The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Barack Obama today for ending the tensions between Professor Henry Louis Gates and Office James Crowley during his Beer Summit. Only kidding, of course. That was an actual accomplishment and according to the Nobel citation, he won because of efforts.
The reaction to the announcement—from both the left and right— has been generally negative. But the comittee was only following the lead of the American people. They may have given him the Nobel Prize despite doing nothing to deserve it—but we gave him the Presidency based on even fewer accomplishments.
My favorite part of the announcement, though, is finding that he was nominated for the Peace Prize before he had been in office two weeks. According to the Washington Post: “Though Obama’s name surfaced early among contenders, the announcement astonished observers—drawing gasps from the audience in Oslo — in part because Obama assumed office less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 deadline for nominations.”
Here are some other noteworthy reactions to the news:
The Times of London: “Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush Administration, approval for the election of America’s first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world. Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.”
Mark Halperin: “Obama has been in office less than a year, and has few tangible accomplishments deriving from the speeches he has given or the preliminary talks his young government has engaged in. And the award comes at a time in which Obama’s role as a war president—in Afghanistan—is front and center. It isn’t quite as inexplicable as Marisa Tomei’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but it seems pretty close.”
Vox Day: “What on Earth can they possibly be thinking? The man hasn’t even ended the two military occupations he promised to end!”
Fred Thompson: “Shouldn’t the Nobel Peace Prize have a higher bar than high expectations?”
Peter Beinart: “I like Barack Obama as much as the next liberal, but this is a farce. He’s done nothing to deserve the prize. Sure, he’s given some lovely speeches and launched some initiatives—on Iran, Israeli-Palestinian peace, climate change and nuclear disarmament—that might, if he’s really lucky and really good, make the world a more safe, more just, more peaceful world. But there’s absolutely no way to know if he’ll succeed, and by giving him the Nobel Prize as a kind of “atta boy,” the Nobel Committee is actually just highlighting the gap that conservatives have long highlighted: between Obamamania as global hype and Obama’s actual accomplishments.”
Andrew Sullivan: “If any person has done more to advance some measure of calm, reason and peace in this troubled word lately, it’s president Obama. I think the Cairo speech and the Wright speech alone merited this both bridging ancient rifts even while they remain, of course, deep and intractable.”
Nicholas Kristof: “I admire his efforts toward Middle East peace, but the prize still seems very premature. What has he done? . . . [I]t seems to me that it might have made sense to wait and give Obama the Nobel Peace Prize in his eighth year in office, after he has actually made peace somewhere.”
Emanuele Ottolenghi: “If President Obama gets the Nobel Peace Prize less than one year into his presidency, what can he aspire to by the time he leaves office? If fate allows it, the seat of St Peter will be vacant — and if not, we are sure the pope will graciously resign. Short of that, one can always count on the UN secretary-general’s post to be on offer.”
Daniel Pipes: “My prediction: The absurdity of the prize decision will harm Obama politically in the United States, contrasting his role as international celebrity with his record devoid of accomplishments”
Frank J: “And for the record, this makes a mockery of the prize. There is no way Obama has had time to accomplish as much peace as Arafat did.”
Democratic National Committee spokesman: “”The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists – the Taliban and Hamas this morning – in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize.”