Friday, October 09, 2009

Premature eNOBELation

Uhhh, what?

I'm as big a fan of President Barack Obama as the next center-left Southern Democrat, but the Nobel Peace Prize? Already?

That's taking things a little far.

Here's where a working knowledge of college football relates well to the political arena - especially on the subject of "hype." Now, I understand that hype usually comes from the pundit class and folks on the sidelines. (Please see also: Georgia's preseason ranking, circa 2008.) At some point the pundits/sportswriters/award committees are projecting their own biases onto their hype recipients. Fairly or unfairly, it is then up to the hype recipient to live up to expectations or disappoint.

I pretty much knew what I was voting for (because I actually listened to the speeches) and understand what the words "pragmatism" and "realism" mean. I have seen plenty of the change I can believe in, and I am all for it after the luncacy of the last 8 years. (Please see also: US Attorney Jim Letten's reappointment; Stop-production on the F-22; Obama's non-intervention intervention in Iranian election protests; Notre Dame speech; Cairo speech; Focus on Afganistan; Dismantling Bush II's Fantasy "Missile Sheild" in Eastern Europe; etc.) I will not be disappointed in Obama, because I paid close attention to the last 8 years, and that gave me a pretty good idea where the next 4 years would be going if we had elected the other guy. That we aren't going in that self-destructive direction is success enough for me.

But there are folks out there who thought Obama would come in and literally save the planet superhero style. Apparently, this group of people include the Nobel Peace Prize committee, who are basically giving him one of the most prestigious awards on the planet just for being elected. While I can understand some enthusiasm in the face of the last 8 years's worth of global meltdown, you need to give the new guy some breathing room to deliver something of note to hang his hat on.

What happens if, in 4 years, we're still trying to get out of Iraq and Afganistan? What if there is a new genocide in Africa we can't stop? What if Israel goes to war with Iran and takes us with them? How empty will this award seem then?

Some of these folks will have blinders on where Obama can do no wrong, and all the change they don't get will be the fault of others. I think more of these people will end up disappointed because we didn't elect a superhero, we elected a man. One with a good plan, but not one that is infallible.

Luckily, I absolutely believe that the White House was shocked by this news. I don't see how they can think this is anything other than a political liability. His only recourse could be to not accept the award.

The only people who will express unfettered joy at this announcement are right-wing-talk radio and Fox News, who's strained credibility just got a shot of androgen with another suspect left-leaning group piling on the "Chosen One" narrative.

Update: I guess that's a good title for this post, 'cause we're getting a lot of traffic this afternoon. Welcome Blog of New Orleans/Gambit readers (and thanks for the link, guys)! We're getting a lot of Facebook links today, too.



S.A.W.B. said...

Maybe the Nobel folks gave it to him for all that legislation, meaningful or otherwise, he and his legislative-blockade-free House and Senate have passed...

Oh wait...

S.A.W.B. said...

Also, lifted from my friend Paul, via Facebook -

Why didn't Nixon get the Nobel in '69? He promised to end the war in his campaign too. He didn't of course, but he said he would.

DADvocate said...

Oct. 9, 2008 will go down as the day The Onion took over the world.

N said...

FYI, according to the Nobel committee, they will sometimes - as in this case - award the prize to someone who has not yet accomplished their objectives, but has made enough strides that the committee wishes to encourage them to carry on.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

I understand that, and I'm sure they have done so at some point (though not on any of the international legends I am familiar with).

It is one thing to honor some little known individual's third world peace initiative on the front end to call attention to their cause and kick them some much needed development money.

But Barack Obama is the President of the United States of America. The bar should be set a little higher.

Mavric said...

You know, I've been thinking about this issue for a bit. I think that this Nobel Prize is being given, at least in part, as a global commentary on US foreign policy. Let's face it. President Bush foreign policy could be described as bully politics. President Obama has taken a much different tack on dealing with other countries. Not to read to much into it, but precisely for the reason that he is the President of the United States, things we might consider trivial make huge waves in other parts of the world.