October 09, 2009
Nobel Peace Prize Talking Points

From Agence France Presse:

OSLO – US President Barack Obama sensationally won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday less than a year after he took office with the jury hailing his “extraordinary” diplomatic efforts on the international stage.

Obama was honoured “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjoern Jagland said.

The committee attached “special importance to Obama’s vision and work for a world without nuclear weapons” and said he had created “a new climate in international politics.”

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” it said.

Astonishing stuff. Makes me, for the very first time, wish I could be inside George W. Bush’s head. For him then, and for all the boys and girls at Fox, a list of talking points:

1. What do you expect from a bunch of socialists?

2. Not that I’m a racist, but I know affirmative action when I see it.

3. Carter, Gore, Obama? Do we see a pattern here?

4. A clumsy attempt by Europe to save a failing presidency.

5. The Norwegians are just using Obama to slap George W. Bush in the face.

6. Besides, who cares what a bunch of geeks in Oslo think? The International Olympic Committee speaks for the whole world.

7. No thinking person has taken the Nobel Peace Prize seriously since Reagan didn’t win one for ending the Cold War.

8. We elect a president to keep America safe, not to win prizes.

9. True leadership is not an international popularity contest.

10. Peace is no big deal anyway. No, wait a minute. Strike that last one.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at October 09, 2009 10:32 AM
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I thank James Fallows for bring me back here for i was once a daily reader / well, this is right on / thanks !

Posted by: Katherine Hunter on October 9, 2009 2:46 PM

Good to hear from you again, Katherine. Stick around.

Posted by: Jerry Doolittle on October 9, 2009 3:23 PM

I'm also here via Fallows. What a fine, prescient list, a list that is standing up well to the exploding wingnut brains today. No small feat, given their penchant for hyperbole.

But I'm not sure you anticipated this Rush Limbaugh's Quote of the Day (via Steve Benen): "I think that everybody is laughing. Our president is a world-wide joke," the radio host said. "Folks, do you realize something has happened here that we all agree with the Taliban and Iran about and that is he doesn't deserve the award. Now that's hilarious, that I'm on the same side of something with the Taliban, and that we all are on the same side as the Taliban."

Posted by: wvng on October 9, 2009 4:14 PM

On the money Mr Doolittle. I don't want to downplay your prescience but to be fair they have become as predictable as Pavlov's dogs. Their ears must be made out of solid tin. The big guy's approvals are in the low to mid 50's but his personal likeability is always in the 60's so what's the the percentage in dumping on a guy who is basically one of the most popular men in the country even with folks who don't agree with him. It's truly bizarro. In fact the whole reaction today has been bizarro. Sitting US president wins Nobel peace prize......right erupts in in a totally predictable bout of nasty name calling while the media chatterers speculate this might be a POLITICAL LIABILITY for him. It's Swiftian.

Posted by: John on October 9, 2009 4:18 PM

Sorry, but I must agree with #7 on your list.

Posted by: J F on October 9, 2009 5:25 PM

Takes two to tango, and Gorbachev left the floor first. So he got the Nobel.

Posted by: Duff Orben on October 9, 2009 5:39 PM

Also here from Fallows. And now adding you to my RSS feed...

great list. Sadly, too perfect. (I didn't see the Affirmative Action one coming myself, but then, I'm not a wingnutologist.)

Posted by: evie on October 9, 2009 5:57 PM

It wasn't Sweden, it's Norway.

Posted by: OscarRomero on October 9, 2009 6:04 PM

Out of curiosity, I had been reading some of the right-wing blogs and comments. When I hit your list, I belatedly discovered that I could have saved a lot of time--it's all here!

Posted by: xchar on October 9, 2009 6:08 PM

You can't make this stuff up. If these people don't sane up they'll put Stephen Colbert out of a job.

I'm thinking of Colbert's recent piece on Glenn Beck: "It's like looking in a mirror after I've snorted a bunch of cocaine off of it."

I'm also reminded of the recent effort at Conservapedia to rewrite the Bible.

You just can't outdo the wingnuts these days. Affirmative Action? Really?

Posted by: Jamie on October 9, 2009 6:34 PM

Posted by: J F on October 9, 2009 5:25 PM

......Er... Reagan didn't end the cold war which was the result of a huge and costly forty year effort by the US and it's Western European allies who for the entire time essentially utilized the containment strategy devised during the Truman administration......neither did the Soviet Union collapse on his watch but that of George Herbert Walker Bush

Posted by: John on October 9, 2009 6:56 PM

"You can't make this stuff up. If these people don't sane up they'll put Stephen Colbert out of a job."

.......Interestingly I did detect a bit of back pedalling on a couple of the cable shows tonight......a couple of the Republican "strategists" who can usually be relied on to trot out any nonsense that is the party line were playing the usual tune and then saying things like "of course that's not my personal opinion and I've warned against over reaching on this issue." A sitting US president gets the Nobel peace prize and these bozos attack him. Amazing.

Posted by: John on October 9, 2009 7:03 PM

Nice list, not too hard to construct it though. It's a bit like trying to predict what a 4-year-old would say when their sibling is given more Oreo cookies than they.

Posted by: Anthony on October 9, 2009 7:13 PM

I laughed at the line: Susan Boyle has brought more hope to the world that this pratt!! -- in the Dail Mail of course (aka the world's worst newspaper with the nastiest and most odious editor)

Of course I don't read that rag!

Posted by: Eats Wombats on October 9, 2009 7:32 PM

Not so much interested in G Bush as Bill Clinton.

Posted by: on October 9, 2009 7:45 PM

PS: meant not so much interested in reaction of GWB in his mind as WJC's reaction; something along the lines of shit, me and Benjamin Harrison, Chester Arthur, etc.: just on the list, no more.

