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Friday, October 09, 2009  

A Call to Action

I think the president spoke very fittingly in his statement this morning about the entirely unexpected (and as he said, not quite deserved) decision to award him the Nobel Peace Prize. It was sober, restrained, and very emphatic about the purposes to which this surprise honor would be bent.

Frankly, I don't know what the prize committee was thinking. The "Nobel Prize for Not Being George Bush" theory seems too crude, though undoubtedly that played a role (as it did in Jimmy Carter's award a few years back, though his work at Camp David and in the decades since made it a fully legitimate call). It is at least as plausible to me that the award was meant to apply a high-minded kind of pressure on Obama's future policy moves. "Nobel Peace Laureate escalates Afghanistan Conflict" or "Peace Winner Obama Retreats from Israeli-Palestinian Talks" doesn't ring pleasantly in most non-right-wing ears. But that's just a guess.

What is kind of striking is the utter lack of graciousness on the right today. A restrained note of congratulations--perhaps springing from the now-contested truism that it's better for our most public leader to be admired than scorned and hated around the world--seems to be in order, especially if it could be twisted into a generically patriotic affirmation of America (which, come to think of it, is exactly what Obama did). But that's not what we got. Instead we got weird carping from Michael Steele in a moment where even crude politics suggests showing a little bi-partisanship.

But then there was this, so who knows. Keep the popcorn and valium handy.

UPDATE: Pawlenty plays it classy. As does McCain.

posted by Benjamin Dueholm | 10:34 AM
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