Obama wins Nobel Prize Peace 2009
October 9, 2009 2:11 AM   Subscribe

Barack Obama wins Nobel Prize for Peace 2009. Isn't this kind of... soon?
posted by NekulturnY (705 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ironic that he wins the peace prize, three hours before he BOMBS THE MOON.
posted by Sfving at 2:14 AM on October 9, 2009 [236 favorites]


I just mentioned this to the office to see what the feel of things is. I think my laughter might have swayed things a little, cos they laughed too.

</english person>
posted by vbfg at 2:14 AM on October 9, 2009


I think the Nobel Committee just did this to piss off Republicans.
posted by dersins at 2:16 AM on October 9, 2009 [46 favorites]


I had to go other websites to check that this wasn't a joke. My theory that the rest of the world was just really relieved when Bush left office. I'm not saying Barack Obama won't be a great president but like the post said it is kind of soon.
posted by rdr at 2:16 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


"It's the prize for not being George W. Bush" --Sky News commentator.
posted by chavenet at 2:17 AM on October 9, 2009 [131 favorites]


I voted for Obama, but this is a joke, right? He still has the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he's leading a global effort that probably seems to Iran vaguely threatening of potential military action within the next 6-12 months.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:20 AM on October 9, 2009 [18 favorites]


I really do wonder how the republicans are going to try to spin this. Although Gore winning a nobel prize didn't help him in their eyes or anything.
posted by Brainy at 2:22 AM on October 9, 2009


Yes. It is too soon. You can give him the prize *after* he ends the war in Afghanistan and brings peace to Iraq.
posted by molecicco at 2:24 AM on October 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


SOCIALIST SWEDISH GIVE PRIZE TO SOCIALIST KENYAN
posted by qvantamon at 2:24 AM on October 9, 2009 [31 favorites]


> "It's the prize for not being George W. Bush" --Sky News commentator.

Yeah... but didn't they already do that in 2007? Do they really need to rub it in?
posted by bjrn at 2:26 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Norway, not Sweden.
posted by mr.marx at 2:26 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


ONE link? To the BBC?
posted by msittig at 2:28 AM on October 9, 2009


I love Obama. Love him.

But what on Earth? He won the Nobel Peace Prize for having "captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future?" So, you don't actually have to accomplish anything to win the Nobel Peace Prize? All you have to do is be really popular and have a good slogan on a poster? Saying that you're going to stop a war is enough? You don't actually have to stop the war?

This isn't real, right? It's a joke? It's satire?
posted by The World Famous at 2:28 AM on October 9, 2009 [58 favorites]


Maybe dersins is right, maybe they did this to throw their weight behind him. I mean, this is a pretty big statement. Maybe they did this so he could stop the war, or maybe even pass health care reform(?) or get some other things done. Maybe this is the world's way of trying to help us should down the Glenn Becks and TownHallers and such. Or maybe I'm just overtired and working too hard on this paper.
posted by Brainy at 2:33 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


Yeah, they should have given the nobel to his campaign manager.
posted by alona at 2:34 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's aspirational. Now he has to live up to it, no backing down.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:35 AM on October 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


Fox News: War munitions magnate Alfred Nobel's (D) prize committee today has...
posted by maxwelton at 2:35 AM on October 9, 2009 [40 favorites]


It is a shocking indictment of how far the bar has been lowered in the previous 8 years, that when the US elects a president who does something other than growl and shake his fists at the rest of the world, the rest of the world awards him a Nobel Prize before his first year in office is up.

I think the Nobel committee killed irony for the second time.
posted by acb at 2:36 AM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


I really do wonder how the republicans are going to try to spin this.

Republicans already issued de facto support for Obama's foreign policy, by creating it in the first place. It seems difficult to see how they might spin this, without calling for world peace in the process.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:38 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


This is like a Michelin Guide critic giving a restaurant three stars without ever having eaten there, judging solely on the basis of the raw ingredients. You might get a great meal, sure, but it's far from certain.
posted by insouciant at 2:39 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Those people who win the Nobel Prize for Physics - they are real scientists, aren't they?
posted by Phanx at 2:39 AM on October 9, 2009 [16 favorites]


Fox News: War munitions magnate Alfred Nobel's (D) prize committee today has...

...in what's largely believed to be a kickback in return for a trillion-dollar US govenment contract for enough dynamite to BLOW UP THE MOON...
posted by qvantamon at 2:40 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


first gore, now obama, they are really sticking it to w.

anyway, congrats. I don't get what they gave it to him for but congrats.
posted by krautland at 2:41 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's aspirational. Now he has to live up to it, no backing down.

Yeah. That's why the Red Sox kept winning the World Series year after year for decades. Prizes are totally aspirational. They gave me my undergraduate degree at the end of the first semester of freshman year for that same reason.
posted by The World Famous at 2:42 AM on October 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


Ah, Americans bewilderedly discussing how their countries' international policies -- they don't really know nor care about -- come across elsewhere. Never a pretty sight, but very informative.
posted by ijsbrand at 2:42 AM on October 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


I have to agree this is pretty ridiculous, almost embarrassing for the Nobel piece prize. Were still talking about a potential expansion of the Afghanistan war, we haven't gotten out of Iraq, Gitmo is still open, WTF? I realize that this is for other things, and I'm sure he has done a lot for diplomacy worldwide, but the entirety of the activity really ought to be considered.

Also, there really should be a wait time before you can get the award. Like Yassar Arafat got one, and how long before violence started back up again?
posted by delmoi at 2:43 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is real? Wow.

I like Obama, but this really cheapens the value of the Peace Prize, IMHO. A nod like this, even for political reasons, is better saved for the end of the first (or second) term. You know, after various and sundry wars have been brought to a close, not when one is simmering and the other is on the brink of being expanded.

The worst part is considering how many truly deserving peacemakers were passed over for this.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:43 AM on October 9, 2009 [15 favorites]


er, peace prize. Can't believe I misspelled that.
posted by delmoi at 2:46 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why didn't they just give it to Bush for having left political office?
posted by Auden at 2:47 AM on October 9, 2009 [20 favorites]


Someone should hold the prize in escrow until Gitmo is shut down.
posted by Mikey-San at 2:47 AM on October 9, 2009 [38 favorites]


"It's the prize for not being George W. Bush" --Sky News commentator.

We all win that prize every single day.
posted by srboisvert at 2:48 AM on October 9, 2009 [33 favorites]


Wait until next year, when they give the Nobel Peace Prize to "You".
posted by qvantamon at 2:50 AM on October 9, 2009 [109 favorites]


As much as I like Obama, winning the Nobel Peace Prize by virtue of believing you are able ("Yes, we can") to change the US world and having the "audacity" of hope... Well, he better deliver results derived from this premise.. Show us you can live up to this by getting on the fucking climate bus in Copenhagen come December.

In the words of Speak, the Hungarian rapper: Don't make war anymore, we just want'a peace.
posted by flippant at 2:51 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


What if he refused to accept it?
posted by chillmost at 2:52 AM on October 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


this really cheapens the value of the Peace Prize

Giving it to Kissinger makes anything else uphill.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:52 AM on October 9, 2009 [56 favorites]


What if he refused to accept it?

That would be the honorable thing to do.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:55 AM on October 9, 2009 [22 favorites]


They gave one to Kissinger and another to that Dali Lama douchebag, so it's not like there isn't precedence.
posted by cmonkey at 2:55 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


A-also, this is going to complicate the timetable for invading Iran...
posted by chavenet at 2:56 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


What a way to shoot prematurely. Are they scared he's going to be kicked out of office next year or something?
posted by PenDevil at 2:57 AM on October 9, 2009


It wouldn't be the biggest mistake the Peace Prize Committee ever made. I remember when they gave it to Henry Kissinger and his North Vietnamese negotiating counterpart for the 'treaty' that didn't end The War (unless you were an American kid afraid of getting drafted and sent to 'Nam). Hell, I was the right age to be one of those kids and I knew it was meaningless...
posted by wendell at 3:00 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


If I were him I'd give it back. How embarrassment.

Can you imagine the looks on the committee's faces? "You want to do what now? Give it back? But, but..."
posted by awfurby at 3:00 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Look, they just can't come out and say he's Superman....

Well, maybe they can...
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:00 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]



It is a shocking indictment of how far the bar has been lowered in the previous 8 years


See what Jimmy Havok said. Giving a peace prize to a war criminal pretty much destroyed any value the thing had.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:01 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


They gave one to Kissinger and another to that Dali Lama douchebag, so it's not like there isn't precedence.

The gave one to Arafat in 1994. And he had arguably done more to create peace at that time than Obama has.
posted by The World Famous at 3:01 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


This Reuters article, written before the announcement, explains the motive: "It's quite likely this committee will reward somebody who is engaged in current processes... They want the prize to have an impact on things that are about to happen and want to affect events"
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:01 AM on October 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


I'm as much a fan of Obama as anyone on here, but even my first reaction was "what for?"
posted by daveje at 3:04 AM on October 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


They want the prize to have an impact on things that are about to happen and want to affect events

They could have given it to the Iranian dissidents, Mousavi or Karroubi or someone.
posted by delmoi at 3:08 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


I wonder if they wake him up in the wee hours with the congratulatory phone call like other winners.
posted by longdaysjourney at 3:12 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


An even more classy move might be ordering the withdraw of troops the day before getting the prize. :P
posted by jeffburdges at 3:13 AM on October 9, 2009


I wonder if they wake him up in the wee hours with the congratulatory phone call like other winners.

They were going to have Ed McMahon show up at the White House with a giant check and the Prize Patrol. Ed's passing in June kind of screwed that up. I'm not sure who the leader of the Prize Patrol will be now. It really casts a shadow on the whole thing.
posted by The World Famous at 3:14 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Obama's inauguration was Jan. 20, deadline for Nobel Status Quo Prize nominations was Feb. 1. How much status quo can one make in 12 days?冯三七
posted by msittig at 3:14 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


I don't think I can jump on the "this is too soon" bandwagon.

He has changed the way the U.S. deals with the rest of the world. And the entire world has been vaguely threatening to Iran for several years now, Obama has stepped up and said that we engage diplomatically before we go to war. An end to the U.S. use of torture and an attempt to close the human rights atrocity at GITMO (an attempt that has hit a decidedly partisan obstructive wall among other U.S. politicians). In addition he has made overtures toward a peaceful resolution in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He is attempting to figure ways out of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, conflicts that he has been left with by a previous U.S. administration. Conflicts that he wants to end, but in a sensible and responsible manner, not leaving the civilians of Iraq and Afghanistan out to dry in an irresponsible immediate pull-out measure.

But I think his willingness to be diplomatic in Iran and North Korea before going nuclear was a huge part of this award. Does he deserve it? Probably, yes. Are there others that do to? Also probably, yes. (And I be interested in what people thought about this point in particular). We live a world where cooler heads have too often failed to prevail, I think he is attempting to change that.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:14 AM on October 9, 2009 [60 favorites]


This is just a little bit previous on their part.

But hey, now everybody knows just how much the rest of the world abhorred the former president and his policies. Calling it the prize for not being G W Bush is harsh harsh harsh, but every bit the truth.
posted by Sova at 3:16 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


They could have given it to the Iranian dissidents, Mousavi or Karroubi or someone.

The Reuters article goes on to say: experts say the Nobel Committee will not risk challenging a major power this year, just after two politicians joined the panel. "A controversial prize that raises severe protests by powerful states or other powerful interests would draw attention to ... the independence of the committee,"
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:16 AM on October 9, 2009


I wonder if the Nobel people will be bringing a big cardboard check over to the White House, with a Norwegian camera crew running up the lawn.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:16 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


He will have to find a way to deal with it creatively. Not "not accepting" it, but re-interpreting it into something more general and abstract, more detached from his personality. A remainder of the necessity of peace per se, not a prize he won for something.
Still it seems to me an awkward decision, and hardly helpful for Obama's own aims. That would be a pity.
posted by megob at 3:17 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think I'll look at it like this: It's not a prize for Obama, it's a prize to spite his frothing detractors. Cable news is going to be fun today.
posted by vapidave at 3:19 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


the committee should not have given the prize to anyone.
That would have been an incentive to act, and a political statement.
posted by megob at 3:20 AM on October 9, 2009 [23 favorites]


Yeah, the Reuters article also notice that the Chinese dissident & AIDS activist Hu Jia was a particularly strong contender, i.e. the committee didn't want to piss of China.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:20 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is going to trigger a whole new wave of Kanye West awards show interruption jokes. Crap.
posted by The World Famous at 3:23 AM on October 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


He has a lot on his plate and now he has to come up with a Nobel speech. Wow!

Has a commander-in-chief involved in two wars (let alone one) been given the prize before?
posted by Frank Grimes at 3:23 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


It would be really awkward if the U.S. bombed Iran a couple months from now.
posted by amuseDetachment at 3:23 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's why they gave it to him: "It was because we would like to support what he is trying to achieve." Is it a consolation prize for the Olympics?
posted by njbradburn at 3:24 AM on October 9, 2009


Also, what is up with up with the dude behind the spokesman, he looks way too happy when talking about Obama's achievements, almost as if to say, "hahaha, what a clever joke, we're so fucking funny."
posted by amuseDetachment at 3:28 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is it a consolation prize for the Olympics?

I think it's more like an academic scholarship: they gave Obama the prize because they expect him to do well at whatever he's trying to do, as long as he has enough symbolic capital (which the Nobel Peace Prize is). Conversely, I guess it also means that the committee didn't think any of the other candidates would succeed at their quests.
posted by daniel_charms at 3:34 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cable news is going to be fun today.

I imagine they'll take a look at the handful of Norwegians who made the selection:
Thorbjørn Jagland (Chairman)
President of the Storting

Kaci Kullmann Five (Deputy Chairman)
Adviser Public Affairs

Sissel Rønbeck (Member)
Deputy Director, Directorate for Cultural Heritage

Inger-Marie Ytterhorn (Member)
Senior political adviser to the Progress Party's Parliamentary Group

Ågot Valle (Member)
Member of Parliament
And they'll use the word "agenda" a lot.
posted by pracowity at 3:34 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I read "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples", supporting international bodies, and promoting nuclear disarmament, as it kinda is "the prize for not being George W. Bush". ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 3:34 AM on October 9, 2009


Beautifully put, megob.
posted by mosk at 3:35 AM on October 9, 2009


They could have given it to the Iranian dissidents

It's the Nobel Peace Prize, not the Fox News Stirrin' Things Up So We Can Screech Prize.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:39 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


yeah, i say we all just piss on this. pessimistic to the core, my little mefis.
posted by ms.jones at 3:40 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


If this had been a plot point on West Wing I would've turned off the TV, thrown the remote away in disgust and stomped off muttering about the show going flying off the ridiculous cliff into the sea of absurdity.

So thanks reality, for being a lot crazier than I give you credit for.
posted by Kattullus at 3:41 AM on October 9, 2009 [32 favorites]


"... Asked why the prize had been awarded to Mr Obama less than a year after he took office, Nobel committee head Thorbjoern Jagland said: "It was because we would like to support what he is trying to achieve".

"It is a clear signal that we want to advocate the same as he has done," he said.

He specifically mentioned Mr Obama's work to strengthen international institutions and work towards a world free of nuclear arms. ..."
It will be interesting, given this public statement by the Nobel committee head, which could be construed as making the Nobel committee's award an intentional act of political lobbying, to see if Obama keeps the $1.4 million dollar prize, or respects the broader spirit of his own Executive Order, and either refuses the prize, or donates it to the U.S. archives as a Presidential gift exceeding the value threshold for personal retention by the President.
posted by paulsc at 3:42 AM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


He should give it to Jack Lemmon.
posted by orme at 3:43 AM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


He should give it to Jack Lemmon.

What, so he could throw it overboard like it was a palm tree?
posted by The World Famous at 3:47 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


They could have given it to the Iranian dissidents, Mousavi or Karroubi or someone.

They weren't dissidents. Calling them dissidents would be like calling Obama a "dissident" during the 2008 US election campaign. They were alternative, opposition candidates, who wouldn't have been allowed to run at all if they planned to do anything that seriously threatened the status quo in Iran. I don't see many green Twitter icons around any more these days, by the way. I guess the whole election thing over there must have been resolved?

Anyway, end derail.
posted by Jimbob at 3:50 AM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


i say we all just piss on this.

The Nobel Committee did this already, I think.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:50 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Or he could send Professor Irwin Corey to make the speech...
posted by chavenet at 3:51 AM on October 9, 2009


Obama will probably be thinking "Damn, as if I didn't already have enough on my plate, now I have to earn go out and this stupid Nobel Peace Prize. Thanks for nothing guys."
posted by Daddy-O at 3:53 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


vapidave: "Cable news is going to be fun today."
"And of course, the big news story tonight is the sensational win of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize by none other than American President Barack Obama. And the question everyone's asking is... has the prize committee finally flipped? Obama, the man who invented the audacity of hope, ex-Illinois senator, once described by Oprah Winfrey as 'The One,' and recently voted the Least Persuasive Olympic Lobbyist for the first time... have they got an answer this time? We asked committee chairman Thorbjørn Jagland..."

The music swirled and dived for a moment. Another voice broke in, presumably Jagland. He said:

"Vell, Obama's jist zis guy, you know?"
posted by Rhaomi at 4:01 AM on October 9, 2009 [38 favorites]


Someone should hold the prize in escrow until Gitmo is shut down.

I thought we were just shifting all Gitmo-like operations to Bagram, anyway.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 4:03 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Astonishing. I could not believe my eyes and had to double-check it was not a joke. Good thing it was a BBC News link-- anybody else and I would have thought they got it wrong.

I love the list of previous US Presidents who have won: T. Roosevelt, W. Wilson, Carter and now Obama. What, no saintly Ronald Regan? The great man who single-handedly tore down the Iron Curtain. Oh Yeah, that is just the fairy story that the Republicans tell their kids.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:06 AM on October 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


I'm glad for you, Obama, and I'ma let you finish, but Philipp Lenard was the best controversial Nobel prize winner of all time! OF ALL TIME!
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:07 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Myth: The prize is awarded to recognize efforts for peace, human rights and democracy only after they have proven successful.

More often, the prize is awarded to encourage those who receive it to see the effort through, sometimes at critical moments.*
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:10 AM on October 9, 2009 [36 favorites]


Way better than a "Mission Accomplished" banner.
posted by gman at 4:14 AM on October 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


Mission Pre-complished?
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 4:15 AM on October 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


I think Obama should celebrate by bombing Norway.

Can't hurt now!
posted by Kattullus at 4:15 AM on October 9, 2009 [20 favorites]


I assume when they talk about his accomplishments they mean more than his presidency. I mean, he did do other stuff before moving into the White House.

Not saying I agree with the decision; just that it might not be based solely on him being president and all.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:15 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


The BBC just reported that a news agency sent David Axelrod an email which read, "Many people around the world are stunned by the announcement". His apparent response: "So are we".
posted by gman at 4:18 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's called pre-emptive warfare folks. Oslo fired shots _before_ there was an outbreak of peace.
posted by the cydonian at 4:18 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't mean to sound like an Obama Apologist (an Obamapologist) but I think there are a lot of diplomats (as opposed to politicians) around the world who felt that the post-cold war nuclear climate was heading toward disaster and that a lynchpin of the problem was that the most powerful political force in the world was unwilling to to even discuss the idea of dismantling all its weapons.

So, once Obama said "We shouldn't have them either" it opened the doors for what they see as real progress for the first time in decades. I remember, when he gave the Cairo speech, and said that it didn't make any sense for America to have nuclear weapons while telling other countries they couldn't have any, overturning fifty years of American foreign policy, thinking to myself "I don't think many people recognize how important this is."


The Committee mentioned other times when they've given someone a prize in order to further something they're doing, rather than as an award for something already done, such as Gorbachev in 1990. If Obama can actually follow through with even 20% of the points he outlined in Cairo, then the prize will have been totally worth it.
posted by magstheaxe at 4:19 AM on October 9, 2009 [75 favorites]


...to see if Obama keeps the $1.4 million dollar prize, or...donates it to the U.S. archives as a Presidential gift exceeding the value threshold for personal retention by the President.

Well I think the Republican's next step is pretty obvious.

If he accepts the prize, they accuse him of being a one-world socialist America-hater accepting a reward for doing nothing (like all the rest of those...socialists).

If he rejects it, they accuse him of needlessly swelling the deficit.
posted by PlusDistance at 4:23 AM on October 9, 2009


I think the reaction to this in the US (with this thread being a beautiful snapshot) will show exactly how out of touch a lot of folks are with feelings in the rest of the world.

Although GWB was the figurehead, it was the whole PNAC gang who took the massive global outpouring of support post 9/11 and in such a short period of time turned it into fear, mistrust and borderline hatred in order to push a failed agenda & line their pockets at the same time. It's hard to remember just how much support there was for that agenda within the US back then.

Although it might have a tinge of 'for not being GWB' about it it seems to be for the phenomenal amount of hope Obama has given the planet where once there was such despair. The idea of talking to people rather than just directing a load of taxdollars into crushing them into the sand is, you have to admit, pretty peaceful.

FFS, YOU AMERICANS SHOULD FEEL AS PROUD AS HELL! The guy that a lot of you worked so hard to elect has given THE WHOLE WORLD the same hope as he gave you. This is why he, and by proxy you, has been awarded this prize.

There is a problem with this of course. In the short time he's been in the White House, you packed up & went home to watch your hero just get on with it & sort everything out for you. And you've stayed sitting at home whilst a whole bunch of ever more reactionary teabaggers, talk radio hosts & listeners, cable news doofi &c. have got on & done their best to destroy that hope.

Maybe that's why you're feeling a little jaded and disappointed by this news? Embarrassed because you fear what people who hate him will say?

You know those westerns where the good guys are all trapped somewhere and a stick of Alfred Nobel's finest dynamite gets thrown in? They don't usually cower in the corner, one of them grabs the damn thing and throws it back. This is your stick of dynamite...If GWB had been awarded this prize 11 months after 9/11 do you not think his supporters would have been using it that as vindication for his ideals & actions?

If nothing else, just try and feel happy that the guy makes your country look so much better these days. So, so, so much better.
posted by i_cola at 4:25 AM on October 9, 2009 [192 favorites]


Do you get a plaque or something with your prize? Because Obama should totally hang the plaque from the podium when he goes on TV to announce how many more troops we are sending to kill Afghans with the machine guns of peace and guided missiles of democracy.
posted by Justinian at 4:28 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's a right-wing plot. Apparently you have to send in your birth certificate as one of the supporting documents so they can arrange the prize-giving.
posted by Abiezer at 4:31 AM on October 9, 2009 [17 favorites]


It is obvious that Obama won for the sole reason of beating the McCain/Palin ticket.
posted by clearly at 4:32 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Wow, an international body that understands Realpolitik. Who knew? I guess they figured they could use the prize to advance peace and not just to recognize it.

Look, the Nobel Committee just handed Obama a ton of political capital. All that cackling from the moronic right after he got shamed by the IOC now sets up a brilliant counterpunch from the White House. And it gives the president an imprimatur to advance multilateral diplomacy on any number of fronts. He will rightly recognize this as an opportunity, and I expect his acceptance speech will make a major announcement about diplomatic initiatives with one or more of the "Axis of Evil" countries.
posted by felix betachat at 4:33 AM on October 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


If this had been a plot point on West Wing

President Bartlet already had a Nobel Prize, in Economics (cue debate about whether that one counts as a real Nobel Prize, but still).

I have nothing to contribute here except that I am a big West Wing geek.
posted by naoko at 4:35 AM on October 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


He has changed the way the U.S. deals with the rest of the world. And the entire world has been vaguely threatening to Iran for several years now, Obama has stepped up and said that we engage diplomatically before we go to war. An end to the U.S. use of torture and an attempt to close the human rights atrocity at GITMO (an attempt that has hit a decidedly partisan obstructive wall among other U.S. politicians). In addition he has made overtures toward a peaceful resolution in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

---

I think there are a lot of diplomats (as opposed to politicians) around the world who felt that the post-cold war nuclear climate was heading toward disaster and that a lynchpin of the problem was that the most powerful political force in the world was unwilling to to even discuss the idea of dismantling all its weapons. So, once Obama said "We shouldn't have them either" it opened the doors for what they see as real progress for the first time in decades. I remember, when he gave the Cairo speech, and said that it didn't make any sense for America to have nuclear weapons while telling other countries they couldn't have any, overturning fifty years of American foreign policy, thinking to myself "I don't think many people recognize how important this is."

This. I was listening to NPR's coverage of this this morning (even the newscasters sounded a little baffled), and their assesment was the international-diplomacy angle. The tenor of United States diplomacy has changed towards the rest of the world in a big way -- he's created "a new climate in international diplomacy" and brought back "multilateral approaches" in the U.N.

Which is great. But even so, this was the conversation that happened in my apartment this morning.

Me: Get this. Barack Obama just won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Roommate: (pause, furrowed brow) ...Really?
Me: Yes.
Roommate: (another pause, another furrowed brow) ...What did he do?
Me: Apparently a lot of it is because he's improved the tone of U.S. Diplomacy from what it was for the past 8 years.
Roommate: Well, yeah, that's true....(pause, another furrowed brow) ...Really?
Me: Yeah, I'm right there with you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:35 AM on October 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I'm going to say on the international front this is a net plus definitely. Also it will distract the American press for a decent amount of time and if the White House plays this right, they can spin that in to some domestic victories as well.

Or maybe the Nobel committee just wanted to express their disagreement with the Olympic committee?
posted by haveanicesummer at 4:38 AM on October 9, 2009


Maybe now he will get his honorary degree from Arizona State.
posted by snofoam at 4:41 AM on October 9, 2009 [30 favorites]


Or maybe the Nobel committee just wanted to express their disagreement with the Olympic committee?

How long until we see "people are saying that..." style reports that Obama was actually lobbying for a Nobel when he should have been wooing the Olympic Committee into giving the games to Chicago?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:44 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Huh.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:46 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm actually thinking I might have a chance at winning this thing next year.
posted by gman at 4:51 AM on October 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


Finally. I hope this means we've seen the last of those "Barack Obama: For Your Consideration" ads.
posted by hwestiii at 4:52 AM on October 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


Aaaand we have our first "Bling" joke courtesy of FOX news comments
What a joke, now he has a "Nobel" with about as much value as that moron Al Gore's...BFD. Nothing but BLING for Chicago's Homie in the hood made good.
Me, I'm wondering how this played out in real life. Did he have any inkling? or did he just assume it was a courtesy nomination? I'm imagining that call at 4:00 and Obama turning to the sleeping Michelle, "Babe, I just won the Nobel Peace Prize," in a tone of incredulity. That would be some crazy-assed way to wake-up. My husband thought the White House Staff would just let him sleep and would not put the call through, but I am guessing that he was out of bed and calling his speech writers before he called for coffee.

I cannot imagine he will keep the prize money for his own personal use-- it is a Prize for being the President, after all. I'll be interested to see what he does do with it-- a children's charity of some kind, I would guess. An international children's charity.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:54 AM on October 9, 2009


NYTimes:
Looking back on the Obama presidency so far, Mr. Jagland said: “One of the first things he did was to go to Cairo to try to reach out to the Muslim world, then to restart the Mideast negotiations and then he reached out to the rest of the world through international institutions. “

He mentioned in particular the recent United Nations Security Council meeting on nuclear disarmament and the announcement of the prize noted the special importance the Nobel committee attached to President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons.

“Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play,” the committee said.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:04 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Look, the Nobel Committee just handed Obama a ton of political capital.

Internationally, maybe.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:06 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Shame that they couldn't have made up their minds a couple of weeks ago and He could have picked it up on His way to sway the Olympic committee. You know 'cuz then He would have saved a trip on Air Force 1 and all that carbon pollution crap, and who knows maybe saved a whale or two or a polar bear, because is there anything He can't do?
posted by Gungho at 5:06 AM on October 9, 2009


FFS, YOU AMERICANS SHOULD FEEL AS PROUD AS HELL! The guy that a lot of you worked so hard to elect has given THE WHOLE WORLD the same hope as he gave you. This is why he, and by proxy you, has been awarded this prize.

So I'm Time Man of the Year and I have a Nobel peace prize? Cool.
posted by vbfg at 5:06 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


OMG! Using some or all the letters in NOBEL (and a couple other letters), you can spell OBAMA. Conspiracy! He is actually Nordic and not African at all.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:06 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, what a slap in the face to people who actually EARNED this prize.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:07 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, what a slap in the face to people who actually EARNED this prize.

Like Henry Kissinger!
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:08 AM on October 9, 2009 [46 favorites]


Well, what a slap in the face to people who actually EARNED this prize.

Did it take a surgical procedure to zap FoxNews talking points directly into your lizard brain? Or is it done with radio waves somehow?
posted by felix betachat at 5:10 AM on October 9, 2009 [29 favorites]


Oh yeah? Like who? To whom is it a "slap in the face"? Name one person who's "earned" the prize to whom it's a slap in the face. I'm waiting with bated breath.
posted by blucevalo at 5:11 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Great, more ammunition for the "Obama=Antichrist" nutjobs...
posted by anthom at 5:13 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Nobel Peace Prize has totally jumped the shark.
posted by Jon_Evil at 5:13 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


I just woke up, and this is the first thing I heard, on NPR, on my alarm clock.

More later when I'm more coherent, but holy fucking shit!
posted by box at 5:16 AM on October 9, 2009


Interestingly, this shark was a runner-up for the prize.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:17 AM on October 9, 2009


I think this is going to be the start of a pretty big anti-Obama backlash. It's so clearly absurd that people are going to start questioning their assumptions about his achievements, and realize that though it was absurd to judge him for the first 100 days, he really ought to have achieved more in his first eight months.

He's only got two more months until the midterm elections get rolling: what time he had to make change is already lost to the politics of the moment and demographic angling that will be running rampant come January 1st. Granted, he'll get another chance in early 2011, but it will be with radically fewer Democrats in the House and Senate. Frankly, his governance style may actually flourish with less of a clear majority and less infighting in his own party.

What was it MLK said? "Justice [Change] delayed is justice [change] denied?" Huh... sounds about right.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:19 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


They [Mousavi, Karroubi] weren't dissidents. Calling them dissidents would be like calling Obama a "dissident" during the 2008 US election campaign.

Were not but are now.
posted by delmoi at 5:21 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Who nominated him? I'm kinda curious...
posted by Gonestarfishing at 5:24 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I tend to agree with i_cola. But with a slightly different twist.

This isn't a prize for Obama for not being Bush. This isn't even a prize for Obama for changing the way the US interacts with the rest of the world.

This is a prize for Americans, for finally showing the decency and sense to vote for a candidate who was qualified to lead, but by all rights and historical precedent should never have had a chance at running for the office. See Jimmy Carter as a similar example.

Rather than spend our time wondering what they were thinking, I feel we ought to take this as a sign that we can start realizing our national image may not have been indelibly tarnished by the Bush years. So take that Canadian flag off of your backpack, American tourists (you weren't fooling anybody anyway). Slap a Stars & Stripes on that thing and just smile at the world and say "Yeah, that's right, I voted for a black guy with a Muslim father and I couldn't be more proud."

The rest of the world will still probably think we're loud, obnoxious and boorish, but they'll perhaps be more likely to smile about it instead of wondering if they should stab us.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:24 AM on October 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


A few early reviews.

All Spin Zone:
It might be OK to say this award is premature, and even designed to send a political message. GOPers will go further and whine that Obama is at fault for winning, and they will predict dire consequences.

National Review:
But most Nobel Peace Peace prizes go to conventional leftwing types popular with European elites — Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev. Before they break out the champagne at the White House, they may want to pause over the fact that Obama now shares this honor with Mohammed el-Baradei, Yasser Arafat, and flagrant liar Rigoberta Menchu Tum.
Riehl World View:
"For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

Unfortunately, this inexperienced, indecisive, ineffectual jerk doesn't seem to speak for America. And that's his real problem in the end. At this rate, the man is going to become reviled by a majority of the American people in four years.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:25 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Saturday Night Live has an obligation to do a follow up to their last Obama 'critique'. An absolute obligation.

I wonder if they'll start giving prizes to promising phd candidates with good ideas for their thesis's. Sort of degrades the whole nobel institution in a way.
posted by rulethirty at 5:27 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


This the legacy of George Bush. He made the bar so damn low, anyone attempting to make an effort to talk and listen gets lauded with accolades.

So no, I don't have a problem with this being another "Fuck you George" award. If you have a problem with this award, I got two words for you "Iraq War". The President who started that cluster fuck deserves every ounce of global scorn.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:29 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Must be for HOPE, since the actual war and terror policies haven't changed. Absurd! No offense, Mr. President. Now live up to it.
posted by mwhybark at 5:31 AM on October 9, 2009


Conspiracy! He is actually Nordic and not African at all.

It's true. His birth name was actually Båråck Øbama.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:31 AM on October 9, 2009 [22 favorites]


Isn't this kind of... soon?

Yeah, April 1st is still six months away.
posted by alms at 5:32 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think this is going to be the start of a pretty big anti-Obama backlash.

The right has dismissed the Nobel Peace Prize since Gore won it, and as long as the Nobel comittee continues to ignore Rush Limbaugh's tireless efforts to promote the use of DDT. I wish I was kidding about that last part.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:33 AM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


Actually, I kind of like the idea of officially instituting an annual Nobel Prize in Not Being George W. Bush.
posted by Flunkie at 5:34 AM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


Ah, Americans bewilderedly discussing how their countries' international policies -- they don't really know nor care about -- come across elsewhere. Never a pretty sight, but very informative.

Ah, Europeans confirming their preconceived notions about Americans without any substantial evidence.
posted by oaf at 5:35 AM on October 9, 2009 [21 favorites]


I can only look at this as them giving him a prize he didn't deserve yet, in the hopes that it will make him do more stuff to earn it.
posted by smackfu at 5:36 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


What i_cola said x a million.
posted by merocet at 5:37 AM on October 9, 2009


Sort of degrades the whole nobel institution in a way.