Posted by: on October 9, 2009 8:03 PM

Wow. I have to wonder what the weather is like on the planets you folks live on. Even the Nobel prize committee agrees he hasn't done squat. It's all about what they WANT him to do. Funny to see you all enamored with "a sitting US president" and how that fact alone should make us so proud. Children.

Posted by: skiritae on October 9, 2009 10:33 PM

Skiritae, here are a couple of those children you mentioned.

Mohamed Elbaradei, the director-general of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, who received the prize in 2005, said in a statement that he was “absolutely delighted.” “I cannot think of anyone today more deserving of this honor,” he said. “In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself.”

President Shimon Peres of Israel, sent a letter to President Obama on Friday morning, saying: “Very few leaders if at all were able to change the mood of the entire world in such a short while with such a profound impact. You provided the entire humanity with fresh hope, with intellectual determination, and a feeling that there is a lord in heaven and believers on earth.”

If anyone is interested, I have a rundown of RW and media stupidity about this at my blog.

Posted by: wvng on October 9, 2009 11:22 PM


Most adults react to someone winning a prize by offering congratulations. A grown up would do that whether they believed the award was warranted or not. It's known as being gracious.

An angry, red-faced, vein-bulging, spittle-flecked rant, like that of Limbaugh, is childish.

Posted by: Pug on October 10, 2009 2:30 AM

"...wish I could be in George W. Bush's head." Good Gawd Almighty what a frightening thought.

Skiritae, If GWB could have just not done squat, sat on his hands or even gotten a girlfriend the world would be such a better place and oh sooo many more people would be alive.

Posted by: Knowdoubt on October 10, 2009 8:02 AM

Nice blog you've got there, WVNG!

Posted by: Joyful Alternative on October 10, 2009 1:45 PM

Excellent premonitions.

I really started to follow Obama, the freshman senator, when I read that he along with Chuck Hagel put a nuclear nonproliferation bill before the Senate. Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan and other like countries (not alike in many ways of course) will never be a true threat to the US unless they get their hands on nuclear weapons. As knowledge and ability to build such weapons becomes easier each year, convincing the entire world to stand down is the only hope for people in all nations not to live in cold war fear my parents grew up in. Name me someone who is working harder than our president to convince the world of this... Though I personally would have gone a different direction and given it to Neda, Barack Obama does deserve this award, as much as anyone today.

Also. The reaction on the right has reminded me of Keenan West jumping in front of someone getting a prize that he thought someone else deserves.

Posted by: Karl on October 10, 2009 1:57 PM

Fallows sent me too. Very funny TP's.

Posted by: cat on October 10, 2009 1:57 PM

And you lefties commenting here don't think #'s 2,3,4,5,7, and 9 are true?
And the American people are supposed to think the committee is correct because ElBaradai says so????
Wow, you guys are sooooo out of touch it is funny.

Posted by: Steve W from Ford on October 11, 2009 10:41 AM

While a somewhat accurate portrayal of some of the opinions "right wingers" have of the Nobel committee and their tendency towards turning the award into a political/ideological statement, are not the reactions somewhat understandable considering the nomination occurred less than two weeks into his presidency.

On the plus side, I think the president reacted about as well as could be expected considering the circumstances, but he may have missed an opportunity here. Some of us did not stick to the talking points listed above in our blogs :-)

My take (from Friday):

Just heard President Obama’s remarks on the award and thought he did a nice job... For the President, receiving this award must have been somewhat awkward at this time and perhaps a bit embarrassing. He handled it in the best way possible… although I might have considered politely declining to accept if I were in his shoes, preferring to actually earn the awards I receive.

I believe if he had graciously declined Obama would have come out well ahead here. He would still be recognized as the chosen recipient of the award. In addition, he would have made a very important statement: “Our work has barely begun, honors and awards should be left to historians as they look back upon the accomplishments we, as a nation, will have in the years ahead.”

I believe that would have been a better path to regain some of the support that has eroded since his election.

Posted by: Thinkin'Bout Stuff on October 11, 2009 11:12 AM

Heh! That's a great list of talking points. W and his cohorts are probably pretty ticked that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize so soon after taking office!

Posted by: oldwhitelady on October 11, 2009 4:03 PM

The pretense that it's only right wingers who can't fathom Obama's Nobel is also pretty predictable.

The fact that an earlier Norwegian committee member explicitly acknowledged that Jimmy Carter's prize was intended as a slap at Bush is a pretty typical omission too. I remember thinking that it was a shame to diminish Carter's own award that way at the time. It certainly didn't suggest that Nobel decision making is apolitical. Indeed, the political implications are your own topic here.

If you could actually get into George Bush's head, you might discover why he did everything in his considerable power to ensure a smooth transition to the new Administration, why he has been one of the most gracious, supportive, ex-Presidents in history, and why he has not voiced one word of objection, despite being disparaged at every turn by his successor and blamed for nearly every difficulty the new President encounters. That you take no such notice is hardly surprising either. It's easy to imagine the list of excuses you might proffer for doing so too.

Posted by: JM Hanes on October 12, 2009 6:42 PM

Actually I agree with you, JM. Bush has acted with great circumspection and dignity since leaving office. But I'd still like to have been inside his head when he got the news about Obama's prize. I probably agree with you about the prize, too. It seems premature and speculative. But he could hardly turn it down without seeming superior and self-righteous. We could both write the GOP talking points for that eventuality, I imagine.

Posted by: Jerry Doolittle on October 12, 2009 6:52 PM

I appreciate your taking the time to respond, JD. I initially thought Obama would do well to turn the prize down, but on reflection wasn't sure what that would actually accomplish either. All in all, he played it pretty well -- although I'm not sure I'd have equated the Nobel with Bo's birthday. :-)

Posted by: JM Hanes on October 13, 2009 2:58 AM
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