Friday, October 9, 2009

Symbolic Politics Is the Theme of the Day [UPDATED]

President Obama has just won the Nobel Peace Prize for .... being himself??? The facebook status updates are chock full of liberals and other left wing types who are surprised and not entirely pleased. What has Obama done thus far to earn such a prize?
  • Presiding While Black? Is this the opposite of the old profiling problem of Driving While Black where African-Americans are targeted by cops for driving in the wrong areas (white suburbs)? Is just winning an American national election as a person of color sufficient to win the Nobel Peace Prize?
  • Not Being Bush? Perhaps winning an election that removes Bush, Cheney and gang is a sufficient accomplishment? Well, given that the US became considered in most polls around the world for the past eight years as the greatest threat to peace, then Obama might have earned the prize for changing this perception/reality.
  • Lowered Expectations? Along the same line, perhaps Bush lowered expectations so much that if an American President can go nine months without starting a new war, he deserves recognition?
  • Making Good Speeches? He is the best orator the US has had in a long, long time. Certainly in my lifetime. But, as many will point out, thus far, he has talked the talk, but the walk has not yet been completed (I do think it has been started).
  • Because He is Cool? Obama does radiate cool, no doubt about it. And people want to be associated with him, so that they become seen as cool as well. And then reputation will reinforce itself (just like in university rankings). Perhaps he really is the Fonz of the 21st Century.

[Update: "Nominations for the prize had to be postmarked by February 1 -- only 12 days after Obama took office." From CNN. This suggests that it has little to do with his governing]


Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Maybe the Scandinavian conspiracy is doing this to try to push him actually to do something and the rest of the world (including even his countrymen) to try to avoid shooting him down through willful opposition, rational inaction, or even insufficient enthusiasm.

Ellen Saideman said...

Elie Wiesel, interviewed on NPR, took the position that being elected the first black President was the best reason for Obama's Peace Prize. He did say he was surprised to find him a fellow Peace Prize winner.

Mrs. Spew said...

The consensus seems to be that they gave it to him for the same reason they gave it to Tutu to help get aparthaid ended in South Africa -- as protection from opponents and incentive by the endorsement of the international community. So they're trying to help Obama bring stability to the Middle East and get rid of the nukes, etc.