Oh, yeah. Really degrading. Would that Glenn Beck had won the prize! He wuz robbed by those nasty Norwegian socialist bastards!
posted by blucevalo at 5:37 AM on October 9, 2009


He has changed the way the U.S. deals with the rest of the world.

No he hasn't. He's doing things the same way American presidents used to do things, before that shit stain on the underwear of the Presidency was elected (and re-elected).

The award is certainly unexpected and might be regarded as more of an encouragement for intentions than a reward for achievements.

That's an extraordinarily fucking stupid metric.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:37 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Gore deserved it.

This is slightly embarrassing for everyone involved, like an over-the-top school crush.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:37 AM on October 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


Perhaps the Nobel prize money should be funneled directly to Wall Street. Lord knows rich Americans have suffered enough under the Kenyan tyrant's iron fist.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:39 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think this is going to be the start of a pretty big anti-Obama backlash.

The start? Have you been out of the country all summer? The anti-Obama backlash started in February of 2009.
posted by psmealey at 5:39 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


surely this … !
posted by jepler at 5:39 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's an extraordinarily fucking stupid metric.

That's Europeans for you, with their crazy metric system.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:41 AM on October 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


Maybe that's why you're feeling a little jaded and disappointed by this news? Embarrassed because you fear what people who hate him will say?

No. We're surprised at the news because the man hasn't done anything for the cause of world peace yet, and because it's such an obvious political move on behalf of an undeserving candidate, we're saddened for the ways it'll hurt the man rather than help him.

Seriously: Obama fails to even *bother* to make the clear case that innocent people are still rotting in Guantanamo and props up the notion of indefinite detention without trial, and he gets the Nobel Peace Prize? Give me a fucking break is the *nicest* thing that can be said about this.
posted by mediareport at 5:43 AM on October 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


The anti-Obama backlash started in February of 2009.

I think you're off by about ten days.
posted by oaf at 5:43 AM on October 9, 2009


I think the reaction to this in the US (with this thread being a beautiful snapshot) will show exactly how out of touch a lot of folks are with feelings in the rest of the world.

Yeah, we've had enough of the promise of hope and change and want to see actions. I guess the rest of the world hasn't reached that point yet.
posted by smackfu at 5:44 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's a genius choice, I didn't think they had the balls to do it, but it's genius. It gives him political capital, it gives him a lot of leeway and yes, it forces him to think twice about bombing people from now on. It's not even about sending a big fuck you to the Republicans -- they're beyond reason now, chasing birth certificates, death panels, their leader is Glenn Beck and they can not be engaged, simple as that -- it's about giving a hand to a guy who really needs it.

And yes, even if he botches the Jan 2010 deadline but eventually closes down Guantanamo anytime soon, he deserves a Nobel just for that. Talk about diminished expectations but after the grotesque savagery of someone like Cheney, who still brags about torturing people at random, Obama deserves the prize and help.

Also, imagine the fucking speech is going to give up there.

I can't wait.
posted by matteo at 5:46 AM on October 9, 2009 [30 favorites]


Renard Sexton's analysis on fivethirtyeight:

"[T]the Nobel committee emphasized that the pick was made on Obama's record, not his potential for the future.

The justification for the prize, while certainly unexpected and a bit tenuous, is indeed rooted in fact. Obama has long been a booster for non-proliferation, and his speech and lobbying at the UN General Assembly and Security Council proved to be quite successful."

He goes on to cite climate change action (e.g. the classifying of CO2 as a pollutant by the EPA), diplomacy with Iran, and the re-elevation of UN Ambassador to a cabinet-level post as justification.
posted by aihal at 5:47 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


an attempt to close the human rights atrocity at GITMO ...

He is attempting to figure ways out of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, conflicts that he has been left with by a previous U.S. administration. Conflicts that he wants to end, but in a sensible and responsible manner, not leaving the civilians of Iraq and Afghanistan out to dry in an irresponsible immediate pull-out measure.


Well, see, here's the problem. He's the Commander-in-Chief, siting atop dual Democratic majorities. He shouldn't be attempting to do these things; they should be faits accompli.

Finally, the administration has entirely blown health care reform; whatever will be passed is not going to effectively resolve this country's structurally execrable health care system. Given the administration's apparent inability to use the direct tools of electorally-granted dominion, one doubts the ability of the administration to actually close Gitmo or to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, let alone reign in the saber-rattlers so eager to slaughter the people of Iran.

Looking coldly at the administration's entirely unsurprising refusal to formally eschew the massive executive-branch power-grabs of the Bush era and its' clear, point-by-point embrace of most of the Bush administration's terror and overseas power projection doctrines, one must look askance at this award.
posted by mwhybark at 5:47 AM on October 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


So yea, after looking at the list of Peace Prize laureates, it's filled with a number of "people with potential" that ended in failure: All of the pacifists before WW2; political figureheads negotiating failed peace accords; lots of UN and internationalization organizations; even Kim Dae Jung's Sunshine Policy still hasn't really produced any results. Albert Schweitzer (1952) looks to be the first recipient who did something from the ground up.
posted by FuManchu at 5:49 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well... "Cash for Clunkers" was tremendously popular. So there's that...
posted by LakesideOrion at 5:53 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, the Nobel committee ought to have announced an alternate winner to the US media.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:54 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like Obama, and think he's got a tough job with all the problems he inherited from the Bush administration. However, I'm having a tough time understanding why he is Nobel Peace Prize material when yesterday I read, "Although President Obama has ruled out CIA-run foreign prisons, he has said he will continue another detention practice used by the Bush administration: rendition."

I don't think he's earned this prize, yet.
posted by Houstonian at 5:57 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Carrie Underwood!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:57 AM on October 9, 2009


In the short time he's been in the White House, you packed up & went home to watch your hero just get on with it & sort everything out for you. And you've stayed sitting at home whilst a whole bunch of ever more reactionary teabaggers, talk radio hosts & listeners, cable news doofi &c. have got on & done their best to destroy that hope.

"...packed up & went home to watch..." - who did? We did? No, we did not. If it looks that way to you, you're the one not paying close enough attention. Also, what oaf said.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:57 AM on October 9, 2009


He goes on to cite climate change action

*laughs*

US climate bill not likely this year, says Obama adviser

Browner spoke barely 48 hours after Senate Democrats staged a campaign-style rally in support of a climate change bill that seeks to cut US emissions by 20% on 2005 levels by 2020...

Browner's comments undercut a campaign by Democratic leaders in the Senate, corporations and environmental organisations to try to build momentum behind the bill. The day before Browner's comments, John Kerry, the former presidential candidate who is one of the sponsors of the cap-and-trade bill, told a conference he remained confident the bill would squeak through the Senate. Her remarks also raise further doubts about how forcefully the Obama administration is willing to press the Senate for a climate bill in the midst of its struggles over healthcare.

In the last two weeks, diplomats have grown increasingly frustrated with the administration. Negotiators say they understand Obama would have to struggle to get this agenda through the Senate, but say the president has shied away from opportunities to make the case for climate change. Obama came in for harsh criticism from environmental organisations for failing to urge the Senate to act during a speech to the United Nations summit on climate change late last month. Environmental groups called it a "missed opportunity".

posted by mediareport at 5:58 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


...and in Sports news, Major League Baseball has named Manny Ramirez the 2010 World Series MVP.
A spokesman for MLB was quoted as saying "Well, potentially, he could be, he's good enough"
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 6:01 AM on October 9, 2009


We need to stop focusing on petty "is this too soon?" bickering and focus on the important questions that this raises.

Namely: What is Michelle going to WEAR?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:01 AM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


Does this mean he's about to free Mumia?
posted by Philemon at 6:03 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the short time he's been in the White House, you packed up & went home to watch your hero just get on with it & sort everything out for you. And you've stayed sitting at home whilst a whole bunch of ever more reactionary teabaggers, talk radio hosts & listeners, cable news doofi &c. have got on & done their best to destroy that hope.

"...packed up & went home to watch..." - who did? We did? No, we did not. If it looks that way to you, you're the one not paying close enough attention. Also, what oaf said.


Yes, I believe that we did. When the teabaggers were out getting in front of the TV cameras, I thought, "Damn. We should really be marching in Washington by the thousands and camping out in front of Congress over this health care issue. Because Obama gets it. But our own Democratic congresspeople don't."

Who's up for a good march? Anyone? Because shouting down the Internet isn't getting anything done.
posted by jeanmari at 6:06 AM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


from a Reuter's article, pre-vote:
"It's quite likely this committee will reward somebody who is engaged in current processes," said Kristian Berg Harpviken, head of the International Peace Institute in Oslo (PRIO).

"They want the prize to have an impact on things that are about to happen and want to affect events," he told Reuters.
posted by nax at 6:08 AM on October 9, 2009


insert gratuitous Kanye redo here
posted by nax at 6:11 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's not that he's not George W. Bush. It's that he came after George W. Bush. If a fern plant had been elected it would have won the Nobel Peace Prize for improving world diplomacy.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:12 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm happy he won it (although my first reaction, like everyone else's, was a big WTF?). It's really nice that it was announced on the day of a NASA landing on the moon, like there's actually some real hope for peace and the progression of science. Maybe I'm just kind of schmoopy from watching this awesome Carl Sagan mashup over and over last night, but this is a good direction to be headed in, isn't it?
posted by oinopaponton at 6:12 AM on October 9, 2009


Yes, I believe that we did.

Hello Europe: Some of us are fighting local battles. Not all of us can fight off all of the myriad right-wing thugs at once. Cut us some slack and let us expect President Obama to do the clean-up work we elected him to do. Thanks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:12 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


jeanmari: Exactly. That was precisely what I was trying to point out.
posted by i_cola at 6:15 AM on October 9, 2009


I don't know; I think the overall shift from aggressive to reasonable in US foreign policy and international relations, which Obama has certainly advanced, may on balance be as important for the possibility of peace than anything else imaginable. I get the selection.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:17 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Barack, I'm happy for ya getting this Nobel peace prize -- and Imma let ya finish -- but Beyonce had the best video of ALL TIME!

THE BEST VIDEO OF ALL TIME!
posted by mazola at 6:18 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Me, I'm wondering how this played out in real life. Did he have any inkling? or did he just assume it was a courtesy nomination?

I think I heard that Obama's press secretary got the call right when they announced in Oslo, and when the person calling him to tell him the news mentioned that a lot of people there were shocked, Obama's press secretary said, "....as are we."

Well, what a slap in the face to people who actually EARNED this prize.

"Yo Obama, I’m really happy for you, and I'mma let you finish, But Yasser Arafat was one of the best peacemakers of all time! One of the best peacemakers of all time!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:22 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


I like to think of this as Obama's "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it" moment. The Nobel prize committee is channelling FDR.
posted by bigbigdog at 6:24 AM on October 9, 2009


Runners-up get the less prestigious/more yummy Nobel Piece of Pizza Prize.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:30 AM on October 9, 2009


The start? Have you been out of the country all summer? The anti-Obama backlash started in February of 2009.

His job approval numbers tell a different story. Let me put it differently. Before, only crazies and idiots attacked the president. At this point, even the mainstream left has some justification for noting the difference between his rhetoric and his actions.

Guantanamo is still open, we're still at war in two different nations, and domestically, we're still funneling money through the Federal Reserve to Wall Street, we're still getting screwed on health care, bankruptcy reform, don't ask don't tell, faith-based initiatives, and an absurd lack of an inheritance tax that only propagates inequality. Increasingly, this is not just a hangover from the last president. This is our President's mess, and he's been unable to fix it. I laughed, too, when the The Onion headlined the election with "Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job." But he's got the biggest bully pulpit and the best brain, and he's still not getting the things done that I wanted him to get done.

I like the guy. A lot. Which means that if I'm dissatisfied with his progress, then the majority of Americans to the right of me are dissatisfied, too. If they're not, it's because they're not paying attention.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:31 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think the Nobel Committee just really really wanted to have dinner with Obama. I mean, so do I, but I don't have any prizes to use as bait.
posted by yarrow at 6:31 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was hoping Pete Seeger would get it this year, but this is acceptable nevertheless.
posted by zaelic at 6:32 AM on October 9, 2009


Maybe the Nobel Prize Committee wanted to appeal to their grandchildren. See, the Nobel Prize for Peace is still cool!
posted by anniecat at 6:33 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, I believe that we did.

Hello Europe: Some of us are fighting local battles. Not all of us can fight off all of the myriad right-wing thugs at once. Cut us some slack and let us expect President Obama to do the clean-up work we elected him to do. Thanks.


Well, I'm not from Europe. I live in Chicago.

You see, this is where the whole Democratic elected majority falls apart. We get the White House, the Senate, and the House. And everyone wants their personal issue to be on the table. War in Iraq. Guantanamo. Health Care Reform. Gay Marriage. Global Warming. Peace in the Middle East. Rebuild a Broken Economy. If any ONE of these things were accomplished during a four year term--hell, an EIGHT year term--I'd be absolutely shocked and proud. But we aren't content with one. We want them all. Right now. And we all want to be first.

Problem is, the success of one of these issues is going to require wheeling and dealing and brokering. It will mean that some folks in Congress will be booted out of office come mid-terms. And then the relationships will have to built again to tackle the next issue. And more career sacrifices will have to made to get the issue over the top. But we don't have the patience or strategy for that.

We have a choice. Band together and focus on 1-2 issues at a time before tackling the next one. Or stamp and shout and splinter and get nothing done.

Unfortunately, I'm struggling with how in the world we can pull together to accomplish the first choice.
posted by jeanmari at 6:33 AM on October 9, 2009 [29 favorites]


I wonder if they'll start giving prizes to promising phd candidates with good ideas for their thesis's.

The correct plural form is "theses."

I believe departments have been known to give prizes to top thesis proposals and, of course, conferences give awards to top papers that ultimately become part of not-yet-completed dissertations win awards, as well.

Sometimes the Prize is given for a specific accomplishment Sometimes it's a lifetime achievement award. In this case, I think it wants to recognize someone for "being on the right track." We haven't actually eliminated our nuclear stockpiles, but Obama is the first president in a while to remember that the Non-Proliferation Treaty requires that nuclear powers work towards disarmament and started making diplomatic moves towards that direction. Guantanamo hasn't been closed yet, but he's the first president in 8 years to actually make inroads towards shutting it down. And the first president in 8 years to start cooperating on global climate change issues. And the first president in 8 years to bring the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Looked at in that context, it's a pretty radical shift.
posted by deanc at 6:36 AM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


It's been said upthread, but I liked my wife's phrasing this morning so much I'm going to quote her:

"In the news this morning, the Nobel Committee has awarded the Fuck You prize to George W. Bush..."
posted by range at 6:36 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


"FFS, YOU AMERICANS SHOULD FEEL AS PROUD AS HELL!"

I didn't need some idiots in Sweden to make me feel proud of my country. And the idea that we should all enjoy the pat on the head for electing Obama makes this even more of a joke.

If the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded based on campaign marketing and hype and a vague hope the the recipeint will actually do something worthy, then the prize is worthless.

Seriously? A man wins the Nobel Peace Prize for campaign promices? "We think your speech was cool. Here's a Nobel Peace Prize."

And a prize for not being Bush, which is what this is, is just petty and childish.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:39 AM on October 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


“The question we have to ask is who has done the most in the previous year to enhance peace in the world,” Mr. Jagland said. “And who has done more than Barack Obama?”
posted by girlmightlive at 6:42 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm shocked and pissed right now, but it's worth it if it prevents war with Iran.
posted by 445supermag at 6:44 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have to think it's like baseball's Comeback Player of the Year. This is an award given to the USA for Most Improved President.

Oh yeah? Like who? To whom is it a "slap in the face"? Name one person who's "earned" the prize to whom it's a slap in the face.

That's where I am, too. My brain-hamster is running around like crazy this morning trying to imagine all the Fox News-style media war-rooms this morning. They're trying to decide which of the other nominees they will all argue was "more worthy".

Because that means they have to endorse one of them, right? Their brains are going to explode.
posted by rokusan at 6:44 AM on October 9, 2009


The guy that a lot of you worked so hard to elect has given THE WHOLE WORLD the same hope as he gave you.

a lot of the problem with THE WHOLE WORLD is american exceptionism and THE WHOLE WORLD sure as hell isn't going to get rid of that until it grows up and stops worshiping/hating the usa as the land of the gods come to sort out/ruin the rest of the world

really, it's like handing an alcoholic a drink - the head of the human family is drunk on power and you're acting like co-dependent children

for both our sakes, knock it off
posted by pyramid termite at 6:46 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yea I don't get this at all. I like Obama but I see no justification in this.
posted by stormpooper at 6:47 AM on October 9, 2009


I canvassed and donated money to the campaign to elect Obama because I believe in him and even I was taken by surprise. However I have had time to read what the Nobel committee intended by this gesture and I have concluded that this was a smart move on their part; Obama is President of a powerful nation and he has the right values. Furthermore he embodies the change in American attitudes-- which has encouraged the rest of the world to believe that America will once again lead in an enlightened and informed way. Unfortunately his detractors are not going to take any time to try and educate themselves-- they will simply express their hatred and outrage as best they can.

Once again from the Fox News Comments:
I imagine that when the new criteria is that when you can bankrupt a country, turn the proud and free people of that country against each other in a way unlike anything that has been seen since the civil war and then take away that country's freedoms of 233 years , in such a short time you deserve the nobel prize.

What about Obama's relentless war on the unborn?

He only got this becouse he's black

Who cares if he wins...it is a bogus award anyhow. Do you not know the history of Dr. Alfred Nobel and the Nobel SCIENCE ACHIEVEMENT award?

People like Al Gore and Obama didn't do anything intelligent or worth while to receive it. The people who give this reward out have diminished it's true meaning. Nobel Peace Prize now equals the Darwin Awards.

The "prize" is given by leftists to other leftists. Has no meaning and as somone posted earlier, I, too, wonder what this one cost us. O is anti-American, and I'm sick of his traveling the world to apologize for Americans who love this country. I don't know when he's had time to campaign for this "prize" with his rigorous TV schedule
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:48 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think you're off by about ten days.

I think you're off by about two years. Obama declared he was running for president in February 2007. That's when the gears of the hate machine started whirring.
posted by blucevalo at 6:49 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Before, only crazies and idiots attacked the president.

Them, and people who were paying close attention. I know, when Obama promised to filibuster telecom immunity and he decided to vote for it instead, the "mainstream left" decided that that must be a fluke, or they cog diss'ed it out of their memories entirely. But they were wrong. So is it too much to ask that they now stop unfairly insulting those people who were astute enough to see this pattern starting before the elections were even over?
posted by roystgnr at 6:51 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


You guys must have completely missed the major deal the administration just struck with Iran (shipping off their raw uranium to be enriched in russia into medical grade uranium, unsuitable for use in weapons manufacturing).

If this deal works out (and there's no reason to think it won't at this point), we'll have achieved the real potential for an island of stability in the region, with Iran no longer posing a major threat to Israel or other Western interests in the region, and with Iran retaining its right to use nuclear technologies (such as nuclear power) for peaceful civilian purposes.

There's been scarcely any coverage at all in the American press about just how important the deal that the administration made with Iran is.

Brokering a very promising peace deal under difficult, politically charged circumstances is exactly the kind of thing the Nobel Peace Prize was designed to honor, so I really don't understand what all the skepticism is about.

Oh yeah. Almost no Americans have even heard about this deal and what it means, because the press has shown precious little interest in discussing it.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:52 AM on October 9, 2009 [65 favorites]


Well, I'm not from Europe. I live in Chicago.

Same-sex rights may not matter in Chicago, but, at the moment, those rights are up for mob rule where I live. Please forgive me if I feel the need to prioritize my obligations to my significant other.

You see, this is where the whole Democratic elected majority falls apart. We get the White House, the Senate, and the House. And everyone wants their personal issue to be on the table. War in Iraq. Guantanamo. Health Care Reform. Gay Marriage. Global Warming. Peace in the Middle East. Rebuild a Broken Economy. If any ONE of these things were accomplished during a four year term--hell, an EIGHT year term--I'd be absolutely shocked and proud. But we aren't content with one. We want them all. Right now. And we all want to be first.

Civil rights are pretty damn important and deserve as much time as the rest of what was broken by Bush. Juggling all of those topics at once is not the voter's job, but it certainly is that of elected officials. Some of us have day jobs and can devote time to one or two important issues, if at all. The people we elected have to step up and deal with more than one or two issues.

It is reasonable to expect an elected representative to do the jobs he or she was elected to do, and it's a fair observation that, so far, President Obama and the Democratic Party are not doing many of the jobs they were elected to do, and those they have tackled are not being done very well. I do not think you are articulating what other tools an electorate can give to these representatives, other than unquestioned support, and I don't think they have yet shown they have earned that kind of support.

Winning a Nobel Peace Prize for work President Obama may one day eventually do overseas is nice and may temporarily raise his international stature, but we have problems here at home that need addressing, too, that are perhaps of somewhat higher priority, or certainly are as pressing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:53 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Same-sex rights may not matter in Chicago, but, at the moment, those rights are up for mob rule where I live. Please forgive me if I feel the need to prioritize my obligations to my significant other.

Same sex rights are TOTALLY important in Chicago! What the hell are you talking about?

I want Same Sex Rights. I want Health Care Reform. I want Peace in the Middle East. I want the end of the War in Iraq.

Forgive me for pointing out the obvious. By dividing our attention and infighting, we accomplish none of these.
posted by jeanmari at 6:57 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Band together and focus on 1-2 issues at a time before tackling the next one

If you believe that the problem is that everyone wants to focus on "their personal issue," what two issues do you believe are the ones that "we" should focus on?
posted by blucevalo at 7:02 AM on October 9, 2009


Look, the Nobel Committee just handed Obama a ton of political capital.

Are you fucking kidding? With who? The anti-Obama right has loathed the Nobel Prize for the last thirty years. As if they really needed something to add to the stereotype they already have of him. They might as well have declared this morning that Obama is an honorary member of the Communist Party of Kenya. The Nobel Committee just gave more capital to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh than any member of the Democratic Party.

This isn't going to help hims get any domestic policy done, and as far as foreign policy goes, maybe you should get a Nobel Peace Prize after you end a war, release people who were jailed indefinitely without trial, give equal rights to gays, and, oh yeah, stop torturing people?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:03 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


What the hell are you talking about?

What I'm talking about is a referendum in November. If voter's attentions are divided in the State of Washington, that may come down to President Obama giving aid and comfort to religious fundamentalists who support DOMA, since he took office.

I'll be happy to focus my energies on supporting public healthcare again, assuming my family and I still have civil rights next month.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:06 AM on October 9, 2009


I didn't need some idiots in Sweden to make me feel proud of my country. And the idea that we should all enjoy the pat on the head for electing Obama makes this even more of a joke.

Norway awards the Peace Prize.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:09 AM on October 9, 2009 [22 favorites]


If you believe that the problem is that everyone wants to focus on "their personal issue," what two issues do you believe are the ones that "we" should focus on?

I believe that I pointed out > THAT is the problem.

It also doesn't help that anytime even small progress is made on one issue, everyone else piles on with, "But WHAT ABOUT [insert your personal issue here]???!!!!111"

So, no, we probably won't agree on the first 1-2 issues. But we work for our issues WITHOUT piling on the small progress that other issues are making. I'm baffled about the Peace Prize, but I can understand the significance of the progress on nuclear issues made with Iran. So, I won't call out i_cola for being pleased, even if it means that my 1-2 issues aren't being acknowledged with that prize.
posted by jeanmari at 7:09 AM on October 9, 2009


And on health care, the conventional wisdom and indeed the likeliest scenario now on health care is that a reform package is almost through the package, and the house has insisted that the final version of the reform package after it goes through the conference reconciliation process will include a public option.

There has been some debate about what specific form that public plan will take, but the current odds on favorite is a robust, fully-featured national public option that individual states will be allowed to opt-out of if they want to. The specific mechanism states will use to opt out of the plan is still up for debate--it may end up being through state legislative processes, by public referendum, etc. But the point is, despite all the scare-mongering and the many twists and turns the deliberation has taken throughout the legislative process, all signs are that health care reform is going to succeed, and it is going to be substantial, including a real, viable public option. In other words, Obama's set to deliver on this campaign promise.

On Iraq: The administration has set a firm deadline with all troops out of Iraq by 2011, and they have remained unwavering in their commitment to that deadline and have already initiated troop draw-downs. A significantly faster pull-out is barely even a logistical possibility.

On Guantanamo: Lawmakers agree on holding Guantanamo inmates in US

What's this BS about there not being any progress made on the issues?
posted by saulgoodman at 7:09 AM on October 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


heh. should be:"is almost through the package" --> "is almost through the process"
posted by saulgoodman at 7:11 AM on October 9, 2009


Why are people always in a rush to post stuff to the front page? I think this thread is a little premature. Couldn't you have waited to post this until the other nominees were announced?
posted by snofoam at 7:11 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I know, when Obama promised to filibuster telecom immunity and he decided to vote for it instead, the "mainstream left" decided that that must be a fluke, or they cog diss'ed it out of their memories entirely.

I only speak for myself, but I thought he did the correct thing, there. I thought it was brave of him to stand up to his most ardent and passionate supporters in the midst of the election. People wanted to beat up on Bush, and they were going to direct their anger at the telecoms, who had no choice but to comply, instead. That was silly, and telecom immunity was the reasonable response. It's one of the reasons I preferred him to Clinton: he took an unpopular stand, she didn't even show up to vote.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:12 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The anti-Obama right has loathed the Nobel Prize for the last thirty years.

If that's the case, then why should it matter whether he got the prize or Spongebob Squarepants got the prize?

This isn't going to help hims get any domestic policy done, and as far as foreign policy goes, maybe you should get a Nobel Peace Prize after you end a war, release people who were jailed indefinitely without trial, give equal rights to gays, and, oh yeah, stop torturing people?

And solve global warming, turn wine into water, and make sure that all puppies have shiny clean fur!

By the way, "give equal rights to gays" is not typically thought of as "foreign policy."
posted by blucevalo at 7:12 AM on October 9, 2009


192+ comments, and we still haven't heard his response... coming up in 15 minutes.

It sounds to me like the committee made a controversial and bold decision. I agree with many of the commenters above that this should keep the fire of hope burning strong in Obama's gut as well as humble him to the fact that everywhere he goes with respect to diplomacy he goes as the current US president and Nobel Peace Laureate. (In other words, put your [political capital] where your mouth is.)

Peace.
posted by quanta and qualia at 7:15 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


By the way, "give equal rights to gays" is not typically thought of as "foreign policy."

Foreign-to-domestic policy, perhaps.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:17 AM on October 9, 2009


If that's the case, then why should it matter whether he got the prize or Spongebob Squarepants got the prize?

If you're arguing that this is some kind of political capital, then it does.

By the way, "give equal rights to gays" is not typically thought of as "foreign policy."

Except when thousands of them can't join our military because the President's too chickenshit to sign his name on a single piece of paper.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:19 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


It should be interesting to see to whom is he going to donate the $$$ that comes with it.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 7:21 AM on October 9, 2009


I prefer to think of it as a prize for having saved thousands of lives, because Obama chose not to carpet-bomb Tehran the instant he learned about the secret nuke facility. Which may seem like an obvious call, but given GWB's history and McCain's singsongy nonchalance on the matter, it's apparently a big deal. So good job, Obama! You refrained from slaughtering innocents, and after the last 8 years and the fear of the next four under President Palin, that's a hell of a thing.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:22 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Microkhan weighs in on another controversial Peace Prize choice.
posted by shothotbot at 7:22 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess Joe the Plumber is going to have to wait until next year.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:23 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


In the words of Rush Limbaugh: "Barack Hussein Obama, mmm mmm mmm. Barack Hussein Obama, mmm mmm mmm."
posted by scalefree at 7:23 AM on October 9, 2009


I think this might be a test. If he declines it, he'll win the REAL one.
posted by kingbenny at 7:25 AM on October 9, 2009


This would be the best possible time to bomb Norway.
posted by davelog at 7:25 AM on October 9, 2009


LEAVE NORWAY ALONE
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:27 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


So, you don't actually have to accomplish anything to win the Nobel Peace Prize?

You know they gave it to Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, and Al Gore, right, The World Famous?
posted by atbash at 7:27 AM on October 9, 2009


Well, what a slap in the face to people who actually EARNED this prize.

None of these laureates sound as though they feel they've been slapped in the face:
"I cannot think of anyone today more deserving of this honor. In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself. He has shown an unshakable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts."—Mohamed Elbaradei (2005)

"In these hard times people who are capable of taking responsibility, who have a vision, commitment and political will should be supported."—Mikhail Gorbachev (1990)

"It's an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all. It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama’s message of hope."—Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984)

"For the time being Obama's just making proposals. But sometimes the Nobel committee awards the prize to encourage responsible action. Let's give Obama a chance."—Lech Walesa (1983)
I was surprised by the announcement and am still mulling over my reaction. Then again, I'm not a Nobel laureate.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:28 AM on October 9, 2009 [21 favorites]


“The question we have to ask is who has done the most in the previous year to enhance peace in the world,” Mr. Jagland said. “And who has done more than Barack Obama?”

According to BrokeP, The Pirate's Bay has.
posted by stelas at 7:29 AM on October 9, 2009


Well, I was a little surprised, but they said they wanted to give someone the prize who is actively engaged in peaceful pursuits NOW, not someone for past accomplishments. Obama's pushing for a nuclear-free world and made a big stride with Iran. In addition to that, he turned this mighty ship we call the U.S. around 180 degrees -- we're #1 in global respect now (up from #7 when he took office), and our policy as regards global warming has changed dramatically. Since we spew out more pollution per capita than any other country BY FAR, and this affects the entire planet in adverse ways, this change is huge to everyone BUT us (and it should be huge for us too, of course). He also abolished torture, expanded fair treatment laws for women, got some more kids health insurance, and is unwinding the Iraq mistake.

On reflection, okay, this wasn't a bad pick. It just seems a little weird to some because while the things he has accomplished and the things he's trying to accomplish are noteworthy, the pile of things he's not gotten to yet is even bigger.

I'm just going to enjoy it, personally. If some people want to spend their time denigrating the guy for what he hasn't yet accomplished, or scratching their heads in befuddlement, that's their choice. Our guy is trying to do big things, and has already done some things I respect. So I'm just gonna treat this as one of those, "America! Fuck yeah!" moments, of which there have been precious few since Clinton left office.
posted by jamstigator at 7:30 AM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


If I were Obama, this would totally stress me out.
posted by lunit at 7:33 AM on October 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


"This should keep the fire of hope burning strong in Obama's gut"

Uh... Who has put this "fire" out?

We (The Democrats) control the House, the Senate and the White House. Mean shouting conservatives in the current political landscape, irrelevant. The failure to pass meaningful reform sits squarely on our shoulders.

Not only has Obama not done much... he hasn't done much while controlling the House and senate.
posted by LakesideOrion at 7:34 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised too, but I'm glad he got it. He hasn't done everything I wanted but clearly has changed the game internationally. I listened to the Cairo speech and just that, though it was only words, made it clear that things can be different.

If this gives him any incentive to take the high road on tough international issues, it will justify the prize. That's much more important than short-term worries about the integrity of the Nobels - they're just prizes.
posted by freecellwizard at 7:35 AM on October 9, 2009


all troops out of Iraq by 2011... A significantly faster pull-out is barely even a logistical possibility.

You're right. I mispoke about that. The looming decision about Afghanistan still worries me, but on Iraq, you're right.

Lawmakers agree on holding Guantanamo inmates in US

DRAFT bills do not count as progress.

the conventional wisdom and indeed the likeliest scenario now on health care is that a reform package is almost through the package, and the house has insisted that the final version of the reform package after it goes through the conference reconciliation process will include a public option.

What planet do you live on, that that's the 'likeliest scenario.' That's not a criticism: I want to move there, too. I think conventional wisdom is that the public option can't survive reconciliation because it's not budget-related in the right (i.e. deficit-reducing) way, so it'll be struck by the Parliamentarian. Plus, draft bills don't count at progress, nor really as Peace Prize fodder.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:36 AM on October 9, 2009


They only did it because they wanted to see Rush Limbaugh's head explode.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:38 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


saulgoodman, thanks for the reality check. I remember Obama saying during the campaign, when people were questioning his experience level and ability to deal with national security, that he felt that international relations were his strong suit, not domestic policy. I think his actions since inauguration reflect this.
posted by nowoutside at 7:39 AM on October 9, 2009


The Nobel Peace Prize may be the most effective form of "soft power" that the European community has to restrain the warmongering tendencies of American foreign policy. It may not have worked when they awarded the Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger, but there's a decent chance it might work with Obama. Now if only Obama wasn't so "wobbly" on closing Guantanamo and ending torture...
posted by jonp72 at 7:39 AM on October 9, 2009


If you believe that the problem is that everyone wants to focus on "their personal issue," what two issues do you believe are the ones that "we" should focus on?

From where I stand, Obama decided to focus on 1) saving the economy, and 2) healthcare. I care about the other things too, but I can't really disagree with his priorities. A year ago, we were seriously discussing the potential for another Great Depression. Not saying the economy is all sunshine and roses now, but I no longer feel like we're about to fall off a cliff. Health care reform WILL happen. Maybe not as radical as we would have wanted, but even if we only pass the "bill of rights" part, it will be a vast improvement over what we have now.

You might argue that Obama was wrong to spend so much political capital on the economy. Certainly he's gotten no return on his investment, in terms of gaining the continued support he needs to power his agenda. But given the precariousness of the situation, it was the most responsible thing to do.

