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The Oslo-Copenhagen Contradiction

Reading the latest issue of The Economist magazine this weekend, I was struck by a great contradiction in the response to Chicago’s rebuff by the International Olympic Committee after President Obama’s intervention on the one side, and the response to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama on the other.

The Economist went to press before the Nobel announcement, so its article on Obama was rather downbeat. Under the headline “Down in the Valley,” the magazine reported, accurately, that Chicago’s defeat led Obama’s “gleeful critics” to depict the failure “as a symptom of bigger defects, notably Mr. Obama’s overweening self-belief, and the naïve trust they say he invests in unreliable foreigners.” The magazine quoted conservative blogger Erick Erickson from the Red State website: “So much for improving America’s standing in the world, Barry O.”

But, of course, the Nobel committee's decision confirmed the success the president has had in “improving America’s standing in the world.” David Ignatius caught it right, I thought, when he wrote on this blog: “America was too unpopular under Bush. The Nobel committee is expressing a collective sigh of relief that America has rejoined the global consensus. They’re right. It’s a good thing. It’s just a little weird that they gave him a prize for it.” (I also liked Harold Meyerson’s take that the award should have gone to the American electorate for changing our country’s approach to the world.)

Yet the fact that the world outside our borders, or at least Europe, actually admires Obama was turned against him just as quickly as was Chicago’s defeat. On our blog, Mike Gerson wrote: “Europe's slobbering embrace of Obama is really the worship of its own reflected image -- both are critical of America and elevate diplomatic process and promises over outcomes.” On his Right Matters discussion group elsewhere on our site, Ramesh Ponnuru wrote of the Nobel: “The function of the modern prize is not to award people for bringing about peace or advancing justice. It is to allow Western and especially European progressives to pat themselves on the back for their enlightened attitudes.”

My point here is not to argue with Mike or Ramesh in particular, but to suggest that Obama’s critics can’t have it both ways. If it was bad for presidential prestige to lose the Olympics, isn’t it good for presidential prestige to win the Nobel Peace Prize? That’s true even if you think that Obama’s victory was “premature,” or in Ignatius’s nicely breezy word: “weird.”

Obama’s critics can argue, if they choose to, that he mistakenly risked some presidential prestige in his effort to secure the Olympics for Chicago. Personally, I liked his standing up for his adopted home town, though I wish his political team had gotten a better advance sense of the vote count on the Olympic Committee. But the core point stands: The decision in Oslo suggests that the decision in Copenhagen was vastly over-interpreted; in terms of having enormous prestige abroad, Obama is doing just fine. Why isn’t that worth celebrating?

Out of curiosity, I checked to see what the aforementioned blogger Erick Erickson said about Obama’s Nobel victory. It turned out that his take was thoroughly offensive: “I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news,” he wrote. “There is no way Barack Obama earned it in the nominations period.” It’s amazing how quickly certain voices on the right turn immediately to race.

Yet, if Oslo should deflate a lot of the bloviating about Copenhagen, I doubt that Obama’s critics will notice any contradiction. They will just move on smartly to the next attack.

A note to readers: I offered my own initial take on the Nobel Friday in EJ’s Precinct; I still worry that this prize will have a downside as well as an upside, even though I loved Gene Robinson’s point that “if Obama were to cure cancer, the blowhards would complain that he’s put thousands of hard-working, red-blooded American oncologists out of work.”

By E.J. Dionne  | October 11, 2009; 12:10 PM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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Comments

Critics of President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize haven't really come to grips with the idea that he could hardly have won it had he not succeeded George Bush in the White House. The reasons for this are worth considering.

Was George Bush a success as President, or not? To most Americans the answer to that question is obvious: the administration of the 43rd President was a disaster. No President who entered office during a time of peace and prosperity and left it during the greatest economic crisis in eighty years with the country mired in two wars should expect any more charitable judgement.

Bush's remaining supporters, though, are not most Americans. Bush and his closest associates embraced what has long been the lowest common denominator of conservative Republican politics: the image of the strong leader who stands up to liberals and the media. Bush's image as a strong leader was somewhat tarnished by the end of his time in the White House, but no one has ever doubted his eagerness to sneer at liberals and the media (two groups that are assumed by many Republicans to be essentially the same, Fox News notwithstanding). To Bush's admirers, these qualities quite overweigh substantive evaluations of his tenure as President. He was Their Guy, and Obama's election, which was a repudiation of Bush as much as anything, was an affront.

