No sooner was it announced that Barack Obama won the 2009 Peace Prize, than I heard from Ann Aurelius. An old friend from high school back in Minneapolis, Ann is as Norwegian as Lutefisk and pancake suppers in a Lutheran church basement during a cold Minnesota winter. When Garrison Keillor talks about the people of Lake Woebegon, he’s talking about Ann.
“Cheeky Norwegians! Good for them!” Ann enthused in an early morning e-mail shortly after getting word. “The world needs shaking up! I think they realize that his fight for justice (including) universal health care is as much about world peace as ending wars and conflicts. Even beer in the Rose Garden to smooth out racial issues. Sometimes, it's not about the big things but an entire attitude.”
The head of the Nobel Committee didn’t say it any better.
Except for the lowlanders at Fox and the Taliban’s official spokesman, most of the world is applauding the move in Oslo. Beyond the usual tributes from Obama’s fellow heads-of-state, a think piece that appears in The Independent explains why he may have won.
The Independent observes “… the Nobel prize has a long history of being awarded more for the committee's aspirations than for others' accomplishments … The prize is awarded to encourage those who receive it to see the effort through, sometimes at critical moments … The Nobel committee has the audacity to hope that he'll produce a record worthy of its prize.”
Agence France Presse is considerably less inhibited, saying the president “sensationally won the Nobel Peace Prize …” And across the Channel, Peter Beaumont of The Guardian wrote what is on the minds of many today, noting that perhaps the prize was “awarded to Barack Obama for what he is not: For not being George W. Bush.”
And over at the Grande Dame of broadcasting, Paul Reynolds of BBCNews.com writes, “The citation indicates that it is President Obama's world view that attracted the Nobel committee – that diplomacy should be founded ‘on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.’”
The Livid Right
I wonder if Fox News, The National Review and RedState.com are happy that they have something in common with the Taliban: Each blasted Obama receiving the Nobel Prize as soon as the award was announced.
In fact, because of the time difference between Afghanistan, Norway and New York, the Taliban may have scooped Fox this morning.
Under the headline “Becoming Jimmy Carter Faster Than Jimmy Carter,” RedState’s Erick Ericksonwhined “I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota … but that is the only thing I can think of for this news …” Apparently not knowing anything about the peace prize, including how or why it is awarded, Erickson is saying the only reason a black president could win the accolade is because he is black. And the right wonders why progressives brand so many of them racist when they write or talk about the president.
Not surprisingly, Fox has the wildest ideas.
Crazy Foxes Tommy De Seno, writing at FoxNews.com, is no more informed of the process than Erickson. He carefully catalogues Obama’s first 12 days in office – that’s when the nomination period ended – and other than “skipping church” three times and “release federal funding to pay for abortions in foreign countries,” Obama did nothing. De Seno brushes off ending torture as “re-affirmed Army Field Manual techniques for interrogations” and “expressed desire to close Gitmo” as mere trifled.
Hey, Tommy: The nominations may have closed February 1 but that doesn’t mean the Nobel Committee tosses all of the names in a hat and draws out one in October. There’s actually a lengthy consideration and deliberation process involved and, I’ve read, often heated arguments between committee members over different nominees.
Not so this time: The Nobel Committee announcement said the choice of Obama was unanimous.
That didn’t stop Foxtails commenting on De Seno’s posting from acting like idiots. Here are a handful of the hundreds of comments written, without fixing spelling, punctuation or grammar:
- Martmann, North Carolina: i have a funny inkling that acorn is behind this travesty by the nobel prize committie acorn acorn acorn thats what they do for there former lawyer and teacher at there institution.
- ataube439 Massachusetts: I didn't think Barack Obama hated the Jews enough to win the prize. Go Figure.
- Kathykwny New York: Obama's arrogance will know no bounds now that he has this bogus honor. (He) would rather see us marginalized and subservient to dictators around the world. Congratulations, Mr. President! You have finally done it!
- Wooptyone Wisconsin: “Way to go Ole and Lena...
- Truthproject Colorado: Kudos to Fox Network for Not pandering to this administration. The Nobel committee has proven once again that they can not discern egos from ethics. I am glad that Mr. Obama is not my savior.
- thom1 Pennsylvania: Is he the first person from Kenya to win this? just wondering?
I’m not sure how Fox friend “martmann” manages to wrangle his mind in enough different directions until it links ACORN and the Nobel Peace Prize but he’s convinced of it enough to write a comment for the entire world to see. Meanwhile, “Wooptyone” is busy making derogatory comments about Norwegians and “atyube439” is revelling in his anti-Semitism.
I don’t know whether this is sad or scary.
I do know that when a sitting American president is named a Nobel laureate – including Obama, only Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson have been so honored while still in office – it is a cause for rejoicing not just in the US but in the world. It also puts tremendous pressure on President Obama to live up to the high standards and expectations the world has set for him.
Finding a near-term way out of Afghanistan would be a good place to start.