Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Rachel gets the rug yanked out from under her

(HT Chet for the link)

Rachel Maddow made a valiant effort last week to defend Obama winning the Nobel prize for Peace. Rachel tries to add some historical context that the Nobel Prize is not about achieving, its about effort.

A Nobel spokesperson just killed that argument:

committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland tells The Associated Press that "we simply disagree that he has done nothing. He got the prize for what he has done."

So what are these "achievements" by which Obama has been measured?

Obama reached out to the Muslim world and "modified" a Bush-era proposal for an anti-missile shield in Europe.

I happen to agree with Rachel that the Peace prize does not necessarily measure results, it measures effort.

But by this measure I disagree with Rachel that Obama has earned the Nobel through effort. Obama has not made enough of an effort to win the prize yet (I am more than willing to give him more time, it is too soon to judge either way). What he has done so far, for me, falls into the realm of common sense, or rather, not being as mind-numbingly stupid as his predecessor. This appears to be the measure the Nobel committee used. We shouldn't judge Obama's presidency (logically, we will do this some few years down the road) against the failures of the Bush administration, that sets the bar too low. We should judge him on his own merits and against the obstacles placed against him, and if necessary, against the historical successes of other world leaders.

I still maintain it is too early to have made this call, and by doing so, they have saddled Obama with yet more unrealistic expectations. Here again I agree with Rachel. Many on the right have Obama Derangement Syndrome for blaming everything on him, but I will add that many on the left also have Obama Derangement Syndrome because they expect him to save the world. The Nobel committee is skirting close to falling into this category.

Unfortunately what this ultimately means, if Obama proves to be merely an adequate President, he will be considered a failure by all sides.

1 comment:

realtor in Vancouver said...

Hi. Interesting reading. I agree with you that it was too soon. Perhaps few years more would be good for him. I perceive the issue of Nobel prize as a big liability for Obama to endeavor much more in the future. However, I also think that it was natural effect of unfriendly politics of the Bush administration.

Best regards,
Jay