Newsweek has a blog called “The Gaggle.” I’ll skip the tired jokes about how I didn’t know either, and just get to the main point: Ben Adler and Daniel Stone, writers for this blog, are defending the Nobel Prize Committee’s choice of President Barack Obama as the 2009 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
As you can see, not much is needed in the way of extra humor.
Here are the reasons they give for President Obama’s worthiness:
• President Obama will most likely be remembered as the greatest civil-rights hero since Martin Luther King Jr., because he won the presidency.
• His platform was one of multilateralism and foreign engagement – at times, to the left of some of his own party members.
• He worked in the Senate with Senator Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) on preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
• He has given some really awesome speeches in Philadelphia (the race speech), Berlin (huge crowd!), and at the last two Democratic conventions.
No, really; those are the reasons they cite.
Martin Luther King Jr. led a movement which resulted in racial integration and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. President Obama won an election in a decidedly less racially-charged environment, and one which was a referendum on the incumbent party’s incumbency during a free-falling economy. Dr. King did not just give a speech on race, he gave The Speech on race. Dr. King’s life was one of great accomplishment. But more than this, how can anyone take this Nobel Peace Prize seriously when it is given to President Obama, and not Mahatma Gandhi?
President Clinton, who at the time of this writing has not released a statement on President Obama’s Peace Prize, actually reduced the number of nuclear weapons in the world. Iran may be preparing to increase that number during President Obama’s administration, with the implicit backing of Russia. President Clinton brought the Israelis and Palestinians together for (what liberals normally view as) substantive peace talks. President Obama, by contrast, has seen Israel announce the building of new settlements in disputed territories. But more than this, how can anyone take this Nobel Peace Prize seriously when it is given to President Obama, and not President Reagan, whose policies brought about the end of the Cold War?
President Obama, while he was still Senator Obama, apparently worked with Senator Lugar to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Iran and North Korea are still developing their nuclear programs. One possible point of success may be argued in the case of Libya – but it is more likely that the Libyan example was caused by the invasion of Iraq, which President Bush spearheaded and then-state senator Obama opposed.
And then, we come to President Obama’s speeches. I will willingly grant that President Obama is a dynamic speaker. But words must be backed by actions. Substantive change must be made – positive accomplishment, more than anything, is what America demands of its presidents. And this is what America is objecting to today.
It’s not that we don’t want our president – of whatever party – to win a Nobel Peace Prize. It’s that we want him to deserve it before he wins. Newsweek would do well to note that.