It will likely long continue to be for many of the people who actually worked in Bush's White House. What about the rest of the Republican Party? The GOP has no shortage of campaign consultants and politicians savvy enough to recognize that trying to persuade Americans that they were all wrong about George Bush is a political road to nowhere. Unless Barack Obama is an even bigger disaster as President than Bush was, simply opposing Obama at every turn doesn't promise much of a Republican revival either. Part of the vehemence of conservatives' reaction to everything coming out of the administration must be a reflection of their just not knowing what else to stand for. Some conservatives may figure this out eventually, but it probably won't be the ones most prominent now.

Posted by: jbritt3 | October 11, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

You're right EJ - the sore losers complain even when there's nothing reasonable to complain about. They're just sore losers, and pretty poor representations of Americans. They're patriots when it suits them, and sniveling 7 year olds the rest of the time. They're oblivious to hypocrisy and contradition - that would involve thought too deep for them to comprehend.

Posted by: notfooledbydistractions | October 11, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Reading your comments on Erick Erickson from the Red State brings back memories of the late great Mad Magazine. They used to periodically run a feature cartoon entitled "You Cannot Win An Argument With A Bigot". As a kid, I never really appreciated it. Now I think it should be reprinted regularly just to hammer the point home: a true bigot can find a way to turn any set of facts into an indictment of the object of his irrational hatred and will believe it with a passion, no matter how much of a stretch it is.

Posted by: ned_farrar | October 11, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

These are the comments of Ruth Marcus - One of your fellow Washington Post columnists. I did not know she was one of the sore losers.

This is ridiculous -- embarrassing, even. I admire President Obama. I like President Obama. I voted for President Obama. But the peace prize? This is supposed to be for doing, not being -- and it's no disrespect to the president to suggest he hasn't done much yet. Certainly not enough to justify this prize.

"Extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples?" "Captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future?" Please. This turns the award into something like pee-wee soccer: Everybody wins for trying.

Posted by: tomhamand | October 12, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

President Back Track, Barack, Barry Soetoro, Obama is a very smooth telepromter reader and can read all kinds of good promises written by his speech writers!
By the way he has not yet ever performed one promise he has ever made! Quite the contrary professional news hounds are realizing that in actuality, whatever Obama says he is going to do it becomes just the opposite! Why in God's name this puppet to the Globalist Bankers would win a 'Nobel Peace Prize" is beyond comprehension and subtracts from any credibility this award might have ever carried!
Pres. Barack Obama promised to take troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, in reality he is increasing the amount of forces he will place in Afghanistan by 40,000 more military personnell, plus adding military contractors as well as, having started a new war on another front in Pakistan - at the same time advocating a war against Iran and threatening to allow Israel to Nuke Iran! This Marxist man is in the midst of a great effort to take away constitutional rights from American citizens re: First Ammendment Right: Freedom of speech and Second Ammendment Right: The right to bare arms in the act of self defence!
Barack has created on laws in his cap and trade environment bill to take away land ,
property and the right to grow food on farms and gardens etc. from the American citizens - amongst other communistic manouvers!
The man is a Marxist Dictator who sets in motion conditions to set up policies and laws that Global Bilderbergers of the, "Bilderberg Group", require to set up their "New World Order", and place American citizens under their rule as slaves!
Barack has committed many High Treasonous Acts against "The Constitution of The United States of America", and this is the man that a board making a decision on who should be the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize would pick?
This leaves much room for the question to be asked, "What kind of incompitent politically biased "Nimcompoops" would choose president Obama?

Posted by: PaulRevere4 | October 12, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

The value of the prize is not what it used to be. Why did Al Gore win a peace prize for a movie on global warming? What about Arafat? He was responsible for the Olympic massacre in Munich and many acts of terrorism.

The prize is passé, except for its monetary value. Five leftists in Oslo decide who gets it every year. It's a friendly pat on the back.

Posted by: alance | October 12, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

So what if the guys in Oslo decided to reward Obama to make up for his hurt feelings over not getting first, second, or third in the Olympics race?

Makes as much sense as anything else I've heard.

Posted by: annetta3 | October 12, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

I loved Gene Robinson’s point that “if Obama were to cure cancer, the blowhards would complain that he’s put thousands of hard-working, red-blooded American oncologists out of work.”
_________________________________________________________
If Obama were to cure cancer, Americans would die during the wait to see a doctor to have the treatments under the new health care rationing plan.
Unemployment is moving up. The Banks are not lending, helping mortgagees, and Czars are running the show while a Gen. is reamed out by Nancy Pelosi for doing his job and the White House is busy with parties and currying favor all over the world.

