Monday, October 12, 2009

The big story ...

Not the stillers defense. In fact, being at Podcamp this weekend, I missed the game. Speaking of Podcamp (more on that perhaps in the future), one presenter (the person who does “burghbaby”, accessible through “That’s Church”) said never to post just to apologize for not posting. I don’t believe I do that, but I do try to apologize whenever I get back to posting when I haven’t done it in a while. Like now. There are other things going on in my life, and I have been distracted.

Still, how could anyone fail to hear about Obama getting the peace prize? Ross Douthat has a column today that hits all the high notes of the conservative reaction to the news. The title of the column is actually “Heckuva job, Barack”. While he lands the slap in the face, the title is also a reminder of how bankrupt the Republican party is in terms of leadership. I won’t go through the whole column except to say that Douthat hits many of anti-Obama themes of the Republican opposition, without necessarily endorsing them (walking that thin line so as to seem a “reasonable” and “thoughtful” conservative). He managed to inject religion and Marxism into his narrative while seeming to take Obama’s side: “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.” Douthat calls for Obama to decline the award after Obama has agreed to accept it. Actually, it doesn’t matter whether Obama accepts or declines, this “unearned” award will find its way into statements of most Republican for at least the next three years.

And by the way, I don’t think Obama really does deserve the award myself. I think the Nobel people (apparently there are five Norwegians on the this committee) could have given it to someone else, and waited to see what Obama does for the next three years. But it is a fait accompli, and at least Obama has been humble in talking about it. He is very good at knowing what to say.

I think a more interesting question is why did the five Norwegians give Obama the peace prize? Douthat suggests that world leaders are snickering at Obama for not deserving the award, and no doubt some are. Lech Walesa (remember him?) was particularly ungracious in his reaction. But I suspect the Norwegians were trying themselves to do their part to promote peace, to be the change they want to see (as apparently Gandhi said). I think they were trying to bolster Obama’s support at home by giving him this international accolade. I think the world (by which I mean Europe, which most of us probably think as guys speaking English with funny accents, unlike our clear, unaccented English) is aware of the opposition Obama has faced, and desperately wants Obama to be successful. I believe the rest of the world that was aware of the second President Bush was afraid of him. I mean, Bush invaded countries that had nothing to do with 9/11, we tortured and imprisoned people indefinitely and we let our economy get so bad that it dragged down the rest of the world (again). I think at least the five Norwegians think that by giving Obama the Nobel peace prize, they might persuade us the rest of the world thinks highly of Obama, and we should too.

I can’t see it as a negative that at least five Norwegians, and probably quite a few more Europeans and others, think Obama is pretty important. Who am I to argue?

By the way, Saturday Night had a cute on paper but painful to watch bit with their Obama impersonator. He not only won the Peace Prize, but the Powerball as well. He commented that the staffer carrying the giant novelty check plays the lottery every day (as she went from frozen smile to glower).

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