I don't think that we have to limit ourselves to one or two issues at a time. But if you want to do more, you need to figure out a way to get Obama more political capital. Call your Congressmen. Donate money. March. Make it clear that YOUR voice is the voice that needs to be heard.
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:39 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


This just in from Oslo...the Nobel Peace Prize will this year only be referred to as the Dick Cheney please F*ck Off and Die you Evil Turd Award.
posted by Skygazer at 7:41 AM on October 9, 2009


God this is embarrassing. When my conservative friend brings this up I'm going to have to use misdirection (I'll probably point out that the link she sent me came from a site that publishes Buchanan and Malkin.)

He should refuse it.
posted by Wood at 7:44 AM on October 9, 2009


Obama's prize honors promise, not action.
posted by ericb at 7:44 AM on October 9, 2009


Mean shouting conservatives in the current political landscape, irrelevant. control the actual political narrative and discourse

So yeah.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:44 AM on October 9, 2009


They gave one to Kissinger and another to that Dali Lama douchebag, so it's not like there isn't precedence.

Is Dali Lama the one who painted Persistence of Meditation?
posted by kmz at 7:44 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Not only has Obama not done much... he hasn't done much while controlling the House and senate.

Ahh. But Obama DOESN'T control the House and the Senate. He can try to influence them, be he does not control them. The Democratic Party is the closest to that. And that means that all members of the Democratic Party (including us out here) have to come down pretty hard on members of Congress to get in line with the President, even if it means they may have a chance of losing their seat in Congress in a close race come midterms.
posted by jeanmari at 7:45 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


After Mrs. Beese convinced me that she hadn't read this at The Onion, I immediately went to RedState to enjoy a display of exploding heads. Site master Erick Erickson ran true to form:

I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota
posted by Joe Beese at 7:45 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


His work as Senator certainly had foreign policy benefits. He was the primary sponsor of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act, which was signed into law. He introduced the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007, which was not signed into law. He sponsored the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran's oil and gas industry, which has not passed committee, and co-sponsored legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism.

He was working on these things as a Senator in direct contrast to what the Bush Administration was supporting. So, is it a signal from the Nobel Committee to the U.S. that they appreciate Obama's foreign policy overtures more so than the slash and burn tactics of Bush/Cheney? Probably so. Personally, I don't like his getting the award, as it will give all sorts of fodder to Fox News for negative spin. But, it is what it is. A vote from the Nobel Committee that they prefer engagement to war.
posted by jeanmari at 7:46 AM on October 9, 2009


Jimmy Carter: the Nobel is a "bold statement of international support"
"Former President Jimmy Carter says the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to President Barack Obama is a "bold statement of international support for his vision and commitment."

Carter won the peace prize himself in 2002, two decades after leaving office. In a statement, he described the Nobel committee's decision Friday as support for Obama's work toward peace and harmony in international relations.

Carter says the award shows the Obama administration represents hope not only for Americans, but for people around the world."
posted by ericb at 7:47 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just wish sometimes that the left could be as success obsessed as the right. They would pump an award like this for all its worth if one of theirs won it, whether they believed it was correct or not. I know that's partly our strength, that we aren't so singleminded, but sometimes it feels like it would be incredibly satisfying and useful if we would just lie and cheat and steal our way to universal health care, nuclear disarmament, gay rights, etc etc etc.

I see where you are frustrated, progressives who feel Obama has entirely let them down. But the way you speak against him with such vitriol and spite makes it seem like you couldn't go any further with your criticisms, even to some rightwing nutjob.
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:49 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


They should just rename it the "Thanks for not being George Bush" award.
posted by empath at 7:50 AM on October 9, 2009


I think conventional wisdom is that the public option can't survive reconciliation because it's not budget-related in the right (i.e. deficit-reducing) way, so it'll be struck by the Parliamentarian. Plus, draft bills don't count at progress, nor really as Peace Prize fodder.

Well, of course it has no bearing on the Peace Prize honors, but you're quite mistaken. The conference version of the bill will include the public option in some form. The house has enough support for its bill that the senate will either have to compromise or accept failure, which is unlikely, given that even high-profile former Republicans like Bob Dole and Bill Frist are stepping forward now to say that health care reform must be accomplished now.

The most recent compromise proposal that's been floated is the so-called opt-out version, and it's quickly gathered a lot of support among key legislators. The Blue Dogs are finding it hard to argue with the opt-out proposal, because their argument all along has been that their constituents will crucify them at the polls if they bring the public option to their states. If the states can opt-out of the plan, that argument is much harder to make. I think this is the way it's headed. But of course, you're free to disagree (as long as you aren't a smug prat about it).
posted by saulgoodman at 7:51 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Who cares about the Nobel peace prize? I did not vote for Obama, and this decision upsets me none.

it feels like it would be incredibly satisfying and useful if we would just lie and cheat and steal our way to universal health care, nuclear disarmament, gay rights

Those tactics generally don't work for noble causes. I do agree that the Democrats should pull their heads out of their collective asses and get some shit done.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:52 AM on October 9, 2009


They could have given it to the Iranian dissidents

They already awarded the Peace Prize to Iran dissident and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi back in 2003.
posted by jonp72 at 7:56 AM on October 9, 2009


They should just rename it the "Thanks for not being George Bush" award.

Five comments in.
Five comments in, dude.
posted by gman at 7:59 AM on October 9, 2009


And seriously: The recent deal with Iran is a major breakthrough , a game changer, that's been tragically under-reported and appreciated. In fact, it seems like all the press and critics have tried to do since the announcement came is ignore or marginalize the importance of the agreement.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:00 AM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


Don't forget the Nobel folks gave it to Teddy Roosevelt even after the Philippines.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:02 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I see where you are frustrated, progressives who feel Obama has entirely let them down. But the way you speak against him with such vitriol and spite makes it seem like you couldn't go any further with your criticisms, even to some rightwing nutjob.

Exactly.

I say we snatch the award from Obama and give it to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, along with shiny gold tiaras. Because that makes about as much sense as the manufactured outage in this thread.
posted by blucevalo at 8:02 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I love The Awl's take on this: "This is like when someone gives you a $400 vacuum cleaner that you can't return."
posted by dirigibleman at 8:03 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lindsay Beyerstein of Obsidian Wings and Majikthise has the following take:
The president wins the Nobel Peace Prize and some Democrats are wondering if he should turn it down because it might upset the wingnuts. Marc Ambinder summarizes:
This tracks with one argument I'm hearing and reading from Democrats and others who are skeptical of the prize: it will turn the volume and enthusiasm level all the way to the extreme end of the dial for conservatives -- overmodulating at 110%; the resulting hyperpolarization will hurt Obama's agenda. (Representative of this opinion: "I think it will feed not just conservative dislike but the growing concern of independents and elites, that he is a man of rhetoric, a work of imagination, but as of now an unaccomplished statesman. The smartest thing he could do is turn it down. It will backfire on him.'")
Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a parallel dimension where everything is inverted. Accepting the Nobel Prize makes you look bad? It's narcissistic to accept prizes from other people?

I am gobsmacked that some Democrats want the president to turn down the prize for his own good. What message would that send to the rest of the world? Something along the lines of 'Thanks, guys, but I'm really all about war'?

Of course the Republicans are going to freak out. Our guy wins a Nobel Peace Prize after 9 months in office, primarily for tinkering with the worst excesses of the wars their guy started. That's humiliating. Humiliated Republicans lash out, news at eleven.
posted by Kattullus at 8:04 AM on October 9, 2009 [25 favorites]


I agree that the deal with Iran is huge. They are turning over a huge chunk of their stockpile to the Russians to be enriched. That enriched nuclear material is most definitely going to be held hostage to their good behavior.

Having said that, it was really weird that this happened. Weird.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:04 AM on October 9, 2009


Listen, why shouldn't he get the prize? We're talking about a tragic genius who, with nothing but pluck and the love of a good woman, cured his own intractable schizophr . . .

. . . oh, wait, no, because that would be almost plausible by comparison.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:04 AM on October 9, 2009


I, too, am surprised at the amount of weirdness this has generated from Progressives here.

They feel this is too much, too soon and will make it more difficult to encourage Obama to aggressively tact to the Progressive agenda, which I completely support, but look folks, this is not a negative. If you look at the man, and the way he works, this is simply a feather in his cap that will help him do his job better. Period and end of story.

We're into this about 10 mos in and if you feel he hasn't done everything you wanted and expected of him, you just might be buying into the right wing spin job that's been going at this guy since before he even won the Democratic nomination. Have some faith already and stop acting like a bunch of impatient pansies. I don't care what your pet issue is, at this point, on the domestic front, Health Care Reform trumps all. And something (the supreme progressive goal of the last 60 years btw) that looked almost dead 2 months ago, is suddenly taking on new vitality and strategic life. And this comes through, with a public option, which thanks to the state-level Opt-In or Out clause, looks to be the case, setting a framework for Universal and Single Payer a few years down the road (Civil Rights also, did not happen right away, but in stages), he deserves the prize for that alone.
posted by Skygazer at 8:06 AM on October 9, 2009 [17 favorites]


"Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics and now they are criticizing the President of the United States for receiving the Nobel Peace prize -- an award he did not seek but that is nonetheless an honor in which every American can take great pride -- unless of course you are the Republican Party." -- Democratic National Committee
posted by blucevalo at 8:06 AM on October 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


I didn't need some idiots in Sweden to make me feel proud of my country. And the idea that we should all enjoy the pat on the head for electing Obama makes this even more of a joke.
Norway awards the Peace Prize.
Whatever, they're all French, ain't they? This is a travesty! Shoulda been Cheney and Jesus!
posted by Flunkie at 8:07 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota

Seriously? Fuck that guy.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:08 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


. . . oh, wait, no, because that would be almost plausible by comparison.

Yeah, not only is it horrible, catastrophic, atrocious, and calamitous -- it's also implausible!

What other outrage adjectives can we dredge up? Come on! mefi can do it!
posted by blucevalo at 8:09 AM on October 9, 2009


So I'm genuinely curious. To those who are saying he doesn't deserve it, who do you think should have won the prize this year?
posted by Liver at 8:09 AM on October 9, 2009


They already awarded the Peace Prize to Iran dissident and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi back in 2003.

Reportedly, there were three chinese dissidents on the list. The Cluster Munitions Coalition. Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder of Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who has helped hundreds of thousands of victims of sexual abuse and mutilation during that country's war. Handicap International.

I like our President. Believe in him. Think he's got great potential. But in attempting to effect change, the Nobel Committee has deliberately overlooked people who have actually accomplished great things and helped thousands upon thousands of war victims.

saulgoodman, while I'm pleased about the deal with Iran, (although for the life of me, I can't see how this will possibly stop them from secretly developing nuclear weapons with which to bomb Israel,) the prize was voted on in February. Way before President Obama actually accomplished anything meaningful. Shouldn't the Nobel bar should be set higher?
posted by zarq at 8:10 AM on October 9, 2009


Couple of thoughts, apologies if this has been pointed out before:
a) If you _have_ to give a Nobel to influence Obama's policy, without appearing politically motivated, now's as good a time as any. There are elections next year.
b) Given Gibbs' reaction described here, it's fair to say that Team Obama was as surprised by this as anyone else.
c) There has been some talk in the blogosphere that Obama should decline the award. There has been exactly one person who has done that in Nobel's history: Le Duc Tho. The statutes don't "permit" such refusals.
d) The last date for nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize was Feb 1st. Obama was sworn in on Jan 20th.
posted by the cydonian at 8:10 AM on October 9, 2009


I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota

Christ, what an asshole. :(
posted by zarq at 8:11 AM on October 9, 2009


Obama declared he was running for president in February 2007. That's when the gears of the hate machine started whirring.

Actually, right after Obama's 2004 keynote speech to the Democratic Convention, a web page entitled, "Is Obama the Antichrist?" got millions of hits.

I know that's partly our strength, that we aren't so singleminded, but sometimes it feels like it would be incredibly satisfying and useful if we would just lie and cheat and steal our way to universal health care, nuclear disarmament, gay rights, etc etc etc.

It is in the liberal nature to question one's perspective and beliefs. Being sure about something in the middle of a controversy seems wrong. But this allows one also to look at things from the perspective of the Nobel Peace Prize committee and examine their reasoning, not our reasoning, and when you do look at what they had to say about Obama's award, the reasoning is compelling.

And the Republicans, who could have simply given a terse response of, "It is great to see the United States honored in this way; let's hope that Obama gets to work and fulfills his potential and expectations so early in his presidency," couldn't help but go all Kanye-West on the prize.
posted by deanc at 8:12 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


you packed up & went home to watch your hero just get on with it & sort everything out for you. And you've stayed sitting at home whilst a whole bunch of ever more reactionary teabaggers, talk radio hosts & listeners, cable news doofi &c. have got on & done their best to destroy that hope.

goddammit. You have no idea what you're talking about, or what kind of battles we're trying to fight here, or how hard it is to even get our own party from going along with the Republicans/conservatives (see: health care in the Senate).

Our entire media is conservative controlled or influenced. Our two political parties are "Rabid Conservative" and "Let's Pay Lip Service to Progressive Values But Kowtow to the Rabid Conservative Party". What progress has been made has been tremendously difficult and it's been all uphill.

Obama was our best choice, but he was not and is not the best choice we should have. In a sane country, he'd be a moderate or even a conservative. But we don't live in a sane country. We live in a country where huge, massive demonstrations against an unpopular war are downplayed in the press in favor of 20 crazies with signs in support of the war. Where old people get Tazered to death by cops for not moving fast enough, and people who wanted to go to the former President's speeches had to sign loyalty oaths.

You'll have to excuse us if we're a little tired and discouraged and tend to view this new development through a somewhat cynical lens.

We didn't pack up and go home to watch Obama; we celebrated and then did our best to stay on his ass while he showed an alarming tendency to want to not follow through on his promises (telecom immunity, public healthcare, Guantanamo, DADT) UNLESS we yelled and screamed at him. It would be nice if he would do what we have clearly indicated we want him to do without us having to yell about it all the time, but that's not been our experience.

Blaming progressives for the teabaggers and Becks, et al--now that's just blatantly unfair. They are our enemies, but they have the right to spew their crazy hatred. Their bosses own our media, so they are the voices that get heard. Changing that dynamic, unless you are advocating pitchforks and torches, is incredibly difficult.
posted by emjaybee at 8:12 AM on October 9, 2009 [22 favorites]


I don't care what your pet issue is, at this point, on the domestic front, Health Care Reform trumps all. And something (the supreme progressive goal of the last 60 years btw) that looked almost dead 2 months ago, is suddenly taking on new vitality and strategic life. And this comes through, with a public option, which thanks to the state-level Opt-In or Out clause, looks to be the case, setting a framework for Universal and Single Payer a few years down the road (Civil Rights also, did not happen right away, but in stages), he deserves the prize for that alone.

According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize should be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

Explain to me, please, how enacting Health Care Reform for Americans meets that criteria.
posted by zarq at 8:14 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nobel Insiders: Beer Summit Sealed it for Obama
posted by homunculus at 8:15 AM on October 9, 2009


To be fair to the wingnuts losing their shit over this, the Nobel Peace Prize is one step above the Montgomery Burns Award For Outstanding Achievement In The Field Of Excellence.
posted by you just lost the game at 8:16 AM on October 9, 2009


Shouldn't the Nobel bar should be set higher?

Higher than Henry Kissinger?
posted by blucevalo at 8:18 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's cute how Obama is still giving Europeans hope for the future.
posted by nanojath at 8:18 AM on October 9, 2009


Maybe now he'll be willing to meet with his fellow laureate, the Dalai Lama.
posted by homunculus at 8:19 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Erick Ericson from Redstate.com: "I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news."
posted by the_bone at 8:21 AM on October 9, 2009


Higher than Henry Kissinger?

Definitely. And Yasser Arafat, frankly.

The committee should learn from their mistakes.
posted by zarq at 8:21 AM on October 9, 2009


Obama: "You can't be serious."
Norway: "Yes we can."
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:21 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


Wow, imagine being in Obama's shoes right now? He's a smart guy [1]. He knows that--honestly--he's not quite in the same league as the other laureates. [2]

But turning down the award? That's just silly. You're embarrassing the committee, you look ungrateful, and you do end up throwing away political capital (and why do that?). So he's got to accept, while remaining humble and conveying a sense of the tough job ahead. If anybody can be humble, he can. This isn't Michael Jordan or G. W. Bush. I eagerly look forward to his speech.


[1]: Man, I love being able to say that about the president.
[2]: Of course, his goals are no secret, and if he manages to knock off even half of what he's put on his plate he'd compare pretty favorably to previous winners.

posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:22 AM on October 9, 2009


Must be for HOPE, since the actual war and terror policies haven't changed. Absurd!

Here, the local NPR station plays BBC Overnight between one and five in the morning and I fall asleep with the radio on. This morning, in the dark, I dreamt that Barack Obasma won the the Nobel Peace Prize. I was surprised in my dream. Then I woke up. And realized I was dreaming awake. And felt my heart lift in hummingbird hover and crazy corkscrew skyward, feeling lighter than helium and happy for no reason at all. In the myth, last of all, Hope came crawling last out of Pandora's box. I am as cynical and bitter as they come, yet I felt my heart lift when I realized this was a dream--that dream in which we all can thrive. The odds are so against us, or so it seems so much of the time. Hope is no small thing to be sharing between us, today. Keep hope alive.
posted by y2karl at 8:23 AM on October 9, 2009 [20 favorites]


I'm afraid to say it, but y'know how you can't get a Nobel prize posthumously? Given the sheer number of wackos with guns in the US, maybe they were genuinely concerned that this might be the only chance to give it to him.
posted by greatgefilte at 8:23 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


He said that to be honest, he did not feel he deserved the award.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:24 AM on October 9, 2009


What a travesty - a man running two wars and death camps gets a Nobel Peace Prize.

There's a repeated comment here that opposition to Obama is due to some sort of "backlash". I must say NO in a loud voice here.

As a progressive I've watched Obama move away from the direction I believe is both morally right and good for the country. He's expanded the war in Afghanistan - it's projected to go on for almost 10 years more. Iraq is ongoing. Indefinite preventative detainment! Arguing to keep people in death camps after they've been shown innocent. Arguing against the rule of law! He bailed out the bankers and let the union workers hang. Not allowing a single mention of single-payer health care.

This isn't some "random backlash". Mr. Obama earned my opposition step by step, each step wrong-headed and conservative. You can say "vitriol and spite" but at least under Bush we had some hope that we'd eventually elect a candidate who'd do a good job, restore the Constitution, pass new laws to prevent bankers from another screw-up, start to wind down the two wars this bankrupt country is in!

Now, what hope do we have? That Mr. Obama will finally look to the Left? But the tiny "progressive" wing of the Democratic party has seen far more scorn from Obama than the Republicans, that he endlessly sucks up to.

We are badly fucked. And Mr. Obama is the new face on this fuckage.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:25 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Chris Floyd:

To give a peace prize to the commander-in-chief of a war machine now churning its way through the populations of three countries (Iraq/Af-Pak), with innumerable black ops, lightning raids and drone shots on the side .... to a man who even as we speak is deciding just how he wants to kill even more civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan ... a man who has enthusiastically embraced as "an extraordinary achievement" one of the most heinous and barbaric acts of military aggression since Hitler rolled across the border into Poland ... a man who blusters about leaving "all options on the table," including the use of mass-murdering nuclear weapons, to bully other nations into compliance with American wishes ... to give a peace prize to such a man, while all over the world, there are men and women who have devoted their entire lives to non-violence and reconciliation, many of them suffering imprisonment, torture and ruin for their efforts ... well, like I said, it's beyond words.

But it's good to see that the spirit of arms merchant Alfred Nobel -- purveyor and profiteer of death and destruction -- is being honored so perfectly with today's award.

posted by Joe Beese at 8:25 AM on October 9, 2009


I agree with all those who say this is embarrassing. It really is. If the word "prize" is to mean anything, it has to rest on accomplishments. President Obama, to his credit, has some. But he is, as others have said, presiding over at least two major wars, one of which is getting hotter by the minute and both of which are senseless (and I say that as a moderate conservative). War is war. Peace is peace. And unless you are in Oceania (or, apparently, Oslo), war is not peace.

It might have been better for the Nobel Committee to simply say that this year they are not going to grant a Peace Prize because no peace has been made. When the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, Somalia, Pakistan, Kurdistan, Chechnia, etc. etc. begin to end, then they can start handing out "prizes."
posted by MarshallPoe at 8:25 AM on October 9, 2009


The more I think about this, the more brilliant I think it is. The Nobel Committee is calling Obama to return to the high purpose that originally impelled his presidential campaign. The last 9 months have been a brutal confrontation of principle with process, and process has had the field. Folks are frustrated with the Obama administration for pursuing incremental approaches to problem solving that, in the face of right-wing extremism, turn into stasis and inaction.

That speech was not a comfortable one. Obama very evidently is not happy to have received the award and is seeking to dilute it by making it the common property of Americans, or of "men and women around the world who work for peace." That the award sits heavily on him is probably the best sign one could hope for that he realizes that he cannot decline it and that now he must live up to it.

Did you catch how he began to hesitate when he described his role as commander in chief? His voice drifted off and he seemed almost to lose his train of thought. Imagine how this historic award must impose upon him the judgment of history. He is being forced to live up to his own ideals. The ones we elected him for espousing.
posted by felix betachat at 8:28 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Well I for one think it's ABOUT TIME Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.
posted by mazola at 8:28 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


Seriously. Hillary Clinton would have made a stronger case for the Prize. But even that would have been ridiculous. This diminishes the Prize. It was a silly idea.
posted by Slap Factory at 8:30 AM on October 9, 2009


Common misconceptions about the Nobel Peace Prize:
Myth: The prize is awarded to recognize efforts for peace, human rights and democracy only after they have proven successful.

More often, the prize is awarded to encourage those who receive it to see the effort through, sometimes at critical moments.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:31 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Erick Ericson from Redstate.com: "I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news."
posted by the_bone at 10:21 AM on October 9 [+] [!]


So many legitimate ways a conservative could mock the president on this one, great job going straight for racism!
posted by nanojath at 8:32 AM on October 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


Oh, and the Redstate comments are great. One woman says that he'll win the award again posthumously in 2012, citing Revelations 13:5 (which states that the beast will be given authority to speak blasphemies for 42 months).
posted by the_bone at 8:32 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


So when is the Nobel Economic Prize awarded? Can Obama go 2-for-2?
posted by mazola at 8:32 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think the reaction to this in the US (with this thread being a beautiful snapshot) will show exactly how out of touch a lot of folks are with feelings in the rest of the world.

Yeah, we've had enough of the promise of hope and change and want to see actions. I guess the rest of the world hasn't reached that point yet.


I can't speak for the Nobel committee, who aren't exactly representative of the rest of the world, but I expect for many people contemplating any other possibility than hope and change is simply too terrifying.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:34 AM on October 9, 2009


Also:

TOO SOON!
posted by mazola at 8:34 AM on October 9, 2009


I'm afraid to say it, but y'know how you can't get a Nobel prize posthumously?

They did play cute in 1948 when Mahatma Gandhi died, but it hasn't been Nobel policy since then. Dag Hammarskjöld won it posthumously in 61.
posted by the cydonian at 8:35 AM on October 9, 2009


"It's quite likely this committee will reward somebody who is engaged in current processes... They want the prize to have an impact on things that are about to happen and want to affect events"
"But Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the five-member Nobel committee, said 'we have not given the prize for what may happen in the future. We are awarding Obama for what he has done in the past year. And we are hoping this may contribute a little bit for what he is trying to do.' In making the announcement, the committee said Obama has 'created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.'"*
posted by ericb at 8:37 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it's more like a Promise Prize.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:39 AM on October 9, 2009


I'm as much a fan of Obama as anyone on here, but even my first reaction was "what for?"

Yeah, April 1st is still six months away.
"Two key White House aides were both convinced they 'were being punked' when they heard the news, reported ABC News' George Stephanopoulos. 'It's not April 1, is it?' one said."*
posted by ericb at 8:41 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R): The ‘appropriate response’ to Obama winning the Nobel is to say ‘congratulations.’
posted by ericb at 8:42 AM on October 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


Glenn Greenwald:

Beyond Afghanistan, Obama continues to preside over another war -- in Iraq: remember that? -- where no meaningful withdrawal has occurred. He uttered not a peep of opposition to the Israeli massacre of Gazan civilians at the beginning of this year (using American weapons), one which a U.N. investigator just found constituted war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. The changed tone to Iran notwithstanding, his administration frequently emphasizes that it is preserving the option to bomb that country, too -- which could be a third war against a Muslim country fought simultaneously under his watch. He's worked tirelessly to protect his country not only from accountability -- but also transparency -- for the last eight years of war crimes, almost certainly violating America's treaty obligations in the process. And he is currently presiding over an expansion of the legal black hole at Bagram while aggressively demanding the right to abduct people from around the world, ship them there, and then imprison them indefinitely with no rights of any kind.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:43 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


i think Conan O'Brien has some thoughts for Obama:

You see, you're in for a lifetime of "And you went to Harvard?" Accidentally give the wrong amount of change in a transaction and it's, "And you went to Harvard?" Ask the guy at the hardware store how these jumper cables work and hear, "And you went to Harvard?" Forget just once that your underwear goes inside your pants and it's "and you went to Harvard." Get your head stuck in your niece's dollhouse because you wanted to see what it was like to be a giant and it's "Uncle Conan, you went to Harvard!?"
posted by empath at 8:47 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


Obama comments on the Nobel Prize
"'I am both surprised and deeply humbled,' Obama said from the White House Friday morning.

He said he does not 'view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments,' but rather as a 'call to action, a call for all nations to confront the challenges of the 21st century.'

'I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honored by this prize,' he added."
posted by ericb at 8:48 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Erick Ericson from Redstate.com: "I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news."

It's safe to say that almost all conservatives, to a fault, are as racist as they come. Erick's comment only confirms the truth.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:48 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Aw man don't they know the best peace comes out in the last three months of the year?
posted by klangklangston at 8:49 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Nobel peace prize has always been more to do with the Nobel Peace Prize *committee* trying to bring about peace then it has been about the recipients trying to bring about peace.
posted by carfilhiot at 8:49 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


By that i mean:

"You accidentally bomb a wedding, and it's "And you won the Nobel Peace Prize?". You escalate the warn in Afghanistan and it's "And you won the Nobel Peace Prize?", etc..
posted by empath at 8:49 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Slap at Bush?
"The award appeared to be a slap at Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama's predecessor for his largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The Nobel committee praised Obama's creation of 'a new climate in international politics' and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the U.N. to the center of the world stage.

'You have to remember that the world has been in a pretty dangerous phase,' Jagland said. 'And anybody who can contribute to getting the world out of this situation deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.'"
posted by ericb at 8:50 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please accept this carrot. We have nothing else to give.
posted by emeiji at 8:52 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


And seriously: The recent deal with Iran is a major breakthrough , a game changer, that's been tragically under-reported and appreciated. In fact, it seems like all the press and critics have tried to do since the announcement came is ignore or marginalize the importance of the agreement.

I'm kinda glad I've come to this so late. A quick overview of the feelings so far seems to read as:

1. world loves the choice
2. Americans are confused by it

Why are Americans confused? Because regardless of their left-or-right leanings, the majority can't help but view the world as a thing that revolves around them (I'm guessing this is common to all empires). And from this localized perspective, it's easy to fall into frustration, despair etc as a loud and stupid and nasty and yes, EFFECTIVE, minority of right-leaning misfits, loony-tunes and squalid criminals dominate the mediated American discourse, forcing even the most ardent of Obama's supporters to doubt his effectiveness.

Now, the Nobel Committee has stepped up said, "You know what? America is not the world, only an integral piece of it. And from our perspective, your man is A. doing a hell of a job toward defusing international tensions, and B. positioned to do a hell of a lot more in this regard in the near future. As such, he has brought more peace (and hope for peace) to the world than any other man in the past 365 days."

If this helps to marginalize the Glenn Becks etc and refocus the American discourse, great. But from the world's perspective, this is only important insofar as it allows Mr. Obama to continue to be the anti-GWB that the world so clearly wants and needs.

Keep on rockin in the free world.
posted by philip-random at 8:53 AM on October 9, 2009 [18 favorites]


Transcript of President Obama’s Nobel Reaction.
posted by ericb at 8:53 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


And now - because I'm getting cranky - behold the works of your new peace laureate.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:53 AM on October 9, 2009


ericb: "Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R): The ‘appropriate response’ to Obama winning the Nobel is to say ‘congratulations.’"

That's a surprisingly generous and uncharacteristic thing for T-Paw to say.

I for one, am delighted. If only for the skyrocketing blood pressure of all conservative pundits today.
posted by graventy at 8:55 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Norway. Norway Norway Norway








Norway


Sweden is not the same thing as Norway.
posted by nax at 8:56 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Video of Obama's reaction speech.
posted by Kattullus at 8:59 AM on October 9, 2009


I for one, am delighted. If only for the skyrocketing blood pressure of all conservative pundits today.

To have been a 'fly-on-the-wall' at the Cheney household this morning:
Honey, I've something to tell you. Please sit. Here's a valium and your heart medication. Now, while you were asleep it was announced that..."
posted by ericb at 8:59 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Maybe they saw how much shit our crazies gives him- y'know, showing up to town meetings with guns, suggesting seceding from the country, etc. and the fact he hasn't started backhanding people left and right...

I mean, I'd give him the Nobel Peace Prize on that alone.
posted by yeloson at 9:00 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Nicely said y2karl.

I agree with whoever it was upthread laughing at those of you who aren't willing or able to view this award outside of a purely American context. His positive efforts on international relations have little domestic capital it seems. Be happy. This is a good thing.
posted by peacay at 9:01 AM on October 9, 2009


the cydonian: They did play cute in 1948 when Mahatma Gandhi died, but it hasn't been Nobel policy since then. Dag Hammarskjöld won it posthumously in 61.

Actually, AP says it's been prohibited by statute since the 70s.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:03 AM on October 9, 2009


Yes, I've heard. Kills men by the hundreds. And if HE were here, he'd consume the English with fireballs from his eyes, and bolts of lightning from his arse.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:05 AM on October 9, 2009


Well, congrats to him. I am quite happy with what he has been doing, here and abroad. I don't get the disappointment and dislike so many progressives have towards him. Maybe it's because I avoid reading political commentary online.

ALSO, YAY! :) :) :)
posted by kathrineg at 9:08 AM on October 9, 2009


When this was written: "Obama Announces Iraq Troop Pullout Plan" in February 2009, there were 142,000 US troops in Iraq.

When this article was written: "4,000 Iraq Troops Withdrawing Next Month" in September 2009, the number of troops in Iraq was (is) about to be reduced from 124,000 to 120,000.

By my math, that means we've pulled out 22,000 troops in total in 7 months, all within the first 10 months of Obama's presidency (rought 3,140 troops per month). Assuming that rate remained steady (which under current plans it won't--the draw-down is planned to accelerate over time), we would have all the troops out of the region within 38 months, or 3 years. 2011 is the scheduled year Obama has committed to achieving that goal. The progress that's already been made is real.

As for Afghanistan--well, it's a tough spot. McChrystal has shown clear disrespect for the civilian command structure by going around the White House to speak publicly to advocate large troop increases in Afghanistan. The administration doesn't want to do that--and also recognizes we simply don't have the economic resources to do that. So it appears the administration is going to limit additional troop deployments, and may even be considering, in the mid-term, an approach like the one Biden is pushing for--namely, of deescalating the military mission in the region and approaching the conflict as a terror policing mission, with significantly fewer combat troops and small special forces teams to pursue and confront suspected terrorists.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:08 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like that his reaction is largely the same as everybody elses.

He'll earn that fucker though.
posted by Artw at 9:11 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Actually, AP says it's been prohibited by statute since the 70s

Although the Peace prize does have an out if need be, in that it can be awarded to an organization rather than an individual person. So, for instance, if Wangari Maathai had died, they could have given the prize to her Green Belt Movement if they still wanted to honor her.
posted by smackfu at 9:12 AM on October 9, 2009


I think it's kind of funny that American reactions to the American president winning a Nobel prize are being characterized as too parochial. So the perceptions of the people he's governing are not as accurate as those he's not?

Huh.
posted by emjaybee at 9:13 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm as much a fan of Obama as anyone on here, but even my first reaction was "what for?"

Me too! And then I did some reading, realised I was ignoring all the things he does that don't make for exciting media fodder and got over my ignorance. It took about 10 minutes. Holy shit people, it's nice to get a glimpse into the future of the 2012 elections. Make the most of the next 4 years, because the more you talk Obama down into the dirt and ignore his achievements and the positive effect he's had on the world, the less likely he'll be re-elected. Because if he's not deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize, he's certainly not deserving of Presidency.
posted by saturnine at 9:15 AM on October 9, 2009 [15 favorites]


I think it's kind of funny that American reactions to the American president winning a Nobel prize are being characterized as too parochial. So the perceptions of the people he's governing are not as accurate as those he's not?

This is probably something that you'd need to have experienced the hideous George Bush presidency from the outside to appreciate.
posted by Artw at 9:16 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman: "When this article was written: "4,000 Iraq Troops Withdrawing Next Month" in September 2009, the number of troops in Iraq was (is) about to be reduced from 124,000 to 120,000."

Three-card Monte:

In June, a Pentagon report revealed that there are still 132,610 contractors in Iraq – effectively doubling the size of the occupation – and that the use of armed "private security contractors" in the country actually increased by 23% during the second quarter of 2009.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:17 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The anti-Obama right has loathed the Nobel Prize for the last thirty years.

If that's the case, then why should it matter whether he got the prize or Spongebob Squarepants got the prize?</I


I KNOW you did NOT just diss my boy SpongeBob.

posted by darkstar at 9:18 AM on October 9, 2009


Although the Peace prize does have an out if need be, in that it can be awarded to an organization rather than an individual person.