Posted by: mharwick | October 12, 2009 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Blind rage. Seething hatred. Subliminal racism. They're glad the Olympics isn't coming to America. They're mad the POTUS won the Nobel Peace prize. Why do they hate the USA?

Fear, Hatred, Distortion and Division is all they've got.

Posted by: thebobbob | October 12, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Excellent points, Mr. Dionne. The apparent contradiction of the right-wingers' takes on the Olympic loss and the Nobel gain disappears, however, when one realizes that it isn't about the actual events at all, but about attacking a Democratic president by any means at their disposal.

And your WaPo colleagues aren't exempt from that analysis, either; they -- along with Krauthammer, Will, etc. -- are part of that very same rightwing noise chamber/propaganda apparatus. Their lack of intellectual honesty and integrity is appalling.

Posted by: sembtex | October 12, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

E.J. Dionne writes that while reading The Economist magazine this weekend, he "was struck by a great contradiction in the response to Chicago’s rebuff by the International Olympic Committee after President Obama’s intervention on the one side, and the response to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama on the other."

I wasn't.

The rejection of Chicago as host for the 2016 Summer Olympics had nothing to do with Obama and everything to do with an ongoing feud between the IOC and the U.S. Olympic Committee over the U.S. TV rights to the 2014 Games and beyond -- a feud that the president was apparently caught unawares.

NBC has the U.S. TV rights to the Olympics through the 2012 Summer Games in London. The USOC, in an apparent bid to forestall a heated bidding war between U.S. networks for the Games after London, announced plans to establish its own TV network.

That didn't sit well with the IOC. A top IOC executive was quoted in The New York Times on July 8 calling the USOC “arrogant” and saying they subverting the IOC. A day later the IOC issued a written statement that condemned the television plans of the USOC. The IOC statement said the USOC acted “unilaterally” in announcing their plans for an American "Olympic Network."

So don't blame Obama for the firm rejection of Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Olympics. Blame the USOC.

Posted by: SkeeterVT1 | October 12, 2009 1:30 AM | Report abuse

IT WOULD SIMPLY COST TOO MUCH TO CLEAN UP ALL OF CHICAGO FOR THE OLYMPICS.

FIRST, THEY WOULD HAVE TO MOVE THE ANU$ AND INTESTINE HOSPITAL FROM BEIJING TO CHICAGO ANYWAY.

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | October 12, 2009 1:39 AM | Report abuse

That good old "America-firster" Ramesh Ponnoru. Don't he and Bobby Jindal feel just a bit of cognitive dissonance about their identities/principles (so-called)?

Posted by: thrh | October 12, 2009 2:15 AM | Report abuse

"paulrevere4"--the real Paul Revere would commit suicide if he saw what a travesty you are making of his name. Either that, or come back from the dead and strangle you.

Posted by: thrh | October 12, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

"

IT WOULD SIMPLY COST TOO MUCH TO CLEAN UP ALL OF CHICAGO FOR THE OLYMPICS.

FIRST, THEY WOULD HAVE TO MOVE THE ANU$ AND INTESTINE HOSPITAL FROM BEIJING TO CHICAGO ANYWAY.

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com"

A stunning example of the intellectual capacity of the Republicans. And of realtors. [And people named Bruce, too?]

Posted by: thrh | October 12, 2009 2:22 AM | Report abuse

Actually Obama getting this award is excellent for America, because it means that our European allies can be appeased by completely superficial means.

The right way to look at this is as follows.

In order to protect ourselves we need to more or less ignore international law when it suits us. For Bush this meant, indefinite detentions, rendition to a third country, abducting people wherever we want when we want, and violating other countries national borders whenever we feel like it.

Well guess what? The Obama administration is doing all of those things, only instead of trying to make us stop, the Europeans are giving him an award for it. This should make all of us Americans happy because it means that our intelligence services can actually keep us safe.

What did Obama drop out of the Bush arsenal? Waterboarding, lol thats it. Hell I am sure if Bush would have thought he could get a Nobel Prize by not Waterboarding he would have gone for it.

Posted by: DCDave11 | October 12, 2009 2:51 AM | Report abuse

EJ - I've read both your pieces today and afriad that even you're becoming a bit reluctant to take on the white-racists in the media and blogs. I think the anger against the first blackman in the Oval Office is what reflects on your current America-centrik vision of the world.

The Nobel Peace Price was actually rendered to officially acknowledge that American government has finally returned to the civilizewd world - after eight lousy years of GWB.

All the rest of your and other's (non)academic analysis is pure nonsense....

