October 13, 2009

Premature Nobelation

I am unashamedly a bleeding heart liberal democrat. The previous eight years under the Bush administration were physically painful to me and the degree to which that administration undermined our progress and values (in my humble opinion) will not be completely understood for decades. Which is why I became an Obama fan early on. During the election I became more emotionally invested in a Presidential campaign than I thought possible. Signs adorned our yard. My car was littered with magnetic Obama bumper stickers. I watched every debate. My children knew who Obama was. The night of the election, I was a wreck. The relief when he won was incredibly profound.

In short, I have an immense amount of respect and faith in the man which very well might be irrational. Which is why I find it so hard to understand my feeling that he should not have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

In a way I feel sorry for the President. He came into office on a wave of hope and hype to which it is virtually impossible to live up. I don't envy him the tasks in front of him - two wars, healthcare, the economy. He's in a no win situation. The Nobel just adds to the pressure. But more than that, he doesn't have enough accomplishments under his belt to warrant such recognition. I get that the prize can be awarded for actions or potential but to me it's like giving someone a million dollar check because they entertained the idea of buying a lottery ticket.

What do you think? Was he a worthy winner or was the award premature?

Posted by Chris at October 13, 2009 6:19 AM

I'm with you - I've got mad love and respect for the President, but he shouldn't have gotten this. It just makes me cringe because it's one more thing for the haters - the ones who think that we all think Obama = Jesus - to jump all over. It's more pressure, and higher expectations that are already impossible to live up to. I don't think it's premature, I think he shouldn't have gotten it at all.

Posted by: Stephanie at October 13, 2009 6:31 AM

I'm a conservative. And you feel that way because you have a conscience that says people should not be rewarded for doing nothing. He was nominated 12 days after he took office. No one can claim they have done anything for world peace in 12 days. It makes the award look cheap and the recipient look shallow and our country look stupid.

Posted by: Knot at October 13, 2009 7:01 AM

i'm kinda shocked and a little embarrassed... and i'm a supporter... i don't think he should have received it, like you, i grew up thinking of the award as some global/universal honor to bestow, and i don't think he qualifies... like you said, its like giving a million dollars to someone who "thought" about buying a lottery ticket. It puts a whole WORLD of pressure on him... and i hope it doesn't mess with his head somewhere down the line in a bad/depression sort of way if he feels he didn't live up to it.

Posted by: theunicorn at October 13, 2009 7:10 AM

i'm kinda shocked and a little embarrassed... and i'm a supporter... i don't think he should have received it, like you, i grew up thinking of the award as some global/universal honor to bestow, and i don't think he qualifies... like you said, its like giving a million dollars to someone who "thought" about buying a lottery ticket. It puts a whole WORLD of pressure on him... and i hope it doesn't mess with his head somewhere down the line in a bad/depression sort of way if he feels he didn't live up to it.

Posted by: theunicorn at October 13, 2009 7:10 AM

I feel the way you do about Obama and I also feel he should not have won the Nobel Peace Prize. I inwardly cringed when I heard it, expecting the backlash for it.

BUT I refuse to discuss it with my BIL who says it with such anger in his voice or comment to a facebook "friend" who votes NO in the poll and comments that "it shows how foolish the socialist/liberal mindset is" because they're rewarding someone who has done "nothing".

So I just my opinions to myself - except here!

Posted by: NancyJ at October 13, 2009 7:12 AM

What perplexes me is why so much of the conversation of this topic seems to focus on why "this is another ridiculous thing that Obama has done to build the cult of personality around him". Those who think the award is premature have a beef with the Nobel committee, not Obama. I just can't muster all that much anger/frustration/strong feeling about an award that seems pretty clearly intended to be prescriptive and agitational given by a small committee of intellectuals in Sweden.

Posted by: pseudostoops at October 13, 2009 7:33 AM

Well, I would have to say it was just a tad bit premature. We live in a premature society though. Everyone expects it yesterday!