Interesting point. Purely in the interest of hypotheticals, then: how would you go about this in the case of Gandhi or (God forbid) Obama?

BTW They just played a bit of the original announcement on Dutch radio. I don't understand Norwegian, but there were audible gasps and surprised oohs between "to Barack Obama..." and "...for extraordinary [etc. etc.]" (that much I could make out). Interesting.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:19 AM on October 9, 2009


I wake up to NPR and usually if I catch a bit of a montage of something, I say to myself, "oh, so and so died." But I knew it was Nobel season and I caught the last bit of something, something pretty grasping about Obama and hope. So I said to myself, "Obama won the Peace Prize. Oh, fuck no, there's no way." I mentioned it to my husband and he looked at me as though I were crazy.

I'm not crazy. I think being American, that we as a nation, don't really grasp how we are perceived overseas (or across borders.) I suppose that there has been such a material change in the perception of America in the wake of Obama's presidency that he is being credited for winning the hearts and minds of our international friends. Well good on him.

It's their award, and they can give it to whomever they want. I like Obama and I really, really hope (the audacity of it) that he earns the award, sooner rather than later.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:19 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sweden is not the same thing as Norway.

Yeah, but it's only been 104 years since separation. It's been a good 233 years, and Brits still refer to the US as "the Colonies" sometimes. Old habits die hard, apparently.
posted by explosion at 9:20 AM on October 9, 2009


"But from the world's perspective, this is only important insofar as it allows Mr. Obama to continue to be the anti-GWB that the world so clearly wants and needs."

So the prize this year wasn't really *for* someone as it was *against* Bush. You really think that's a good idea?

Earth to Norway - Bush is no longer president. And his popularity in the US even when he was hovered just South of complete loathing among both conservatives and liberals. The idea that anyone needs to be encouraged to not be like Bush is idiotic.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:23 AM on October 9, 2009


I much prefer that people get awards or medals for doing nothing, rather than getting awards and medals for doing terrible things like they did during the Bush administration.
posted by mpbx at 9:23 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Joe Beese: Security contractors do not run combat missions, as a general rule. They protect supply chains, they guard diplomatic personnel, they provide transportation security, etc. It's not just a shuck and jive that 16% of the combat troops in Iraq have been pulled out since February, even if there has been a corresponding increase in private security personnel. In fact, there's a strong argument to be made that the increase in private security presence is directly linked to draw-down efforts, since major troop movements and/or withdrawals depend more than anything else on having adequate logistical security support.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:23 AM on October 9, 2009


In case anyone else was confused, Norway only does the Peace Prize. Sweden does the rest.

The reasoning for it doesn't really apply anymore:
Norway and Sweden were at that time still in union, and with Sweden responsible for all foreign policy, Nobel felt that the prize might be less subject to political corruption if awarded by Norway.
posted by smackfu at 9:24 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think it's kind of funny that American reactions to the American president winning a Nobel prize are being characterized as too parochial. So the perceptions of the people he's governing are not as accurate as those he's not?

The Nobel prize is an international prize. It takes a necessarily outside-in view on any national politics. In other words, they see the forest for the trees. An inside-out perspective, particularly in America, doesn't always allow this.

Why "particularly America"?

Because America is big, spread out, an enormously complex and dynamic "thing". Unlike Canada (where I'm based) there's so darned much going on that it's really possible to spend one's entire life only viewing and engaging this thing from within and never seeing the whole "forest".

This is why I love the Nobel committee's decision. They're effectively shouting, "Hey, America! It looks good from here. Cut your man some slack."
posted by philip-random at 9:26 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


I don't think he'll be very keen... Uh, he's already got one, you see? It's very nice-a.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:27 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


So, Obama makes his first address as a Nobel Peace Prize winner at the annual national Human Rights Campaign dinner tomorrow evening -- on the eve of Sunday's National Equality March on Washington. If I were Obama's big gay speechwriter...
posted by ericb at 9:29 AM on October 9, 2009


Earth to Norway - Bush is no longer president. And his popularity in the US even when he was hovered just South of complete loathing among both conservatives and liberals. The idea that anyone needs to be encouraged to not be like Bush is idiotic.
posted by y6y6y6


I've tried saying that to Europeans. They answer: "Umm..yeah. If he was so unpopular, why exactly did you re-elect him?"
posted by vacapinta at 9:32 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


lol fuck bush
posted by Damn That Television at 9:32 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


ME: "But from the world's perspective, this is only important insofar as it allows Mr. Obama to continue to be the anti-GWB that the world so clearly wants and needs."

y6y6y6 : So the prize this year wasn't really *for* someone as it was *against* Bush. You really think that's a good idea?

You've taken my words out of context here. They were immediately prefaced by:

Now, the Nobel Committee has stepped up said, "... from our perspective, your man is A. doing a hell of a job toward defusing international tensions, and B. positioned to do a hell of a lot more in this regard in the near future. As such, he has brought more peace (and hope for peace) to the world than any other man in the past 365 days."

I believe there's alot more here than just being *against* Bush.
posted by philip-random at 9:32 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Norway and Sweden were at that time still in union, and with Sweden responsible for all foreign policy, Nobel felt that the prize might be less subject to political corruption if awarded by Norway.

posted by smackfu


Damn it, I didn't come here to learn things. Pesky facts and shit all over my favorite website....grar...
posted by marxchivist at 9:32 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman: " there's a strong argument to be made that the increase in private security presence is directly linked to draw-down efforts, since major troop movements and/or withdrawals depend more than anything else on having adequate logistical security support."

I think there's also a strong argument to be made that, from the perspective of the Iraqis - those inconvenient brown people living on top of our oil - it doesn't matter much if the men we're paying to point guns at them have their paychecks issued by the U.S. Treasury or Xe/Blackwater.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:33 AM on October 9, 2009


In fact, there's a strong argument to be made that the increase in private security presence is directly linked to draw-down efforts

Replacing soldiers with mercenaries is probably not a good argument for justifying a Nobel Peace Prize.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:34 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


And a bit of fluff, to cleanse the palates:

I read the transcript of his acceptance, and I love how he mentions his daughters' reactions: they came in to say their good mornings, and Malia said, "Know what, Dad? You just won the Nobel Peace Prize, AND it's also Bo's birthday!" And Sasha added, "And it's ALSO a three-day weekend!"

....Sorry, I just thought it was cute. The Nobel is impressive and all, but -- it's a THREE-DAY WEEKEND Score!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:34 AM on October 9, 2009 [21 favorites]


Because regardless of their left-or-right leanings, the majority can't help but view the world as a thing that revolves around them

some of us even have this peculiar delusion that we voted for the guy and the rest of the world didn't

and it's somewhat disingenuous to claim that americans think the world revolves around them when it's a foreign country that just arranged the modern equivalent of an imperial triumph for our president and you yourself are so insistent that we should worship at the man's feet like the rest of the world does

yeah, that's a GREAT way to convince us that we're not the center of the universe

i just think it's a bit early for this kind of accolade - and the world needs to start developing its own leadership instead of relying on ours all the time
posted by pyramid termite at 9:35 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Previous presidents: Teddy Roosevelt mediated the end of the Russo-Japanese War, the first major modern defeat of a European power by an Asian power. Woodrow Wilson delivered the Fourteen Points, and helped broker the Treaty of Versailles and found the League of Nations.* Jimmy Carter brokered the Camp David Accords and has a distinguished post-presidential career advancing peace and diplomacy. (Carter wasn't a sitting president, but the Nobel announcement said he would've won for Camp David except he wasn't nominated by the deadline.)

* Well, they seemed like good ideas at the time.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:36 AM on October 9, 2009


I'm not crazy. I think being American, that we as a nation, don't really grasp how we are perceived overseas (or across borders.) I suppose that there has been such a material change in the perception of America in the wake of Obama's presidency that he is being credited for winning the hearts and minds of our international friends.

yeah, now we can bomb the shit out of people and still be loved because our leader talks nice to people

think about it - if that's what we're getting, it's not an improvement, it's a step backwards - i'd rather see an obvious jerk like bush doing dirty business then someone who's glad handing and back-patting people while continuing that dirty business

obama needs to start wrapping up these wars we're in
posted by pyramid termite at 9:44 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


My husband thought the White House Staff would just let him sleep and would not put the call through, but I am guessing that he was out of bed and calling his speech writers before he called for coffee.
"White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama woke up to the news a little before 6 a.m. ET.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee decided not to inform Obama before the announcement because it didn't want to wake him up, committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said.

'Waking up a president in the middle of the night, this isn't really something you do,' Jagland said."*
posted by ericb at 9:46 AM on October 9, 2009


i just think it's a bit early for this kind of accolade - and the world needs to start developing its own leadership instead of relying on ours all the time

this is probably exactly the kind of statement that makes us seem so self-centered.
posted by Think_Long at 9:47 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Obama's inauguration was Jan. 20, deadline for Nobel Status Quo Prize nominations was Feb. 1. How much status quo can one make in 12 days?"

Just because someone is *nominated* by someone by a given date, that doesn't cancel out everything the nominee has done to deserve the prize between the time of nomination and when people vote on it.

He was nominated back in February "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples"... but what most Americans seem oblivious to is that these efforts went back years.

Really... the guy has a resume before running for office that was hardly even touched upon during the election.

He went above and beyond as a Senator to address issues of peace and diplomacy, arguably making more of an impact on such issues than he did domestically. I don't consider it unreasonable for him to get a Nobel Peace Prize, if only because no politician worldwide has pushed for peace and diplomacy as much in so many ways.

Yes, his efforts at peace and restoring diplomacy will take time and haven't come to fruition. But there has been an important shift. Talking to Iran is possible again... indeed, the Obama administration's recent diplomatic efforts with Iran are a laudable contribution to peace.

I can't remember the last time that people could talk seriously about complete nuclear disarmament as both an aspiration and a US treaty obligation, and not come off as a radical nut... but Obama's willingness to be bold as to his hopes and goals is potentially transformative in itself, and is something worth supporting.
posted by markkraft at 9:47 AM on October 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


it's a THREE-DAY WEEKEND Score!

Wait, really? Oh, Columbus Day. Boo.
posted by smackfu at 9:48 AM on October 9, 2009


Really... the guy has a resume before running for office that was hardly even touched upon during the election.

Half a term as a Senator. That was his whole international resume, right?
posted by smackfu at 9:51 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


What a travesty - a man running two wars and death camps gets a Nobel Peace Prize.

We are badly fucked. And Mr. Obama is the new face on this fuckage.


Ding ding ding! Outrage generation jackpot!
posted by blucevalo at 9:53 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Previous presidents: Teddy Roosevelt mediated the end of the Russo-Japanese War, the first major modern defeat of a European power by an Asian power. Woodrow Wilson delivered the Fourteen Points, and helped broker the Treaty of Versailles and found the League of Nations.* Jimmy Carter brokered the Camp David Accords and has a distinguished post-presidential career advancing peace and diplomacy. (Carter wasn't a sitting president, but the Nobel announcement said he would've won for Camp David except he wasn't nominated by the deadline.)

You forgot Al Gore...
posted by Skeptic at 9:58 AM on October 9, 2009


As a progressive I've watched Obama move away from the direction I believe is both morally right and good for the country.…[n]ot allowing a single mention of single-payer health care.

Unlike the time Prime Minister Douglas won a majority government and had implemented Medicare within eight months of taking office, with no opposition from anybody in the health-care field.
posted by oaf at 9:58 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


the Nobel Committee just handed Obama a ton of political capital.

Man, if I were in his shoes, and I had won, I would become such a dick about it to people who opposed my ideas. I'd have a guy follow me around everywhere with the medal just so I could reference it whenever I wanted to rub my oppositions face in it.

"I'm sorry, do you have a Nobel Peace Prize? [points to prize] No? Ok, then I think maybe you should just sit back down and shut the fuck up. People who matter are talking here about stuff that needs to get done... And me, my Nobel Peace Prize, and my super-majority are going to go pass some shit now. *eyes Democrats mercilessly* Isn't that right kids?"

Of course, this kind of attitude is exactly why the Nobel committee has snubbed me for the last decade or so.

"Power-hungry monster" is the term they used on my last rejection letter, if I recall correctly.
posted by quin at 9:59 AM on October 9, 2009 [20 favorites]


ME: Because regardless of their left-or-right leanings, the majority (of Americans) can't help but view the world as a thing that revolves around them

pyramid termite: some of us even have this peculiar delusion that we voted for the guy and the rest of the world didn't

What does this have to do with anything? Seriously.

and it's somewhat disingenuous to claim that americans think the world revolves around them when it's a foreign country that just arranged the modern equivalent of an imperial triumph for our president and you yourself are so insistent that we should worship at the man's feet like the rest of the world does -- yeah, that's a GREAT way to convince us that we're not the center of the universe

Again, all I can offer is !?!?!??? Or maybe that's your point. You're American and you're confused ...

i just think it's a bit early for this kind of accolade - and the world needs to start developing its own leadership instead of relying on ours all the time

Yeah, that must be it.
posted by philip-random at 10:00 AM on October 9, 2009


Half a term as a Senator. That was his whole international resume, right?

So who had a better international resume in 2008? Hillary "I Got Shot at by Snipers in Bosnia" Clinton? John McGoddamnCain and Sarah "I Can See Russia from My Front Porch" Palin?
posted by blucevalo at 10:01 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


B-b-but how can I stay outraged about this outrageously outrageous source of outrage if you keep bringing up facts?
posted by joe lisboa at 10:01 AM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


If it helps, the reaction here in Norway is pretty much 'wtf' as well.
posted by klue at 10:04 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


*runs into thread out of breath*

Hey Obama I'ma let you *breath* finish *breath*...

Huh? What?. That's been done fifty times already? Carry on.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:05 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


MacReady: HEY, SWEDEN!
Doc: They're not Swedes, Mac, they're Norwegian.
posted by brundlefly at 10:06 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I still think the press and many domestic critics (perhaps even especially on the left), adamantly refuse to recognize any of President Obama's accomplishments as accomplishments out of misdirected feelings of frustration over just how many enormous problems the previous administration left America and the world with, and over just how corrupted the American political process and the US media have been exposed as being.

But seriously: Once Obama got elected, it seemed as if instantly everything became his fault, as if he, alone, suddenly became the entire Federal government (all three branches and the entire military bureaucracy) and the international community. If he wasn't meeting with every single one of the heads of the thousands of major interest groups vying for his attentions at any given moment, he was turning his back on his constituency. If he wasn't personally monitoring the day-to-day activities of military security officers in the field, he wasn't serious about the Geneva Conventions and ending torture. If a Bush Justice Department appointee filed a legal brief, then everyone blamed Obama as if he'd authored it, even as the Republican minority in congress went on obstructing every effort he made to get various new appointees of his own through the approval process--and remember, firing Justice Department attorneys for what could be viewed as political reasons is not an option for President Obama in light of the Bush attorney firing scandal. Health care reform packages created through the normal legislative process, without any extra-constitutional intervention or strong-arming on the part of the president, got labeled "Obamacare," despite every indication that congress was given liberty to carry out its legislative functions and craft its own policy.

And I guess it's true what they say about lies and repetition. Call successes "failures" long enough and people get confused.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:06 AM on October 9, 2009 [36 favorites]


And also, Sweden is pretty much the same thing as Norway, even though they do dress slightly better.
posted by klue at 10:10 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it's telling that some of the comments that it's too soon for Obama to win the Nobel Peace Prize are from some of the same people who say that he hasn't done enough in his nine months in office to cure the universe's various ills.
posted by blucevalo at 10:12 AM on October 9, 2009


Holy shit, Bill Clinton must be fuming today.
posted by felix betachat at 10:13 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


HOLY SHIT METAFLITER! I have an old college friend who's boyfriend's cousin's mistress is an intern on the White House staff and she has totally leaked an advanced copy of Obama's acceptance speech! Hold onto yours socks, 'CAUSE THIS IS A METAFILTER EXCLUSIVE!

Good afternoon. I am honored and humbled to be standing here, at this momentous moment in history, when the desire for change and the audacity of hope are recognized by the Nobel Prize Committee. For it is not myself to whom this award is bestowed, but all citizens of the planet, no matter what country, no matter what race, no matter what religion, who desire to talk about peace. I consider myself but a spokesman for this universal desire. You see, the truth is that we all do our part to talk about peace. I have been blessed with the office of the Presidency of the United States by the citizens of that country to talk about peace on their behalf on the global stage. It is an awesome responsibility and one I take seriously. Which is why, whether I am talking about closing Guantanamo Bay detention facility, or talking about ending the conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan, I am not speaking merely for myself, but for all those who would talk about ending wars or the morally repugnant practice of torture. For too long, these voices for peace have been drowned out by the explosions of IED and laser-guided, drone-fired missiles; by the deafening rock music blasted 24/7 at detainees in secret CIA run prisons; by the sound of a gallon of water being forced down a 14 year old's throat to convince him he is drowning. But no longer. The time for change is upon us: we must begin to raise our voices of talking about injustice, talking about peace, talking about love, until these sounds of war can no longer be heard! I pledge to continue to use the platform provided to me in the global community who desire to talk about these things to speak, loudly and eloquently, about these things. Let no enemy of peace and humanity be deceived: when the voices of peace and justice and freedom begin to talk, they do so with the force of righteousness. You cannot talk louder or more eloquently than we can. Enemies of peace, know this: the change has come. Those who are ready to talk about peace are no longer accepting silence. They are ready to talk about peace, and justice. And my voice is not mine alone; it belongs to this global chorus. That is why I accept this award, not for myself, but for everyone who talks rather than not talking. About peace. And justice. Thank you.

Wow! This guy is amazing. He's going to hit this speech right out of the park! Congratulations, Mr. President!
posted by barrett caulk at 10:16 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think it's telling that some of the comments that it's too soon for Obama to win the Nobel Peace Prize are from some of the same people who say that he hasn't done enough in his nine months in office to cure the universe's various ills.

Erm, where's the contradiction? What has he actually done of consequence, except for kowtowing to moneyed interests and religious fanatics, in between uplifting speeches? Of course it's too soon: he hasn't done a bloody thing to earn it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:16 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think it's telling that some of the comments that it's too soon for Obama to win the Nobel Peace Prize are from some of the same people who say that he hasn't done enough in his nine months in office to cure the universe's various ills.

This makes no sense. They're saying the same thing: It's too soon to award it to him; he hasn't done enough to deserve the Nobel prize.
posted by Daddy-O at 10:19 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Half a term as a Senator. That was his whole international resume, right?

So who had a better international resume in 2008? Hillary "I Got Shot at by Snipers in Bosnia" Clinton? John McGoddamnCain and Sarah "I Can See Russia from My Front Porch" Palin?


Were they the only other contenders for the Nobel Peace Prize? Because if they were, then I totally agree with the decision to give the prize to Obama.
posted by The World Famous at 10:20 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


saulgoodman: "Once Obama got elected, it seemed as if instantly everything became his fault..."

As someone pointed out elsewhere, Obama worked long and hard - and cut more than a few ethical corners - for his chance to rule the American military empire. So you're damned right that this is his fault.

I don't blame him for not being able to make entrenched Washington corruption disappear with a wave of his magic wand. But I sure as shit blame him for the things that are 100% under his control. Like this. And this.

So please put the straw man back in its carrying case.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:20 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obama is running "death camps"?!

Don't you think that kind of rhetoric is an insult to all those who survived *REAL* death camps, where prisoners are worked to death or just flat-out shot, where the survivors were forced to bury -- or in some circumstances -- eat, their fellow prisoners?

Do you think that prisoners in Auchwitz or in the Russian Gulags ever thought they might be sent -- as several former Guantanamo prisoners have been sent -- to places where they can live in peace?

Obviously, you must have written your local politicians, asking why they systemically refused to allow prisoners from GITMO to be transported to *their* state, right?! Or perhaps you want these prisoners returned to their countries of origin, where they would oftentimes find themselves either threatened, or rearrested and locked away for good?
posted by markkraft at 10:23 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


I think it's telling that some of the comments that it's too soon for Obama to win the Nobel Peace Prize are from some of the same people who say that he hasn't done enough in his nine months in office to cure the universe's various ills.

Erm, where's the contradiction?


It makes sense to me.

A: What, your baby doesn't speak at 6 months?

B1: Its too soon, wait until he's at least a year old to judge him no?
B2: Dammit I expected his speech development to be better than this after 6 months!

Are B1 and B2 really the same statement?
posted by vacapinta at 10:24 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


It makes sense to me.

A: What, your baby doesn't speak at 6 months?

B1: Its too soon, wait until he's at least a year old to judge him no?
B2: Dammit I expected his speech development to be better than this after 6 months!

Are B1 and B2 really the same statement?


B3: Maybe it's a bit early to be awarding the baby a degree in communications from Harvard, given that he cannot talk.

Would you give the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to a very promising first-year undergraduate Chemistry student that everybody really likes?
posted by The World Famous at 10:27 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn, I didn't win again this year. Whose ass a person have to kick to get this prize? I could use the money.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:28 AM on October 9, 2009


You'd still be pretty WTF if the kindergarten gave your baby an award for best speaker at 6 months, either way.
posted by smackfu at 10:29 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Would you give the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to a very promising first-year undergraduate Chemistry student that everybody really likes?

No, because it's too soon; he hasn't earned it.
posted by Daddy-O at 10:30 AM on October 9, 2009


I am not speaking merely for myself, but for all those who would talk about ending wars or the morally repugnant practice of torture. For too long, these voices for peace have been drowned out by the explosions of IED and laser-guided, drone-fired missiles; by the deafening rock music blasted 24/7 at detainees in secret CIA run prisons; by the sound of a gallon of water being forced down a 14 year old's throat to convince him he is drowning.

Obama is such a kowtowing, unethical, blameworthy, warmongering, death camp enabling wimp.
posted by philip-random at 10:31 AM on October 9, 2009


Wouldn't it be a bitch for the Republican Party if President Obama *did* finally bring about several major worldwide peace agreements, and got *another* Nobel Peace Prize?

That would should shut 'em up, wouldn't shouldn't it?!
posted by markkraft at 10:33 AM on October 9, 2009


I still think the press and many domestic critics (perhaps even especially on the left), adamantly refuse to recognize any of President Obama's accomplishments as accomplishments out of misdirected feelings of frustration over just how many enormous problems the previous administration left America and the world with, and over just how corrupted the American political process and the US media have been exposed as being.
...
And I guess it's true what they say about lies and repetition. Call successes "failures" long enough and people get confused.


Once again:

According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize should be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

Other than not being George W. Bush, what had our President accomplished to fulfill this criteria in February, when he was voted to receive the Nobel prize?

Here's the list:

He rescinded the Mexico City Policy.

He announced Guantanamo's closure in January 2010.

Don't take MY word for it. Look for yourself at his administration's press releases, highlighting accomplishments. The vast majority are domestic changes.

I have no problem recognizing when he's accomplished something. But let's be honest: he hasn't done enough to deserve this prize, and giving it to him in the hope that he might accomplish something is pretty lame reasoning. I repeat, there were truly worthy nominees who were overlooked in his favor.
posted by zarq at 10:33 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this is a bad thing, likely to become an albatross round his neck. He ought to have thanked them but declined, citing the fact that his presidency is still a work in progress. This is only going to energize Republicans and make them more isolationist than before.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:34 AM on October 9, 2009


Yeah, let's knock off the "death camp" stuff.

You can only call them that if we're deliberately killing the prisoners. If they kill themselves - or if an interrogator misjudges tolerances - that doesn't count.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:38 AM on October 9, 2009


I think it's telling that some of the comments that it's too soon for Obama to win the Nobel Peace Prize are from some of the same people who say that he hasn't done enough in his nine months in office to cure the universe's various ills.
posted by blucevalo at 12:12 PM on October 9


Yes, consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
posted by nanojath at 10:39 AM on October 9, 2009


It's safe to say that almost all conservatives, to a fault, are as racist as they come.

Fuck yeah. For one thing they all paint with these really big brushes.

(I mean, come on. High road, please?)
posted by rokusan at 10:41 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


naoko: President Bartlet already had a Nobel Prize, in Economics....

I remember when The West Wing was in its first year a friend said to me that it was a complete fantasy. I agreed with her; I said it was like a liberal paradise which could never exist. She said "No, that kind of political administration could exist. I mean, chances are not good, but it could happen. The sitting U.S. President having a Nobel Prize? AHAHAHAHA!"

Hee hee.

I have nothing to contribute here except that I am a big West Wing geek.

*pulls up theme song on iTunes*
posted by tzikeh at 10:42 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Barack Obama who's surprised us, energized us and inspired us, would turn down this prize.
posted by storybored at 10:43 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I keep trying to justify this so that the folks in the audience don't lose their suspension of disbelief at such a ridiculous plot twist, but I'm getting an apologetic hernia in the attempt. Here's the best I can come up with...

By single-handedly preventing a Sarah Palin presidency, Barack Obama saved the entire planet from devastation. For this, we award him the...
posted by rokusan at 10:44 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is why we can't win nice things.
posted by mazola at 10:45 AM on October 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


Shimon Peres:

''Very few leaders if at all were able to change the mood of the entire world in such a short while with such profound impact. You provided the entire humanity with fresh hope, with intellectual determination, and a feeling that there is a Lord in heaven and believers on earth...''

''Under your leadership, peace became a real and original agenda. And from Jerusalem, I am sure all the bells of engagement and understanding will ring again. You gave us a license to dream and act in a noble direction...''.
posted by y2karl at 10:46 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


And how much of that change was just "not being a psychotic"?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:49 AM on October 9, 2009


This is only going to energize Republicans and make them more isolationist than before.

FUCK THEM. Seriously. The Republicans would disdain CPR if Obama saved a drowning man. If they're going to get pissy and unreasonable because the president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, then let them. Let them whine and bitch and moan. Obama spent a lifetime doing plenty, but if you think the prize was awarded too early, that's fine. There are probably plenty of people more deserving of it. Obama himself seems humbled and slightly embarrassed by the award. If he returns it for those reasons, sure. But to return the Nobel Peace Prize because you're skittish about upsetting the lunatics who are already contending that the president is a secret Muslim who falsified his nationality and has a socialist agenda, guess what - Obama getting out of bed in the morning already infuriates them plenty.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:55 AM on October 9, 2009 [43 favorites]


Were they the only other contenders for the Nobel Peace Prize? Because if they were, then I totally agree with the decision to give the prize to Obama.

I wasn't referring to these people as nominees for the Nobel prize. I was referring to an earlier comment that mentioned Obama's lack of international credentials.
posted by blucevalo at 10:57 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Very few leaders if at all were able to change the mood of the entire world in such a short while ..

No problem with that but then they should call it the Nobel Mood Changing Prize.
posted by storybored at 10:59 AM on October 9, 2009


"what had our President accomplished to fulfill this criteria in February, when he was voted to receive the Nobel prize?"

Again, to be blunt, this is a rather ignorant position to hold.

He wasn't voted to receive the prize in February. He was a nominee... one of many, put forward by several thousand people who are asked to nominate candidates.

Shortly before the awards are to be given, these names are scrutinized and discussed by experts in their specific disciplines until only the winners remain. Essentially, that means that everything that occurred through around September counts towards whether President Obama deserved the award or not.

So, while you can argue that President Obama might not have accomplished enough by February in order to justify winning the Nobel, the fact remains that the decision on who won wasn't made on that basis.

If you want to argue that he shouldn't be considered, you should at least consider his entire record, like the judges did.
posted by markkraft at 10:59 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I couldn't watch The West Wing when it was on because turning off the TV and realizing that Jed Bartlett wasn't really President and instead, we had to deal with Bush (who wasn't even half as smart as Vinick), was just too depressing.

I heard tell somewhere that Matt Santos was loosely based on Obama. In any case, I feel more and more like I'm living in The West Wing, which isn't really a bad thing, but it does screw with my perceptions of reality. I don't remember the Republicans on TWW being half as vitriolic as the real ones, but really, as implausible as a sitting President having a Nobel is, if the President had to face down opposition from a bunch of wingnuts holding TEA PARTIES, that would also get shot down as "too weird" for a plot point on TV.

Now, if only Josh Lyman would return my calls...
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:01 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Barack Obama who's surprised us, energized us and inspired us, would turn down this prize.

The Barack Obama who's surprised us and energized us would walk on water, heal the sick, reconcile Jon and Kate Gosselin, and command battalions of fluffy magic ponies to fly out of rainbow-colored clouds and drop packages of crisp thousand dollar bills from sea to shining sea.
posted by blucevalo at 11:01 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


FUCK THEM. Seriously. The Republicans would disdain CPR if Obama saved a drowning man.

Yep. I think Obama winning the Nobel is ripped straight from the Onion headlines myself (second only to my all-time favorite "Holy Shit, Man Walks on the Fucking Moon!"), but worrying about what the lunatics -- many of whom probably don't even believe we walked on the fucking moon in the first place -- are going to do is pointless.
posted by scody at 11:05 AM on October 9, 2009


...command battalions of fluffy magic ponies to... drop packages of crisp thousand dollar bills from sea to shining sea.

Stagflation?
posted by rokusan at 11:06 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


George W. Bush surprised us, energized us, and filled us with passion too and he would turn down this prize.

I think.
posted by mazola at 11:07 AM on October 9, 2009


This is only going to energize Republicans

Seriously, who cares what they are going to think, here? You know what voters respect? Success. Success and accolades do not "energize" the opposition. It might piss them off, though, but who cares? What is it with this self-flaggelation of, "gee, I wouldn't want to do anything that might OFFEND the right-wingers!" ?

Last week they were mocking Obama because Chicago didn't get the Olympics. Next week they'll move on to something else. They want everyone to waste their lives trying to figure out what you have to do not to "offend" them-- and then they'll get offended anyway in the hopes of conditioning you into a state of Learned Helplessness.
posted by deanc at 11:07 AM on October 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


Yeah, the Reuters article also notice that the Chinese dissident & AIDS activist Hu Jia was a particularly strong contender, i.e. the committee didn't want to piss of China.

He was a contender last year too, much to China's annoyance. He did win the Sakharov Prize, at least.
posted by homunculus at 11:10 AM on October 9, 2009


i'm kinda glad that joe beese is pointing this shit out, but at the same time, it's irritating.

STOP HARSHING MY LIFEBUZZ
posted by empath at 11:11 AM on October 9, 2009


I wasn't referring to these people as nominees for the Nobel prize. I was referring to an earlier comment that mentioned Obama's lack of international credentials.

That's interesting. Because this is a thread about Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
posted by The World Famous at 11:13 AM on October 9, 2009


That's interesting. Because this is a thread about Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Not exclusively it's not. Since when have mefi threads had one and only one discussion topic?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:16 AM on October 9, 2009


That's interesting. Because this is a thread about Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Okay, if it's so fascinating to you, then take it up with smackfu, who brought up the meme of his half a term of Senatorial experience -- to which I was referring.
posted by blucevalo at 11:19 AM on October 9, 2009


Forget about a second term.
posted by A189Nut at 11:20 AM on October 9, 2009


The Barack Obama who's surprised us, energized us and inspired us, would turn down this prize.

that would be a dumb, rude and politically insensitive thing to do - there's no way he can do that without looking like a dick

it's just not an option
posted by pyramid termite at 11:21 AM on October 9, 2009


Obama definitely deserves a prix for keeping Palin out of the White House, thank fuck.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:23 AM on October 9, 2009


Only in America can someone be criticized for winning a Peace Prize.

I say anyone who wants to criticize please aim your arrows at the Nobel committee. Not at Obama. He didn't lobby for the award. However, he is [sort of] lobbying for peace and a change in the way we approach problems in the world. More importantly his election victory says something about us moving forward. [Maybe those who voted for him should get the prize?].

If anything, look at this as an opportunity for the US and Obama to seek out peace and diplomacy rather than war. I'd like to think Obama would have to try and live up to this now; It certainly makes it tougher to think about bombing Iran.
posted by Rashomon at 11:25 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


. . . the prize was voted on in February.
posted by zarq at 8:10 AM on October 9

. . . in February, when he was voted to receive the Nobel prize?
posted by zarq at 10:33 AM on October 9

This is incorrect.

The nomination deadline is in February.
The voting is in early October.

The correct chronology is:
1) back in February, someone empowered to make Nobel nominations [see link above] wanted to make sure that Obama would be in the running.
2) after observing word and deed, action and reaction for the past nine months, the committee decided to award the prize to Obama over the other 204 nominees, just a few days ago.
posted by Herodios at 11:25 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


"that would be a dumb, rude and politically insensitive thing to do - there's no way he can do that without looking like a dick"

Can you explain why it would be dumb? (or any of the other things you mentioned)

On the contrary, i think it would be a brilliant move if done in the right manner. If it's done with due respect. It's the kind of move that Barack's famous for, a move outside the box. This doesn't have anything to do with those Republican trash hats, it's about declining an overly generous award.
posted by storybored at 11:27 AM on October 9, 2009


Forget about a second term.

Because he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize?

Bush bombed and destroyed Iraq, whipped religious fantatics into a rapture-worthy frenzy, ruined the image of the United States from Mongolia to St. Helena, helped midwife the deepest ideological divisions this country has known in a century or more, and turned the principles of the country's founding documents into a crumpled shambles.

Yet people were falling all over themselves to grant him a second term in office.

Why should accepting a prize from a bunch of Norwegians make Obama fail to get a second term?
posted by blucevalo at 11:27 AM on October 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


Why should accepting a prize from a bunch of Norwegians make Obama fail to get a second term?

Because every liberal fears and believes, deep down, that all Americans are potential conservatives.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:30 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's the kind of move that Barack's famous for, a move outside the box

No it's not, if you believe virtually everyone in this thread, who're arguing that he's (in)famous for being too safe and not operating outside the box.
posted by blucevalo at 11:30 AM on October 9, 2009


The voting is in early October.