Posted by: hariknaidu | October 12, 2009 5:19 AM | Report abuse

Great column, EJ: Both issues are puzzling. Surely Mr. O must have had a bit of foreknowledge about the Olympics decision, thus why waste his precious time?
As for the Nobel, well now he must live up to the faith placed in him, and this is a good thing, reminding him that not only are the eyes of America watching him, but the Europeans as well. May he fulfill our hopes.

Posted by: moran1 | October 12, 2009 5:41 AM | Report abuse

________________
"Isn't it good for the presidential prestige to win the Nobel Prize? That's true even if you think that Obama's victory was "premature," or in Ignatius nicely breezy word: "weird."
________________


I am not surprised at Ignatius's use of the "breezy word: weird", just that, unlike you, I find nothing "nice" in it.

Ask Herr Krauthammer, as a shrink, her can tell you that some people can't get over a trauma. Beginning by himself first. For Kraut, Hiatt, Cohen and many others in the Wa Po, the "Obama Trauma" is devastating and, alas, incurable.

I can't remember an instance when our nice Dave used such a word, or one equivalent, when Bush was bombing civilians by the hunderds of thousands. Or allowing his chums in big oil, banking and money embezzeling through subprimes or maddofing to line their pockets and strip the average Joe of his last dime.

Dave can't help it. Be compassionate and pray for his recovery.

Posted by: bekabo | October 12, 2009 6:08 AM | Report abuse

This is amazing. The Neocons are complaining that Obama has done nothing in his first nine months as President while they are the ones who are doing everything in their power to prevent him from doing anything.

Who needs terrorist groups like the Taliban and Hamas, who also say that Obama didn't deserve to get the Nobel Peace Prize, when we have the Republican Party?

This demonstrates how bad the Bush Presidency was. I can see nothing that Bush did to really further international peace.

I certainly feel a lot less safe than before he started a preemptive war that killed 100,000 civilians in Iraq and was an excellent recruitment effort for Al Qaeda.

I hope that the Sun rises tomorrow morning. If it doesn’t some people will blame it on Obama.

Posted by: fred41 | October 12, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I was pleased, though not "gleeful" or overjoyed that Chicago will not be hosting the 2016 Olympics. Nor did I think that it was a reflection of Obama or his standing that the city was denied. I just simply assumed the committee felt as I did...Chicago is a cesspool. While Rio may not be much better in terms of crime, its pretty & warm. My pleasure came from the knowledge that we wouldn't be pouring billions of dollars into forementioned cesspool's crooked political sphere.(shrug here)

The Nobel on the other hand...jeesh. There is no justification, it IS a reflection of Obama personally and how the world sees him. Unfortunately, it is hard to reconcile his speeches with his actions. The awarding of a "peace" prize to an American sitting President while he publicly "struggles" (read takes opinion polls) to decide whether to escalate a war or not is either satirical or conspiratory.

Posted by: cyrix1 | October 12, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

The contradictions of the conservatives do not surprise me EJ. Modern conservatism--as enunciated by these self appointed spokespersons on talk radio and in the blogosphere--has itself become a contradiction. No one really knows who its leader is. Is it the noisemakers like Beck and Limbaugh. Seems pretty doubtful that this motley crew could assemble sufficient brainpower to lead anything other than the sort of movement that took hold of Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

Their single most vocal critics are not the liberals but other prominent conservatives who can assemble a respectable quantity of intellect--David Brooks, David Frum. But it seems that no one wants to follow them.

So what in the world are we left with on the right? It seems to be a lopsided coalition pulling and tearing at each other while the GOP leadership stands by agonizing over who will win this family feud. In the meantime, as the 2010 campaign nears, it seems that moderates like Charlie Crist and Bob McDonnell are pulling the party back to the center with some success--if the polls are reliable.

One thing seems certain--at some point, the GOP is going to have to make up its mind who they are. If they want to survive.

Posted by: jaxas | October 12, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

This does not show that anyone has been appeased. Both Copenhagen and Oslo show a desire by the europeans and others to abase the U.S. In the case of Capenhagen, that was accomplished by voting Chicago out first. In the case of Oslo, it was accomplished by awarding the president a prize for actions yet to be taken. It was a way of trying to direct the American president what to do. Mr. Dionne you are surely not so naive as to miss asking "cui bono", to fail to imagine what is in the heads of the members of the two committees involved, are you? Surely you are not just skating across the superficial news in these two events, are you?

