Look. Everyone knows that Obama got awarded the Peace Prize this morning not for his past achievements, but for his outlook and approach to future achievements. Obama himself understands this. Even the spokesperson for the Nobel Committee said as much. So big deal. It's their committee, their prize, their criteria. Nobody else's.
One thing though — it's not unprecedented. The Nobel Prize Commitee gave the Peace Prize to Biship Desmond Tutu long, but they didn't wait until apartheid had crumbled to do it (Tutu won it in 1984; apartheid fell ten years later).
What's alarming to me is the conservative reaction to this. (I'm not talking about it grown-ups in the GOP; I'm talking about… well, you know who I'm talking about). Does it not bother anybody that the only groups universally opposed to Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize are Hamas, the Taliban, and conservatives? Does it not bother conservatives themselves?[UPDATE: I guess it doesn't bother conservatives. Said Rush Limbaugh today: ""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, and that we all are on the same side as the Taliban."
'Hilarious', RUSH? Well, it's something…]
These are the people who, less than two weeks ago, were giddy about America losing out on the Olympics. Media Matters has put together a video noting the conservative reaction to (a) America not getting the Olympics and (b) America's leader winning the Nobel Peace Prize:
It's a good day to surf conservative blogs. You'll find all sorts of hilarity. One meme is that Obama got the Peace Prize because he is black. Funny, how many conservatives have to put a race angle into everything.
But s outraged as American conservatives are this morning, notice the international reactions. Praise was not universal, but Mohamed Elbaradei, for example, said, "I cannot think of anyone today more deserving of this honor. In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself." Mandela, Tutu, and Gorbachev, among others, also praised the announcement.
I think Josh Marshall puts it best:.
[T]he unmistakable message of the award is one of the consequences of a period in which the most powerful country in the world, the 'hyper-power' as the French have it, became the focus of destabilization and in real if limited ways lawlessness. A harsh judgment, yes. But a dark period. And Obama has begun, if fitfully and very imperfectly to many of his supporters, to steer the ship of state in a different direction. If that seems like a meager accomplishment to many of the usual Washington types it's a profound reflection of their own enablement of the Bush era and how compromised they are by it, how much they perpetuated the belief that it was 'normal history' rather than dark aberration.