October 9th, 2009


Nobel Peace Prize? Thanks, but no thanks.

I agree with Bob Reich. While I sort-of understand the Nobel committee's reasoning (Obama's re-opened diplomatic discussions, and already advanced the ball on both North Korea and Iran more in nine months than Bush did in eight years); and while I definitely understand how, to the average American, this may represent a realization of the campaign promise of improving our standing in the world; I think this award was kind of a weird pick.

And I think the best thing Obama could do is turn it down. Give a short speech about how he's incredibly honored, and that he hopes that the vision he's laid out for America inspires not just our people, but the people of the world, etc etc... But that there is still too much work to do, he can't rest on laurels. Keep it to ten minutes or less, and skip flying to Sweden.

The loons on the right (who are just itching to have another round of the kind of craziness they had when Al Gore won) would be completely dumbfounded. He'd totally defang the claim that he has a messiah complex. And the downside is, what, the Nobel committee feels a little miffed? It's sort of like a "Sister Souljah moment," except it dissociates him from "out of touch elitists," rather than from a minority/disadvantaged group.

At a bare minimum, he should pledge to donate the prize money to some organization that has a more legitimate claim on the notion that they're doing the most to promote peace. Say, past Nobelist Médecins Sans Frontières.

ETA: Wait a minute, Mickey Kaus had the same idea before I did. Maybe it's just contrarian, not good.

ETA: So, apparently he's going to accept and donate the money.

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