Posted by: dcalfine1 | October 12, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

ned_farrar: I am pleased to report that MAD magazine is not late and still great. Yes, they take advertising now, but my quick perusals of the magazine from time to time indicate that it still has its finger on the pulse of American popular culture and is still very funny. I'm sure 11-12-year-old boys still love it.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 12, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

...President Obama last month dissed Rupert Murdoch's network by giving Sunday interviews to every TV network and cable outlet except Fox.

Michael Clemente, a Fox senior vice president, hit back that Team Obama is confusing news coverage with the sometimes incendiary opinions of Fox stars Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity.

"So, with all due respect to anyone who still might be confused about the difference between news reporting and vibrant opinion," Clemente said, "my suggestion would be to talk about the stories and the facts rather than attack the messenger which, over time, has never worked."

Dunn made clear that the White House doesn't like anything about Fox - news or opinion. Dunn charged that Fox gloated over the U.S. losing the chance to host the 2012 Olympics and mocked the Nobel Peace Prize award to Obama.

Fox is owned by Murdoch's News Corp., which also owns the New York Post.


Murdoch who was not born in America and just received citizenship has brought nothing but bad programming to America which have cause great division amongst its people. He owns wall street Journal and was ultimately reponsible for BET and its programming.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2009/10/12/2009-10-12_white_house_fox_news_is_gop_ally.html#ixzz0TjoaBaUr

Posted by: MILLER123 | October 12, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Dionne's is off again,the usual actually.
Obama's Prize does nothing for America, it's more a slap than anything for Bush. The Olympics, which presumably would have been good for America, Obama didn't bring home.
Conservatives aren't having it both ways, it's the same thing, Big live for Obama just
strokes his ego but does nothing for the country or it's interest.

Posted by: denroy3 | October 12, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

The Noble committee is not Europe, let alone the world. Our fearless leader should tell the Norwegians that he cannot accept and award from a nation that is drilling for oil in the sea. Ironically this eco unfriendly nation gave the award to Al Gor. Ouch! how Inconvenient.

Posted by: patgig1 | October 12, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Dionne dense. Award for Obama means more love for Obama, nothing for America.
Olympics weren't awarded to U.S. because love for Obama doesn't translate to any benefit for America. Same thing jack.
A slobbering love affair with Obama has produced no tangible benefits for America.

Posted by: denroy3 | October 12, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne - surprised you can't see the strangeness / absurdity of this? I'm always glad to see American's win, but he was in office 2 weeks! It's like Pujols getting the MVP in spring training for having a good attitude. . .

Posted by: sarno | October 12, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Obama winning the Nobel is just odd, even progressives don't get what he got it for.

Posted by: DCDave11 | October 12, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The commentary on both the Olympics and the Nobel prize is all inconsequential noise. The real difficulty for the President are the intractable economic and national security problems that he owns. There are a set of problems where the best he can do is make some progress that leaves people less than satisfied. People will be only prone to see the negatives. For example, if the President chooses not to send troops to Afghanistan, there will be many who see it as a sign of American weakness. But, if he does send troops and, as is likely, there are substantial casualties, very few Americans are going to see the value of trading American lives for anything we might possibly achieve in Afghanistan. On the economy, he is going to be stuck with at least relatively high unemployment. If he really wants to pursue sustainable growth, it likely means a period of austerity that Americans will find very difficult to accept. But, if he encourages risk to achieve escape velocity into some kind of new bubble, he faces two possibilities. One is a near term failure with possibly another crisis. The other is success in maintaining the old normal for at least a little while until the next crash that could easily be bigger than the last one.

Posted by: dnjake | October 12, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Too much has already been said, but just one more: The negatives are, on average, so mean-spirited, so small-minded, that they serve only to further detract from
America's image in the rest of the world.
It's as if we are determined to destroy ourselves at the same time we persist in destroying others.

Posted by: jeangerard1 | October 12, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

One more thing him winning the Nobel is a good thing for America. Obama has not significantly changed American International Policy from the Bush years. I mean that not one thing. So basically what this means is that as long as we talk about things in the right way that we can more or less do what we want. Thats a good thing by the way.

Posted by: DCDave11 | October 12, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

apples and oranges, bud. Obama shouldn't have gone to copenhagen unless it was a done deal. he shouldn't have put his prestige on the line. That's the criticism. Not that he went, but that he went and gambled, and ultimately lost.

And the other significant difference is that winning the olympics would have been a tangible benefit. winning the nobel peace prize has no tangible benefit (well, there is money, but not enough to make a big difference). indeed, since most everyone thinks its a joke to have given it to him, the nobels have mostly diminished themselves. of course obama's worshipers are quite happy, and that and a buck and a quarter will get a soda from the soda machine.