Ah! Thanks. I didn't realize. :)

I still think there were others who were more deserving. But it does change how I feel about it. Less annoyance. More acceptance.
posted by zarq at 11:33 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Barack Obama who's surprised us, energized us and inspired us, would turn down this prize.

You know, if he were alive today (if he ever existed), this is the kind of thing I'd expect Jesus to do. I guess this finally proves that Barack Obama is not Jesus. Which can only mean one thing ...
posted by philip-random at 11:35 AM on October 9, 2009


Dear lord, the man can't return it. Especially not out of fear of what his marginalized political opponents might say.
posted by zarq at 11:35 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Only in America can someone be criticized for winning a Peace Prize.

It's the idiots who decided to give it to him that are being criticized. Obama - literally - didn't do anything that can be criticized with regard to winning the prize.
posted by The World Famous at 11:36 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Barack Obama who's surprised us, energized us and inspired us, would turn down this prize.

Errrr..... is anyone else hearing this song (language, nsfw) now?
posted by zarq at 11:38 AM on October 9, 2009


boy, people have lost a lot of perspective of what is and what isn't possible for a single president to do in 7 months of office. Politics is still politics, even when progressives finally have the ear of the white house.
posted by Think_Long at 11:39 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


“Would you give the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to a very promising first-year undergraduate Chemistry student that everybody really likes?”

Yeah, some guy in his first year as a research student, probably not going to come up with anything major.

“I remember, when he gave the Cairo speech, and said that it didn't make any sense for America to have nuclear weapons while telling other countries they couldn't have any, overturning fifty years of American foreign policy, thinking to myself "I don't think many people recognize how important this is."“
&
“You guys must have completely missed the major deal the administration just struck with Iran (shipping off their raw uranium to be enriched in russia into medical grade uranium, unsuitable for use in weapons manufacturing).”

Dead on.

If Obama miraculously made it rain soup to feed all the hungry people on Earth there would be complaints he didn’t personally hand out bowls, so WTF has he done for anyone lately? (Ah shit, he made it rain soup – what about all the people that might drown? We’re all fucked. We’ll never make it. Give up now. Wah wah wah.)

Does the goddamn sky have to fall? Oh, he hasn’t done this, that or the other, uh huh. Because we’ve all been shaking the Earth so much ourselves in the past 9 months, this Obama guy just can’t keep up. Obama got more done yesterday than I’ve been working on all month and I'm a pretty hard charger.

I shouldn’t be surprised. 95% of the people I talk to have no idea what was significant about August, 1991 much less care. He’s the first U.S. president to go in and kick the U.N. in the ass exactly where it was needed. The Soviets had to threaten Cuba and bring the world to the brink of nuclear holocaust to get JFK to (under the table) pull back on our otherwise psychotic missile policies. Oh, but JFK was great. Why? Because he's f'ing dead?

Obama just went ahead and did it because it was (and has been for a long time) the right thing to do. He’s absolutely right that nuclear proliferation will escalate – to the point of runaway. And that’s always been true. It’s always been inevitable without scaling back because you can’t un-invent the technology. And eventually there will be a war, nuclear terrorism or an accident. And that would cause a reflexive response, which would result in another and so on. Doesn’t much matter how far it goes. Once you’re over a cliff, you’re falling whether you personally accelerate the process or not.

So from a national security standpoint, us, Russia, China, pretty much everyone would be far better off without nukes in play. Even F’ing Reagan saw this. He half-assed it, but still...Warfare has changed.
The security responses have changed, and have been changing for years and no one did squat about them.
So we had (and still have, but it’s changing – now) an obsolete response model drastically augmenting the threat to us with this nuclear albatross around our neck but we refused to sacrifice what maybe might have been a sort of advantage in a strategic game that was over almost immediately after its inception but kept being pushed by fear and warmongers and Mother Courage who set the circumstances (or relied on deception in them) to keep it going.

But now the U.S. has decided to stop setting itself apart from the world in this regard. Which means… everything.

Understand this if nothing else: Russia and China have signed on with the U.S. to not just curb, but end nuclear proliferation and Obama embraced a radical shift in historic U.S. policy to control fissile material – in short – we’re working to be far more secure and our chances of survival as a species has been GREATLY enhanced.

It just looks like nothing special because we have, roughly, stopped drilling holes in our lifeboat. The Sword of Damocles has always been there and, as Americans, we've gotten used to it. Unlike Damocles we've gotten fat dumb and happy while death hangs above us by a single strand.
Obama's told some guys to hey, go get a ladder and let's take that thing down. Share the burden of power. Share the responsibility. Not have a multitude of single failure points.

Almost everyone who's looked at nuclear arms has known that it's completely self-destructive even to the point of producing the materials. They've known, for certain, that at some point in our near future we would have a catastrophic event, if not complete devastation. And we did - nothing. Worse - we escalated, we pushed. We shoveled good money into a dead end strategic program that we knew, eventually, would kill us all.

But we’re gonna take the gun from our heads. We’re gonnna put it down. We’re gonna take the bullets out. We’re gonna have a chance at least to live.
Peace prize? Shit, I’d dive face first into hell for the man he keeps doing this.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:39 AM on October 9, 2009 [86 favorites]


The nomination deadline is in February.
The voting is in early October.


I see that this was already covered once by Markkraft, but this is a long thread and it bears repeating, because this notion that the prize was bestowed upon Obama just days after he was sworn in is also being spread around.
posted by Herodios at 11:40 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is only going to energize Republicans

Anything energizes Republicans. They get all het up about everything because one of the turballs they throw at the wall might actually stick. The problem is that those of us on the left are letting the turdball stick by actually caring what their reactions to things will be. When we stop caring and start working towards our own goals and ideals, then maybe we'll start getting somewhere.

The Barack Obama who's surprised us, energized us and inspired us, would turn down this prize.

No, that would be acting like a jerk. The way I see it, the Obama who has done all those things would graciously accept an honor given to him, and assure us that he will live up to it. Which is what he did.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 11:40 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I loved the DNC's response to the unanimity of Republican criticism for our president receiving the Nobel Peace prize:

"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.

Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics and now they are criticizing the President of the United States for receiving the Nobel Peace prize -- an award he did not seek but that is nonetheless an honor in which every American can take great pride -- unless of course you are the Republican Party.

The 2009 version of the Republican Party has no boundaries, has no shame and has proved that they will put politics above patriotism at every turn. It's no wonder only 20 percent of Americans admit to being Republicans anymore - it's an embarrassing label to claim."


Ouch! Harsh... but absolutely true.
posted by markkraft at 11:41 AM on October 9, 2009 [23 favorites]


Yes, consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
posted by nanojath at 11:39 AM on October 9 [+] [!]


Personal pet peeve: It's a FOOLISH consistency that is the hobgoblin of little minds.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:42 AM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


What is the difference between Obama and every other world leader? Obama actually has peace as part of his agenda.

Other world leaders spend all of their time jockeying for power and political and economic capital (not that the U.S. isn't), with ending wars and diplomatic communications as only a means of getting that power and capital, the same as starting wars or making threats. Peace for most politicians is a means, and not an end.

I think Obama gets the prize for making Peace, for the first time in a long time, actually plausible on a world-wide basis.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:42 AM on October 9, 2009


I see that this was already covered once by Markkraft, but this is a long thread and it bears repeating, because this notion that the prize was bestowed upon Obama just days after he was sworn in is also being spread around.

For what it's worth, (and I freely admit I might have heard them wrong,) but I thought this was what I heard on MSNBC this morning.
posted by zarq at 11:43 AM on October 9, 2009


It's the idiots who decided to give it to him that are being criticized. Obama - literally - didn't do anything that can be criticized with regard to winning the prize.

Oh, yeah, right. Nobody's criticizing Obama in this thread. We all just want him to toss the prize into the garbage because he's unqualified and/or unworthy and/or too wet behind the ears and/or too much of a Bush-loving death-camp-running blood-salivating gay-hating dictator to accept it, but nobody's criticizing him.
posted by blucevalo at 11:45 AM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Having let the news settle in, I have to say I'm proud that Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I'm proud to be an American. I proud that many in other countries are looking at us once again with hope in their hearts and minds. When travelling overseas I'm proud to say that I voted for this president. Obama has a strategy of long-term goals. Let's let them play out. Heck -- at least we no longer have a president who was reactionary; who followed his gut and was convinced that God was telling him what to do; who saw himself as a self-described "messenger" of God who was "praying for strength to do the Lord's will." My, oh my, we've come far in just 10 months. Most Americans see this, as do others around the planet.
posted by ericb at 11:46 AM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


"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.

Oh, give me a fucking break. The RNC isn't actively trying to kill innocent civilians in the name of religious extremism. Did the situation really need more meaningless hyperbole?

The DNC could have taken the high road. They could have simply offered positive support of the President for his accomplishment, and eschewed the mud-flinging posturing.

The most efficient and potentially devastating tactic would have been to celebrate the win and ignore the Republican response. Let the news cycle chew on what the RNC (and redstate?) said for a while. The DNC should be trying to marginalize the opposition, not sink to their level.
posted by zarq at 11:49 AM on October 9, 2009


So basically he's getting the prize for doing his job?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:49 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I favorited Smedleyman's comment before I even finished reading it.

Obama blew my mind a couple weeks ago when he spoke before the UN about the need to reduce the world's nuclear arsenal -- just like a lot of other presidents have done so before him -- but then he went a step further and said, "Us too." In fact, if memory serves, he even said "we'll go first."

I spent my entire adolescence in a state of low-level panic about nuclear war. The Day After came out when I was only twelve. I had nightmares about nuclear war starting when I was nine. And I mean full-on, THX Dolby-sound, Technicolor HD-resolution nightmares which would wake me up, heart pounding, and leave me too frightened to fall back asleep, and I had them up until my early 20's. I graduated from high school absolutely convinced that it was only a matter of time before some yutz hit a button just the wrong way and we'd all be dead.

At the time, though, I also thought that "boy, if the world can just hang in until someone who grew up under the nuclear threat takes office, they'll be less likely to use The Bomb, and more likely to try to get rid of it." But I saw president after president, world leader after world leader, get up and say "yeah, nuclear arms are bad, m'kay?" And argue that that other country or this other country shouldn't have them -- but say nothing about the fact that WE had them, and US having them was precisely what made OTHER people want to have them.

...And then Obama finally said, "yeah, I think we ALL should get rid of 'em, including us." And I thought back to how I'd hoped that maybe the world could hang in there until now because someday some president who grew up under that threat would work to finally combat nuclear arms once and for all, and I realized that holy shit, we did it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:50 AM on October 9, 2009 [29 favorites]


because this notion that the prize was bestowed upon Obama just days after he was sworn in is also being spread around.

Although you could definitely argue that the nomination was a very optimistic gesture at that point. Probably just covering their bases in case he solved I/P or something, so I don't blame them.
posted by smackfu at 11:50 AM on October 9, 2009


Although you could definitely argue that the nomination [shortly after his inauguration] was a very optimistic gesture at that point.

Probably not even that -- it only takes one member of the Nobel committee to nominate someone, and there's been some eyebrow-raising choices. Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini have all been nominated in the past.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:52 AM on October 9, 2009


Grats EmpressCallipygos: you've unintentionally/intentionally Goodwined the thread at Comment #414 and nicely tied Barack Obama to some former world leaders the conservatives would like you to tie him to: Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini...
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:55 AM on October 9, 2009


"it only takes one member of the Nobel committee to nominate someone, and there's been some eyebrow-raising choices. Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini have all been nominated in the past."

Indeed. Bush and Blair were nominated as well.
posted by markkraft at 11:56 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


The DNC could have taken the high road.

Has the RNC ever taken the high road? Oh, come on, give me a break. Democrats take the high road way too often. And the GOP laughs at them every single time they take the nasal highfalutin' Al Gore/Michael Dukakis/Walter Mondale path. I don't recall anyone ever saying that the Mondale path "marginalized the opposition."
posted by blucevalo at 11:57 AM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


....On the remote chance you're serious, nanuk, I'd argue that it would take a profound series of intricate mental gymnastics to connect my "the nomination process isn't that discriminating, the deliberation process is more so" comment with an endorsement of Stalin.

And the East German judge in mental gymnastics is a stickler, as well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:57 AM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


If I, as an American, needed any more proof that our mainstream press is slowly-but-surely poisoning us all to death, this thread would certainly do the trick. I, too, was at first glibly dismissive of this announcement, and though I wish I could claim different, the thought did cross my mind: "Alas, this will only serve to stir up those loudmouth right-wingers even more."

But after reading some very intelligent comments upthread (mostly from non-Americans), I realized the folly of that mode of thinking—of course it's going to stir them up! That's their only raison d'être these days—to act as outraged as possible about whatever it is Obama or the Democrats are trying to do, no matter how trivial or benign. And the fact that we, as a country, are bombarded by this right wing craziness 24/7 from every major media outlet sometimes blinds us to the fact that the rest of the world, much of which has an actual press, instead of just a ratings-hungry info-tainment industry, sees things very differently than we do, though ours tend to be the loudest voices in the room.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:57 AM on October 9, 2009 [20 favorites]


The DNC should be trying to marginalize the opposition, not sink to their level.

The best way to marginalize the opposition is for the 24 news channels to be hosting shows with the opening: "The GOP: Are they siding with terrorists in their outrage over Obama's Nobel Peace Prize?" If those same news channels are instead opening their programs with: "Has Obama shamed and weakened America by accepting a prize from Norwegian Commie Socialists?" then he and the Nobel Committee have been marginalized.

But basically the fact that Americans are divided about this and that it's controversial in the USA shows their own sort of parochialism. Within the international community, where the threat of nuclear weapons, global warming, and the use of torture actually means something and where the American response actually matters, prize's choice is at least understandable.
posted by deanc at 12:00 PM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Probably not even that -- it only takes one member of the Nobel committee to nominate someone

No it doesn't. Nominations for the Peace Prize are not necessarily made by members of that committee. The qualifications to be a nominator are many, and include vast swaths of people. Plus, they have had up to over 200 people nominated some years.

Plus, Hitler's nomination was rescinded by the person who made it.
posted by hippybear at 12:02 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Nobel Peace Prize contest...just... became... INTERESTING.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:03 PM on October 9, 2009


Because every liberal fears and believes, deep down, that all Americans are potential conservatives.

And every conservative fears and believes, deep down, that liberals might actually be "real" Americans too.
posted by oaf at 12:04 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sfving: Ironic that he wins the peace prize, three hours before he BOMBS THE MOON.

Sfving, I'm happy to report that this morning I repeated this joke to a former recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and he gave a hearty laugh.
posted by Adam_S at 12:06 PM on October 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


And every conservative fears and believes, deep down, that liberals might actually be "real" Americans too.

No, no, every conservative is terrified that maybe- just maybe- he might like other men's penises.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:09 PM on October 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


Marisa and deanc, while I entirely share your feelings about Republican batshitinsanity, I have real reservations about the wisdom of this.

On a domestic level, I'm already troubled by the increasingly militant tone of the conservative fringe, and think that this award will only solidify their belief that Obama is a wicked imposition put upon them by some shadowy cabal. Their view is fundamentally inane, but whereas a record of substantive improvement over time would satisfy moderates and leave the fringe thinkers marginalized, one given for intentions rather than accomplishments will allow that fringe to draw converts from those who are skeptical of the award. In short, it will aid recruitment for extremists. Without wanting to turn this into an essay on the American body politic, I tend to view political spectrum as circular, with a gray area between the left and right fringes where common sense goes to die, and an angry Caliban stumbles through the fog.

On an international level, what if Obama is faced with a Hobson's choice in the coming months or years? Circumstances might require exercising a military option - an embattled Iranian regime overreaching itself, for example. Needful deliberation or caution by Obama will be portrayed as vacillation by one side, while necessary action will be called a betrayal by others.

I very much like how Obama has governed so far (having signed onto his platform back in 2007 because he seemed the most positively pragmatic candidate to me), and if he keeps doing what he's doing then I badly want for him to be a two-term president. However, his every move from now on will be evaluated in terms of how it affects his legacy and whether his decisions are made with those considerations in mind, and in that sense I feel the prize may become a set of golden handcuffs - not on Obama's own decision-making, but on his ability to marshal the political backing required to implement those decisions successfully.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:09 PM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Can't it be both, Pope Guilty?
posted by oaf at 12:10 PM on October 9, 2009


What anigbrowl said.
posted by zarq at 12:12 PM on October 9, 2009


The Barack Obama who's surprised us and energized us would walk on water, heal the sick, reconcile Jon and Kate Gosselin, and command battalions of fluffy magic ponies to fly out of rainbow-colored clouds and drop packages of crisp thousand dollar bills from sea to shining sea.

It's hilarious, I got so sick of conservatives barking at me during the election about how I was an idiot for supporting Obama because I thought he was the Messiah, and now I get to enjoy liberals bagging on me because the reason I'm disappointed in his record so far is that he's not the Messiah.
posted by nanojath at 12:15 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Their view is fundamentally inane

I think you forgot a letter.
posted by oaf at 12:15 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not a huge Obama fan, but I do think the Nobel committee has a strong argument that campaigning and running on a foreign policy platform based on diplomatic engagement rather than unilateral saber-rattling was a big achievement. It was one of the reasons why I marginally favored Obama over Clinton, who rhetorically seemed a bit more predisposed towards gunboat diplomacy against anti-American governments.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:16 PM on October 9, 2009


and in that sense I feel the prize may become a set of golden handcuffs - not on Obama's own decision-making, but on his ability to marshal the political backing required to implement those decisions successfully.

The golden handcuffs of which you speak were not bestowed upon Obama by the Nobel Committee. They were bestowed on him by the US electorate and the US mass media when they designated him as a messiah who would solve all global problems with a sweep of his hand within milliseconds of his being inaugurated, by the Congress when they abdicated their responsibility as a co-equal branch of government, and by the Republican Party when they decided that going nuclear and destroying Obama, whatever the cost to the country, was their only chance of surviving their transformation into a 21st century version of the Whig Party.
posted by blucevalo at 12:17 PM on October 9, 2009


I think that in the US, we've gotten carried away by the "politics is sports" metaphor. We're constantly handicapping the races, we have victory celebrations, analyze strategy - political coverage here is all about the sports angle.

Fun, cute, but it doesn't work here. The Nobel Prize is not the Stanley Cup or the Lombardi trophy, for crissakes.

It's the most pretigious award the international has to offer. And perhaps they are offering it him for encouragment, or for the hope of greater things to come, or for trying to change the dynamic of where we're going.

Let's stop talking analyzing this as if it was a football game, and be proud that we the people of the US have once again connected with the civilized world on the level of our highest ideals and hopes.
posted by jasper411 at 12:19 PM on October 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


95% of the people I talk to have no idea what was significant about August, 1991

Is that INF or START 1?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:22 PM on October 9, 2009


anigbowl, I fundamentally disagree with your view that the "common sense view" is in the middle, because the middle is, by definition, between two sides.

That's neither here nor there: my perspective is that crazy people are crazy people. And crazy people have a right to representation just like the rest of us. The best you can do is shunt their craziness off to a little socially unacceptable corner and punish, not reward craziness when it has an outburst. What you can't do is placate crazy in the hopes that they'll see things your way. What are advocating in favor of is the idea that outbursts of craziness go unpunished and tacitly rewarded. As John Kerry can tell you, this is a losing strategy.

[a prize] given for intentions rather than accomplishments will allow that fringe to draw converts from those who are skeptical of the award. In short, it will aid recruitment for extremists.

There is no evidence of this. And saying, "The award of the nobel prize will encourage converts to the cause of extremists" is a very paranoid response-- almost as though we must carefully avoid doing anything to "offend" the other side lest they get "recruitment fodder." You know what will create converts to the extreme right? The sense that the left is wrecking the country and the world. So the best way to avoid that situation is for Obama and the left to succeed while also creating a national dialog that marginalizes the right.

And, really, that is what politics is all about: it is about getting things done that make things better, and getting things done means, many times, marginalizing and humiliating your opposition in order that they recognize that their job is to either cooperate with things or get out of the way. What politics is not about is aesthetic performances about what you think politics should be about in order to feel better about yourself.
posted by deanc at 12:23 PM on October 9, 2009


> I think you forgot a letter.
I can see why you would, but I didn't :)
posted by anigbrowl at 12:24 PM on October 9, 2009


I was shaving this morning, listening to the live announcement. As the announcer said the words "Barack Obama" my brain apparently couldn't help itself as it commanded my mouth and vocal chords to produce the words "holy shit!", and in doing so the razor nicked me.

I blame you, Obama. You are no man of peace. I have now bled because of you. Thanks a lot.

Disclaimer: This is of course, a joke, however tasteless (now that I come to think of it). In all seriousness I hope to god the prize will help further the causes of peace and prosperity. Still processing whether or not awarding it to him is a good thing or not.
posted by pyrex at 12:31 PM on October 9, 2009


Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II all reduced U.S. nuclear weapons stockpiles. So I'm really going to have to call bullshit on the idea that Obama deserves this due to his call to reduce U.S. nuclear weapons stockpiles.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:37 PM on October 9, 2009


On a domestic level, I'm already troubled by the increasingly militant tone of the conservative fringe, and think that this award will only solidify their belief that Obama is a wicked imposition put upon them by some shadowy cabal.

Again, fuck them. Returning the Nobel Prize because you don't want to upset the crazies gives them way, way more power than they have or deserve. Grown-up liberals and conservatives alike are being classy enough to say "Nice job". The lunatics are going to be upset? No shit. They're extemists. Extremists are always upset. Returning the Nobel wouldn't change that, and would probably be a strong signal that their opinion matters.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:38 PM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]



Erick Ericson from Redstate.com: "I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news."
posted by the_bone at 10:21 AM on October 9 [+] [!]

So many legitimate ways a conservative could mock the president on this one, great job going straight for racism!
posted by nanojath at 10:32 AM on October 9 [7 favorites +] [!]


How is that racism? One of the ideas behind affirmative action was to give talented minorities a push in order for them to fulfill their full potential. The Nobel committee has pretty much said that they gave Obama, who happens to belong to a racial minority group, the prize in order to push him to fulfill his potential in bringing about world piece.

Furthermore, would the Nobel committee awarded the prize to Hillary Clinton or John McCain had they won the Presidency and done exactly what President Obama's done so far in Office?
posted by gyc at 12:38 PM on October 9, 2009


I think the progressive anger towards Obama is because he is, through and through, a pragmatist. He is, I hope and believe, trying to accomplish as much good from his position as he can under the circumstances he is provided with. He does not have the luxury of doing everything we progressives want him to without repurcussions, and he is likely to make mistakes in pursuit of his end goals (which may not be as progressive as we would like them to be). Personally I think he will be vindicated in the eyes of most progressives however. There are certainly some here by which he could do no right, but most I think will come to see that there was a plan and a strategy all along. One with faults and falters, and maybe not the best plan that could have possibly existed. I just really, really hope that he gets two terms for this plan to have as much time to come to fruition as possible.

The world really needs it.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:38 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


How is that racism?

*facepalm*

Don't worry, gyc, it's a white palm.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:40 PM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think that in the US, we've gotten carried away by the "politics is sports" metaphor.

I don't really see where you are getting that in this discussion. Is it just that people are trying to analyze what this means and why they did it?
posted by smackfu at 12:41 PM on October 9, 2009


How is that racism?
posted by gyc


They used a racially focused word to indicate that they gave it to him only because he is black which is nonsensical and not sanely interpretable in any way beyond the obvious, implicit racism.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:41 PM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


I think the progressive anger towards Obama is because he is, through and through, a pragmatist.

Is that just a nice way of saying that he intentionally lied about all the great things he would do as soon as he was elected?
posted by The World Famous at 12:41 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


In retrospect, that was too harsh. It's contextual, obviously. Code words are code words for a reason.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:41 PM on October 9, 2009


Is that just a nice way of saying that he intentionally lied about all the great things he would do as soon as he was elected?
posted by The World Famous


No.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:43 PM on October 9, 2009


Is that just a nice way of saying that he intentionally lied about all the great things he would do as soon as he was elected?
posted by The World Famous

No.


Ah. Because I thought that the progressive anger towards Obama was because he expressly promised to do a bunch of good stuff and even said when he would do them, but he not only has not done them, but does not appear to have even tried. That is certainly pragmatic, since it got him elected.
posted by The World Famous at 12:45 PM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Is that just a nice way of saying that he intentionally lied about all the great things he would do as soon as he was elected?

Yes. I wish too that as soon as Obama was elected that he changed everything about the world and I am surprised he did not. When I cast my vote, I fully believed that President Obama would wave a magic wand and everything would be different. I also believed that, in reality, the damage done by the Bush administration was pretty minor so it would make his job that much easier. Furthermore, I realized that corruption in congress and American politics is small-time so he'd have no issues changing anything.

Yep. I pretty much believed all that. That's why I voted for him. Because I realized that he'd be able to make monumental changes immediately to our political landscape, because how bad could it be?

Since he didn't, I'll just stop supporting him because I'm mad I didn't get my way immediately. Because when I don't get my way, I get mad. Because the world should give me what I want immediately with no consideration of reality!
posted by glaucon at 12:46 PM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Are you being sarcastic?
posted by mazola at 12:48 PM on October 9, 2009


Are you being sarcastic?

Tremendously.
posted by glaucon at 12:49 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


LIMBAUGH:
"I think that everybody is laughing. Our president is a worldwide joke. Folks, do you realize something has happened here that we all agree with the Taliban and Iran about and that is he doesn't deserve the award. Now that's hilarious, that I'm on the same side of something with the Taliban, and that we all are on the same side as the Taliban."
Shut up, you drug-addled, fat fuck.
posted by ericb at 12:49 PM on October 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


Because every liberal fears and believes, deep down, that all Americans are potential conservatives.

See previous thread about how everyone gets old, self-centered and bitter.
posted by rokusan at 12:49 PM on October 9, 2009


You joke, but there are people that feel that way and those are the people who got him elected.
posted by smackfu at 12:49 PM on October 9, 2009


The World Famous: You're clearly not convincable, and you may be right, but I don't think that's likely at all. I think it's far more likely that a mixture of giant economic problems and a hostile system have slowed things down, but I sincerely do not believe he lied or is hostile to progressive causes or beliefs. I do believe he is going about accomplishing them in the way he thinks is most likely to be successful. He may be wrong about this, and hammering it through with the bully pulpit may be the best way, I don't know. Do you truely believe he was a liar just using progressives to get elected though? Or are you just saying that in an attempt to win the argument?
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:50 PM on October 9, 2009


I wish too that as soon as Obama was elected that he changed everything about the world and I am surprised he did not.

He didn't promise to change everything about the world. He made very specific promises about exactly what he would do on a very specific timeline - including things that he could do without Congress. He has not done them. I still support him. But was he lying or was he naive? Or did he just change his mind?

Because when I don't get my way, I get mad. Because the world should give me what I want immediately with no consideration of reality!

Because a leader should give me what he explicitly promised when he was asking for my vote.
posted by The World Famous at 12:51 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


95% of the people I talk to have no idea what was significant about August, 1991
Is that INF or START 1?


I'd like to think Smedleyman meant Tim Berners Lee announcing he'd just invented the Web, or Linus Torvalds letting Usenet in on this neat little kernel thingie he was working on...

But he probably means the failed Soviet coup.
posted by rokusan at 12:53 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Limbaugh: "Now that's hilarious, that I'm on the same side of something with the Taliban, and that we all are on the same side as the Taliban."

Shut up, you drug-addled, fat fuck.


No, no. For gods' sake no.

Please. Keep. Talking.
posted by rokusan at 12:54 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm a big Obamarama myself, but this definitely struck me as premature at best, and strange at worst.

Why not give the Peace Prize to every single worker for Amnesty International, or Doctors Without Borders, etc?

It seems a little embarrassing for all involved - including Barack himself.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 12:55 PM on October 9, 2009


You joke, but there are people that feel that way and those are the people who got him elected.

I agree, smackfu. Am I hopeful he will change things? Yes. Did I expect it to be more dramatic when I cast my vote in November? Yes.

However, I'm trying to be realistic about this. Isn't our economy at least somewhat stable now? Do I feel confident he'll be proactive in preventing another economic meltdown? Does he seem to possess an understanding of how to work with world leaders? Is it apparent that he has the best interests of our nation in mind when he makes decisions? Does he have critical thinking skills?

To all of those questions, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!
posted by glaucon at 12:55 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Rooting Against America: Nobel Peace Prize Edition.
posted by ericb at 12:56 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obama Will Donate Nobel Money To Charity.
posted by ericb at 12:57 PM on October 9, 2009


Why not give the Peace Prize to every single worker for Amnesty International, or Doctors Without Borders, etc?

They already did!

Amnesty International, 1977
Doctors Without Borders, 1999
posted by smackfu at 12:59 PM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


I like that someone complained about the DNC comparing the GOP to the Taliban, saying it crossed the line. Then Limbaugh went and said the same thing as the DNC! Gold, baby, gold!
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:00 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


glaucon: I don't know. There is a big difference between not achieving everything in the first months of his tenure in the White House, and quietly working against us on key issues such as DADT as reported by Stars and Stripes of all outlets. You can't really expect people who are affected by DADT and DOMA to be overjoyed that their rights have been put on the back burner by a "fierce advocate" or pleased that the White House might be discouraging congressional action while scapegoating congress for the lack of action.

He can certainly play the politics of the possible, and progressives can still be critical regarding the lack of progress. That is the nature of the relationship between elected officials and voters.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:00 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


He made very specific promises about exactly what he would do on a very specific timeline...

I wasn't aware of that. Can you please provide us with the "specific timeline" he "promised?"
posted by ericb at 1:00 PM on October 9, 2009


*Not a snark. I'm genuinely curious about the timeline.*
posted by ericb at 1:01 PM on October 9, 2009


Beck: Obama should turn down the Nobel and give it ‘to the Tea Party goers and the 9-12 Project.’
posted by ericb at 1:02 PM on October 9, 2009


He can certainly play the politics of the possible, and progressives can still be critical regarding the lack of progress.

I certainly have no problem or qualm with people being critical of him. But a lot of people in this thread have clearly thrown the Presidential baby out with the not-our-progressive-wetdream bathwater.
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:03 PM on October 9, 2009


Does Beck think that you get the right to give it to whoever you want if you don't want it?
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:04 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because every liberal fears and believes, deep down, that all Americans are potential conservatives.

True dat. I honestly believed, even on election day, that no matter what the polls predicted, John McCain had the election shored up because there are Evil Satanic Powers that would keep Obama, or any true "liberal" (not that he's even really very far Left, unless we're talking in terms of "Left of the American Right Wing") from getting elected. Ever.

I'm glad I was wrong on that one, but that's not to say that I don't fear that the "Teabaggers" et. al. aren't part of some larger evil network that has its slimy tentacles on the controls over here.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:05 PM on October 9, 2009


He made very specific promises about exactly what he would do on a very specific timeline - including things that he could do without Congress. He has not done them.

Exactly -- e.g., Don't Ask Don't Tell. Obama doesn't need Congress to suspend the dismissal of gay and lesbians in the armed forces (as he promised he would); he could do it himself with a single signature. And yet, Lt. Daniel Choi was still discharged, and now even Harry "How Do I Stand Upright Without a Spine" Reid is pushing Obama to actually do something on the question.
posted by scody at 1:05 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Beck, it turns out nobody nominated the Tea Party goers or the 9-12 Project.

Next year remember to file your paperwork!
posted by mazola at 1:05 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


My husband thought the White House Staff would just let him sleep and would not put the call through, but I am guessing that he was out of bed and calling his speech writers before he called for coffee.

"White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama woke up to the news a little before 6 a.m. ET.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee decided not to inform Obama before the announcement because it didn't want to wake him up, committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said.


Holy Shit. So my husband did not win the Nobel Peace Prize this morning but he did win an argument over me. That's almost as good.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:06 PM on October 9, 2009


Exactly -- e.g., Don't Ask Don't Tell.

It will be interesting to see what Obama says about DADT, DOMA, ENDA, etc. at tomorrow evening's address to the HRC in Washington DC. BTW -- you can watch his address live on CSPAN (starting at 7:55 pm. Eastern).
posted by ericb at 1:08 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


sorry, that second sentence wasn't quite English. Should be something more like: Obama doesn't need Congress to end (as he promised) the policy of dismissing gays and lesbians from the armed forces; he could suspend it himself with a single signature.
posted by scody at 1:09 PM on October 9, 2009


He can certainly play the politics of the possible, and progressives can still be critical regarding the lack of progress. That is the nature of the relationship between elected officials and voters.

KirkJobSluder, I'm not against government criticism in any way. That's a necessity for democracy to work. I am against making hasty judgments eight-months into a Presidency. You can't turn a big ship quickly.

There are criticisms to voice - and voice them (DOMA, DADT, for example).
posted by glaucon at 1:12 PM on October 9, 2009


Can you please provide us with the "specific timeline" he "promised?"

I was thinking specifically of his promise to close Guantanamo - with the cases resolved - within one year of inauguration.

But here is another one, as well.
posted by The World Famous at 1:17 PM on October 9, 2009


Except when thousands of them can't join our military because the President's too chickenshit to sign his name on a single piece of paper.

My understanding is that don't-ask-don't-tell is a law, not an executive order or anything. So... That one's on Congress to fix up before we get to the part where he signs his name. Right?
posted by sparkletone at 1:18 PM on October 9, 2009


Because I thought that the progressive anger towards Obama was because he expressly promised to do a bunch of good stuff and even said when he would do them, but he not only has not done them, but does not appear to have even tried.

Because he's like every other politician? Oh, the existential horror! Ah, the gnashing of teeth!
posted by blucevalo at 1:22 PM on October 9, 2009


Yes, DADT is a law, and to repeal it needs either Congress or the Supreme Court, not the President.

With that said, he could stop it in practice, in at least one of two ways:

(1) Go the Bush route: "Me signing this piece of paper means fuck your law, Congress." I would prefer that presidents wouldn't do this.