Posted by: Jeff A at October 13, 2009 7:57 AM

I am thinking of buying a lottery ticket, please give me a million bucks!

Posted by: Dee at October 13, 2009 8:03 AM

wait, i thought all Obama supporters believed in this man, that he would fix everything? As for the award, he doesn't deserve it. He had to be nominated so early on into his administration there is zero chance he did anything to deserve it. I feel sorry for the people he beat, who probably did something to actually deserve the award. It cheapens the award but then again, it may have already been cheap because yasar arafat won it once.

Posted by: Darren at October 13, 2009 8:10 AM

Premature--yes, I think so but looking at previous years winners, maybe I don't understand the criteria for awarding this?
Personally I think it was just a big "Fuck You" to George Bush. And I can get behind that 100% ;)

Posted by: Lisa at October 13, 2009 8:13 AM

I agree with you. He has a lot on his plate and this just lets the detractors have more to say about failure if he can't get everything done (with very high objectives set)he has set out to do. I, who voted for him and still would again, don't think he can get everything done he wants to, but then again, I don't think anyone could as too much damage was done in the past 8 years to completely recover in just 4 or so...

Posted by: daisy at October 13, 2009 8:29 AM

I have a lot of hope for Obama--he's a decent man who, unlike Shrub, genuinely wants to make our country and the world a better place.

I was surprised he won, but bottom line, I say more power to him.

That smirking jackass who ran our country into the ground didn't deserve Time's Person Of The Year. The difference would be that Obama has the potential of living up to HIS honor.

Posted by: Elise at October 13, 2009 8:43 AM

I agree. I think even the President agrees. I wonder if even the Nobel prize people agree, and were trying to send a message more than anything else?

Posted by: Julie at October 13, 2009 8:57 AM

After some thought about this, I almost wonder if this is a political ploy by the committee to bring about peace talks. Isn't it harder for countries to refuse to negotiate with the US if the President is a Nobel Peace Prize winner?

That said, if it works and actually does bring about more talks and peace, I think next year the winners will be "Those guys who nominated Obama last year".

Posted by: Candy at October 13, 2009 9:07 AM

I thought it was premature until I learned more about the prize itself (that it is often awarded to motivate recipients to carry out their vision rather than concrete results from action) and why the committee awarded it. I think it has put a great deal of pressure on him and I hope he doesn't fail to follow through on his plans to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world. Another thing that put it all into perspective for me: American voters did not award him with this honor. He has improved the United States' reputation and image world-wide, even if we are fraught with trouble. Our standing as a super power that should be taken seriously is back. We have a leader that other countries respect and want to work with, as opposed to a leader that is an arrogant, ignorant, war-monger. The slap in the face to the Bush administration alone is worth Obama having won the award.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at October 13, 2009 9:17 AM

I have to agree with Sparkle Pants. I think Obama has been a huge boost for our country's reputation - just the fact that we were capable of electing an intelligent, thoughtful person to the office rather than another person like the dipshit that was in office for 8 years. My first reaction was that he won the award just for not being Bush! And if that's the case? more power to him!

Posted by: Elizabeth at October 13, 2009 9:33 AM

I respect the man and his office. I do not agrree with his policies and I feel, like I have from the election-he is selling america on hope. Hope does not pay the bills. It is good to have hope and to have dreams, they are what starts the drive, the work the progress but so far there is no drive or work or progress. He is still tryin to sell hope.

The Nobel Peace prize, bought into the hope, which is good, but I think he needs to set the direction and drive now before being awarded.

The cynic in me says, "Wow what a sad state this world is in that there is no one else in the world that has done anything for Peace. besides someone who has only spoken about peace. seriously what does that say for other world leaders?"

Shame really.

Posted by: William at October 13, 2009 9:40 AM

I have nothing but respect for the man but, I don't believe any leader involved in a war on two fronts should be honored with a Peace Prize. It's just... kinda... wrong.