What we need is not pretty words and not ribbons being handed out for not being bush (btw, McCain wasn't bush, either), but actual results. And for the president to envision a nuclear-free world on one hand, while saying its inevitable and not so bad that iran might get a nuke on the other, demonstrates the vacuousness of the peace movement. when isreal bombed iraq's nuclear facilities back in the 80's, they did more to advance world peace than anyone else did in that time. for that matter, in bringing down the soviet union, reagan (and Bush Sr.) did a great deal for world peace.

Here's hoping that Isreal will conduct a repeat performance in iran. and if so, i will be the first to nominate them for a peace prize. Them more than our president, are more likely to bring lasting peace.

Posted by: awalker1972 | October 12, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Bad cop good cop treatment from the international community as in how could you possibly think you deserve an Olympic moment after Iraq and our economic hard place and the but if you put down your weapons and come out with your hands up we will still talk to you!!!

Posted by: Wildthing1 | October 12, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Obama, from the beginning, provided the alternate scenario to Bush, saying we don't need to force democracy with a smart bomb or bring peace by confronting enemies with missle defense shields. We don't have to lead through brute force. We can show respect and listen to other perspectives. It does not make us weaker. That is a remarkable turn of diection from the Bush years. It took remarkable courage and dedication to do, and it will require so much more in the future. Isn't that the essence of all the all the Nobel winners? The story is far from over, of course. We'll see how it plays out.

But to think this way is contrary to the world view of the Boltons and Gersons who must sense that the Nobel committee is repudiating them just as much as it repudiates Bush. Add to this the idea that so many of them want Obama to fail, which implies America fails. If that is their standard of logic, they can have it both ways.


Posted by: tfspa | October 12, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Here is the point. Bush is no longer in office and the conservatives lost the presidency. The liberals need to move on from the blame Bush for everything mantra. The Noble Prize is a joke, and the fact that Obama won it isn't good for him or the country. He didn't ask for it, so no fault of his own. The only thing that it says is there are 5 Norwegians who love listening to the President of the United States bash the prevouis administration, apologize for "American Exceptionalism", and continually state that we are just one of many countries and no better that anyone else. How many Norwegians does it take to screw in a CFL bulb? 3 government workers and 2 highly taxed taxpayers. We'll be there soon Ole.

Posted by: mnright | October 12, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives cheered when Chicago lost the Olympic bid because of their hatred for Obama -- that anti-Americanism puts them out of any reasonable conversation on this issue.

It is incorrect to attempt to link the Olympic bid and the Peace Prize -- it's apples and oranges. In spite of the jet-setters involved, the Olympics is a provincial contest among regions. Two of the four final contestants were from the Americas -- it's not that the US and Brazil are in the same bloc, but that neither are in the European or Asian blocs.

And the US has had may Olympics while South American has been left out -- that was the prime factor in Rio winning.

I consider myself to be a progressive -- though not a liberal (on social issues, yes, but not on fiscal or military matters) -- and I was utterly shocked to hear that Obama won the Peace Prize. The difference between my view and the conservative view is that conservatives seem to hate Europe (which includes the Prize committee) and Obama, so the either don't care about the Peace Prize or never wanted Obama to get it.

I simply think that what seemed to be a strategic decision by the committee was extremely poor -- Obama had not yet done enough to warrant consideration. Not that the Prize needs to merely reward successful results -- it can be used as an extra wedge at a crucial time. But that crucial time is not even close to occurring.

I could accept the possibility that the Peace Prize committee chose Obama because of the embarrassment of losing the Olympic bid so visibly -- not knowing exactly when the Peace Prize voting occurred. The official site nobelprize.org says the voting occurs in early October.

Posted by: balto20 | October 12, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for pointing out the contradiction, Mr. Dionne. I've been muttering about it since Obama got the prize.

But it is time for persons like sarno who wrote that it was absurd for Obama to win because he was in office 2 weeks, to be enlightened.

The nominations are made in February, and then subsequent authorities, including professors, study the candidates and it is usually not until September or October that the Nobel Price Committee makes its decision.

If you are going to comment about something, you owe it to readers to be informed. Otherwise you appear to be an ignorant dumbo.

Posted by: FedUp1 | October 12, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"The only thing that it says is there are 5 Norwegians who love listening to the President of the United States bash the prevouis administration, apologize for "American Exceptionalism", and continually state that we are just one of many countries and no better that anyone else."

