Friday, October 9, 2009
As you know by now, President Obama has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Congratulations to him, no kidding. I certainly do not begrudge the President his success. Far from it. The more successful he is – particularly in the pursuit peace – the better off we are as a country, and the more safe and successful my family and me.
Clearly, the Nobel Prize Committee isn’t awarding President Obama this honor based on his accomplishments. He had only been President for 11 days as of the February 1 deadline for nominations. He’s only been President for 253 days, including today, during which he’s talked a lot about all sorts of things, international relations among them, but accomplished nothing of historic note, and very little otherwise. No, this award is about attitude and charisma, about expectations and hope. To make an award on this basis may be precedent setting, may even cheapen the value of previous Peace and other Nobel Prizes, but it’s the Committee’s business to do what it wants with Alfred’s legacy.
While many – including reporters and others on the scene on Oslo – were stunned by the announcement, in a way it makes perfectly good sense. We did, after all, elect Barack Obama President based on only three lackluster, do nothing years in the Senate. It was not an election based on experience or accomplishments.
We elected Barack Obama for his style, based on the hope that his rhetoric would become reality and – it must be said – in reaction to 8 horrific years of George Bush and Dick Cheney. Can you blame the Nobel Committee for doing the same, for wanting so badly to change the way things are in international relations that it would choose to break from tradition and make a statement about the way things ought to be?
Unfortunately, The White House is, more often than not, where dreams and expectations go to die in the bog of bad economic and social programs, and stupid foreign wars. The endorsement of his ideas by the members of the Nobel Prize Committee notwithstanding, the country and the world are waiting impatiently for the tangible results of his actions. Talk is cheap. Hype is a distraction neither he nor we can afford. Hope is important, even essential, but no antidote for bad domestic and foreign policy.
Additional reading… Breaking News: Nobel Prize Awarded to Fetus, published October 11 on the WordFeeder.