There are, of course, some skeptics on the right and on the left (and guess who I think has a bit more of a point). Yglesias rightly points out that Obama has a lot left to accomplish when it comes to promoting peace — brokering an Israel/Palestine peace deal, normalizing relations with Cuba and promoting international climate agreement. And PZ Meyers adds that Obama hasn’t done away with some of the worst leftovers from the Bush years.
On the right, they’re crying “affirmative action” — because, you know, all the qualified people on the entire planet are white. They’re also “stunned,” and suspect this may be the Nobel committee’s way of criticizing George W. Bush. But hey, at least they’re on the same page as the Taliban — how’s that for international diplomacy?
I’m not sure it’s a criticism of the Bush years as much as a reaction to the fact that George W. Bush destroyed our international reputation and earned us more than a few enemies. Obama has a lot to repair, and has made responsible statesmanship central to his presidency. That’s a good thing.
We absolutely should push Obama to do better — and he has a lot to improve — but the attacks on him for being awarded such a prestigious prize are disturbing. We have a sitting president who won a Nobel Peace Prize. That was unthinkable a year ago. I realize that a lot of people on the right are sore losers, but this is getting ridiculous. The Nobel conversations are already sounding like the flipside of the conservative reaction when Chicago didn’t get the Olympics — there, conservatives were giddy that America had lost something just because Obama wanted it; here, conservatives are devastated that an American leader won something, just because Obama is that leader.
I was in the Chicago area (in the suburbs, not the city) when the news of the Olympic rejection broke, and it was disconcerting to see that right so celebratory when most Chicago residents looked like this:
Admittedly hilarious photos aside, right-wingers were just bad sports about the whole thing. It’s disappointing, but not surprising, to see them being jerks about Obama’s Nobel prize win.
To be clear, there are lots of reasons to criticize Obama winning the Nobel while Guantanamo is still open and the U.S. still tortures people. But “OMG he’s black and liberal and therefore obvs not qualified!!!” is not one of them.
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