After reading this sentence from another post -- well, if there are those that think that the US being fully committed to being in the community of nations is important -- perhaps there is some logic in the selection of the Peace Prize committee -- perhaps just the fact that a US President is willing to see others as something other than subordinate or inferior is in itself a huge jump towards peace.

It's not so much that Obama is not Bush -- it's that Obama was the leader who took away what was an extremely dangerous set of people -- who just happened to be the Bush Administration -- off the world stage.

Posted by: balto20 | October 12, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Obama's approval rating in today's Gallup poll is 56 percent. Given all the challenges he has faced that is an amazing story. The media focuses on the negative opinions of his opponents rather than giving any positive news. For example, Larry Summers issued an important piece today about the impact of the stimulus package and there is practically no coverage. If some loud mouth blows up at a town hall meeting it gets immediate national exposure on cable news. What is wrong with this picture. During the worst of the Iraq war the media merely published the news releases prepared by the Bush White House. Why the difference? Why is it even news that the right hates Obama? Who the people behind the hate machine are and who is funding them is news worth publishing but we don't get it.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | October 12, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Murdoch, who was not born in America and just received citizenship has brought nothing but bad programming to America which have cause great division amongst its people. He owns wall street Journal and was ultimately reponsible for BET and its programming.Fox is owned by Murdoch's News Corp., which also owns the New York Post. Rupert applied for citizenship so it does not look like a foreigner is controlling and buying up all the media outlets and dictating America's programming. Name any program of Rupert's that does not create division, confusion, lies, and distortions, within the American family.

Posted by: MILLER123 | October 12, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I really do wish we could have more inteligent conversations. The Nobel committee stated their reasons for giving the award - it is their prize, their money, their decision.

Posted by: niws | October 12, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to President Obama for accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.

May all the sore losers enjoy their gripe sessions. I'll bet more than one cries in his beer when he is all alone at home.

Posted by: Thependulumswings | October 12, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

For the first time since nuclear weapons were invented, there has been a unified world stance among the great powers to non-proliferation. With Iran, North Korea, Pakistan as rogue or failed states, that strikes me as a colossal diplomatic achievement by the President which the Nobel Committee recognized. (For those who read what they said as opposed to listening to Jay Leno.) Or do we all think nuclear weapons are a trivial matter?

In the 70s Betty Williams and Maraid Corrigan got the Nobel Peace Prize for their cross-religions work in Northern Ireland - that was an achievement, but it didn't solve the Troubles. But they affected how people thought about each other.


Posted by: hsockett1 | October 12, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

GUys like paulrevere4 make me laugh. I am so tired of them calling Obama a traitor and committing treason. tell me please just what treasonous acts has Obama committed? Just what has he done against our Constitution that is illegal and treasonous? C'mon. please, I am dying to hear from you morons just what illegal things the president has done. The let's compare him to the previous president who used the Constitution as a doormat, illegally tapping our phones (all of us), lying to get us into a war that has killed over 4,300 Americans so far. Whose adminstrationouted a CIA operative to punish her husband. Who berated our intelligence groups until they came up with the "info" they wanted all along. C,mon, paul, let's do some comparing, all right? What, is it treasonous to you that a Black man got elected? That's really the case, isn't it?

Posted by: mikel7 | October 12, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to all the talk last November about how remarkable it was that Obama was elected president? American voters (the majority, at least) turned around the world's opinion overnight. And what's with everyone suddenly knowing better what the Nobel Peace Prize stands for than its own governing board?

Those who jumped to say that awarding it to Obama demeans the award have only demeaned themselves.

Posted by: valandsend | October 12, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne, you don't have to be a racist, a hate-filled neo-con or even a general sore loser to think that

a) securing the Olympics for Chicago should not have been one of this president's priorities

b) it would be nice to see an American who has actually accomplished something in the quest for peace receive the prize

Mr. Obama seems to be turning into the poster child for wanting to. Perhaps it's enough for you to see him awarded for his ambition, rather than his ability, but frankly, I expect more of both the US president and the Nobel committee.

As a final note, if you look for them, you'll find racist epithets amongst Obama's detractors as well as his supporters. Just because it's out there is no reason to inject it in every Obama panegyric you write. One certainly does not have to be a racist to be disappointed in this president.

Posted by: nlynnc | October 12, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I love the EuroDips, they are entranced by the fact that America has a black President.
How many blacks have been the head of state of any country in Europe in all of history? Yes, none have - ZERO.

Posted by: dubious2 | October 12, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I hasten to add that not all Europeans are EuroDips,only the left-left ding-dongs.

Posted by: dubious2 | October 12, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne,
Please consider the following excerpt from the Encyclopedia of Psychology when trying to understand this phenomenon.

