A Peace Prize for the President

World • Views: 2,598

Well, it’s still early in the morning on the west coast, but I think I already know what the outrage of the day will be in the right wing blogosphere: In Surprise, Nobel Peace Prize to Obama for Diplomacy.

OSLO — President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” a stunning honor that came less than nine months after Mr. Obama made United States history by becoming the country’s first African-American president.

The award, announced here by the Nobel Committee while much of official Washington — including the president — was still asleep, cited in particular the president’s efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

“He has created a new international climate,” the committee said.

For Mr. Obama, one of the nation’s youngest presidents, the award is an extraordinary recognition that puts him in the company of world leaders such as Mikhail Gorbachev, who won for helping to bring an end to the cold war, and Nelson Mandela, who sought an end to apartheid. But it is also a potential political liability at home; already, Republicans are criticizing the president, contending he won more for his “star power” than his actual achievements.

Even though this is pretty clearly motivated by leftist European politics, I can’t summon up any outrage, because I’ve believed the Nobel Peace Prize to be irrelevant for many years. When the prize was awarded to master terrorist Yasser Arafat in 1994, any legitimacy it might have had as a measure of achievement was forever lost.

The Nobel prizes for science and literature are still valid measures of achievement, and really mean something.

The Nobel Peace Prize, not so much.

UPDATE at 10/9/09 8:38:56 am:

Of course, Republican pundits are worked up into a fine froth over it.

UPDATE at 10/9/09 9:14:40 am:

And we have lousy behavior by politicians on both sides of the aisle, as Michael Steele misses an opportunity to be gracious, and a DNC official responds by saying the GOP is siding with terrorists.

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