part of the President's image. No, it's no 9/11. But the President should have refused it.


Can you name one other recipient who has turned down the Nobel Peace Prize? I know Obama's acceptance is just one more example of his spineless, rudderless and cowardly pandering for world approval, but the only rejection of a Nobel Prize I could find was Boris Pasternak's for literature in 1958.

Actually, the best take on the whole affair I have found is from Talking Points Memo blogger Josh Marshall who asks: "Can Obama survive the shame of global popularity?"


A.I.: No, I know of no other rejection. That would have been part of the beauty of the thing. I don't think that the President's acceptance of the award was pandering, spineless or otherwise. It was just another example of him doing what he has always done: going along to get along. Perhaps the angry rejection I initially recommended would have been irresponsible, though it would have immeasurably increased his stature here at home. A polite rejection would have been a bold enough move, and I think it would have firmed up his image here and abroad. The Obama who can say no. That would be the reaction of a serious person.

This award is universally recognized as a joke. A lot of us thought, when we first heard it, that it must be the Onion. Even the Norwegians, who are apparently smitten with Obama, seem to think it was a silly move.

But as I have taken pains to point out, this post was not primarily about Obama. It was about the Nobel Prize, which has been done great damage. It was also about the Nobel Committee, which chose to use this major award to express petty political feelings. I think they did the President no favors.

But as a matter of fact, "global popularity" is a very dubious blessing. Respect is what the President needs and, like it or not, fear is an ingredient in that kind of respect. Does anyone fear Obama? A Nobel Prize awarded on the basis that the Committee likes his voice just focuses attention on the absence of other useful criteria. Nor does it help that Obama got the prize, as SNL has now put it, because he is not George W. Bush. The fact that, in so far as one can judge from what he has actually done, he IS George W., is the essence of the dilemma.


KB, I am not testy. Not like you seem to be. He earned it fair and square.


In 1973 Le Duc Tho refused his joint Peace Prize with Henry Kissinger for their efforts in deciding the shape of the table at the Paris Peace Negotiations.

Jean Paul Sartre rejected his prize in literature in 1964.

Pasternak's rejection probably came about because of a "mutual understanding" between him and the Soviets.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn rejected his prize in literature in 1970, but then accepted the award in 1974 when he left the USSR.


Mac: By DOING WHAT????


KB, calm down. ALL CAPS? Very testy are we not? lol The President really gets under your skin I can tell. lol


Some good news Professor. The Pope canonized five saints a couple of days ago--I checked the list twice and Obama was not on it. You never know :)


Mac: without the benefits of italics, all caps are the only way to show emphasis. But I notice you ignored the question. The topic here is not the President but the Nobel Committee. The President hasn't had time to do much. What he has done, with regard to foreign policy and national security has been pretty much was Bush did. I think this prize diminishes the Nobel and it is problem for the President. What if he really does accomplish something significant for peace? Will they give him a second, this time for real prize?

Gene: I think President Obama's chances for canonization might not improve with time. But one never knows. If that half-eaten waffle that was auctioned off at at E Bay turns out to have curative powers ...


I still think the President upsets you because you constantly have negative things to say about him.


Mac: As I have pointed out before, you always defend the President while I almost always criticize him. That's because I am on the other side of the political spectrum from Barack Obama, and you are on the same side. But I try to be reasonable, and I have in fact defended him in two recent posts. I think your position would be stronger if you could bring yourself to admit the obvious: that the Nobel Prize was ridiculous. Anyway, thanks for commenting. You are always welcome here.

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