Monday, October 12, 2009

More on the Nobel Peace Prize

Ross Douthat's editorial in today's New York Times cuts to the chase about why President Obama's decision to accept the Noble Peace Prize was a bad decision. Douthat, who, along with David Brooks, writes for the Times from a right-of-center viewpoint, observes in Heckuva Job, Barack:

"This was Barack Obama’s chance.

"Here was an opportunity to cut himself free, in a stroke, from the baggage that’s weighed his presidency down — the implausible expectations, the utopian dreams, the messianic hoo-ha.

"Here was a place to draw a clean line between himself and all the overzealous Obamaphiles, at home and abroad, who poured their post-Christian, post-Marxist yearnings into the vessel of his 2008 campaign.

"Here was a chance to establish himself, definitively, as an American president — too self-confident to accept an unearned accolade, and too instinctively democratic to go along with European humbug.

"He didn’t take it. Instead, he took the Nobel Peace Prize.

"Big mistake."

I think it shows that President Obama, who is far too intelligent not to know what the reaction to his acceptance would be, is not really interested in building bridges, but in forcing change, the changes for which, despite a lack of accomplishment, a decidedly left-leaning Nobel committee would also like to see. This was indicated over the weekend when the president promised the Human Rights Campaign to end the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, despite that back in August, in a Washington Post oped piece, writing on behalf of more then 1,000 retired general and flag officers, four retired general and flag officers argued forcibly against lifting the ban, which they say will harm military readiness.

Douthat expresses the same concern that Ambassador John Bolton expressed after Pres. Obama's U.N. speech, namely that he seems to value his international stature, what Douthat describes as "European humbug," over furthering U.S. interests, which certainly include advancing peace, but doing so realistically, which means making difficult decisions and being confrontational when necessary. I was happy to learn that the U.S. delegation walked out when Iranian president, Mr. Sabourjian... ah, Ahmadinejad... addressed the U.N. General Assembly. His denial of the Nazi slaughter of European Jews is made even more revolting by the fact that they are likely his own people, as the U.K.'s Telegraph asserts! Such symbolic gestures do nothing to deter Iran's regional aggression and nuclear ambitions, not to mention the aims and objectives of the resurgent Russian bear.

In fairness, I also think it is important to point out, as Douthat does, that "Obama didn’t ask for this. It was obvious, from his halting delivery and slightly shamefaced air last Friday, that he wishes the Nobel committee hadn’t put him in this spot." But still, he could have gracefully declined and enhanced his stature at home and given certain interested parties abroad something to think about. He gained nothing by accepting the prize. Whereas, had he politely declined it, he would have made a statement that resonated. All of this leads me to ask, is he already looking at his legacy, to the time when all the controversy has ceased and being a Nobel laureate is all that is remembered about this episode?

It appears that Fox News, known to my friend (yes I have a few), Fr. John Montag, as Phox Gnus, is viewed by the White House as part of the political opposition. That's okay, because they still have Jon Stewart and MSNBC, the latter of which is the opposite and equal reaction to Phox, in their corner. Maybe the president should just agree to sit down with Chris Wallace and prove that he is peace-maker, just a thought.

Whether you like, love, dislike, despise, or are indifferent to Glenn Back, he's done some impressive muck-raking. Being a muck-raker, as the late, great and all-too-soon-forgotten Jack Anderson, who, like Beck is, was LDS, (though Beck is a convert and, I suspect, a good deal more active than Anderson) showed in his book (which I read at 13), Confessions of a Muckraker: The Inside Story of Life in Washington during the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson Years, is dirty work, but serves its purpose in our democratic system. Despite promises of bold change, Barack Obama, like the much too highly revered Jimmy Carter, is as precitable and partisan as any recent president. Besides, we can bear being reminded often that good intentions do not a moral act make.

Friday's post was picked up by Il Sussidiario as Nobel Prize/Obama Awarded: what were they thinking?

Veni Sancti Spiritus, veni per Mariam.


  1. I'm reminded that Keith O. at MSNBC likes to refer to that Other Cable Network as "Faux News". :-)

    That may be more accurate...

    Blessings, Scott,

  2. Thanks, Greg. I am not a fan of either outlet. After all, what's the difference between Keith and Bill, Chris and Glenn, etc? I miss the days when objectivity was actually the goal of journalism, the kind of work I am sure you were initiated into. That is not to say that aren't such folks around today, there are and thank God for them! I imagine the decline of print media and major network news is due in no small part to the phenomenon of news as entertaining shout fests.

    I also lament the demise of the political center, of the Democrats like Scoop Jackson and Republicans like Bob Michel. I am not that old, but I was immersed enough in politics at a young age to be a political anachronism at age 43!

  3. Mostly, i read Afghan war blog and suddenly i read these prize blog firstly i don't believe it... and than i thought he never do for troops so how he deserve it..