Bozell Column: The Nobel Surprise
Like everyone else on the morning of October 9, the major media’s first reaction to Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize was shock and disbelief. NBC’s Matt Lauer spoke for the pack when he said he didn’t want to be "rude," but how did Obama earn it? Washington Post columnist (and former reporter) Ruth Marcus was blunt: "This is ridiculous -- embarrassing, even." She said the award is supposed to be for "doing, not being."
That is true, but for the swelling group of Americans who are not enamored of Obama, that could easily be turned around on the media: why would you, of all people, question the inflated judgment of the five Norwegian prize pickers? They are merely doing the same thing you’ve been doing for five years: praising Obama far beyond his actual job experience or accomplishments, and building a powerful myth of a global savior in an effort to put the international socialist Left in power, eclipsing America once and for all.
The Nobel committee tried to deny they were acting like the international equivalent of James Carville when they gave Peace Prizes to Jimmy Carter in 2002 and to Al Gore in 2007. But this time, they were blunt in saying exactly what the comedians were joking: Obama won the award for not being George W. Bush. It’s true, but it’s not really funny.
"We have to get the world on the right track again," Thorbjoern Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, told the New York Times. "Look at the level of confrontation we had just a few years ago. Now we get a man who is not only willing but probably able to open dialogue and strengthen international institutions."
The Nobel pickers don’t want to merely honor a peacemaker. They want to help run the world, even if in their drive toward the "right track," they look like they should get a traffic ticket for driving while drunk on Obama. "We are hoping this may contribute a little bit for what he is trying to do," and the prize was offered as "a clear signal to the world that we want to advocate the same as he has done to promote international diplomacy."
For his part, Obama came out to the Rose Garden and pretended to be embarrassed that he was being associated with "transformational" figures that have won the Nobel prize. He also tried the aw-shucks note that his daughter found the news as equal to the family dog’s birthday. But this is a man who routinely compared himself to Abraham Lincoln on the campaign trail. He has about as much humility as Madonna has dignity, and as Carter has tact.
Like the American media, the snobbish Nobel elites are painting the prize as a sort of political cartoon of the Bush foreign policy. They claim Bush was a "go it alone" president, a "unilateral" menace that was incapable of "listening with respect" to others. And normally he did things alone because our "allies" – especially in Europe – were nowhere to be found.
But Bush sought United Nations cooperation on many initiatives, and not just the war on terror. He built alliances to accomplish his objectives. He did more than any other American president to stop the spread of AIDS in Africa, which would seem like a Nobel Peace Prize objective.
The American and Norwegian myth-makers surrounding Obama honor him for his speeches, and for his good intentions. This is what liberals do: congratulate each other for their brilliant brains and bleeding hearts. What actually happens in history is beside the point. Ronald Reagan wins the Cold War, and Jimmy Carter gets the Nobel Prize, because he was well, more peaceful. It’s too comical to be taken seriously.
Reagan and the Bushes were never "honored" by the Nobel nabobs because they didn’t share the organized hatreds of the Left. They didn’t hate international business. They didn’t hate the military. They didn’t hate the idea that democracy and freedom were worth promoting as a superior system to the petty tyrannies that make up the majority of the United Nations.
Obama, on the other hand, wins the prizes because, like his Norwegian brothers, he doesn’t see America as exceptional. He has described his own country as an arrogant power that’s too greedy, too insular, and too uneducated. The self-loathing international community loves a self-loathing American.
Norway’s socialists are in the tank for Obama – just as he is for them. But our national news media oughtn’t be surprised. They are in the tank, too. In ogling Obama, they, like the Nobel Peace Prize committee, are participating in the complete shredding of their credibility as nonpartisan judges of political conduct.
[Image from the blog Chris Matthews' Leg]