Why scapegoating occurs is rather complex. Scapegoating serves the need of the dominant social group to feel better about themselves. It relieves the group's responsibility for their own problems. The scapegoated person or group becomes the focus and the reason for the difficult life condition. It was easier for Hitler to blame the problems of German society on the Jews than it would have been for him to truly understand the complex socio-political changes that were happening at the time. Scapegoating also allows people to feel united when they join together to blame someone else. And when action is taken against the scapegoat, the dominant group can feel that they have accomplished something.

Scapegoating begins with devaluation, or putting someone else down. Then the scapegoated person or group is blamed as the cause of a problem. Once a victim has been blamed, they are then dehumanized so that it is easier to treat them with less compassion.

Posted by: dlgreene | October 12, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps if Obama keeps rubbing his two sticks together someday he will make fire.

Posted by: krankyman | October 12, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

There is no point in trying to reason with Obama's conservative critics because reasons are fact based and as Stephen Colbert pointed out facts have a liberal bias. On top of that most of their animosity is race based, notwithstanding their strenuous denial, because as we have seen so far, a colored person (except for Steele, Thomas, Ponnuru and a very few others) can do nothing right because they are not advanced. Just as conservative icon William F. Buckley had said "The sobering answer is Yes—the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race.” Again, I know conservative will have hard time with this fact because this fact too has a liberal bias.

It is elementary Mr. Dionne.

Posted by: schatter003 | October 12, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that while President Obama is personally popular in western Europe, he has not leveraged any benefit from his personal popularity for anyone other than himself. No combat troops for Afghanistan, no sanctions for Iran or North Korea, no Olympics for Chicago No benefit for Chicago and no benefit for the US, but President Obama is personally popular.

Posted by: HarroldtheCat | October 12, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Obama speaking on behalf of Chicago's bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2016 is a non-issue. The majority of those who choose which city would host the Olympics were impressed by Brazil's presentation, that emphasized how certain areas of the world have been ignored and some areas, especially the United States and Europe, have been awarded disproportionately in hosting the Olympics. His prestige was not affected because there was no way Chicago was going to win anyway.

Obviously Obama has done little, if anything, to justify receiving a peace prize from the Norway Committee of Five. Not being Bush and giving lofty speeches, not followed up yet with any significant accomplishments is a poor rationale for giving him a peace prize.

While conservatives and Republicans are ridiculously partisan, often hypocritical, in their criticisms of Obama, some of his strongest supporters seem incapable of evaluating his performance by any semblance of an objective perspective. Were a committee or magazine to anoint Obama as "person of the 21st century," disregarding any future accomplishments by any human being on this planet for the next ninety-one years, many of these people would likely defend the choice.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | October 12, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

The only reason the doofus in the WH was awarded the Nobel Peace prize is because he spends most of his day apologizing for America. There are many countries in the world that are so jealous of the US they will vote for Nobama because he is one of them, weak, clueless and anti American. Dionne don't know you but if you think the racist Eugene Robinson is clever you too are an idiot. Remember every time Nobama opens his mouth he weakens this country, can't wait for him to crawl back to Chicago and continue his community organizing.

Posted by: tedmark | October 12, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

This was definitely the 'I hate America' award. Even he was embarrassed to receive it... Dionne you should be embarrassed to defend this scumbag.

Posted by: username | October 12, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

“The Nobel committee's decision confirmed the success the president has had in ‘improving America’s standing in the world.’” America’s standing with whom? Putin? Osama bin Laden? Sarkozy? Maliki? Karzai? May be just with some Norwegians.

Posted by: gmdim | October 13, 2009 5:12 AM | Report abuse

I think we're going to see a lot of contradictions in the behavior of Obama haters, hopefully over the next 7 years, like this one of attacking him both for winning the Nobel Prize and for not winning the 2016 Olympics. What will stay constant is their self-indulgent hatred of Obama and their feigned or real ignorance of the situation he inherited from the bust up of more than 25 years of Reagonomics and eight years of an unqualified President and rogue vice-president.

Posted by: newageblues | October 13, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

What amazes me and goes against the "old fashioned American" education I received is the idea that bigotry is a single sided conservative trait.

Actually it is a two sided equal but opposite coin which is why we live is such a divided world.

There were people who called Bush "their guy" no matter the hard facts. Now we have as many doing the same with the next "guy", no hard facts needed to merit absolute devotion.

Where is hope and progress fo all in this?

Posted by: sally62 | October 14, 2009 2:31 AM | Report abuse

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