Nobel Gesture — Take That George Bush!

By Sadie Bass

Oct 9, 2009 11:55am

ABC's Stu Schutzman reports from New York: Accolades are still pouring in from around the globe after the stunning announcement which seemed to some as much from outer space as from Oslo, Norway. “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel peace prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Gasps followed.  Even the  president himself would have been shocked by the news were he awake at the time but the Nobel committee chose not to disturb him. “Waking up a president in the middle of the night,” said Nobel chairman Thorbjoern Jagland, “this isn’t really something you do.” The bigger question might be; is awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to a sitting President of slightly more than 8 months “really something you do?”  Obama has “captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” says the committee. “I recognize this language,” writes John Dickerson in Slate, “It is the sound of words groaning for a rationale.” Republicans were as quick to rain on the president’s parade — what has he accomplished? Asks the RNC in a press release. “It is unfortunate,” says the GOP, “that the President’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights.” But the release fails to name names maybe not wanting to enter into a debate involving their own former sitting president, George W. Bush. Check out the committee’s language, however, and it’s quite clear that Bush is the elephant in the room. “Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics,” — emphasis on the word “new.” “Diplomacy,” says the committee, “has regained a central position…Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving event the most difficult international conflicts.” Take that George Bush. Or — “Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.” Ouch! “I don’t feel I deserve,” said the President, “to be in the company of some of so many transformative figures that have been honored by this prize.” He will garner agreement from many critics there. “Turn it down,” writes Mickey Kaus also in Slate, “Demonstrating that he’s uncomfortable with his reputation as a man over celebrated for his potential long before he’s started to realize it.” In spite of the criticism of his sparse record, the president said he will accept the prize “as a call to action for nations to confront challenges of the 21st century.” But maybe the (Nobel) jury should still be out…at least long enough for his accomplishments to equal his acclaim.

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