Oct 9, 2009

Award season comes early*,**

The Nobel Committee's surprise award of the peace prize to President Barack Obama certainly tells us something about how they viewed his predecessor, but with only 9 months on the job and a war in Afghanistan to plan, it might be a little premature at best. So what's the best political response? Does he accept the award on behalf of the American people? Or does he respectfully decline it, saying he's got miles to go and should be judged on results? Whatever he does, I'm of the mind that this won't help him make headway with his enemies abroad and will only harden the contempt of his political enemies at home who'll ask what he's done (and probably work in a little anti-elite European criticism). Humility might be the best answer to both.

*Update: Obama accepted the prize. He said he was "humbled" and "surprised," and added: "To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize..." The video of his statement is here and the text here.

**Update II: On today's "To The Point," Time's White House correspondent Michael Scherer, Atlantic Media's, Peter Beinart of the Daily Beast, and Robin Wright of the US Institute of Peace, and formerly of the Washington Post, talk about the ramifications of the Nobel prize on Obama's foreign and domestic agenda.


Anonymous said...

When exactly was he nominated for this award?

Anonymous said...

Nominations are automatic for current and former U.S. presidents and candidates for the presidency who share the European establishment's discomfort with U.S. sovereignty. Special consideration is given to American leaders who use the language of foreign criticism of United States policies and market economics, and who help legitimize such language within American poltical discourse. President Obama, former Vice President Gore and former President Carter were all highly qualified for the prize. The award is less about accomplishment than for the right attitude.

Anonymous said...

The previous post is utter nonsense, unless you're a Limbaugh-loving conspiracy theorist who's got something against those who traffic in peace instead of aggression.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and he earned it, for whatever it's worth? And he's trafficking in peace? I thought it was something else. The current president makes Bill Clinton look like Churchill and GW Bush like Metternich.