17 Comments

  1. Rainey

    I was an Obama supporter. Now I feel he’s basically another Jimmy Carter — and extremely decent person with inadequate administrative skills. Administrative skills that are really inadequate to the challenge before American government and society.

    I hope the Nobel Committee is right and I’m spectacularly wrong but I think they’ve placed their hopes above the reality. I hope they don’t do damage to the credibility of the Nobel Prize in doing so.

    I say that with deep sadness but I just don’t think it’s unavoidable to say it about someone who continues to fund and strengthen the independent “contractors” (read unregulated and unrestrained mercinaries) while prosecuting a war in Afghanistan whose objective is murky and which will never reorganize that society away from Islamic-centered tribalism of the strong-arm variety.

    Better Obama should direct those efforts to freeing our society from the strong-arm tactics of the corporate oligarchs who have our government and our lives in a stranglehold first.

  2. Thank you Jon! I am still an Obama fan (holding fast to hope) and yet find myself unimpressed with this. Quite frankly I think this award feeds into his “celebrity” more than it does his actuality.

    I hope (there is that damn word again) one day to be proud of what Obama has done. To find that more than just advocating, he has made huge strides in peace and diplomacy across the world.

    But right now, I can think of at least two other people who are more deserving…

  3. I suppose that it’s an indication of this country’s reacceptance on the global stage by the other powers of the world, an important olive branch, if you will, after Bush. However, I still feel that “premature” is putting it mildly.

    I don’t see much, besides his attitude, that Obama has done for peace. He’s been an oasis of friendship in the political arena. But does that mean he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize? That feels a little like awarding the Nobel Prize for Math (which I know doesn’t exist, it’s an example) to a minority woman for the first time because no minority women have ever won it and she managed to become president of Famous Math University. She’s in the field and she is notable within that field, but she hasn’t done anything specific to the award being received. I feel like this will water down the meaning of the award…some more. I also don’t think that Gore deserved it for promoting sustainability (especially since he merely promoted it, rather than actually making any headway on increasing it).

  4. Rainey

    It seems that Obama owes a lot to W. for winning this… as it seems that without Bush, Obama wouldn’t be so great.

    I think that’s true to some extent. And, to that extent, it indicates how much damage Bush did to the country and to the world.

    Meanwhile, the arrogance continues when the blathering heads on cable news act as though the Nobel Prize Committee has some obligation to get authorization from the American political right before awarding their prize…

  5. John

    xJane, two thoughts:

    The Peace prize has always been different from the others. It is highly politicized. It’s also not always awarded for tangible accomplishments, which is hugely different from the other awards.

    Also, I discovered today that the prize is often awarded to help provide momentum to nascent efforts towards peace. This also makes it different from the other awards, which are often bequeathed decades after the initial splash.

    I still wonder if he’s the best person for the prize (I feel so much like Kanye West here), but I would argue that he’s done more than make friends–by virtue of shifting American foreign policy away from his predecessor’s emphasis on unilateral decision making and by renewing US focus on multilateral agreements and global partnerships, he has *effectively* changed the global climate into one that is less about conflict and more about cooperation and shared interest. cooperation and away from antagonism. But he’s certainly not the first president to do that.

    I want to make it clear that while I have my questions and doubts, but I am generally supportive and would like to congratulate the President on receiving the award. 🙂

  6. I’ve seen a couple of articles which suggest that he was given the prize as a sort of encouragement to follow through his promises, which makes sense.

    I’ve also seen a number of Europeans say that he was given the prize simply for not being Bush. I can kind of see their point.

  7. I retract some of my argument. I think that this is an important gesture and symbolizes a lot to the rest of the world. It doesn’t matter so much what Americans think but what Germans, the French, the English, and Indians think (to name a few). I understand the argument that it’s a political tool—to remind Obama to follow through, to tell the world that Americans are back, &c.

    I worry, though, about the fodder this will give to the nay sayers. They’ve already got “he’s Muslim,” and “he was born in Kenya”. The last thing they need is a “he didn’t deserve the Nobel Prize” because at least that is an argument with some valid points (as opposed to the first two). This seems to be going over very well everywhere but here. Which is what matters. The United States is not the center of the universe, but I still have to live here.

  8. John

    Rainey, I’m intrigued by your comment on Obama’s administrative skills, since I’ve always seen this as a strength of his (his election campaign was an administrative and organizational triumph especially when compared with the Clinton and McCain campaigns). Granted, the environment is different in office, and he has set high expectations for his team. Can you elaborate?

  9. Like G, I’m waiting to see how this pans out. I hope Obama will be reminded of some of his campaign promises (especially toward the GLBT community) and follow through. He could go from being a decent president, to a life-altering president.

  10. Rainey

    I’m intrigued by your comment on Obama’s administrative skills, since I’ve always seen this as a strength of his … Can you elaborate?

