Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize

October 9th, 2009

obama_nobelWhen I heard the report that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize, my reaction was two questions:  “Huh?” and “What for?”  I suspect that many millions of other people had the same reaction.  Absurd awards of the political Nobels (Peace and Literature) never really surprise me, but this one is over-the-top.

The President said:

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….

…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.

I agree on both points. I also agree with what Ruth Marcus wrote:

This is ridiculous — embarrassing, even. I admire President Obama. I like President Obama. I voted for President Obama. But the peace prize? This is supposed to be for doing, not being — and it’s no disrespect to the president to suggest he hasn’t done much yet. Certainly not enough to justify the peace prize.

“Extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples?” “[C]aptured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future?” Please. This turns the award into something like pee-wee soccer: everybody wins for trying.

Obama isn’t going to decline the award, as some have suggested that he should.  Fine — let him keep it, and the tidy sum of cash that comes with it.  After all, when you compare his award to past awards, why not?  Anyone can be a star in the theater of the absurd.

A closing thought — why not Bill Clinton?  He’s raised probably a billion dollars for humanitarian causes since he left office.  And, like Obama, he isn’t George W. Bush, an important qualification in the minds of the leftist loons of Europe.

But what the heck; let’s take the Nobel Peace Prize for what it’s worth — not much — and be happy our President won it.  And who knows, it may motivate him to step back from that bottomless swamp that awaits us in Afghanistan.

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13 Responses to “Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize”

  1. hippopop |

    Excellent post! You wrote exactly what I was thinking when I heard the news.

  2. Alan |

    Is it true that he will receive $1.3 million? He’d be stupid to decline. I heard on the radio that he was nominated for it in February. Why???

  3. Tom |

    The prize is $1.4 million, according to reports I’ve read. The White House said Obama is going to contribute the entire amount to charity.

    I don’t know why he was nominated, but why he won is pretty clear. It’s a political statement, and, frankly, it doesn’t reflect well on Obama, given what the people who awarded it think of the U.S. I’m OK with him taking the prize, giving the cash to charity, and continuing to do what’s best for the U.S., no matter what European leftist critics think. Assuming he’s doing what’s best for the U.S., of course….

  4. Brad C DMD |

    Now our prsident and Yaser Arafat have soemthign else in common besides helping to destroy their respective countries: a prize for doing absolutely nothing. This whole thing is ridiculous: like a director winning an Oscar for the 1st 30 seconds of a movie, or an author earning a Pulitzer for the 1st ten pages of a novel. Awards are usually given for achievments, not for potential which may never come to be. But Jimmy Carter won one of these worthless awards, so how much can they posisbly mean?

  5. BK |

    It caught me by surprise too. I have always thought that Nobel Prize was given to individual who did extraordinary works in the field of his/her expertise. I agree with the two points by Ruth Marcus. I’ll look forward to see what President Obama will do.

  6. Sweetromance |

    Amazingly, I heard that he won for his rhetoric during his campaign.

  7. Brian Bagent |

    Sweet, it had to have been for his rhetoric. The nominations were due 1 Feb 09, a whole 12 days after he was inaugurated.

  8. Brian Bagent |

    Tom, I think the case could be made that he must refuse the money, even if he plans on giving it all to charity. Of course, with the folks now ruling congress, it is possible that they may approve the money for him (Art 1, Sec 9, Clause 8).

  9. Kevin |

    I largely agree with you, Tom. For the most part I’ve been looking at it just from a real politick point of view. My gut feeling when I first heard about it is the same as it is right now – that the Nobel committee didn’t do Obama any favors with this choice vis our domestic politics.

    I also agree that many of the past winners have proven to have been dubious choices.

    As an American who genuinely does value peace and the propogation of peace, I am somewhat offended that George Mitchell hasn’t been given this award yet. What he accomplished in Northern Ireland was nothing short of miraculous. Nobody believed it was possible. And yet, unlike the 1994 recipients (Arafat, Rabin and Peres), Mitchell’s peace making has proven itself to be substantive.

  10. Clarissa |

    As for Clinton, after his bombings of Yugoslavia he hardly deserves a Peace prize.

    Of course, as much as I like Obama, I think giving him the Nobel Peace Prize is an extremely weird idea.

  11. Tom |

    Kevin, I think you’re right that the Nobel folks didn’t do Obama any favors. It just makes for a lot of jokes and often negative commentating right now. In a few years, when he has some solid accomplishments, would have been much better. Clinton would have been more deserving, and certainly Mitchell. His accomplishments are having long lasting positive results for peace, and he certainly deserves the award more than anyone else I can think of.

    Clarissa, you’re dead on about the bombing of Yugoslavia. I was living in Belgrade at that time and had been there for over a year before it happened. I was evacuated to Budapest with the rest of the American Embassy just a few days before the bombing started. It was a travesty, and we all knew it. The U.S. bombing a major European capital for the first time since World War II was inexcusable, moreso because it was unnecessary.

  12. Harvey |

    When all is said and done it seems to me that President Obama is the perfect recipient of a peace prize from an organization that believes in peace through capitulation rather than peace through strength. Yes! Obama is definitely their man!

  13. Brianna |

    “it seems to me that President Obama is the perfect recipient of a peace prize from an organization that believes in peace through capitulation rather than peace through strength.”


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