(2) Loophole:

The law actually says that the manner of dismissal will be in a method decided by the Secretary of Defense. Obama could direct the Secretary that the manner of dismissal should be "the exact same as would occur if the person were not in violation of this law" - e.g. the person is dismissed when they retire, when they are discharged, when their obligation is up and they choose not to reenlist, et cetera.
posted by Flunkie at 1:24 PM on October 9, 2009


95% of the people I talk to have no idea what was significant about August, 1991

SNES?
posted by Scoo at 1:24 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


My understanding is that don't-ask-don't-tell is a law, not an executive order or anything. So... That one's on Congress to fix up before we get to the part where he signs his name. Right?

No, the ban on homosexual conduct was an act of Congress. DADT was President Clinton's approach to enforcement of it. President Obama could try a different approach, of course. If he ignored it completely Congress could just come back and force his hand with more legislation. Someone could also try to sue Obama (or the AG, perhaps? I forget who the actual target would be) in federal court for not actually enforcing the law. I don't know how successful either of those would be, since DADT stood for so long.
posted by aswego at 1:26 PM on October 9, 2009


So to those who are mad that Obama hasn't lived up to his campaign promises (just like every other politician ever), what would you propose we do at this point? It's 3 years until the next election.
posted by Liver at 1:29 PM on October 9, 2009


Or...yeah. Flunkie's version is a bit more accurate. But there's the same wiggle room with regard to flouting Congress.
posted by aswego at 1:29 PM on October 9, 2009


It's truly embarrassing and humiliating that the world would give any American public figure any honors anymore. We should hang our heads in shame.

I mean, our last president got shoes thrown at him in Baghdad. Why can't we aspire to those days of glory anymore?
posted by blucevalo at 1:31 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


95% of the people I talk to have no idea what was significant about August, 1991

The dawn of the Grunge era and the release of Nirvana's Nevermind album?
posted by The World Famous at 1:32 PM on October 9, 2009


See previous thread about how everyone gets old, self-centered and bitter.

Which thread was that?
posted by deanc at 1:32 PM on October 9, 2009


sparkletone: As previously discussed, decisions regarding enforcement ultimately fall to Obama as Commander in Chief. He can unilaterally suspend dismissal cases under DADT. Repealing DADT entirely is a congressional issue, but as President he can certainly encourage it as a congressional agenda as Kennedy and Johnson did with the Civil Rights Acts. The frustration comes from the contrast between a candidate who promised to take a leadership role in negotiating the consensus needed for repeal, and a sitting President who passes the buck regarding gay rights issues.

Combine that with reports that the administration is trying to keep it off the agenda for the current congress, and six months of bullshit from Gibbs, and the "fierce advocate" starts looking more like a man who wants for the issue to just go away.

Liver: Keep highlighting those issues as something that needs to be changed.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:32 PM on October 9, 2009


So to those who are mad that Obama hasn't lived up to his campaign promises (just like every other politician ever), what would you propose we do at this point? It's 3 years until the next election.

Not give him the most prestigious peace prize in the world.
posted by The World Famous at 1:35 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Deanc, I guess I didn't make my meaning clear. When I described the political spectrum as a circle, it was not to suggest all common sense is in the middle; I think it extends out to both left and right - despite my low opinion of today's Republican party, I am comfortably with both being a liberal and the idea that conservatism can be serious-minded and offer useful ideas.

What I was trying to get at was the idea that if you travel out to the fringes of left or right political thought, they ultimately end up at the same place, a kind of undifferentiated anger and paranoia that is simultaneously rebellious and deeply authoritarian. Such a union of opposites seem both illogical and unthinkable, but this is where confused thinkers dwell, united by beliefs such as the Federal Reserve being an evil plot, nativism and economic isolationism, secret cabals that manipulate political puppets to distract the masses from an Orwellian police state, concealed alien or angelic visitations, controlled WTC demolitions, and more. These people are not consistent or coherent, they are just very very angry and consider normal political calculus as a coded blueprint for their oppression.

Consider your last paragraph, which I basically agree with. Now read it again, in the voice of Alex Jones or Glenn Beck. Rhetoric is like electricity; neither good nor bad, true nor false, but a powerful force that can be deployed to sell counterfactual or irrational arguments as easily as realistic ones, to assert simplistic ideas as much as to simple truths.

As some random SubGenius observed 'You'll pay to know what you really think'; the sad fact is that I could take your pragmatic and progressively-intended last paragraph, post it on StormFront, and get pages of approving grunts. The great weakness of liberal thought - one to which I frequently fall victim myself - is the belief that truths are self-evident and transcend the context in which they are presented. Glenn Beck's schtick is sold not as 'My radical but brilliant ideas!', but as 'Common sense' - and yet this buffoonery sells: the wisdom of Socrates proved inadequate against the slanders of Meletus, and I fear some modern Chaerophon has let his emotions get the better of him.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:38 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Dear President Obama, Your opposition has spent the morning attacking you for bringing such good will to this country. Why do they hate America so much? I get the feeling that if you found the cure for cancer this afternoon they'd be denouncing you for destroying free enterprise because cancer centers would have to close. There are those who say you've done nothing yet to deserve this award. As far as I'm concerned, the very fact that you've offered to walk into the minefield of hate and try to undo the irreparable damage the last president did is not only appreciated by me and millions of others, it is also an act of true bravery. That's why you got the prize." -- Michael Moore
posted by blucevalo at 1:38 PM on October 9, 2009 [15 favorites]


You see, this is where the whole Democratic elected majority falls apart. We get the White House, the Senate, and the House. And everyone wants their personal issue to be on the table. War in Iraq. Guantanamo. Health Care Reform. Gay Marriage. Global Warming. Peace in the Middle East. Rebuild a Broken Economy. If any ONE of these things were accomplished during a four year term--hell, an EIGHT year term--I'd be absolutely shocked and proud. But we aren't content with one. We want them all. Right now. And we all want to be first.
Jesus Christ talk about setting low bar. All of those are important – in most cases critical – issues especially Global Warming, Healthcare and the Economy. Those are not in any way "personal" issues. We need to fix all of them and if the party can't fix (or at least make a real effort to fix them as a government) them then we have a serious, serious problem. I can't believe people can have such low standards!

The conservative democrats don't have any kind of ideological backing to block healthcare or global warming or stimulus beyond naked political posturing. They're not even making any kind of argument for their positions. It's purely an issue of corruption. (The deficit? Its called raising taxes! Taxes in the U.S. today are historically low levels, and we could easily bridge the gap).

Frankly, I'm disgusted by the behavior of some dems in congress, and by the apparent tolerance for it. Howcome no one is willing to tell these people that fighting on behalf of insurance companies against sick and dying people is wrong? Or that fighting on behalf of coal plants against people who live at low sea level is wrong!?

The U.S. public has every right to demand not just basic competence but excellence from it's government. Right now we're getting neither.

That said it does look like they may be coming to a reasonable compromise on the public option, one that could pass the senate. We'll have to see how this all turns out.
I just wish sometimes that the left could be as success obsessed as the right. They would pump an award like this for all its worth if one of theirs won it, whether they believed it was correct or not.
The fact that leftists are more honest then conservatives is a plus, not a minus.
Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a parallel dimension where everything is inverted. Accepting the Nobel Prize makes you look bad? It's narcissistic to accept prizes from other people?

I am gobsmacked that some Democrats want the president to turn down the prize for his own good. What message would that send to the rest of the world? Something along the lines of 'Thanks, guys, but I'm really all about war'?
-- Kattullus quoting Lindsay Beyrstein
I agree that he shouldn't turn down the award. I mean personally, I don't think he's done enough for peace to get it but if he turned down the prize it would be a huge slap in the face to the international community. The fact that wingnuts will get riled up is really not a big issue. They are already riled all the way up and despite what Ambinder says, the knobs actually only go to 100%. If they try to push things further they will polarize things, sure, but polarize by strengthening the distaste most people have for them, not make people like Obama less.

Also, there is something to be said for enjoying the lamentation of your enemies. The more wigged out these tebaggers get the worse they look to normal people, and the better for us.
posted by delmoi at 1:39 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


"The Nobel gang just suicide-bombed themselves. Gore, Carter, Obama, soon Bill Clinton. See a pattern here? They are all leftist sell-outs. George Bush liberates 50 million Muslims in Iraq, Reagan liberates hundreds of millions of Europeans and saves parts of Latin America. Any awards? Obama gives speeches trashing his own country and for that gets a prize, which is now worth as much as whatever prizes they are putting in Cracker Jacks these days. I think God has a great sense of humor, too." -- Rush Limbaugh
posted by blucevalo at 1:43 PM on October 9, 2009


95% of the people I talk to have no idea what was significant about August, 1991

Pearl Jam released "Ten?"
posted by ryoshu at 1:44 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, a lot of stuff happened in August, 1991.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:44 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


"He got the prize because he has been able to change the international climate. Some people say, and I understand it, isn’t it premature? Too early? Well, I’d say then that it could be too late to respond three years from now. It is now that we have the opportunity to respond — all of us." -- Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland
posted by blucevalo at 1:46 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm flabberghasted that the defenders of this choice think it's a debate whether or not Obama deserved an honor. No people, it's whether Obama has really done the most for peace in either the past year or his lifetime, compared to the other nominees. By InTrade's system (which was weakly traded, and I can't find a link to expired contracts), the top candidate was Hu Jia, followed by Morgan Tsvangirai, Thich Quang Do, Lidia Yusupova, Ingrid Betancourt, and Bill Clinton. Hu Jia, Thich Quang Do, and Yusupova are the only ones which really embody what peace activism means to me. The others are just politicians (though relatively good ones).

It's interesting that it's still considered such an important prize. The people choosing the Peace prize don't seem to be terribly knowledgeable about the world, and tend to default to the politicians and organization leaders that they read about in the paper. Compare that to, say, the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, chosen by people in the field. I'm deeply impressed by every one of their choices, and wouldn't write off any of them to a political statement.
posted by FuManchu at 1:47 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


95% of the people I talk to have no idea what was significant about August, 1991

The announcement of the World Wide Web project on Usenet?
posted by Scoo at 1:49 PM on October 9, 2009


How is that racism?

It's racism because it is more or less explicitly stating that Obama was given the prize because he is black.

Furthermore, would the Nobel committee awarded the prize to Hillary Clinton or John McCain had they won the Presidency and done exactly what President Obama's done so far in Office?

You're a racist because you're more or less explicitly stating that Obama was given the prize because he is black.
posted by nanojath at 1:51 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am really getting tired of so many fucking so called progressives, who seem educated and well spoken, still have no god damn fucking clue about what the office of the Presidency can and can't do. Not just about their little pet issues, but really, what the actual job of the office of the Presidency is in our system of government. The President does not have the power to issue edicts and claim the sky is green. He cannot suddenly up and tell the military that they have to all wear pink tutu's in battle. There are laws and legislation that must be passed, and the sole job of passing laws is in the Congress. The president cannot write a law and put it into effect. He can only sign a law into passage (or veto it) and then go about enforcing that law. That's how the system was designed, that's how it works. He can offer leadership, but a leader does not get down on his knees and scrub the floors of every institution. He can ask members of his party to craft laws that he would like to see implemented, but he has no power to force the representatives that are elected into the Congress to write the laws exactly as he wishes, nor does he have the power to force them to vote for those laws that he wishes to see passed. It is just not within his purview, nor in anyone else's. So Obama's campaign promises were not lies. They were simply what he wanted to do while in office. To campaign and use that seat of leadership to make changes to the laws of this nation in a manner consistent with his political aspirations and campaign promises. And he is doing so. As so many have pointed out before, GITMO is being closed. It's not like he could walk in on January 21st and just say "ok, everybody go home". There are real logistical issues to be dealt with. What if sending one of those detainee's home means said detainee walks out of our prison into a grave waiting for him? Is that something you really want on your conscience? Or what about the ones who really do want to kill you? Just let them out to come back after you tomorrow? It doesn't work that way. The military policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Guess what? The President doesn't write the rulebook for the military. Those rules are governed by the laws that Congress passes. He can't just say "that's illegal now" because the Supreme Court would say "um, what? where's the law? the President doesn't write laws."

Fuck, sometimes you all want everything to be so simple, I'm surprised you manage to tie your shoes in the morning. Or are you wearing flip-flops or velcro shoes?
posted by daq at 1:51 PM on October 9, 2009 [31 favorites]


Also, congratulations to Obama for being successful enough to garner the Nobel Peace Prize within 10 months of taking office. Hopefully more good things will come.
posted by daq at 1:52 PM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


first!
posted by eatdonuts at 1:53 PM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


(This thread has been running at an intensity varying between 0.5 and 3 palins btw)
posted by Liver at 1:56 PM on October 9, 2009


He cannot suddenly up and tell the military that they have to all wear pink tutu's in battle.
I general agree with your larger point, but I think that the president actually does have the authority to tell the military that they have to all wear pink tutus in battle.
posted by Flunkie at 1:57 PM on October 9, 2009


For the record: I think that the "significance of August 1991" comment is referring to the Dissolution of the Soviet Union.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:58 PM on October 9, 2009


I think it means it is exactly 18 years, 1 month, 11 days from August 1, 1991 to September 12, 2009.

Think about it.

18 years = 1+8 = 9

9 * 1 month = 9

+ 11 days = 9 | 11

(!)
posted by mazola at 2:04 PM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


daq: There are laws and legislation that must be passed, and the sole job of passing laws is in the Congress. The president cannot write a law and put it into effect. He can only sign a law into passage (or veto it) and then go about enforcing that law. That's how the system was designed, that's how it works.

Actually, the president can do a great deal to set the agenda for congress. See Rosevelt's New Deal, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Clinton's attempt at health care reform, and the last administration's advocacy of No Child Left Behind and the Patriot Act. Obama certainly chose to set the agenda with the stimulus package as well.

daq: The military policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Guess what? The President doesn't write the rulebook for the military. Those rules are governed by the laws that Congress passes. He can't just say "that's illegal now" because the Supreme Court would say "um, what? where's the law? the President doesn't write laws."

Sure, which is why no one is asking for the President to repeal DADT (except maybe by using his prerogative to introduce an act into congress via a friendly congresscritter). What people are asking for is for him to use his power as the Commander in Chief to order prosecutors to not investigate or pursue sexual orientation cases. Which is a power granted to him both under the constitution, and by congressional acts giving him authority to do so.

So yes, we are quite aware of what Obama can and cannot do, and are only asking for things that have been well within the scope of presidential authority since the 18th century.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:09 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


The military policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Guess what? The President doesn't write the rulebook for the military. Those rules are governed by the laws that Congress passes. He can't just say "that's illegal now" because the Supreme Court would say "um, what? where's the law? the President doesn't write laws."

As has been repeatedly pointed out, the president could suspend DADT with a single executive order. It would indeed take Congress to repeal the law, but Obama has in fact had it within his power since the day he took office to stop any further dismissals of LGBT service people. He has declined to do so.

Not just about their little pet issues

I invite you to go tell Lt. Dan Choi that his civil rights are merely just a little pet issue.
posted by scody at 2:11 PM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Fuck, sometimes you all want everything to be so simple, I'm surprised you manage to tie your shoes in the morning. Or are you wearing flip-flops or velcro shoes?

I resent that. I'm wearing fuzzy slippers.
posted by amyms at 2:15 PM on October 9, 2009


(or, as kirkjobsluder put it even better, and as I missed on preview: we are quite aware of what Obama can and cannot do, and are only asking for things that have been well within the scope of presidential authority since the 18th century.)
posted by scody at 2:15 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


But by all means, congratulations to Obama on winning the peace prize.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:18 PM on October 9, 2009


I invite you to go tell Lt. Dan Choi that his civil rights are merely just a little pet issue.

As well as Lieutenant Colonel Victor J. Fehrenbach, the $25 million distinquished aviator honored with "30 awards and decorations including nine air medals, one of them for heroism, as well as campaign medals for Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq" who is facing discharge because he's gay.
posted by ericb at 2:22 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


the Nobel Committee just handed Obama a ton of political capital.

I see this in entirely practical terms, that hopefully the Nobel will act as something of a shield to prevent the already starting calls for his impeachment from coming to fruition.
posted by scalefree at 2:23 PM on October 9, 2009


He cannot suddenly up and tell the military that they have to all wear pink tutu's in battle.

I general agree with your larger point, but I think that the president actually does have the authority to tell the military that they have to all wear pink tutus in battle.
posted by Flunkie at 1:57 PM on October 9 [+] [!]


Not without getting funding from Congress authorizing the purchase of pink tutus.

See? It's not that easy.
posted by jabberjaw at 2:24 PM on October 9, 2009


Oh ... and on "September 11, 2001, Lt. Col. Fehrenbach was handpicked to fly sorties above the nation's capital....He has flown numerous missions against Taliban and al-Qaida targets, including the longest combat mission in his squadron's history."
posted by ericb at 2:24 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


...they have to all wear pink tutu's in battle.

Honey, that would make for a fabulous episode of Project Runway!
posted by ericb at 2:26 PM on October 9, 2009


And also, Sweden is pretty much the same thing as Norway, even though they do dress slightly better.

The difference between Sweden and Norway: Sweden are the hipsters.
posted by acb at 2:28 PM on October 9, 2009


This awarding (and consequent threat) confirms something rattling in my mind: the whole media circus around health care, Iran, and etc. seems to be concealing the fact from the American public that the US and Obama is finally doing what the globe needs. Thank God.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 2:29 PM on October 9, 2009


He cannot suddenly up and tell the military that they have to all wear pink tutu's in battle.

Shock and awe.
posted by rokusan at 2:32 PM on October 9, 2009


ROU_Xenophobe (et.al) – exactly what I mean.

“But he probably means the failed Soviet coup.” -rokusan

Yep. Longest 76 hours in history that no one ever talks about. The loss of broad political (civilian) control over the Soviet nuclear arsenal. (pdf link)

Probably never would have happened. But y’know, point a loaded gun at your kids. Probably never would go off, but you’re still not going to want to risk it.

The scary part is that it wasn’t even about the coup itself. The coup just illuminated what director CIA William Colby said at the time that it was a miracle that one of the Soviet nukes hadn’t gotten lose in the past 40 years and that the subject of nuclear weapons was so awful a problem that “that there aren't any real solutions to them, and you can't relax about it at all."
Plenty of other near misses, but if one could point to any moment in history when the human race was on the brink of destruction, that would be up there at the top. (in the late cold-war era. Early cold-war era you had Berlin in 1961, Cuba in 1962, and the Mideast war of 1967 – mid era, say Able Archer in ’83)

Look at it this way – odds of an asteroid destroying the earth was estimated to be, about, one chance in a million per century. We put some money into the NASA’s Safeguard program and it looks like nothings predicted within the next 100 years. But you’re still talking about complete destruction of humanity.

If a planet killer asteroid had missed us by 1,000 miles in August 1991 and we saw this big blazing rock just barely not kill us all, we’d be talking about it. We’d remember it. But because the threat has been so persistent - meh. The Soviet government fell. BFD.

But that ignores human irrationality and so the unpredictability. It's not just physics. We’re much more likely to nuke ourselves.
Call it one percent in ten years. That’s 10% each century. Considering there were three possible initiating nuclear events in the first 50 years of nuclear deterrence (as above ) it’s probably higher. I mean, during the Cuban missile crisis the Soviets did authorize the Cubans to use battlefield nukes in case we invaded them. And we did, sorta, invade.

It’s exactly the problem that so many people ignore it that enhances the probability. And it doesn’t look dicey now – but that’s exactly the problem, aypical events have a disproportionate effect on the risk. The Cuban missile crisis was, what, two weeks? Not a big chunk of a century. So it’s exactly when times are less dangerous that we have to factor in the times when its appallingly dangerous and decision making is unpredictable and irrational.

And there are precursor events, that heighten tension and lead to a possible downward decision making spiral that, taken in situ, in sequence, seem perfectly logical.
Surrounding Able Archer, in 83, you had the Star Wars thing, the deployment of Pershing missles, the Soviets shooting down a commercial aircraft (Korean Air Lines flight 007) the invasion of Grenada, the suicide bombing in Lebannon – in the midst of all that you had a false satellite signal saying the U.S. had launched.
So if it weren’t for one Soviet short Colonel, the world might have ended in ’83. That and arguably, Bob McFarlane insisting Ron (“the bombing begins in 5 minutes”) Reagan, end the uber-realistic exercise and maybe get out in public for a bit.

"Dear President Obama, Your opposition has spent the morning attacking you for bringing such good will to this country. Why do they hate America so much? I get the feeling that if you found the cure for cancer this afternoon they'd be denouncing you for destroying free enterprise because cancer centers would have to close. There are those who say you've done nothing yet to deserve this award. As far as I'm concerned, the very fact that you've offered to walk into the minefield of hate and try to undo the irreparable damage the last president did is not only appreciated by me and millions of others, it is also an act of true bravery. That's why you got the prize." -- Michael Moore
F’ing A.

Y’know though, it’s not just ‘the opposition.’ Hell, technically as Gun McShootypants I’m ‘the opposition’ and I think this is excellent and a big encouragement to the U.S. to work to live up to what we say we believe in. Plus, y'know, not ending the world.

“Also, there is something to be said for enjoying the lamentation of your enemies.”

I’d rather crush my enemies. See them driven before me. And enjoy the lamentation of their women.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:33 PM on October 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


the whole media circus around health care, Iran, and etc. seems to be concealing the fact from the American public that the US and Obama is finally doing what the globe needs.

Please elaborate for those of us who live in the Big Top: What Nobel Prize-worthy things has Obama been doing for the last not-quite-ten months that we don't know about?
posted by The World Famous at 2:33 PM on October 9, 2009


Consider your last paragraph, which I basically agree with. Now read it again, in the voice of Alex Jones or Glenn Beck. Rhetoric is like electricity; neither good nor bad, true nor false, but a powerful force that can be deployed to sell counterfactual or irrational arguments as easily as realistic ones, to assert simplistic ideas as much as to simple truths.

anigbrowl, I think we're coming at this from different angles, and I think you're making the classic progressive mistake-- the false idea that liberalism/progressivism demands a certain political process aesthetic. Thus, rewarding Obama for repudiating false-minded policies that have gone on for decades (for example, purposely forgetting that the NPT required that nuclear powers work towards disarmament) seems sort of "unfair" or like a partisan "attack." And mocking and marginalizing the extremist reactions is considered by some to be "playing dirty," whereas a progressive aesthete would hope that by reasoning with people's better natures and taking "the high road," we could all see the truth of good ideas. It's like you're worried that if Obama get too many accolades, that Republicans will get upset. Well, then they get upset. So what?

Your view is, ultimately, not one I have so much sympathy with anymore. At that leads to is a life spend "cursing the darkness" about why our political process can't be "reasonable." You know what? The guy who is going without health care and the people getting tortured and the people ordered to perform torture don't care whether your political dialog is reasonable or whether addressing those issues hurt the little fee-fees of the political fringe. Let Obama bask in this prize. Let him channel it into some good. Let him feel the weight of the world on his shoulders with respect to the challenges we face. And let the right-wing fringe that has been thrown into apoplexy over this (including the RNC Chairman michael steele) be righteously mocked for their idiocy.
posted by deanc at 2:33 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


... the already starting calls for his impeachment from coming to fruition.

Citing ‘Fascism, Socialism, Obamaism,’ Republican Strategist Launches Impeachment Campaign
"Republican operative Floyd Brown, 'one of the nation’s dirtiest political strategists' and the architect of the racially-charged Willie Horton ad against Michael Dukakis, has launched a campaign to impeach Obama."
I doubt the wackos will get far on their specious claims against Obama.
posted by ericb at 2:35 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Dear President Obama, Your opposition has spent the morning attacking you for bringing such good will to this country. Why do they hate America so much? I get the feeling that if you found the cure for cancer this afternoon they'd be denouncing you for destroying free enterprise because cancer centers would have to close. There are those who say you've done nothing yet to deserve this award. As far as I'm concerned, the very fact that you've offered to walk into the minefield of hate and try to undo the irreparable damage the last president did is not only appreciated by me and millions of others, it is also an act of true bravery. That's why you got the prize." -- Michael Moore

Yeah, says the guy who has been doing the exact same thing that earned Al Gore the prize for the last 20 years.
posted by The World Famous at 2:37 PM on October 9, 2009


deanc: And let the right-wing fringe that has been thrown into apoplexy over this (including the RNC Chairman michael steele) be righteously mocked for their idiocy.

You know, I'd say that Gibbs should start planning more photo-ops for Obama. Since pro-lifers are eating cupcakes, have Obama eat some cupcakes. Have him cultivate an honest appreciation for country music. Drive Republicans into a frenzy of reactionary froth.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:40 PM on October 9, 2009


Yeah, says the guy who has been doing the exact same thing that earned Al Gore the prize for the last 20 years.

PowerPoint in Mac?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:42 PM on October 9, 2009


I bet Tufte was pissed that he didn't get it.
posted by Artw at 2:44 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


He cannot suddenly up and tell the military that they have to all wear pink tutu's in battle.

Shock and awe.


And what could be more surprising than the First Batallion Transvestite Brigade? (Airborne Wing.)
posted by scody at 2:44 PM on October 9, 2009


Please elaborate for those of us who live in the Big Top: What Nobel Prize-worthy things has Obama been doing for the last not-quite-ten months that we don't know about?

The argument is that, at least on a global scale, Obama has been working to lay the groundwork for a sustained and lasting peace. Examples include making nice with the Islamic world, seeking to rid the work, including the US, of nuclear weapons, being willing to at least talk with North Korea and Iran (and getting Iran to agree to use non weapons grade nuclear fuel). As head of the most powerful military in the world, he's extended a hand instead of a fist and that change, the argument goes, has done a lot to put the world on a more peaceful footing with a lot of potential for extending that to reality.

Not a bad person to give the prize to.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:45 PM on October 9, 2009


So Obama's campaign promises were not lies. They were simply what he wanted to do while in office.

Obama: The Change We Need*

* The President cannot change anything.
posted by smackfu at 2:47 PM on October 9, 2009


And what could be more surprising than the First Batallion Transvestite Brigade? (Airborne Wing.)

With precision drilling.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:47 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sure, he has a Nobel Peace Prize but does he have a Google Wave invitation?
posted by ooga_booga at 2:51 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


"...that earned Al Gore the prize for the last 20 years" -- so THAT'S where all the Nobel Peace Prizes have been going the last 20 years! Damn you, Gore!
posted by jamstigator at 2:56 PM on October 9, 2009


Please elaborate for those of us who live in the Big Top: What Nobel Prize-worthy things has Obama been doing for the last not-quite-ten months that we don't know about?

Umm? Maybe read the thread. For instance.
posted by philip-random at 2:59 PM on October 9, 2009


Obama: The Change We Need*

* The President cannot change anything


Not at least, if it's against massive corporate interests with lobbyists, or without doing end runs around our system of checks and balances...

I'm sure he could have just written a dozen Executive Orders and handled shit.

Who needs democracy when you can have a Decider (TM)?
posted by yeloson at 3:00 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]



This morning, Michelle and I awoke to some surprising and humbling news. At 6 a.m., we received word that I'd been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.

That is why I've said that I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations and all peoples to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. These challenges won't all be met during my presidency, or even my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone.

This award -- and the call to action that comes with it -- does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs to you, the men and women of America, who have dared to hope and have worked so hard to make our world a little better.

So today we humbly recommit to the important work that we've begun together. I'm grateful that you've stood with me thus far, and I'm honored to continue our vital work in the years to come.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama
posted by Postroad at 3:02 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


And let the right-wing fringe that has been thrown into apoplexy over this (including the RNC Chairman michael steele) be righteously mocked for their idiocy.

What part of this statement is idiotic?

The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’ It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain – President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.
posted by gyc at 3:02 PM on October 9, 2009


"There is a big difference between not achieving everything in the first months of his tenure in the White House, and quietly working against us on key issues such as DADT..."

Perhaps that's the way it appears to you, but that is simply because you lack inside knowledge of the issue at hand. I have some info you lack -- and some rather connected activist friends -- who keep me well informed on these things.

Specfically, I would cite this article from late Nov. 2008, talking about the strategic planning between the interim Obama administration and GLBT groups such as SLDN and HRC, who were present at that meeting.

From what I heard from a person who was there, it was made very clear that DADT might not be overturned until early 2010, not only because of the numerous, somewhat involved changes that would be necessary in the military, involving regulations, training, etc. ... but also because it was felt that dealing with the matter through an executive order could backfire on the GLBT community and all their other planned legislation, both at a state and federal level.

The best way, it was felt, to deal with the complex issue would be to have a complete military review of the steps required for the transition -- which Obama ordered soon after being elected -- which would also include policies to allow those who had been kicked out of the military to reapply.

The best public indicator of this policy was the White House release of President Obama's personal letter to former Army officer Sandy Tsao, in which the President said that he is “committed to changing our current policy” but that “it will take some time to complete (partly because it needs Congressional action).”

There was general discussion as to how GLBT organizations could help set the stage for getting the legislation passed, helping organize support and win increased national acceptance for such policies. (It's quite likely, for example, that the march on Washington is actually part of that larger strategy.)

Likewise, there was discussion on how to pass difficult legislation, such as hate crimes legislation and DADT, and what the President was willing to do if it didn't pass in Congress. One tactic mentioned was to add the legislation to something that Republicans couldn't afford to reject, such as defense appropriations. As such, it was hardly surprising for me to read recently that the Democrats are using this very tactic to pass hate crimes legislation.

In short, the Obama administration has been upfront and honest about DOMA from Day One. It is clearly the President's goal to repeal it, as he said during the campaign. He did not, say, however, that he would do so by executive order. I get the sense though that he would certainly consider using an executive order to pass such legislation, *IF* it were impossible to pass by the Senate.

Historically, there's a good parallel between the strategy on this issue and the protests that led the way for the passing of civil rights in the '60s. I suspect that's not a coincidence.

Many of the top people in the major GLBT organizations are obviously quite aware of the Obama administration's strategy and timeline to get legislation passed, and are basing their own strategies and timing to be complementary to what is going on in Washington. They are benefiting from an environment of perceived adversity, but know full well that the real adversity is not in the White House.

They do not admit this fact to their own constituents, of course, as that would work against their longterm goals. They *know* activism, properly channeled, is essential. As such, they are put in the position of harnessing frustration and occasional anger at the administration, ideally in a manner which helps that same administration move forward to the successful completion of their shared goals.
posted by markkraft at 3:06 PM on October 9, 2009 [17 favorites]


Umm? Maybe read the thread. For instance.

You point to the recent deal with Iran, but again: Obama was nominated for the prize in February, less than 2 weeks after he was inaugurated. The deal with Iran happened, well quite a bit later than that, as did virtually everything that everyone is citing to prove he deserves the award.

Look, I personally like the guy too -- I'd have the proverbial beer with him, and I'm sure it would be a blast -- and yet A) I can have legitimate political disagreements with him and B) recognize that this prize is essentially an Onion headline come to life. All these things can coexist. Lining up in lockstep behind our Dear Leader is what right-wingers did for Bush. As a left-wing progressive, I have no intent to do the same for Obama, despite the fact that I voted for him.
posted by scody at 3:10 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Only in America can someone be criticized for winning a Peace Prize.

Makes me cry, and laugh.

... first dibs on the rights for the bumper stickers and T-shirts!
posted by Artful Codger at 3:12 PM on October 9, 2009


What part of this statement is idiotic? The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’

"Imma let you finish, but..."

Today's Republicans make Kanye look classy... and intellectual!
posted by markkraft at 3:14 PM on October 9, 2009


scody, to reiterate: READ THE THREAD. it has been pointed out several times that the nominations were in February, perhaps they were premature at the time and it was expected to be the first of many years of nominations for BO. The voting happened only recently, so the committee also used the last several months of the presidency - including the Iran reversal and nuclear arms discussion - as criteria for their final judgment.

whether it was deserved or not is open for discussion, but this wasn't a simple award given in the blaze of post-inauguration orgastia
posted by Think_Long at 3:15 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


“To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.”

See, even he doesn’t think he deserves it!

“But I also know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.”

…so? Why would people want to give momentum to defusing nuclear crises ... oh...

“This award -- and the call to action that comes with it -- does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs to you, the men and women of America, who have dared to hope and have worked so hard to make our world a little better.”

I don’t have to get off the couch myself though, do I? Because that would suck.

“The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’”

'All right, all right, but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?'
posted by Smedleyman at 3:17 PM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Can't say that I've ever been emailed by the President before. Wacky.
posted by mwhybark at 3:17 PM on October 9, 2009


but again: Obama was nominated for the prize in February, less than 2 weeks after he was inaugurated. The deal with Iran happened, well quite a bit later than that, as did virtually everything that everyone is citing to prove he deserves the award.

scody, you're bad. you haven't read the thread have you?
posted by philip-random at 3:20 PM on October 9, 2009


Obama is running "death camps"?!

Well, Guantanamo and Bagram are death camps for quite a few. Many people, at least some of whom were known to be innocent, have been tortured to death there.

But I'm willing to back off on that and say that these places are simply concentration camps. I still don't think that running a concentration camp is the sort of thing that should make you eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Also - it astonishes me how low the expectations of many of you are. Leaving Iraq in 2011 is an accomplishment!? Withdrawal overnight was never a possibility - but years?

Half a term of being a junior Senator and having good results - that's worth a Nobel Peace Prize?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:20 PM on October 9, 2009


or ummm, what Think_Long said ...
posted by philip-random at 3:22 PM on October 9, 2009


You point to the recent deal with Iran, but again: Obama was nominated for the prize in February, less than 2 weeks after he was inaugurated.

scody, no offence but this has been debunked thoroughly and repeatedly upthread. If I were eligible to cast nominations, I could nominate you in February on a hunch that you're going to save the world in September.

