Saturday, October 10, 2009


As I watch the reaction to the Obama Nobel, which seems to be a variant on "blame the messenger" -- essentially "blame the message recipient" -- I realize I blew it yesterday when I said this would't be a problem for him. Sometimes I wish Balloon Juice hadn't beaten me to the slogan "Consistently wrong since 2002."

But I have to say that this slap at Obama, in a letter to The New York Times from Gilles Serra of Oxford University, seems silly:

It eliminates the incentive for Mr. Obama to win the prize in the future. Most world leaders dream of winning the Nobel Peace Prize one day. Holding off on giving him the prize would have given Mr. Obama one more incentive to foster world peace in the years to come.

Yeah, right -- I was going to try to stop nuclear proliferation, steer the world toward atomic disarment, rein in Iran and North Korea, help bring peace to the Israelis and Palestinians, begin engagement with Cuba, rethink missile defense, prevent al-Qaeda from gaining access to the bomb ... but now that I have this Nobel? Screw it! Let's go to Vegas and get some booze and hookers! Road trip!!!!

I'm not saying his accomplishments always match his ambitions, but does Barack Obama strike you as a guy who ever truly slacks off? Growing up the way he did, I might have just relaxed and taken a victory lap after passing the law boards, or after getting a memoir published, or after being elected to the state legislature, or after the convention speech/Senate victory/million-copy bestseller trifecta. Not Obama. It's quite possible that his reach exceeds his grasp, but he doesn't really stop reaching.

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