I was at an economic outlook breakfast meeting at the Vineyard Creek Hyatt in Santa Rosa this morning when I heard that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize.
“For what?” I asked. “He hasn’t done anything, yet.”
“For diplomacy,” a friend and office colleague said.
He then tried to explain the rationale as best he could: That Obama has energized the world and “strengthened international diplomacy.”
I would argue that most of the international diplomacy that has occurred in his presidency has been, ironically enough, by his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband, he of North Korea handshake-for-prisoners fame.
But even so, if that was the criterion, “they should have given the Nobel to the voters who elected him,” I said.
I hoped, for the president’s sake and for the integrity of the prize itself, that Obama might find the fortitude to turn it down.
Of course, that wasn’t going to happen. Who turns down a Nobel?
A couple of hours ago, Obama said he would fly to Norway at the end of the year to
accept the Nobel Peace Prize as a “call to action, a call for all nations to confront the challenges of the 21st century.”
Let me make clear that I like President Obama, for the most part. Our newspaper endorsed him, and, given the extraordinary circumstances of our time, he has done a respectable job in his first nine months in office in responding to our domestic economic concerns. But he has done little on the global stage. This has to be the first Nobel Peace Prize awarded for what someone is going to do. Certainly, setting out to solve the problems of the 21st century is an ambitious agenda. But if objectives and dreams were prize-worthy, we would all be in Oslo come December.
I hate to say it, but this takes the luster off the Nobel. It also will make things more difficult for Obama, I predict.
Furthermore, what is left for this 48-year-old to achieve. The Heisman Trophy?
– Paul Gullixson