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Obama Nobel Good, DNC Bad

Like many Americans and others around the world, I was stunned and puzzled by the news that President Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I am sympathetic to those who say that this award was given to someone without a concrete record of achievement in the field of peace. Indeed, President Obama placed himself in this group in his statement on receiving the prize:

I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee.  Let me be clear:  I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize — men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

Some, including Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria, have suggested that this Nobel was awarded because people around the world are grateful that the American government is turning back towards engaging the world instead of assuming it alone has the power to remake the world in its own image.  This theory sounds plausible to me. As such I am proud that the United States has received this vote of confidence. I think it is appropriate to celebrate the President’s award as an endorsement of America.

Not everyone agrees with that point of view and there’s nothing morally wrong with not rejoicing over this award. Neither does criticism of the President’s award amount to collaborating with our enemies.

That’s why I’m extremely disappointed with the Democratic National Committee for equating skepticism over the award with support for terrorists in a statement made on Friday:

“The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists — the Taliban and Hamas this morning — in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize,”

One of the reasons that I’ve been consistently voting for Democrats on the national level is because the Bush Administration and Republican’s constant drumbeat of  “Real Americans support the President, Critics are with [terrorists/Saddam/Castro/etc]” sickened me.  Equating dissent with love of America’s enemies wasn’t appropriate then and it’s not appropriate now. Thankfully, as far as I know, no one in the Obama administration has taken this line and I encourage them not to. And I encourage the DNC not to make fundraising calls to me until they apologize for their remarks.


10 Responses

  1. I was initially stunned when I heard the news, though in hindsight it is not that surprising the Nobel Peace Prize has become politicized and awarding it to Obama is a disgrace and the Nobel Organization stands to lose a great amount of credibility. What is everyone missing here? This is a president who initially told the world he would end the occupation of Iraq – he has not and is not planning to. He is escalating the occupation of Afghanistan and destabilizing Pakistan. He has done nothing but threaten Iran since he has been in office – so much for diplomacy. He gave Israel the green light for the massacre in Gaza earlier this year and despite his pledge to reach out to the Muslim world, his actions point to the exact opposite. He is right, he does not deserve the award.

  2. Hi Michael, Thanks for stopping by. As far as I know, Obama is honoring his pledge to leave Iraq. Troops are coming home through the status of forces agreement that mandates we be fully out by 2011. American and Iraqi officials have sometimes indicated this timetable might be accelerated. On Iran, Obama has held the first direct talks with them in 30 years.

    It remains to be seen whether he will escalate in Afghanistan and I hope he won’t now that the Karzai government has engaged in vote fraud.

    Finally, do you have a source for the claim that Obama preapproved the attack on Gaza? The Israelis don’t always ask our permission before major offensives.

  3. I appreciate the remarks. I am tired of being called NaziFascistSocialistAlienWhatever and I am glad someone had the balls to call them on it. And if they had to fight back with the same childish attitude, well, I don’t care, We can’t have grown up polite political discourse it seems anymore, and I am sick to death of hearing their crap. In fact, unless I see some more balls from the democrats, they better not ever ask me for money again

  4. I’m sorry, the DNC had every right to say what they said. Finally they get some backbone.
    Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is managing to take a more negative spin on President Obama’s Nobel Prize than Hamas.

    Says Steele:

    “The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’ It is unfortunate that the President’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain – President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.”

    Says Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (via the wires):

    “We are in need of actions, not sayings. If there is no fundamental and true change in American policies toward the acknowledgment of the rights of the Palestinian people, I think this prize won’t move us forward or backward.”

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dc/2009/10/rnc-and-hamas-on-obamas-nobel.html#ixzz0TYb6h3SC

  5. I can understand the DNC’s reaction to the furor from the RNC head and various right-wing talk show hosts (although wiser heads in the Republican Party have been quite circumspect).

    It’s a chance to skewer those same small-minded right-wingers with the same arrows they’ve been slinging at Dems for the past 10….scratch that, make it 20 years…oh, heck, make it for time immemorial.

    In order to do so, one must temporarily lower one’s righteous stance to that pig-pen of the opposition. 🙂

    Remember, Rush Limbaugh himself was the first to say right-wingers had something in common with Hamas and the Taliban when he first spoke of this award to Obama.

    I’m glad the DNC could zing the right-wingers without lying, though — a trait the right-wingers, leaders and followers alike, seem to consider #1 in their playbook.

  6. Upon hearing the news and awarding statements, I thought the Nobel was awarded to the US electorate, not to B Obama himself. I believe this is what Obama spoke of in his statement.

    It is therefore ironic (?) that the reactionaries are so negative.

    And perhaps it is an extraordinary act of a single person (Obama) that he has turned around the world’s attitude towards the American people.

    I for one will celebrate my Nobel (even if the prize money won’t go towards my rent)

  7. My message was deleted. Did I say something wrong?

  8. DNC maybe not so bad:


    “Our president is a worldwide joke. 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.”


    The GOP is using President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize as a fundraising tool, by mocking the award in a send-money letter to Republicans.

    Russia’s president congratulated Obama on Saturday for the surprising honor, and even Cold War foe Fidel Castro said he was happy for him.

    But Republican National Committee head Michael Steele is bristling with outrage, saying in a letter that Obama won the prize “for awesomeness.”

    It shows “how meaningless a once honorable and respected award has become,” he wrote, asking for contributions of $25 to $1,000 for the RNC.

    The Nobel committee’s selection of Obama has been criticized, with some saying he hasn’t been in office long enough or accomplished enough yet.

    World leaders were more supportive.

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2009/10/10/2009-10-10_president_obamas_nobel_peace_prize_win_mocked_in_gop_fundraising_letter.html#ixzz0TZtZUHMC

    Thanks for all you do.

  9. Hi Reesie, Your message wasn’t deleted, it just hadn’t been moderated yet. When a person comments for the first time, their comment goes into a moderation queue.

  10. I’d like to make it clear that my criticism of the DNC is not meant to endorse the conduct or views of people who see this award as something bad or hopelessly ridiculous.

    I also understand the anger at the Republican party and associated pundit apparatus. I understand the appeal of throwing their pseudo-patriotism (in terms of honoring the President) back in their faces because they played that card so fiercely in the Bush years.

    But that still doesn’t make it right or appropriate. It wasn’t disloyal to criticize or make fun of the President from 2001-2008 and it isn’t now. We didn’t “throw in our lot with terrorists” by being against the Iraq War just because bin Laden didn’t like it either. So just because Rush can actually line up Republican and Taliban statements doesn’t mean that he and the Republicans have “thrown in their lot with terrorists.”

    I donated more money to Obama than any other candidate ever. I volunteered many hours in his campaign. I did so because I believed in his pledge to bring about a different tone in Washington — one where one wouldn’t be personally demonized for thinking differently. I think he’s delivered and that the DNC and other Obama supporters should follow suit.

    One can “have balls” and not play the patriotism card. I’ve seen a fair amount of commentary comparing the anti-award folks to crying 13 year olds in behavior. That seems tough but fair. I can’t remember the URL, but I saw a great article on how many Republicans have found fault with many other Nobel awardees and so their opposition to Obama’s award shouldn’t be taking seriously.

    With so many other ways to celebrate with the President and document the small mindedness of the people who can’t bear to see him honored, let’s keep the cry of “If you’re against the President, you’re with the terrorists” buried with the Bush years where they belong.

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