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Obama's premature Nobel a potential liability

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Premature honor a potential liability

'AWESOMENESS' | Opens door for critics to mock president

WASHINGTON -- After an embarrassing rejection a week ago in Copenhagen with Chicago's Olympic bid loss, Oslo handed President Obama a medal Friday -- an award that was premature and potentially a liability for the president.

There was no celebration at the White House for the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama did not seek this out. He has a Grammy and the presidency, and that's enough for now.

The prize was a surprise and a massive distraction that opened the door for Obama's domestic critics to mock him -- as they did during the campaign -- for being an international superstar with no accomplishments.

"Nobel Peace Prize for Awesomeness" was the subject line of a mocking e-mail sent out by Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee chairman.

Ironies and reflections:

• The day Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, he was meeting with his war Cabinet -- his national security team -- to wrestle with ongoing battles in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

• A few days ago, Obama dispatched Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder to Chicago in the wake of an epidemic of youth violence and murders of public school students. Obama can't stop the killing in his hometown -- I'm not saying it should be his job, but he did take an ownership stake -- yet he is hailed for his potential to bring peace to the globe.

• When Obama was a freshman U.S. senator, he joked at the end of his 2006 keynote to a Gridiron Club dinner, "When I actually do something, we'll let you know."

The Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee didn't even pretend Obama accomplished anything to earn his prize. The deadline for submitting nominations for the 2009 Nobel was Feb. 1. Obama was sworn in to office Jan. 20.

Obama's incredible rise -- five years ago, he was still an Illinois state senator -- has been blessed by people projecting their expectations on him. He has been a magnet for true believers who pinned their aspirations, hopes and dreams on him; now you can include the Norwegian politicians on the Nobel panel in the Hope and Change Club.

The Nobel Peace Prize Committee justified the prize because the panel said in a statement it "attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for 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."

In other words, Obama is not George Bush.

• While a few guys in Norway were swooning over Obama, Americans gave the president respectable -- but not overwhelming -- support for his handling of foreign affairs.

A Quinnipiac University poll conducted Sept. 29 through Monday found 49 percent approved, 37 percent disapproved and 13 percent were undecided about Obama's handling of foreign policy.

Peter Brown, the assistant director of polling for Quinnipiac, told me Americans are not "wildly enthusiastic" about Obama's dealings on the international front.

The Nobel Peace Prize panel devalued their medal. Obama might well deserve it -- someday.

Said Obama, "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."

Obama has been thrust into an awkward spot not of his making. That medal might one day be justified, but for now might be a ball and chain around his neck.

9 Comments

If he is really honest he will declined to accept, he doesn’t deserve

Obama did nothing in the Illinois State Senate, nothing as U.S. Senator and nothing as President. Might as well rename this award the Piece Prize.


Any negative assessment over this award reflects on the Nobel committee, not on Obama. Obama did not seek, expect, or probably want it.

Thousands around the world can make a nomination. Every US president in recent times has been nominated.

Nobels have been awarded to other sitting leaders, Willi Brandt of Germany and Gorbachov of the USSR, for initiating promising changes in international relations, before the results of those changes were known.

The Nobel committee is giving Obama similar credit for attempting to change international relations in a fundamental way.

They obviously hope he succeeds.

This is seriously a disappointment. i am actually ashamed to be an American.

Asamaklaka sorry for my misspelling but you are the color you are...ignorant

Even though the legion of Obama "Kool-Aid drinkers" are incapable of admitting it (the sanctimonious always need to create the illusion of "agreement" with their position to sell it, as they cannot do it with the truth), even someone as charismatic and academically-accomplished as Obama can be played as a pawn by more determined interests. The ego is a useful tool for this. Yet, does anyone believe he would have been as taken aback as he was - and admit as much in his press conference - if he felt he deserved it?

Overall, the European leftists demeaned the "Peace Prize Award" by using it as a political ploy to promote liberal policies (i.e., the Prize Committee's, that is) around the world. It is ridiculous and suspicious when only American liberal politicians - whose lame, weak policies increase the likelihood of war - are the only ones who get the award. Yet, leaders like Reagan - who ended the Cold War and advocated the end of nuclear weapons before Obama was even born (and presented a sensible solution in SDI to achieve it) - was deliberately snubbed in 1988 because the committee "did not want to influence the American political (election)." Once again, this is a pathetic attempt to manipulate US Afgh/Middle Eastern policy by European Liberals with a huge economic interest to see us leave. This was a political ploy. Obama would be well to consider it as such and ignore it, lest he imply that he is truly the easily-played, naive and ego-centric politician the leftist Europeans have pegged him to be. If he doesn't, his opponents here could use it as an excuse to hammer him and it could become a liability.

How soon we forget. This President came into
office with such a wall of problems. He has
moved with incredible speed to travel and
connect with world leaders. You cannot turn
things around immediately. I do not hear any
united voices behind him except from the rest
of the world. LET US CELEBRATE THE CHANCE
TO HAVE AN INTELLIGENT PRESIDENT WITH GREAT
POSSIBILITIES.

I say how wonderful for the President and
the United States.

Claudette Norman

Only in America could winning one of the world's most prestigious prizes be considered a liability. But then, only in America could a President as gifted and accomplished as Obama (something the rest of the world obviously recognizes) be vilified for winning a prize he didn't seek. Amazing.

The Nobel Peace prize in not premature, just misnamed. It is rewarding Obama for allowing Europeans back on the inside of the American club after eight years in the cold, with the USA even actively promoting European interests, is felt throughout Europe, including in Norway. Too bad the club is getting a bit run down and neglected lately. Which European, or American for that matter, will want to live and work in Obama’s hood in the future?

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 10, 2009 8:52 AM.

Obama to donate his $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize to charity was the previous entry in this blog.

President Obama official schedule and guidance, Oct. 10, 2009. Speaks at gay activist national dinner is the next entry in this blog.

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