Posted by: NotAMeanGirl at October 13, 2009 9:43 AM

I am with you. It was too early and it actually pisses me off because it just set up up basically. For ridicule and for failure.

But I have to say the tweets about it were hilarious so maybe I don't mind so much.

Posted by: Aimee Greeblemonkey at October 13, 2009 9:52 AM

I could have written this post word for word.
Thank you for writing it for me. :)

The lottery ticket analogy is perfect.

Posted by: Roses at October 13, 2009 9:54 AM

one thing i DO know is that he rocked on Letterman.

Posted by: RzDrms at October 13, 2009 10:06 AM

I had some of the same thoughts and concerns, listening to Rachel Maddow's take on it helped -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMJuEOaF84o .

Posted by: at October 13, 2009 10:34 AM

I agree that his body of work is not yet complete enough to deserve such an award and while he accepted with the caveat that he was doing so as a promise for future peace in a lot of ways I think this award just feeds into his critics perception that he is liked as respected because of who he is (or who he is not...Bush) rather than what he has done. That being said, the Nobel is a great honor and he is our President and so I don't understand all those who criticize him for receiving in an award that he didn't go out seeking. (And I am not saying you are doing that at all....a reference to Michael Steele and his minions)

Posted by: Sarah at October 13, 2009 10:59 AM

i agree with you completely, but also find truth with sparklepants (it means something that other parts of the world would consider him for the award, not just "bleeding heart liberal democrat" americans) and NotAMeanGirl (especially because we could easily be at war with a few other countries in no time as well).

gandhi never won a peace prize...

Posted by: kati at October 13, 2009 11:09 AM

I was surprised too. However, starting long before the election, he spoke about changing our attitude toward any country except us. Then he followed through, at least with his words.

Looking back through the prize winners, many of them were works in progress and won for their beliefs more than their prior accomplishments. I hope this proves to be the case here. He inherited an ungodly mess. One war is 8 years old, another is more than 5. We were celebrating torture. We have a recession. We have the various civil rights groups, including the ones I support wholeheartedly, clamoring for REFORM NOW. Oh, and then there's health care which is being sabotaged by his (and my) own party. As I write this, he's talking about the Consumer Protection Agency status quo. And we have 40 people in the Senate who would rather see him fail than the country succeed.

On the other side, perhaps he's a little too deliberative but we knew that when we hired him.

Posted by: Ann Adams at October 13, 2009 11:15 AM

I agree, it seems too premature. What if he screws up in the next couple of years? Not that I want him to, I like him, but that's the way of politics.

Posted by: Katherine at October 13, 2009 11:22 AM

I'm with you. It seems premature. Let the man work, people!

(Though, I can't help but wonder if this isn't the world's way of saying THANK YOU SWEET JESUS, GWB IS GONE.)

Posted by: Erin at October 13, 2009 12:44 PM

I can't think of anyone over the past year who has done more to dial down the Bush rhetoric, change the global conversation, get the US back in line with other law-abiding nations, end our torture program, reach out to the Muslim community and promote mutual understanding than Barack Obama. He completely deserved it. We're all a lot safer because of him. We should all be proud that he's ended our rogue nation status.

Posted by: James Proffitt at October 13, 2009 12:51 PM

I'm an Obama supporter as well, and agree that this came too early, before he's truly accomplished things worthy of the award.

What concerns me as much as the wacko-far-right reaction (and they're already kicking into high gear -- it would be humorous if it wasn't so scary) is the wacko-far-left reaction, the people that are convinced that Obama is more than a human.

I believe we've gotten out of wack in this country and seem to either believe celebs are angels or demons. I personally think we'd all be better off if we recognized the strengths and weaknesses of people. No one is perfect. But we can go with the strengths and forgive (and work with/around) the weaknesses....

Posted by: pvz at October 13, 2009 1:03 PM

I totally agree, but hope that it prompts him to do worthy things.

