Obama has done the impossible. No, not the prize, silly. That is, as a number of us have pointed out, the ultimate pairing of Obama, who is infatuated with multilateralism and moral relativism, and their most ardent international fans. (One isn’t surprised when the Rolling Stones sell out. Give the crowd what they want and they’ll shout and scream for more.) But what is a bit eye-opening is the level of embarrassment — cringing, really — among those rather sympathetic to Obama. Take a look through the Washington Post‘s Post-Partisan blog. Yes, the conservatives are somewhere between appalled and bemused. But so are Richard Cohen, Ruth Marcus, and David Ignatius.
Some cynics suggested that Obama’s award was a bit premature since, among other things, a Middle East peace was as far away as ever and the world had yet to fully disarm. Nonetheless, the president seemed humbled by the news and the Norwegian committee packed for its trip to the United States, where it will appear on Dancing with the Stars.
This is ridiculous — embarrassing, even. I admire President Obama. I like President Obama. I voted for President Obama. But the peace prize? This is supposed to be for doing, not being — and it’s no disrespect to the president to suggest he hasn’t done much yet. Certainly not enough to justify the peace prize.
The Nobel Peace Prize award to Barack Obama seems so goofy — even if you’re a fan, you have to admit that he hasn’t really done much yet as a peacemaker. But there’s an aspect of this prize that is real and important — and that validates Obama’s strategy from the day he took office.
Mickey Kaus is cringing also. And the AP’s Jennifer Loven is stumped, verging on incredulous. Even the Huffington Post is somewhat mortified. In fact, liberals seems more upset on some level than conservatives, because I think the Left takes this award seriously. Conservatives stopped doing that around the time Yasir Arafat got his.
But now the me-is-the-world routine is getting embarrassing for liberals. And they don’t want to be seen encouraging what is already a story line for late-night comics. (The “to do” list on Saturday Night Live will now be amended to include “Win Nobel Prize for Doing Nothing.”)
But this is where liberals and conservatives part company: liberals think it’s a good thing that the “international community” (i.e., the collection of regimes that intensely disliked George W. Bush, and he them) likes us now. Ignatius explains: “The Nobel committee is expressing a collective sigh of relief that America has rejoined the global consensus. They’re right. It’s a good thing.”
No, it’s a bad thing, a very bad thing, because he got it — as one must to snag a Nobel Peace Prize — by denigrating American values and exceptionialism, demonstrating an aversion to moral clarity, refusing to call out despotic regimes (the Iranian students will be thrilled to know that they give prizes to leaders who think of them as an annoyance), disarming America, repeatedly distorting history to fit false narratives, refusing to stand up to international bullies (excuse me, members in good standing in the international community), and spinning a great deal of hooey about global wealth-sharing and environmental extremism.
And here’s the thing: these regimes don’t like America any more than they used to. They love a U.S. president who shares their disdain for America’s role in the world. So they gave him a prize. “America Isn’t That Great” Man of the Year isn’t something to cheer. Well, unless you work at the White House.