205 people were nominated this year. Hell, in 1939 someone nominated Hitler. The wisdom of nominating Obama as early as February is up for debate, but nominated he was and the actual Committee with the actual decision-making power didn't vote for the winner until very, very recently (someone said October upthread but I can't confirm this online).

I'm not of course saying Obama did save the world, or even that I would have supported his nomination, but I feel his tenure until at least the end of September should be taken into account in this debate, if only because that is exactly what the Committee did.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:24 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Well, Guantanamo and Bagram are death camps for quite a few. Many people, at least some of whom were known to be innocent, have been tortured to death there."

Under the Obama administration? After he specifically banned the use of such procedures?

You know that there's a difference between the words "are" and "were", right?!
posted by markkraft at 3:26 PM on October 9, 2009


Ironic how three people separately chastised scody for not reading the thread before posting.
posted by smackfu at 3:26 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


lupus - love yr moniker and much of what you post to the blue, but please back off on even the concentration camp verbiage. It may be technically correct to refer to Guantanamo and Bagram as such but if you don't think it instantly brings the unimaginable evils of the Holocaust to mind, you're being naive.
posted by philip-random at 3:29 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I really can't blame Obama for this farce and he did react to it exactly as he needed to. He said he's not really worthy and made it a worldwide call to action. So Obama himself is off the hook on this.

I am disappointed in the Nobel committee for doing this. Sure Obama is doing some good stuff and if he keeps on this course its possible that in a few years he would be a shoe-in for the prize. But not now.

I am annoyed, but not surprised, by the Republicans and the conservative smear machine who see it as their only goal in life to destroy every good thing that happens to Obama. Not only do they say it was an unwarranted prize but then Rush Limbaugh goes on to say that winning the Nobel is "emasculating this country" and "rewarding a pacifist" (as if thats a bad thing? and as if it were true).

I am really pissed off at the Democratic Party who had the gall to say that anyone who criticized the President for winning this award was in league with the terrorists! Didn't we just get rid of the people who thought like that? It even appears to me that part of this Nobel Prize is rewarding America for voting those people out of office.

New boss, same as the old boss.
posted by Glibpaxman at 3:29 PM on October 9, 2009


The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’

Oh for Pete's sake, read the committee's announcement for yourself if you're confused why they awarded him the thing.

Also:
Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which recognize completed scientific or literary accomplishment, the Nobel Peace Prize may be awarded to persons or organizations that are in the process of resolving a conflict or creating peace.
posted by mazola at 3:31 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


And the way both left and right are distancing themselves from success is downright... Canadian.
posted by mazola at 3:33 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah.

The Committee has as a rule reached its conclusion by mid-September, but has been known not to arrive at a decision until at its very last meeting before the announcement of the Prize at the beginning of October.

It's also important to note that while members of the Committee are eligible to cast a nomination, they are but a few names on a long, long list of people who can do so, thus it is probable (but not certain) that Obama was nominated by someone who had no role in the actual selection.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:33 PM on October 9, 2009


deanc we are indeed coming at this from different angles, but I do not hold the progressive or 'political process aesthetic' views you infer. I'm sorry I can't articulate the point more clearly for you.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:34 PM on October 9, 2009


Thank you markkraft for stating clearly several things that many people who seem to be deluded about politics in America are harping on. I would bet any of you that President Obama is working on his campaign promises. I can also guarantee you that a whole lot of them will never get reported as headlines on the front page of the New York Times. In fact, if you even see them in the A section, I'd be surprised. I've actually been quite impressed with how he has been handling the strategy for getting healthcare reform done. He looked at the past playbook of his opposition and has carefully placed himself in a position to do the most good. The Republicans came out strong and fast with lies and anger and noise this summer. But they were attacking a strawman. There is no Obama-care. Never was one, never will be one. He said "the Congress will write the law", and let them do it. They've got 2 bills going forward, one in the Senate, getting bogged down by Blue Dog Democrats sitting as chairman in a lot of important commitees, and one in the House, already ready for debate and amendment. Once it goes on the floor, the reserve team is going to move in. All the things missing from the bills will be added in amendments, and a slew of other maneuvers will get a single bill to the Presidents desk with most, if not all of the things he asked for in it. You know why you aren't seeing this in the media? Because that would mean showing his hand way too early. I would hate to play poker against Barack Obama. He'd probably clear me out in 2 or 3 hands.

What you don't see doesn't always mean something isn't going on. It just might mean that you aren't privileged to the strategy sessions and the real brains behind closed doors who must work out ways to defeat the ignorance, entrenched interests, and lobbyists who want to derail the "Change" that is coming. But don't be fooled. The only thing that will stop this change is probably going to be your unwillingness to believe that he might be telling the truth, and might actually be working to do things in an effective manner, instead of simply glad-handing his base, and telling them that it's okay to be hateful of people who are different.

*Sigh*

And on that note, go read your Machiavelli. It's not all about being evil. Sometimes, it's about defeating it.
posted by daq at 3:38 PM on October 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


Yeah, he's so awesome you can't even tell that he's being awesome!
posted by smackfu at 3:39 PM on October 9, 2009


Sure, he has a Nobel Peace Prize but does he have a Google Wave invitation?

More importantly, can he give me one?
posted by scalefree at 3:44 PM on October 9, 2009


With "progressive" friends and supporters like these, Obama certainly needs no enemies.
posted by blucevalo at 3:46 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everybody seems so mad at Obama for being given the Nobel Peace Prize, and by people that claim to support Obama.

How strange that our President is being criticized so much for being recognized by a group of people in Oslo.

And because you cannot understand why he got the prize, instead you criticize Obama, instead of trying to understand what it is that these Norwegians see and that you don't?
posted by jabberjaw at 3:50 PM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


With "progressive" friends and supporters like these, Obama certainly needs no enemies.

I assume that you're referring to the people who decided to give the award to him rather than to one of the other nominees, knowing full well that it would result in precisely this reaction from even the most reasonable and liberal people.
posted by The World Famous at 3:51 PM on October 9, 2009


And because you cannot understand why he got the prize, instead you criticize Obama, instead of trying to understand what it is that these Norwegians see and that you don't?

I'm just glad they aren't hipsters.
posted by ryoshu at 3:53 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


knowing full well that it would result in precisely this reaction from even the most reasonable and liberal people.
posted by The World Famous at 3:51 PM on October 9 [+] [!]


Which just happens to be very similar to the reaction that the most unreasonable and conservative people are having?
posted by jabberjaw at 3:55 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


State Department spokesman PJ Crowley:
"Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum — when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes."
posted by ericb at 3:56 PM on October 9, 2009 [15 favorites]


I assume that you're referring to the people who decided to give the award to him rather than to one of the other nominees, knowing full well that it would result in precisely this reaction from even the most reasonable and liberal people.

No, that's not what I mean. And all of the so-called "reasonable" reactions in this thread are not summed up in the statement "this reaction."
posted by blucevalo at 3:57 PM on October 9, 2009


Which just happens to be very similar to the reaction that the most unreasonable and conservative people are having?

Yes, because "why on Earth does Obama deserve the Nobel Peace Prize now" is the only non-insane reaction to have - and even unreasonable people are capable of non-insane reactions.
posted by The World Famous at 3:59 PM on October 9, 2009


Your certainty that any other position is insane, even if it's a rhetorical effect, strains credulity.
posted by blucevalo at 4:03 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


TWF, did you get nominated some year but didn't make the cut or something? Your wheel-spinning is a little unsettling.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:05 PM on October 9, 2009


One thing is certain – President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility...

Ah, but wait. Let's revisit the economy next year and following. Obama inherited the current economic mess from Bush.

Under Obama things seem headed in the right direction. Heck, the Dow closed today at 9864.94. On January 20, 2009, the day of Obama's inauguration, it was 8279.63.

Eight years of the Dow Jones industrial average under George W. Bush.
posted by ericb at 4:07 PM on October 9, 2009


"anyone who criticized the President for winning this award was in league with the terrorists!"

Except, of course, that's not what they said.

Rather, they said:

"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."

The Repubican Party officially did use the generally good news that our President won a prestigious peace award as an opportunty to attack the president, much like the Taliban and Hamas did. Never mind that the President most certainly did not want or ask for such an award at this time.

In contrast, John McCain was both reasoned, and a class act :

"I'm sure the president understands that he now has even more to live up to. But as Americans, we're proud when our president receives an award of that prestigious category. I think all of us were surprised at -- at the decision. But I -- I think Americans are always pleased when their president is recognized by something on this order."

Of course, this is a man that the Republican Party has tried so hard to reject, even though he was -- and remains -- the best of what they have to offer us.

So no, the DNC never told the Republicans they are "either with us or with the terrorists" like the leader of the Republican Party told the Democrats. They just accused Republicans of being relentlessly opposed to anything that sounds like good news for this country, responding like kneejerk Anti-Americans... again... for purely partisan reasons.

At least when the Democrats opposed "good news", the news was invariably based on so-called "successes" in occupying other people's countries, even as our soldiers -- and hundreds of thousands of civilians -- continued to die.

I never heard Democrats jeer when Bush went overseas to try to bring jobs and honor to America... but then again, I can't remember him seriously trying to do so.
posted by markkraft at 4:10 PM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


“Half a term of being a junior Senator and having good results - that's worth a Nobel Peace Prize?”

Some religious shop steward organizing a couple strikes and working as an electrician – that’s worth a Nobel Peace Prize?

Yeah, why give someone who hasn’t accomplished anything a Nobel peace prize? It’ll only just encourage them.

Obama was working tirelessly in the public sector making substantial efforts and achieving practical gains in critically underfunded, otherwise ignored and opposed areas (like community development, education as a means out of poverty, etc. etc) before he was a state legislator and was working with Luger on slowing nuclear proliferation very early on. So he’s got at least as much foundation as Lech Walesa had in ’83 in terms of raising spirits and hope ("In October 1983 the announcement of Walesa's Nobel prize raised the spirits of the underground movement, but the award was attacked by the government press." - ah, the more things change....)

Oh yeah, plus he’s the President of the United States. He's probably in a better position to make some changes, now, than the mechanic who eventually went on to become President of Poland seven years later.

S’funny. I read ‘Marvels’ a while ago where the Fantastic had saved the Earth from Galactus – very visibly, people knew it was a threat to the world and Reed Richards, et.al. had saved them from it. And the next day the headlines are: “GALACTUS—A HOAX” and there’s doubts and innuendo in the news, people are embarrassed and ashamed that maybe their lives were dependant on someone else and they deny what happened and change the subject and dissemble and decide to, again, crap on people who’d saved their lives.

And Phil Sheldon snaps and says “YOU PEOPLE! WHAT DO YOU NEED? THE WORLD TO ACTUALLY END? Are you so busy digging for garbage you can’t admit to yourselves that you’re grateful? Look up, why don’t you, look up for once in your lives!”

I used to think that scenario was too comic booky to be plausible.

Now? Well the comic book theme is interesting. Man vs. Superman.
Sheldon says, at the end when people are scared again “Why bother? The Fantastic Four will save us or the Avengers or someone’ll handle it. And once its over and they’ve saved us, we’ll poke them in the eye for it”
And J.Jonah Jameson spouts about how, if Spiderman and the other ‘Marvels’ were truly the noble selfless crusaders they appeared to be, how could the rest of us measure up and meet that standard?
And that's comic book fiction about superbeings who have incredible superhuman powers. It's not reality.

In reality though - it’s worse if it’s just a man isn’t it?
Especially if he’s not from privilege like Bush was. Especially if he used drugs in high school. And came from a broken home. And had enough challenges against him that he could have wound up as anyone else, working a normal job. Leading a normal life.
But y'know, he didn’t.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:31 PM on October 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


because "why on Earth does Obama deserve the Nobel Peace Prize now" is the only _____________ reaction to have

I can think of more suitable words than "non-insane" to fill in that blank.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:32 PM on October 9, 2009


I can think of more suitable words than "non-insane" to fill in that blank.

Go for it, then.
posted by The World Famous at 4:34 PM on October 9, 2009


Nah.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:35 PM on October 9, 2009


markkraft: Pardon, but didn't Obama campaign specifically against that sort of backroom dealing? What happened to the concept of accountable, transparent, and grassroots government? So instead, we have an administration openly antagonizing activism that would be better spent working in his favor leveraging key members of congress? So if indeed such pressure is a part of the big plan, then why are you objecting to it?

daq: What you don't see doesn't always mean something isn't going on.

Well, if the history of western civilization is any indication, it usually means something isn't going on, and rarely means that we are about to be screwed in a big way.

So the question is, which version of dear leader are we to worship? The Machiavellian player who is working magical jujitsu to create an ultra-liberal political movement? The man who embraced anti-gay ministries and called for expanding the big tent to include social conservatives? The pragmatic moderate who avoids hard issues in favor of consensus? The reluctant adopter of a gay rights plank? The advocate of transparent and grassroots politics?

We've just had 8 years of blind worship in the belief that the Executive is working in our best interests. I'm not going back there again.

daq: The only thing that will stop this change is probably going to be your unwillingness to believe that he might be telling the truth, and might actually be working to do things in an effective manner, instead of simply glad-handing his base, and telling them that it's okay to be hateful of people who are different.

Ahh, but if markkraft is completely correct, our frustration with the lack of visible change is a part of the change process. If it is true that we are all working towards the same goal, then the campaign for passage of the Respect for Marriage act and getting DADT repeal out of committee is in everyone's best interest, is it not? How can voices pointing out the urgent need for change be harmful to his efforts to promote that change?

Continuing to keep the political pressure on, and it's not just about Obama, it's about getting those bills through congress, the legal fights in the courts, and the ballot battles in the states as well, is political self defense. And that is what defines progressivism, not the blind worship of a man who tries to be all things to all people.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:49 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Taliban on Obama's Nobel Peace Prize:
"When Obama replaced President Bush, the Afghan people thought that he would not follow in Bush's footsteps. Unfortunately, Obama actually even went one step further."

Hamas on Obama's Nobel Peace Prize:
“We believe that there are lots of things needed from Obama to be presented to the Palestinian people in order to deserve this reward. Obama should change his manner and be fair."

Iran on Obama's Nobel Peace Prize:
"We believe this decision to be hasty and premature, but if this prize acts as an encouragement for a practical rejection of the warmongering and unilateral policies of previous American administrations and create an approach based on just peace, we have no opposition to it."

Cuba on Obama's Nobel Peace Prize:
"He has begun pulling US troops out of Iraq, but America remains mired on the Afghan front, where the situation is deteriorating rapidly and more civilians are dying now than ever. . . His attempts at peace in the Middle East, which became one of his priorities, are stalled . . . The serious crisis humanity is facing needs more than good intentions."

Venezuela on Obama's Nobel Peace Prize:
"We believe that the Nobel Prize is a great commitment to seek peace rather than a reward to any specific achievement . . . As President Hugo Chávez said at the United Nations, (the new US Administration) is a government that has raised expectations and hopes in many people in the world, amid great contradictions." The Venezuelan representative urged Obama to show his commitment to peace by ruling out the deployment of US military bases in Colombia.

This points out the main difference between the Republicans and many of America's so-called "enemies"...

There's nothing concrete that the Obama administration could do which would silence the endless anti-Obama -- and oftentimes, anti-American -- noise put forth the Republican Party.
posted by markkraft at 4:57 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Time will tell, I suppose, how appropriate this award, today, will truly be. I hope it will have better results for the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and for Obama, than awarding Ben Affleck an Oscar had for the prestige of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences...
posted by paulsc at 5:01 PM on October 9, 2009


I found out the news from my 16-year-old First Certificate in English students today in class, who congratulated me - and America - on voting for him, and politely expressed hope that the world they grow up in will be more peaceful than the one their parents lived through. It was one of those moments when the power of democracy, and of my voice in it, however small, truly humbled me.
posted by mdonley at 5:03 PM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Here is the full explanation of why Obama got it!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/09/nobel-prize-to-obama-defe_n_316098.html
posted by Postroad at 5:04 PM on October 9, 2009


I'll point out again, Obama's campaign position of engaged diplomacy with countries such as Cuba, North Korea, and Iran over an extended election process fundamentally changed the shape of foreign policy discourse in the United States. Obama openly challenged the hawks in his own party and the Republicans, and brought some pretty fringe ideas into the mainstream.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:05 PM on October 9, 2009


This is awesome, and people need to unclench a little. I don't see what the fuss is all about. He won that peace prize fair and square. Instead of sobbing when I say the words, "President Sarah Palin," I can give a good chuckle and feel a deep sense of relief. You people do realize that McCain would've died from a fit of rage shortly after entering office, and at this very moment in an alternate universe we're cannibals picking through the remains of the nuclear apocalypse she caused?
posted by mullingitover at 5:08 PM on October 9, 2009


Instead of sobbing when I say the words, "President Sarah Palin," I can give a good chuckle and feel a deep sense of relief.

Actually, now that I think about it that way, when I say the words "President Sarah Palin" or even "Vice President Sarah Palin," I immediately get the urge to give every available award to the man who is President instead of her. I that thought even makes me want to give the Nobel Peace Prize to Joe Biden.
posted by The World Famous at 5:14 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


You point to the recent deal with Iran, but again: Obama was nominated for the prize in February, less than 2 weeks after he was inaugurated.

My guess is that, ever since Carter missed out on winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 because of a missed deadline, that someone has been throwing the names of world leaders into the ring "just in case". Getting nominated HAS to be easy, because, honestly. GWB was nominated. Sarkozy was nominated. I mean, COME. ON.

How Carter Lost Out on 1978 Nobel Prize: A Missed Deadline - New York Times

It does not surprise me that someone put Obama's name up for nomination. It only takes one qualified person to do that. There was no conspiracy. Sorry, Fox News.
posted by jeanmari at 5:15 PM on October 9, 2009


...Sarkozy was nominated. I mean, COME. ON.

er.. it wouldn't be too hard to build a case for Sarkozy
posted by edgeways at 5:22 PM on October 9, 2009


TWF: "I that thought even makes me want to give the Nobel Peace Prize to Joe Biden."

I know, right? Sadly, there's only one per year. I hope Joe will get the nod in 2011.

Overall this whole affair makes me think that the committee read Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, and took it to heart. In particular, from "Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment": "7. Give them a fine reputation to live up to."
posted by mullingitover at 5:27 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


lupus - love yr moniker and much of what you post to the blue, but please back off on even the concentration camp verbiage. It may be technically correct to refer to Guantanamo and Bagram as such but if you don't think it instantly brings the unimaginable evils of the Holocaust to mind, you're being naive.

Yes, it does and it absolutely should. The difference is only one of scale. Your chances of ever emerging from the US concentration camps is tiny; your chance of going crazy from the isolation and the systematic torture is much greater.

At least in concentration camps in Germany and Russia you could hope for the eventual overthrow of the regime. But we had that and we're still running ours - so you basically have no hope at all.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:36 PM on October 9, 2009


“Continuing to keep the political pressure on, and it's not just about Obama, it's about getting those bills through congress, the legal fights in the courts, and the ballot battles in the states as well, is political self defense.”

I’d have to agree. I’d have to say that giving him the prize is part of that political pressure too, in part to continue to pursue diplomatic solutions with antagonistic countries and to further alter the foreign policy terrain in the U.S., etc.

More flies with honey, all that.
Positive reinforcement seems to cut no ice with some people at all.
The international community castigating Bush for being a dick, giving Obama accolades – pretty big difference there.

I think the mistake a some folks are making is that the award is somehow a post-event earned sort of deal that someone is supposed to deserve rather than a form of communication and a symbol of approval and encouragement to continue.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:36 PM on October 9, 2009


er.. it wouldn't be too hard to build a case for Sarkozy

You're right. His role on the ceasefire proposal in Gaza could definitely recommend him. Pardon my error.
posted by jeanmari at 5:40 PM on October 9, 2009


More importantly, can he give me one?

What surprised me about his speech is he did not ASK for anything, he talked in generalities. He did not say, "what can you do for peace?" he said "look what (abstract) America and the world can do for peace".

I think this is the Obama weakness, he is indirect. There is only the talk of hope, not the spice of it.
posted by niccolo at 5:43 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Your chances of ever emerging from the US concentration camps is tiny; your chance of going crazy from the isolation and the systematic torture is much greater...so you basically have no hope at all."

This degree of nihilism is absolutely insulting to the many, many Americans sacrificing and working quite hard to remedy these things.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:43 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


At least in concentration camps in Germany and Russia you could hope for the eventual overthrow of the regime. But we had that

In 1776.
posted by oaf at 5:46 PM on October 9, 2009


May I direct you guys to all the Obama posts BEFORE and at the time of his acendancy to the Presidency? Look, I did not read the whole thread, and I certainly do not like the motivations for him receiving the Prize, but I am pretty certain there are many of the same in here that are complaining about this action, but thought that Obama was the Greatest Thing Ever when it was in vogue to talk about it.
posted by captainsohler at 5:52 PM on October 9, 2009


>> Why not give the Peace Prize to every single worker for Amnesty International, or Doctors Without Borders, etc?
>
> They already did!
>
> Amnesty International, 1977
> Doctors Without Borders, 1999
> posted by smackfu at 3:59 PM on October 9 [3 favorites +] [!]

Both have won the prize before but I wouldn't be unhappy to see either win again. There doesn't seem to be any rule against winning twice--the Red Cross has won three times and the (Office of the) UN High Commissioner for Refugees twice. And since some dictators seem at least somewhat timid about doing away with very famous people in their power, that argues that there's really no such thing as a throwaway year. Were I on the panel I'd give it to Aung San Suu Kyi again in a heartbeat.

But don't take that to mean I think Obama's win was a throwaway, because I don't mean that at all. I'm content to take the committee's reasons for why they awarded it to him and the reasons don't seem unreasonable. If it was partly given as a sort of "attaboy, keep up the good work" thing in hope of more and more effective peace initiatives in the future, I can't dredge up much outrage over that. I hope for the same.
posted by jfuller at 5:53 PM on October 9, 2009


At least in concentration camps in Germany and Russia you could hope for the eventual overthrow of the regime

Oh for fucks sake, you're just embarassing yourself. It's not just that you're exaggerating about how bad Guantanamo is, it's that you're so limited in your range of historical analogies.

Indian reservations were concentration camps -- the Japanese internment camps were concentration camps -- Auschwitz was a concentration camp. They're intended to _concentrate_ a targeted minority group and separate them out from the general population. That is not what Guantanamo is.

Guantanamo, if you MUST reach for a historical analogy, is more properly compared to a gulag, or the prisons in South America that dissidents were disappeared to. It's been (and may still be) a torture camp, a legal black hole, a living nightmare for the innocents that were put there, but it is NOT a death camp, and it's NOT a concentration camp.

If you want to be taken seriously, start by telling the truth.
posted by empath at 5:56 PM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


And, for the record, lots of people HAVE been released from Guantanamo, most of those incarcerated have legal representation of some kind, and I expect that by the end of Obama's first term, the camp will be shut down and all the innocents will be out of custody (and probably some of the guilty, due to the way the Bush administration fucked up any possibility of prosecuting the ones that genuinely deserved to be incarcerated).

If you want Guantanamo shut down, Obama is not the person to be angry about now, it's the congressmen who are blocking any attempt to transfer prisoners to the US.
posted by empath at 6:00 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


"How can voices pointing out the urgent need for change be harmful to his efforts to promote that change?"

It can be harmful when the attacks against the president become too personal, or when we start accusing him of betrayal, when it's far more likely that he is trying to do the best he can given the current political climate. There is, in fact, a difference between Democrats and Republicans. It's just hard to tell at times, because the Democrats lack strong, visible public support for their agenda.

Presidents have an entire agenda, and they cannot always afford to dictate, push, or be evasively partisan in order to get their way. That's what Clinton tried to do with Hillarycare, which is why it failed so spectacularly and why the Democrats lost control of both the House AND Senate just two years later. Obama is profoundly aware of this, and has probably studied the details involved with a historian's sense of detail, in order to learn from them.

For Obama, the best approach is incrementalism -- passing bits and pieces of legislation through at times that are most convenient, rather than ramming it in like an bad lover. It's also the method which is likely to bring about the greatest good over time. Hillary Clinton achieved notable things in a Republican-led Senate on health care issues for children, for example... but *only* because she was gradual, tried to work both sides of the fence, and did what she did at opportune times. She no doubt made some compromises in exchange... such is politics.

It does help to have a public that understands that not everything can -- or should -- happen at once. It's hard, however, for a hot-headed public to understand that yes, there is a reason to politician's madness, that changing policy takes time, and there is a strategy involved.

The trick for the public is to stay committed, but to also stay positive. Realize that the Democrats are not perfect, but at least with them, you have leadership that is willing to sign off on legislation that helps ordinary people... if you and others fight hard enough to make it happen.

The very definition of progress is "steps towards a goal"... and yet most progressives seem to want everything at once lately, ideally by an executive order. We should be glad that Obama is addressing these issues legislatively, frankly... it's a lot easier for Republicans to find their way back in power, and then rescind executive orders. I, for one, wouldn't want people's marriages or equal rights as a citizen annulled because Republicans want to roll back morality fifty years.

The simple fact is, Republican administrations aren't reasonable on social issues, economics, science, or even medicine... and the threat that poses not only to our way of life, but to our very existence is intolerable. We can't afford to think there isn't a difference between the two parties anymore. We can't afford eight years of green energy investments... followed by eight years of weakened CAFE standards anymore. We can't afford eight years of increased prosperity, followed by eight years of tax cuts for the rich, and no investments at home. Those things just won't work anymore.

We need to accept the fact that we'll probably get very tired of the Democrats... but we can't afford the dangerous instability of the Republican Party destroying all that we've worked for. If they want to govern, they have to face up to reality.

If that means that they don't rule for another twenty or thirty years until we've tackled some really huge, world-shaking issues, well... them's the breaks. They'll need to change.
posted by markkraft at 6:01 PM on October 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Rhaomi won this thread about 450 comments ago. Awesome +.
posted by jeoc at 6:03 PM on October 9, 2009


That anyone could seriously compare Lech Wałęsa, a man who literally risked his life and freedom to lead a nationwide strike that brought down a totalitarian government and radically changed an entire country forever, with a junior Senator who completed half a term competently simply boggles my mind.

Call me when Obama spends a year in jail (as Wałęsa had by the time he got his Nobel Prize) and we'll talk.

If Obama had the same list of achievements he has now, but in Poland, no one would ever have heard of him.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:04 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Rhaomi won this thread about 450 comments ago. Awesome +.

Pshh. I won this thread about a month after I joined Metafilter, because I captured the site's attention and gave its people hope for better comments.
posted by The World Famous at 6:09 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy: "If Obama had the same list of achievements he has now, but in Poland, no one would ever have heard of him."

If a man became President of the United States in Poland, I'm pretty sure we'd have heard about him. Now that would give the birthers something to complain about.
posted by mullingitover at 6:12 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think the main reason that Guantanamo shouldn't be compared to a concentration camp is that it implies a certain amount of planning and competence in the execution of the project, rather than it being a half-assed attempt to drop people into a legal black hole, so Cheney could funnel money into crooked federal contractors and play Jack Bauer.
posted by empath at 6:14 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Metafilter - ramming it in like an bad lover
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:16 PM on October 9, 2009


captainsohler: I am pretty certain there are many of the same in here that are complaining about this action, but thought that Obama was the Greatest Thing Ever when it was in vogue to talk about it.

There's a huge difference between voting for / supporting Obama, even enthusiastically, and believing he deserves what many regard as the most prestigious award in the world prior to delivering on most of the platform upon which he was elected.

Obama may be the best guy running for President the last time, or the best President of the last 40 years, or even the best President ever, but that's not the most noble list of guys on the planet. Obama didn't save a billion lives like Norman Borlaug. He didn't ground a successful civil rights movement in principled nonviolence like Martin Luther King. And, if we want to take from potential recipients this year, he didn't mount a largely peaceful response to a rigged election in Iran, he's not lying in wait in the Brazilian embassy waiting to be rightly reinstalled as the President of Honduras, he didn't orchestrate a successful campaign to get indigneous farm workers as slightly more just wage for their tomatoes, he didn't go to jail in principled opposition to violence and war, and he's not one of the hundreds of deserving folk who deserve the award postumously (Gandhi, anyone?). He's the guy who this week refused to meet with the Dalai Lama so as not to upset China.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been not awarded before: 1914, 1915, 1916, 1918, 1923, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1948, 1955, 1956, 1966, 1967 and 1972. Why is Obama a better option than not giving the award at all?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:19 PM on October 9, 2009


Call me when Obama spends a year in jail

Call me when Kissinger spends a year in jail.
posted by oaf at 6:19 PM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


If Obama had the same list of achievements he has now, but in Poland, no one would ever have heard of him.

If Obama had the same list of achievements he has now, but was Tim Pawlenty, nobody would have manufactured any outrage about it.
posted by blucevalo at 6:20 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Nobel Peace Prize has been not awarded before: 1914, 1915, 1916, 1918, 1923, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1948, 1955, 1956, 1966, 1967 and 1972. Why is Obama a better option than not giving the award at all?

Thanks for the helpful list. Let's hope that scoundrel Obama now sees the light and sends his award back to Oslo with a note tacked to it reading, "I just can't accept your award because I'm a ignoble wreck of a human being, sorry!"
posted by blucevalo at 6:25 PM on October 9, 2009


The Final Word.... My most sincere congratulations for this award Mr. President Barack Obama.... You became president because of the large list of achievements you already have conquered in your young life. This is well deserved. We are proud of you!!
posted by CRESTA at 6:28 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Rush Limbaugh goes on to say that winning the Nobel is "emasculating this country" and "rewarding a pacifist" (as if thats a bad thing? and as if it were true).

A Peace Prize to reward a pacifist. He's right: it's madness.
posted by rokusan at 6:38 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, it's actually less insane than believing that Obama's qualified (what a joke!) to win the prize, if you're to follow The World Famous's logic.
posted by blucevalo at 6:41 PM on October 9, 2009


Well, it's actually less insane than believing that Obama's qualified (what a joke!) to win the prize, if you're to follow The World Famous's logic.

Really? You're that riled up that I think it's insane not to react to Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize at this time by questioning why Obama is the one, at this time, selected to win it? Did you not react that way, and you're afraid that I think you're insane? Look, I promise I don't think you're insane, ok? I propose, in light of the context of this thread, that we all lighten up and be nice to each other. Whaddayasay?
posted by The World Famous at 6:48 PM on October 9, 2009


If a man became President of the United States in Poland, I'm pretty sure we'd have heard about him. Now that would give the birthers something to complain about.

Maybe, maybe not. They're apparently fairly light-skinned over there.
posted by acb at 6:54 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The World Famous, I admit that I may have gotten a little carried away at points, but I know that I'm not the only one in this thread who has.

But I accept your proposal. Thanks.
posted by blucevalo at 6:56 PM on October 9, 2009


Yay! Thanks, blucevalo. Sorry if I offended.
posted by The World Famous at 6:59 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


You didn't offend me. Sometimes I get a bit obsessive-compulsive in pursuing political discussions. It's a fault of mine. Anyway, my apologies for being a jerk.
posted by blucevalo at 7:01 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obama should hand over that prize to the two of you.
posted by gman at 7:02 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's all a ploy. We're angling to get Obama to invite us to the White House for a beer.
posted by The World Famous at 7:04 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


They award it after he refuses to see the Dali Lama, after he continues the Bush regimes policies on prisoners, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, after he continues to enforce policies that are the direct opposite of what he campaigned, after he doesn't get rid of "signing powers", after he refuses to stand up and make the US join the rest of the western world in universal health care, and good education for every one, even poor kids.

They did give it to a Republican. They just gave it to one of a different color.

Don't get me wrong; I campaigned for him, I voted for him, and I really thought he might be an agent of Change. I'm pretty damn disgusted to find out that I voted for the same damn thing we've always had. He's no agent of peace, no agent of change. If he is worthy of the Nobel Prize, then the Nobel Prize is meaningless.
posted by Peecabu at 7:26 PM on October 9, 2009


> If Obama had the same list of achievements he has now, but was Tim Pawlenty, nobody
> would have manufactured any outrage about it.

Since that would mean Gov. P was President I feel sure somebody would manage it. You reckon without our batallions of outrage professionals.
posted by jfuller at 7:38 PM on October 9, 2009


“That anyone could seriously compare Lech Wałęsa, a man who literally risked his life and freedom to lead a nationwide strike that brought down a totalitarian government and radically changed an entire country forever, with a junior Senator who completed half a term competently simply boggles my mind.”

Your focus on characterizing him only as a junior Senator completely ignores the great deal of work he had done prior to elected office. And it strikes me as willfully obtuse.

Furthermore, in ’83 Walesa had not achieved anything tangible. He had not brought down a totalitarian government. He had not changed the country. He had risked his life and spent time in prison – but the award was given to him for the same reasons it was given here to Obama. The hope for a better future.

I’m a huge fan of Walesa. I’m taking nothing away from him. And it was dangerous for him. And I’d say it’s dangerous for Obama. There are a wide range powerful forces arrayed against Obama and enough power, influence, money and other tangible assets that it’s worth it to them to kill him if they can. Of course he’s got Secret Service protection.

On the other hand, the implications of Walesa being assassinated in ’83 and Obama being assassinated now… I really don’t want to think about the tensions in this country alone and how that would tear us up. And how that would so tear us down internationally. I might myself succumb to madness and nihilism and I always think there's hope for people and 'quit' is not in my vocabulary. (Hell, I'm making time to talk to you aren't I?)

Walesa was, and is, a great man. But the multiplicity and level of brinksmanship here being played by this single man – this, as you say, former junior Senator who is essentially alone because of that – is an astonishing burden for a human being.

And making the call to award this prize, to this man, at this moment in history – doesn’t seem like more of a stretch. Anymore than it was to give it to someone like Walesa who could have used, and got, the same kind of validation from the international community in 1983 before the heavy stuff went down

Look at Wilson – fought for the league of nations, refused to compromise and went down fighting. And accomplished almost nothing at home.
Roosevelt got his, one could argue, for brokering peace between Russia and Japan but he was in other wars.