    Sure. I agree with you that his campaign was extraordinarily well run and promised an ability that I think he’s yet to deliver. It isn’t merely that he hasn’t gotten any health care legislation. It’s that on alternate weeks he seems to want one kind of legislation and then another. His position on the public option or, what would really address the abuses in our present system, single payer, has been all over the map and he, presently, seems to want anything that can get passed.

    I wish him well for our sake and for the sake of history, the country and the next Black candidate. But I don’t see that he’s stuck to any of the things that he said were his agenda and the agenda that Americans ratified with their presidential votes. Meanwhile, by virtue of the political vacuum he’s allowed to develop while he stays tied up trying to get bipartisan votes that will never materialize in any significant way, he’s let the political right set the national policy conversation with things as ridiculous as the birth certificate non-issue and death panels. Furthermore, he’s backed down when members of his own administration were targeted by the right. All this creates the perception of weakness and erodes the public confidence and will while we try to point to achievements that have yet to materialize.

    Listen, if I’m wrong I’d be nothing short of delighted to have it pointed out. I knew he was more conservative than progressive but I have yet to see anything other than courting the very elements of American political and social life that are undercutting the opportunities and real lives of ordinary Americans at the same time that the oligarchs continue to pick the bones of what once was a vibrant and diverse economy.

  11. John

    Rainey, good points all. I’m actually going to add a couple. The two main administrative shortcomings I’ve seen are 1) the length of time to fill top appointees (ironically a byproduct of the stringent screening process) and 2) his unwillingness to have his office draft health care legislation.

    If I remember my history lessons right, Medicare was the result of three proposals, one from the LBJ admin, one from conservative Republicans, and one from the AMA, but the AMA’s was cut out for some reason. The point being, LBJ influenced the content of legislation at a details level.

    I also I wonder how much of his perceived failures are ones of failed expectations. He set high expectations across the board, but most especially for liberal Dems and independents who got him the nomination, before he made his strong centrist turn.

    That said, I still see him as a rather successful president, and no matter how critical I get, not a day goes by that I don’t remember with mixed horror and gratitude the two men who were in the White House nary a year ago.

  12. Rainey

    The other thing I failed to note was the fact that while we’re handing out money to the same folks who destroyed our economy, there’s not an indication of a reinvigorated system of regulation and oversight. This has been a crying need since the Reagan administration eliminated and hogtied regulators setting the stage for exactly the rapacious, canabalistic economic sector we’re left with.

    While the right is screeching about “big government”, I don’t see Obama pointing out that the kind of regulators who prevent the kind of unsound business practices that got us to this point, protect our food supply and the quality of imported toys that go in our kids’ mouths, of necessity, enlarge the size of government. Or that it’s the same rapacious insurance companies, investment speculators, etc that want and benefit from a leaned down and hobbled government. In addition, he could be pointing out that government jobs are the kind of solid jobs that our economy most needs right now to begin the rebuilding.

    What I’m saying is we could use a little of that community organizing on a national scale and I don’t see it happening. Not even those “shovel ready” infrastructure jobs. Hey! I live in Los Angeles where we’ve had two huge ruptures (big enough to swallow up a fire truck) of our 80-year old water mains that could use some retrofitting and I know that every community across the country has bridges like the one that collapsed in MN or some such project that would add to the security and commerce of communities and provide much needed jobs.

    I hope he’ll get to these things and I know being under assault at every minute for everything he does and is is an enormous challenge. But the need is very great and we can hardly afford for these critical issues to be overlooked. …especially given the damage that’s been done to the economy, the social and moral fabric of the country and to the country’s place in the world of nations during the Bush/Cheney regime.

    As I said, originally, I worry that he’ll be like Carter — a thoroughly good man who, for whatever reason, doesn’t get the job done.

  13. I think many people are confusing his responsibilities as President with his recieving the award.

    He does not deserve the award, the same way Yassar Arafat didn’t deserve the award. As neither have a traditon orr portfolio of work toward peace and the improvement of mankind.

    Obama is very likely to develop the body of work a Nobel laureate should have. But domestic affairs are not deserving of the prize. Doing his job is not worthy of the prize it is what you do above and beyond your job.

    Just ask Jimmy Carter. Nobel Laureate ca. 2002

  14. I think obama deserved that award . If he didnt deserved that award than all them other presidents didnt deserved they award,because oabma is just one person just like the rest of the other presidents were when they was in the white house. He can only do one thing at a time.”BETTER SOON THAN LATER”.EXAMPLE:dr. martin luther king jr. spended most of his time fighting for his rights.And he hadto take his time to make it right.I believe that obama believes in making his counntry a great.but, people is not willing to give him a chances to do it,and its not right!!!!!!

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