Posted by: heels at October 13, 2009 1:17 PM

In short: No, he should not have won. But he did, and I think it is because the only thing we have left to hold onto is hope and the prize committee knows this and knows that we need this. On a bright note...how about kudos to the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in economics, eh? Good stuff!!

Posted by: Angelica at October 13, 2009 2:14 PM

I already posted a comment, but just read this and found it a compelling argument in favor of the award given to Obama:


Posted by: pvz at October 13, 2009 2:38 PM

So you have a leader (finally) who's willing to reach out, both diplomatically and personally, to a whole culture who was previously demonised and alienated. Who's working for multilateral reduction of nuclear weaponry. Who, rather than threaten and insult, spent months building an appropriate international response to Iran's nuclear foray. But you really wish his work towards peace & international understanding wasn't recognised? Dude, in the nicest possible way, turn off Fox and check out BBC News sometimes.

Posted by: Jo MacD at October 13, 2009 5:27 PM

Woops! Clicked post without mentioning re-engagement with the UN, a move that might not have international implications when you're some little country of 20 million people (ahem!), but has different implications/consequences when you're, well the US.
Anyway, let's just say the view of Obama's work so far is a little different from the rest of the world than from where you are my friend.

Posted by: Jo MacD at October 13, 2009 5:31 PM

Is it naff to point to your own post in response? But seriously, only consider what I said yesterday: http://www.belgianwaffle.net/?p=1423. Two people with but a single thought between them etc.

Posted by: Anne at October 13, 2009 6:31 PM

I bought a lottery ticket...can I have my million dollar cheque? ;) It's a cool idea...I dunno, but he definitely has a lot to live up to.

Posted by: Heather at October 13, 2009 8:29 PM

I agree.

Posted by: Maribeth at October 13, 2009 9:13 PM

The Nobel Prize, while generally considered a very distinguished honor, is the opinion of a very, very small group of people. And their record is not without controversy: Gandhi was nominated and overlooked 5 times. Vladimir Putin was a nominee in 2008.

I just don't think it matters whether he "deserves" it or not. I think what he does with the recognition from the award will be what matters.

Posted by: scott at October 13, 2009 10:50 PM

This is going to sound weird for a few phrases, but bear with me: I don't think they gave the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama. I think they gave it to the current President of the United States.

The points above about how much he has done for the US's foreign policy are right on IMHO.

I'm sad that so many Americans seem to be so dismissive about this honour. A committee gives the leader of your country the most prestigious peace prize in the world, and all you can do is go, "Meh, but he doesn't deserve it yet"??? What, you're ashamed to feel patriotic about something that isn't mean or putting down someone else? The Bush years really have done major damage if that's true.

Posted by: Katherine at October 13, 2009 11:12 PM

It's a tough call and quite surprising, but when you consider that his candidacy alone began raising hope and optimism for peace and diplomacy worldwide, the fact that he was nominated so early in his presidency doesn't seem all that far-fetched to me.

Think back to election night...and Inauguration day. Remember the images of massive hordes of cheering and weeping people around the world? The glut of international messages of congratulations and happiness and optimism that flooded the social networking media? That outpouring alone is no reason to win the Nobel Prize BUT it goes a long way to show how the committee and the world rely on him to continue that global hope for peace - and work on it.

In his case the prize is not so much about foreign policy "line items" that have been ticked off the list, I think, as it is about the unity that's been stirred up.

Posted by: reen at October 14, 2009 5:35 PM

You know I love Obama in spite of policies that are not good for Canada... this is how much I love this guy. However, I do think this was premature... I feel like we are still awaiting great things... it's almost like those profs in school who would give you an A because they knew you should get A no matter what kind of crap was actually in thepaper.

Posted by: Nat at October 14, 2009 7:57 PM

I don't think he deserved it. I have heard that by the time he was nominated, he ended a lot of the problems in Gitmo, etc., that would call for any other world leader to get the prize. I can buy that. But I wish the Nobel committee would say THAT instead.

Posted by: alektra at October 15, 2009 12:44 AM