But in both cases they got the award more for setting up systems that promote peace rather than a specific milestone accomplishment.

The idea that one should ‘deserve’ the award makes it an afterthought in world events.
And no true peacemaker is going to ‘go after’ the award.
And the irony is, anyone who really needs help to accomplish something – they wouldn’t get it until after they’d done it.
I think it’s better, less egotistical, and far more practical, to recognize men like this as links in a chain rather than ends in and of themselves. Or better still – to recognize and symbolize the principles of peace and be not an ‘award’ so much as a banner to rally around, not for the person, but to gather strength and support to what that individual is doing.

Or you can sit on your ass and grouse about who’s “better” or more deserving.
Yeah, that’ll accomplish a lot. (MLK loved more than anything else to go on about how he was totally more non-violent than that punk Gandhi.)

“Men's indignation, it seems, is more excited by legal wrong than by violent wrong; the first looks like being cheated by an equal, the second like being compelled by a superior” - Thucydides

…Of course, all this pales in comparison to Marge Simpson making the cover of Playboy.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:39 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


"They gave one to Kissinger and another to that Dali Lama douchebag, so it's not like there isn't precedence."

Yes, Henry Kissinger and the Dalai Lama. They're like twins.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 7:44 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think Obama is at least as deserving of the Nobel as Harriet Meyers was of the supreme court.
posted by 445supermag at 7:46 PM on October 9, 2009


Since that would mean Gov. P was President I feel sure somebody would manage it.

No, not in the same way. Not with this vitriol. Not at all.
posted by blucevalo at 7:47 PM on October 9, 2009


A Canadian perspective:

A young politician, not yet fully tested, makes important and history-altering moves on the international stage – moves whose long-term outcomes remain uncertain – and is surprised to find himself with a Nobel Peace Prize. That describes Lester B. Pearson in 1957. It describes Barack Obama in 2009.
posted by philip-random at 7:49 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


They award it after he refuses to see the Dali Lama

Um. He's just delaying seeing the Dali Lama until after meeting with the Chinese because they're super touchy about things like that, which the Dali Lama's people said they very much understand, because they know that closer ties with the Chinese can only be good for the Tibetan people. Obama's general strategy is to sow closer ties with countries which we have traditionally taken an adversarial stance with. You may disagree with this strategy, but saying he "refuses to see the Dali Lama" is very disingenuous.
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:06 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Err. Dalai Lama, that is.
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:07 PM on October 9, 2009


They award it after he refuses to see the Dali Lama, after he continues the Bush regimes policies on prisoners, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, after he continues to enforce policies that are the direct opposite of what he campaigned, after he doesn't get rid of "signing powers", after he refuses to stand up and make the US join the rest of the western world in universal health care, and good education for every one, even poor kids.

They did give it to a Republican. They just gave it to one of a different color.
Yeah, um, that's fucking insane.

He's in the process of shutting down Gitmo. Already people have been released from it, and others have been given their rights to lawyers and trials and such. He's outright banned the torture that went on there. He's getting troops out of Iraq, and has an actual timetable in place for doing so. He's increased funding for Pell Grants by something like thirty percent. And I don't know if you noticed or not, but we're going to get a massive overhaul in health care, in large part due to him pushing the issue.

Yeah, yeah, I know, the health care overhaul isn't going to be exactly what you want. And troops haven't magically teleported back home overnight, and he hasn't pulled ten million previously nonexistent grade school teachers out of his hat.

That he hasn't done everything that you want doesn't mean he's equivalent to a Republican with dark skin, or whatever the hell you mea by a Republican "of a different color". To state that it does is just downright crazy. What the fuck. Get some perspective.
posted by Flunkie at 8:08 PM on October 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


The Dalai Lama's envoy, Lodi Gyari, played down the situation, saying there "has been no question of President Obama not, at the appropriate time, meeting His Holiness." He said Monday in a statement that the Dalai Lama, "taking a broader and long-term perspective," agreed to the postponement in the hope that a cooperative U.S.-China relationship will help resolve Tibetans' grievances. [link]
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:08 PM on October 9, 2009


Respect for Lester B. Pearson. One of Canada's greatest Prime Ministers.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:10 PM on October 9, 2009


after he refuses to stand up and make the US join the rest of the western world in universal health care, and good education for every one, even poor kids.

This may come as a huge shock, but Barack Obama is not Jesus Christ. He cannot "make" these things happen or will them to happen. If the US Congress blocks him, if Congress sits on its ass and twiddles its thumbs, if Congress delays, if Congress obstructs and obfuscates and scurries into dark corners and wiggles its whiskers like a frightened mouse, nothing legislative, including health care reform, can happen, and nothing will happen.

And the US Congress is doing all of these things. I suggest that you save some of your outrage for them.
posted by blucevalo at 8:26 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Looks like Peecabu doesn't want Obama to

*puts on sunglasses*

keep the peace.

YYYYYEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!
*Cue Won't Get Fooled Again riff*
posted by dirigibleman at 8:45 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


blucevalo: Thanks for the helpful list. Let's hope that scoundrel Obama now sees the light and sends his award back to Oslo with a note tacked to it reading, "I just can't accept your award because I'm a ignoble wreck of a human being, sorry!"

You're confusing disagreement with the Nobel Committee's choice with believing Obama should send the thing back. I meant only to recognize there is precedent for not giving the award when there were no obvious recipients and during periods in which the level of violence in global culture was unusually high.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:47 PM on October 9, 2009


I acknowledge the error. I've been in this thread too long. Sorry about the confusion.
posted by blucevalo at 9:02 PM on October 9, 2009


Nobel Committee Chairman Explains Obama Choice (w/ video):
“The announcement drew gasps of surprise and cries of too much, too soon. Yet President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday because the judges found his promise of disarmament and diplomacy too good to ignore.

The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee - four of whom spoke to The Associated Press, said awarding Obama the peace prize could be seen as an early vote of confidence intended to build global support for the policies of his young administration.

They lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation, and praised his pledges to reduce the world stock of nuclear arms, ease U.S. conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthen its role in combating climate change.

‘Some people say - and I understand it - 'Isn't it premature? Too early?' Well, I'd say then that it could be too late to respond three years from now,’ Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, told the AP. ‘It is now that we have the opportunity to respond - all of us.’

Jagland said the committee whittled down a record pool of 205 nominations and had ‘several candidates until the last minute,’ but it became more obvious that ‘we couldn't get around these deep changes that are taking place’ under Obama.

…In Europe and much of the world, Obama is praised for bringing the U.S. closer to mainstream global thinking on such issues as climate change and multilateralism. A 25-nation poll of 27,000 people released in July by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found double-digit boosts to the percentage of people viewing the U.S. favorably in countries around the world. That indicator had plunged across the world under President George W. Bush.

…The Nobel committee said it paid special attention to Obama's vision of a nuclear-free world, laid out in a speech in Prague and in April and at the United Nations last month.

Former Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said Obama has already provided outstanding leadership on nuclear non-proliferation.

‘He has shown an unshakable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts,’ ElBaradei said. [more…]”
posted by ericb at 9:05 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're confusing disagreement with the Nobel Committee's choice with believing Obama should send the thing back.

My awesome sucky* CSI Miami comment still works, though, right?

*Awesome sucky! That's pretty much CSI: Miami! Hell, that's pretty much Miami. And CSI.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:28 PM on October 9, 2009


Jeez, Obama is not a Republican of a different color. That's crazy talk there. Imagine if McCain and Palin had won. In that world, confronted by a giant worldwide economic crisis, McCain would have suspended work on anything else. Then to address the economic problem, he would have told the country, "Take two tax cuts [for rich people] and call me in the fall." After that, the world would have dropped into a decade-long worldwide depression. After eight years of McCain misery (McMisery?), we'd still have been in Iraq, Guantanamo would still be open, nobody would have realistic health care, all our jobs would be in China, unions would not exist, the government would still be spying on us without warrants, and everybody would still hate us. The future we avoided by electing Obama instead of McPalin is worth TWO Nobel Peace Prizes. At least.
posted by jamstigator at 9:40 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


So the first major scandal of the Obama administration is ... winning the Nobel Peace Prize?





Really?
posted by mazola at 9:43 PM on October 9, 2009 [26 favorites]


Metafilter: I've been in this thread too long. Sorry about the confusion.
posted by philip-random at 9:44 PM on October 9, 2009


This thread is pissing me off.
posted by monospace at 9:54 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


surviving their transformation into a 21st century version of the Whig Party

They can only dream of being the Whigs. Anti-immigrant? Nativist? Trying to interject the Bible into civic life? They're Know Nothings. Ironically, the Republican Party was founded partly as a repudiation of the mindset they exemplify today. Abraham Lincoln:
As a nation, we begin by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty--to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:17 PM on October 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


I just want to say it's highly refreshing that we're here debating the President getting the Nobel Peace Prize as opposed to a President's pronounciation of "nuclear." It's a nice change.
posted by eatdonuts at 10:57 PM on October 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Things that happened today:

The Moon was bombed by NASA.

The President I voted for was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Marge Simpson was on the cover of Playboy (IOW, Playboy completely lost whatever was left of its relevance).
posted by dirigibleman at 11:20 PM on October 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


There were many more deserving cartoon women who should have been on the cover of Playboy. What has Marge Simpson even done yet???
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:30 PM on October 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I started this thread thinking, "I don't get why he's receiving this so soon." But, by this point, I have seen enough evidence and historical precedent to totally get it. Thanks, folks who've been giving links and useful analysis!

One can only hope that the long arc of history will show this as a prescient choice... But, right now, I'm cool with celebrating.

Whoo! Peace rocks!
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:49 PM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll admit it: when I heard about the Prize this morning, I first said "Must have been a slow year for peace." Then I suggested to a friend that he should humbly turn it down, because he doesn't need this sort of grief.

I've changed my mind.

Obama shouldn't turn down the Nobel. He should accept it, gladly and humbly, and we should shove that medal in the faces of the racist wingnuts as an ultimatum from the rest of the world that YOU DO NOT SPEAK FOR US. Then he should give a speech in Oslo that will make grown men weep with joy at the human promise, because as bad as things are we sure could use a little "Yes We Can" confidence right now.
posted by Hollow at 12:00 AM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and to the "progressives" that have smugly decried giving the award to a leader embroiled in two wars, I offer two reminders (which I'm sure have been articulated in some form upthread):

First, we actually ARE steadily withdrawing from Iraq, and we are set to hit the deadline of 2011 just fine. Doing it any faster would be unfeasible and irresponsible.

Second — and this is the one that makes me mad — while I am as skittish as anyone at the prospect of spending another decade entangled in Afghanistan, that graveyard of empires, let us not forget: THE TALIBAN ARE MEN WHO SPLASH YOUNG GIRLS WITH ACID TO SCARE THEM OUT OF GOING TO SCHOOL. If any of you can honestly stomach the thought of leaving the women of Afghanistan and tribal Pakistan in their hands, I hardly think you're progressive at all.
posted by Hollow at 12:06 AM on October 10, 2009


Just in case a lot of the "what has he done for us yet" set didn't hear this before...

" What I am confident about is that we're moving in the right direction and that the decisions we're making are based on, how are we going to get this economy moving? How are we going to put Americans back to work? How are we going to make sure that our people are safe? And how are we going to create not just prosperity here, but work with other countries for global peace and prosperity?

And we are going to stay with it as long as I'm in this office, and I think that -- you look back four years from now, I think, hopefully, people will judge that body of work and say, "This is a big ocean liner. It's not a speedboat. It doesn't turn around immediately. But we're in a better place because of the decisions that we made."


- Barack Obama, March 25, 2009

In November 2004, the day after Bush was reelected, a friend of mine in the Army wrote the following:

"
"If you voted for Bush, didn't vote, or voted no on gay marriage, I hope you get drafted. I hope they stick you in my unit, and you go with me to Iraq when my unit goes back in September. I will laugh when you see what soldiers in that country face on a daily basis.

I hope you work with gay soldiers too. I did. One of them saved my life. Think he shouldn't have the right to get married? Fuck you. He fought just as hard as I did and on most days, did his job better than me. Don't tell me gays don't have the same rights you do. Think the war in Iraq is a good thing? I'll donate my M-16 to you and you can go in my place."


I fully suspect that when President Obama finally leaves the White House, the gay soldier who saved my friend's life will be able to serve openly and with dignity. He will be able to live with his partner on-base, who will be entitled to the same rights and protections as any other military spouse.

That soldier will not be sent overseas to fight foreign wars quite so readily, without allies or a strategy for victory, but if he must serve in a war zone, his partner will be able to rely on the care and consideration of all the other men and women who live on-base, who will be there for each other in times of fear and difficulty, just as military families always are.

It could be a world with technological changes as profound as those between 1972 and 1980, or 1992 and 2000. And these innovations will be championed and supported at the government level by great scientists and talented technologists.

Change isn't quick or easy, but it is inevitable and it is happening every day. It's nice to have leadership which embraces it, rather than standing in its way.
posted by markkraft at 1:36 AM on October 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


If any of you can honestly stomach the thought of leaving the women of Afghanistan and tribal Pakistan in their hands, I hardly think you're progressive at all.

Progressives who truly give a damn about the women of Afghanistan might want to consider that there are, you know, actual women of Afghanistan who should, perhaps, receive the Nobel Peace Prize for their decades-long struggle to liberate themselves. And what's more, not all of those women -- strangely enough! how can it be? -- share this presumption that continued U.S. presence is the necessary precondition to save them from the Taliban and their ilk:
The US "War on terrorism" removed the Taliban regime in October 2001, but it has not removed religious fundamentalism which is the main cause of all our miseries. In fact, by reinstalling the warlords in power in Afghanistan, the US administration is replacing one fundamentalist regime with another. The US government and Mr.Karzai mostly rely on Northern Alliance criminal leaders who are as brutal and misogynist as the Taliban.

RAWA believes that freedom and democracy can’t be donated; it is the duty of the people of a country to fight and achieve these values. Under the US-supported government, the sworn enemies of human rights, democracy, and secularism have gripped their claws over our country and attempt to restore their religious fascism on our people.

Whenever fundamentalists exist as a military and political force in our injured land, the problem of Afghanistan will not be solved. Today RAWA's mission for women's rights is far from over and we have to work hard for establishment of an independent, free, democratic and secular Afghanistan. We need the solidarity and support of all people around the world.
Yeah, those are some smug faux-progressives right there, all right. If only they realized the war was really in their best interests!
posted by scody at 2:45 AM on October 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Second — and this is the one that makes me mad — while I am as skittish as anyone at the prospect of spending another decade entangled in Afghanistan, that graveyard of empires, let us not forget: THE TALIBAN ARE MEN WHO SPLASH YOUNG GIRLS WITH ACID TO SCARE THEM OUT OF GOING TO SCHOOL. If any of you can honestly stomach the thought of leaving the women of Afghanistan and tribal Pakistan in their hands, I hardly think you're progressive at all.

I agree, those savages need the firm hand of white western men to lift them up out of their primitive ways.

Also, America can conquer and occupy Afghanistan. We are different from every other nation that has tried because
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:45 AM on October 10, 2009


What Ms. Saint said, x 10.
posted by vac2003 at 3:51 AM on October 10, 2009


Christ, for Afghanistan, we just need to experiment and throw money at the problem. Throw a total of $500 Billion split over the next 5 years by giving away hard cash to the Afghanis. Instead of blowing shit up, use that money to establish ATM machines in city centers and register every person to receive $2000 per year. (their population is around 38 million). Hell, set it up for Iraq as well. Everyone will be too busy watching TV and SMSing on their cellphones to stir shit up. If the ATMs are unexposed, they'd be the first target for the Taliban and will have hell to pay locally. Easy to find and mop them up when you have local support. Of course, this would never happen because it's crazy as shit, pisses off bootstrappin' free-market nutjobs, and looks real bad to the unemployed in America. A man can dream, though.
posted by amuseDetachment at 4:21 AM on October 10, 2009


Second — and this is the one that makes me mad — while I am as skittish as anyone at the prospect of spending another decade entangled in Afghanistan, that graveyard of empires, let us not forget: THE TALIBAN ARE MEN WHO SPLASH YOUNG GIRLS WITH ACID TO SCARE THEM OUT OF GOING TO SCHOOL.

that's not why we're there - we're there because someone flew airplanes into buildings and now that the people responsible have pretty much disappeared, we don't know how to get back out

by the way, haven't we killed more young girls with bombs in afghanistan than the taliban have disfigured with acid?

If any of you can honestly stomach the thought of leaving the women of Afghanistan and tribal Pakistan in their hands, I hardly think you're progressive at all.

now we're invading a nuclear armed country, too?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:23 AM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


war is peace.
posted by telstar at 5:29 AM on October 10, 2009


And I don't know if you noticed or not, but we're going to get a massive overhaul in health care, in large part due to him pushing the issue.

A massive overhaul? I thought it had been whittled down to a few minor cosmetic changes.
posted by acb at 6:35 AM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


now we're invading a nuclear armed country, too?

Well, the poster did specify "tribal Pakistan" so we're left with the question of whether s/he thinks that America should step in unilaterally to alter the culture of the more rural parts of Pakistan or if the idea is that Pakistan is an undeveloped, vaguely-imagined place whose entire populace lives in huts.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:37 AM on October 10, 2009


Tribal Pakistan
posted by Artw at 7:41 AM on October 10, 2009


Tribal Pakistan is what the more or less unincorporated rural parts run by tribal warlords are called. It's where the Taliban has a real stronghold and it very much exists.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:59 AM on October 10, 2009


Some photos I took in the tribal areas - begins with the one I linked to.
posted by gman at 8:11 AM on October 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Nobel committee reasoning, short version: All we are saying, is give peace a chance.
posted by mr.marx at 8:25 AM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


markkraft: Well, that was a big heaping pile of straw man argumentation. Exactly who is making the case that the Republicans and Democrats are the same.

And furthermore, your argument is demonstrably false. The Democrats as a party are not committed to progressive politics. Obama himself is opposed to gay-marriage and lukewarm in regards to marriage equality. The Blue Dogs are trying to please both voters and the health care industry in regards to reform, and crow about being the reasonable conservatives. The party hawks meant that Obama was the first candidate since Carter to voice the consideration that perhaps we should talk with Iran and Cuba. Congress seems to be vulnerable to visible astrotrufing.

It's not about the Democrats or Obama, it's about progress. And as an example where speaking out can shape policy, a few years ago, Barney Frank was willing to screw over a large part of the GLBT community over ENDA. He's less willing to do so now, because people spoke out about it.

No one is saying we should dump Obama or the Democratic party. What we are saying is that we shouldn't hold faith that the invisible backroom politics of Washington are acting in our best interest until the bill is signed. Because usually, those politics don't act in our best interest, and they directly conflict with the promises of open, transparent, and accountable governance that Obama pledged.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:12 AM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, that was a big heaping pile of straw man argumentation. Exactly who is making the case that the Republicans and Democrats are the same.
Well, Republicans and Obama, at least: Peecabu is.
posted by Flunkie at 9:16 AM on October 10, 2009


Or to put it another way, asking progressives to trust that the Democratic party is working in their interest demands a big leap of faith for those of us represented by conservative Blue Dog democrats.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:41 AM on October 10, 2009


Exactly who is making the case that the Republicans and Democrats are the same.

A number of people in this thread, mostly by implication. I know it's a long thread, but it's been happening.

I agree with you 100% that Obama needs to be taken to task for anything he does that contradicts his promises of greater openness, transparency, and accountable governance, Nobel Prize or not. And that should not just mean verbiage, empty rhetoric, or window dressing, either.
posted by blucevalo at 9:44 AM on October 10, 2009


"that should not just mean" = Obama's policy implementations
posted by blucevalo at 10:04 AM on October 10, 2009


Flunkie: Well, Republicans and Obama, at least: Peecabu is."

His Republican nominations to cabinet positions have been very high. His "bi-partisanship" has been to cave to the Republicans on damn near every issue. Democrats came in with a full mandate and absolute control of every branch of government except the judicial, and they've still managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Obama is NOT a progressive...he's much more in line with the moderate republicans than he is the progressives that got him elected. In fact, I would argue that his policies are killing the progressive movement. The administration has consistently moved to distance itself from progressive leadership, refusing to even meet with the Progressive Caucus until recently. They have also consciously corralled progressive organizations and sought to strictly controlled their messaging. Media Matters and the Center for American Progress may have been important voices in the progressive movement at one time, but they're little more than arms of the White House now playing a zero sum game with Republicans who really don't matter. When Democrats control both Congress and the White House, nobody needs the GOP's help to pass legislation.

The Wall Street Bailouts and mo new regulations to stop it from happening again? Don't Ask, Don't Tell still enforced, our gay brothers and sisters still being treated as partial citizens, a healthcare plan that penalizes you for being poor, support of the FISA bill, support of corporations above people, note that big Pharma had a seat at the bargaining table for healthcare, but single payer advocates didn't. Doing everything in his power to protect the Bush regime's war crimes.

He had a fine bully pulpit from which to enact change, and he did nothing for the people, and everything for the fat-cats.

So, perhaps it would be more fair to say he's a Corporate-ist, rather than a moderate Republican. But a progressive Democrat, he is not.
posted by Peecabu at 10:13 AM on October 10, 2009


He's not actually a unicorn either.
posted by Artw at 10:14 AM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or a vampire.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:19 AM on October 10, 2009


He had a fine bully pulpit from which to enact change

This is what is different, frustrating, and ultimately refreshing about Obama.

I think he sincerely believes respectful dialogue amongst different voices is the only way to achieve meaningful, positive change. That's a big change from Bush-era unilateralism and also exemplifies exactly why this award was given in the first place. People aren't 'instantly gratified' but is the right track in the long run. I can accept this.
posted by mazola at 10:21 AM on October 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I don't have the highest regard for the thinking or process of the Nobel committee. Maybe Norway should give it to Sweden so they can more properly handle the Peace Prize along with all the other Nobel prizes." -- Bobby Muller, co-founder of International Campaign to Ban Landmines (Nobel Peace winner, 1997)

Ouch!
posted by blucevalo at 10:24 AM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please, Peecabu. You were saying he is a Republican, just "of a different color". You were saying he is "the same damn thing we've always had".

Now you're saying he's not a progressive (or a "moderate Republican", whatever the hell that is)? Talk about shifting the goalposts.

Your first post was crazy. Just *crazy*. Over the top crazy. I'm sorry, but it's simply not the case that there's no tangible difference between his policies and "we've always had", not by a long shot, and to pretend that your claim that he's not a progressive is the same as, or even backs up, your original claim, is just silly.
posted by Flunkie at 10:24 AM on October 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


World peace has not advanced*.

From the article:
Shouldn't you achieve something before you win a prize?
and
He believes in multilateralism, international treaties, nuclear disarmament, and the UN. He has talked tough to the Israelis and nicely to the Muslims. But mostly, he has brought the American rogue state back to its senses.
DING! DING! DING! DING! DING!

Lastly:
Diplomacy is great, but it only gets you so far. I'd rather put my faith in a guy who, as one former Peace Prize winner put it, speaks softly and also carries a big stick.
It sounds like she likes a guy who is loudly belligerent and carries a big stick.

-------
* God I hate Margaret Wente.

posted by mazola at 11:02 AM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think that what a lot of Americans don't realize is just what the Norwegians are seeing in Obama.

We USians are looking for some major way that Obama has helped advance world peace somewhere else, out there in the world. Like, has he brokered a nuke deal or a peace treaty between two pugilistic nations over there in the mean and ugly parts of the world?

But we're less inclined to notice what the Norwegians, among others, are pretty relieved about. Namely, that the rogue nation in the ugly part of the world that has been brought back from the brink of pre-emptive aggression, etc., is the United States.

The Nobel Committee can't come right out and say that, though. It wouldn't be politic. But their decision is echoing the feelings of a lot of my European friends who are breathing a huge sigh of relief that the US seems to be shaking itself out of the insane, traumatized rage that gripped it - and its leadership - since 9/11.

The rogue nation with which Obama has brokered a new era of peace is our own country.
posted by darkstar at 11:36 AM on October 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


anybody who punks republicans like Norway has
just done with the NPP is rather fine by me :)
posted by liza at 11:37 AM on October 10, 2009


I think he sincerely believes respectful dialogue amongst different voices is the only way to achieve meaningful, positive change.

Which is great when everyone involved is reasonable. When one of the two largest parties to the discussion is batshit fucking crazy and unsubtly suggesting that you be shot, it's more Neville Chamberlain than, uh, some politician with a reputation for being a thoroughly reasonable person because I can't think of any off the top of my head.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:18 PM on October 10, 2009


They basically gave Obama the Nobel Peace Price, because they couldn't give Bush the STFU AND DIAF prize 5 or 6 years ago.
posted by empath at 1:38 PM on October 10, 2009


That's because the STFU AND DIAF prize was decommissioned in 1947, and replaced by the TONYs.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:05 PM on October 10, 2009


His Republican nominations to cabinet positions have been very high.

Does "very high" mean one? Here's Obama's cabinet. He's appointed one Republican, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "He is the only Cabinet member who is officially Republican affiliated."

Obama retained Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a Bush appointee and unregistered Republican. He nominated Republican Judd Gregg for Secretary of Commerce, but Gregg withdrew. (Obama also made Republican John McHugh Secretary of the Army, but that's not a cabinet position.)

And besides, appointing at least one Republican was a campaign promise and reinforces Obama's message of bipartisan cooperation.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:18 PM on October 10, 2009


Which is great when everyone involved is reasonable. When one of the two largest parties to the discussion is batshit fucking crazy and unsubtly suggesting that you be shot, it's more Neville Chamberlain than, uh, some politician with a reputation for being a thoroughly reasonable person because I can't think of any off the top of my head.

Which is why nobody's taking the big stick away.
posted by mazola at 2:35 PM on October 10, 2009


"Exactly who is making the case that the Republicans and Democrats are the same."

Several people. Most importantly, though... history has shown there's a difference. Can anyone *really* say that there isn't a vast difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush anymore?!

"The Democrats as a party are not committed to progressive politics."

Some are, some aren't. I don't remember ever saying that they all were. What I *did* point out is that they are the only party that might listen to you, especially if you and others stay politically active and get real bodies out on the street in a manner than is both respectful and determined. (Black clad anarchists hurt their causes.)

I don't think its a coincidence that the civil rights protests and the recent GLBT march on Washington occur during Democratic administrations. Why? Because the Democrats are a receptive audience. Protests during Democratic administrations not only get more attention from the powers that be... they also get more media attention, because there is a general feeling from them that more is possible, and that such ideas are not outside of the mainstream public discourse in such an environment, and therefore, not so easily ignored.

Likewise, it's no wonder that anti-war protests grew during the Johnson era, but shrank during Bush's. Everyone knew that Bush would never listen to the protesters. As such, it's easier for many of the well-meaning, generally anti-war citizens to dismiss the protests and protesters as an ineffectual fringe... even when they share the same positions.

Across the board, we are suffering from a kind of mental/moral pollution from the flawed, failed, unamerican justifications used during the Bush era. They have infected public discourse.

Remember when Americans were horrified at about nineteen peacekeepers being killed in a bloody day in Mogadishu, a decade before Iraq? We don't generally mention that about 1500 Somalis were killed, with injuries to thousands more, with most of these people being civilians. Our own losses overshadowed that. We pulled back immediately, and out of Somalia entirely soon after.

Well, Iraq was a lot like having a couple hundred Mogadishus. A national disaster for us, and pretty much an ethnic cleansing for the Sunni Iraqis in much of their nation, with numbers of dead and refugees that parallel what happened to the Armenians, in a country where the enemy wasn't -- at least initially -- the enemy... and our country kept upping the voltage.

So... what happened to American morality, their sense of proportion, or even its strategic common sense? Why were we so careful to fight a conflict like Bosnia using our total air dominance, with very few US/NATO casualties, minimal civilian deaths, and complete capitulation before peacekeepers hit the ground... but somehow, we thought it was the right choice, morally and strategically, to have hundreds of thousands of US troops occupy two countries at once?

The argument "everything changed on 9/11" sounds so obvious... but what about the morality of things justified by such a self-evident, yet vague and meaningless statement? Shouldn't morality, the rule of law, and basic humanity and fairness be a constant... or at least strategic common sense?

How many of the problems and second-guessing of the Democrats today are the result of liberals, afraid to be socially liberal again, lest they be branded as liberal by a public that often shares the same morality, but also oftentimes judges, questions, and censors itself?

This goes some way to explain why a clear majority of Americans favor a public option for health care, but oppose a government-run takeover of medicine.

I don't see Democrats -- or Obama -- as opposed to gay marriage. I see them afraid to publicly support what they know is right, because it's politically difficult at this time and under the current circumstances.

It's OUR responsibility to help change our culture, spread acceptance, and to encourage our politicians to do the right thing. Leaders can't do it by themselves, and invariably get criticized when they try.

Ultimately, this means reaching out to fellow Americans, humanizing the arguments... and, like white civil rights workers in the South, committing to do a lot of the work ourselves.

No, we can't assume that the Democrats will always back us up... but it's a pretty safe bet at this point to say they're the only ones who will support us, especially if we make it clear that even though they lack political courage, they aren't the enemy.
posted by markkraft at 3:54 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


OBAMA WINS EVERYTHING!
posted by cjorgensen at 5:05 PM on October 10, 2009


So... what happened to American morality, their sense of proportion, or even its strategic common sense?

Nothing. Nothing changed after 9/11, America just grew into the full expression of its potential, or one dominant aspect of it. None of it lacked precedant or was particularly aberrant except in degree. We're too big and bloated to get any kind of sense of ourselves as a nation. There's too much bullshit on the wind, along with the manipulations of demagogues; and even-tempered analysts just come across as to dry and wordy for many. Conditioning has been a major factor in our lives for too long for many of us to see it. Focus groups, Marketing experts, etc. The political class has learned from all of those things. How could it be otherwise?
posted by metagnathous at 5:37 PM on October 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Things Obama has made unAmerican
posted by Artw at 9:55 PM on October 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Things Obama has made unAmerican

Worth an FPP?
posted by philip-random at 10:19 PM on October 10, 2009


Knock yourself out.
posted by Artw at 10:27 PM on October 10, 2009


Alas, I just posted something.
posted by philip-random at 10:34 PM on October 10, 2009


Well since you insist.

Consider any tear-downs and complaints directed at you. :-)
posted by Artw at 11:24 PM on October 10, 2009


Consider any tear-downs and complaints directed at you

I saw Re-Animator on acid. I can stand a little annihilation.
posted by philip-random at 11:35 PM on October 10, 2009


Ah, see, what you wanted to do was watch it while using a tillinghast resonator to stimulate your pineal gland.
posted by Artw at 11:38 PM on October 10, 2009


Isn't that FROM BEYOND?
posted by philip-random at 11:47 PM on October 10, 2009


Yup
posted by Artw at 11:49 PM on October 10, 2009


(I do not know what the effect of watching Robot Jox on acid would be, but I am willing to bet it would be pretty damn awesome)
posted by Artw at 11:50 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah. See that first hater? That hate is yours.
posted by Artw at 12:11 AM on October 11, 2009


further impetus and international recognition of the task ahead...
posted by bostran at 9:29 AM on October 11, 2009


Robert Fisk: Obama, man of peace? No, just a Nobel prize of a mistake. The US president received an award in the faint hope that he will succeed in the future. That's how desperate the Middle East situation has become.
posted by adamvasco at 12:10 PM on October 11, 2009


Obama, man of peace? No, just a Nobel prize of a mistake. The US president received an award in the faint hope that he will succeed in the future. That's how desperate the Middle East situation has become - Robert Fisk


Yet, another narrow self-serving reading of what Obama winning the prize means.

Love'em or hate em, the Nobel Peace Prize committee has been continually at the prescient forefront of human progress and it's no difference here. The prize is not only for Obama, it is for the people who voted for him and for a country ready to move on from being the world's cowboy to being a force for greater good. Obama's Cairo speech was amazing in it's vision and he has continually shown that vision. Is he over cautious? Yes. Is he slow and methodical and infuriatingly polite towards a Right who despises the ground he walks on and only wants to see him, and the country, if necessary, fail. Has he lost his cool or demeanor or beliefs since he took office or been swayed in the slightest from who he is as an individual? I don't think so.

The Right, is now facing an ever greater inner recognition (and external) that they're on the evolutionary dead-end of human progress and it's going to be the last, horrible gasp of a beast working out some major poisons and it won't be pretty and it won't even be over after Obama leaves in 4 or, hopefully 8 years, but if there's one thing you can't deny, is that this man has taken the worst of what that dragon has thrown at him and is yet still holding firm to unshakeable conviction and vision.

And if he should need a little pat on the back then, I am all for the prize being given to him, because no matter how strong and unyielding and good one's convictions and ideals are, we all at one time or another need a lift or encouragement that we're okay and to trust ourselves and persist, and I say if every once in a while as all humans will do he feels fatigued or beings to feel himself falter or not up to a particular task, to tired ot exhausted by it, it will be good if he can look up and see that prize and he can let it give him some strength and resolve to do not what's easy, but what he knows in his heart to be right.
posted by Skygazer at 12:33 PM on October 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


So they do give out Nobel prizes for attempted chemistry.
posted by Wataki at 4:59 PM on October 11, 2009


Very soon...if it should ever happen. This is just one more thing for conservative nuts to pick at and this time...they're actually right.
posted by credit-expert at 6:41 PM on October 12, 2009


Nobel prize jury defends award to Obama -- "'We simply disagree that he has done nothing,' committee chairman says."
posted by ericb at 10:09 AM on October 13, 2009


Help Barack Obama win the Heisman Trophy
posted by caddis at 11:16 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


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