Not W

Does anyone really doubt that what Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for is not being George W. Bush?  The US hasn't made a huge amount of progress towards creating peace in the past 9 months, but at least we're no longer driving full speed in the wrong direction.

The interesting question is whether being chosen for the Nobel Peace Prize on a "aspirational" basis will actually make it easier or harder for Obama to accomplish his goals — nuclear disarmament, effective policies on climate change, a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, a US exit from Iraq.  I'm not at all sure — what do you think?

I didn't think Obama's speech was great, but it hit the right general notes — appreciation, recognition that this wasn't for anything he's done yet, a statement that the US can be a leader but the whole world has to be involved.

6 Responses to “Not W”

  1. Jody Says:

    I honestly couldn’t believe it when Spouse told me this morning. I was 100% convinced he was BS-ing me.
    Yes, I think O won because he’s not W. It’s so blatant and stereotypically European, it’s not even funny.
    I think that Stewart and Colbert are going to have a field day with this one. As if there wasn’t a messiah complex around the guy before.
    I thought the speech was fine. It could have done a better job of accepting-without-accepting (I would have preferred he just say HUH? NO! but I realize that’s not realistic) and the opening wasn’t funny, but — whatever.
    I don’t really know that anyone’s paying that much attention to Obama in our neck of the woods. I know that sounds implausible, but no one really talks politics, not even health care, anywhere I go. (Maybe we don’t talk because we all agree: my pediatrician back in August started her small talk with “can you believe those town-hall crazies? The public option is a GREAT idea!”)

  2. K Says:

    Did anyone else feel like Gore got it on an “aspirational” basis too? At the time, I almost wished they had honored some obscure scientist who had discovered some new form of energy. (I know, I know, there is a different Nobel for that kind of thing.) Back then, I had the feeling that they were honoring the spokesperson for the environmental movement and that never sat well with me.
    So, this doesn’t seem all that different. Certainly Obama has inspired hope in people the same way that Gore’s message inspired us to change environmental behaviors.
    But I do think it shows international support for his goals, at least. I’ll take it. Now, get out of Iraq, already, and get us a public option for healthcare, Mr. President.

  3. urbanartiste Says:

    I was totally shocked at the news. After looking at some of the past winners such as Mother Theresa, Doctors Without Borders, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Elie Weisel, and the list goes on, I would like to know the motive behind giving it to Obama. As far as I can see he is in no rush to end either war. I don’t want to diminish what Obama has achieved, but it is certainly not the same as someone imprisoned for most of their life or one who has dedicated their life to the care of others.

  4. Kai Jones Says:

    It makes me sad that the president got the prize in these circumstances. It’s an affirmative action prize: he didn’t win it based on himself or anything he’s done, he won it because he’s the first president after Bush. If Bush hadn’t been president for the previous 8 years, would anyone even know who Obama is? Say Gore had been elected in 2004, and Obama this year (massively unlikely, I think), would Obama still have gotten a peace prize? I think not. This is more a Norwegian comment on American politics than anything else, and with a debased prize in the first place.

  5. dave.s. Says:

    Oh come on Kai Jones, you can’t claim Obama has debased a prize which was already given to Yasser Arafat? My view is that this is about Norwegians being grumpy that they don’t get to vote on who is President of the US.

  6. Kai Jones Says:

    No, you’ve misread what I said: the prize was already debased in the first place before they gave it to Obama, by having previously given it to Arafat.

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