Bryan Joiner

Why then I

Amateur Hour

Third, and probably angriest, column from yesterday. If you read all three, you’ll notice something familiar in here.

If you want to know why Democrats can’t govern, look no further than the fallout from the announcement that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Europeans are injecting their politics into this, one liberal friend wrote on Twitter. Isn’t diplomacy part of the job description? blared another, on Facebook. Way to lower the bar, Nobel Committee, said a third. And finally, the most common criticism: He hasn’t done anything yet.

Sure he has! He won the Nobel Peace Prize!

Just as Obama’s “flunking” the International Olympic Committee test brought about a nauseating response from Republicans, Obama’s Nobel Prize victory was Amateur Hour for the left. On Twitter and Facebook, self-professed Obama supporters shat all over his credentials for an award handed out by a small group of people in Norway.

Why today? Because we are mad that the Europeans are getting involved in our politics, fearing, I guess, that praising Obama during the tough times will embolden him. These are the same people who literally believed “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” as literally as fundamentalist zealots believe the Bible. He was too smart to let them in on the real secret, that in many, many ways he’s more similar to George W. Bush than he is different. Those differences, however, are of paramount importance to the country and the world, and they are so big that transcending them resonates from Washington to Oslo in fundamental ways.

Are the Europeans “injecting their politics into the decision?” Yes! Of course they are! The better question is when this wouldn’t have been the case. In effect, the Nobel Commitee has said: We know how hard of a time President Obama has had governing, dealing with a system that gives a minority of its citizens power to stop his nearly every move domestically, but we will overlook that in favor of the good he has done for world relations. They see our system and laugh at the roadblocks other politicians have put up for him. Many of these people come from Obama’s own party, eager to “get theirs” now that the gettin’s good. They want what’s good for them, not necessarily what’s good for the country. They waited eight years for this!

Well, I’ve got news for them: so did the rest of the world. They want American leadership that isn’t regressive and inward-looking. They admire certain qualities in an American President, and they’ve found those in Obama. His prize is that he gets to answer questions back home from a skeptical media about whether he thinks he “deserves” it—questions taken straight from the GOP playbook, but intoxicating to too many on the left as well. Why is it? I have no idea. Maybe it’s sheer egoism, or maybe it’s just ignorance that a commitee of European award-givers has no power to sway, alter, or morally ratify the foundations of America. The Nobel Prize is, like all trophies, just a trophy.

Am I happy Obama won? Yes. But I’m happy when the movie I prefer wins the Best Picture award too. When it doesn’t, I’m annoyed, but I don’t put too much stock into it. The world is no different today than it was yesterday at this time, except a gold piece of hardware will be transferred from Norway to the White House. While some people have taken it as such, it’s no more an opportunity for anyone to pass judgment on the President than each sunrise is. That‘s what makes this country great. Let’s not forget that.

You won the Nobel Peace Prize. Defend yourself!

Column two that I didn’t post yesterday.

The last 10 years have been revolutionary for the science of baseball. The best team, it turns out, doesn’t always win, according to the number-crunchers. The winners just get lucky in October. The World Series title doesn’t really mean anything—it’s just won, year in and year out, by the team with the best combination of luck and skill in October.

This puts the fans of some World Series winners in a bind. You’ve won, the writers say, Now defend yourself. How could you be better than team X? Well, you’d say, we beat them. They would have a simple response: So what?

Today, the President of the United States won the Nobel Peace Prize and he is being asked to defend himself. For an award. Bestowed upon him.

At the press conference just now, a reporter actually asked press secretary Robert Gibbs if the award was based on talk more than action. Gibbs responded that the award signified America’s restored place of leadership in the world. Here’s what he should have said: it’s an award! Ask them what it’s about! They gave it to us!

The award is big news on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has become something of a parliamentary chamber for debating out Obama’s chops. BARACKSTAR, one friend writes. An award by socialists, for socialists, writes another. Those in the middle hew against the committee, feeling this sends the wrong message to the President. It’s a bad precedent, they say. He hasn’t accomplished anything yet.

Sure he has: he won the Nobel Peace Prize!

Look, I haven’t agreed with every Best Picture winner at the Oscars. And I haven’t thought the best team has always won the World Series. But once it’s over, it’s over. The awards are handed out, and it’s time to move on.

I’m not sure what Obama’s detractors are expecting. Would they like him to refuse the award? To say something like: “I’m humbled and honored that the Nobel Prize committee has chosen me for this prestigious award. I, however, regretfully must decline accepting this honor, because I feel have not met the standards upon which I was apparently judged. I can do so much more for the world by rejecting an award promoting peace and togetherness. In the eloquent words of LOLCats, Pease Awards: UR Doin It Rong.”

It seems like just two weeks ago that member of the media were piling on Obama for pushing Chicago’s Olympic games bid. He’s too arrogant, they said. His campaign will never work, they said. It’s unbecoming of a President. He should focus on his job. Then Chicago lost the games, and the right celebrated. He got served! The world showed him what was up!

Now, having done nothing in the way of campaigning for another international award, and having gained it, Obama is being chastised for not deserving it. The hypocrisy would be oozing if it was just coming from the right, but it’s not. It’s coming from everywhere. Everyone’s got an opinion. His detractors say he’s simply undeserving. His supporters ask if he could do better.

That’s like asking if the Yankees could win five games in the World Series instead of four. It doesn’t freaking matter The Nobel Prizes go to the best candidates they can find. Barack Obama was the best candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize this year, by the criteria for which it is judged. You know this, because he won. By being himself.

That’s the last thing he should have to apologize for.


I wrote three columns about the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday that I declined to post because I figured angry posting is bad. Calmer today. Here’s the first one.

So Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize and, to put it simple, people be’ buggin.

A random sampling of my Facebook friends’ status updates tell me as much, at least.

“BARACKSTAR!” one writes.

“Way to lower the bar, Nobel Committee. What’s the opposite of congratulatons?” blares another.

“[T]he Nobel Peace Prize: Awarded by socialists for socialists,” a final one laments. “Sadly it’s not what it once was.”

Wait, so the Nobel Peace Prize is The Simpsons? Or Brett Fav—nevermind.

The truth is, I’m fairly surprised at the announcement, but as usual, the reactions to it probably say more about the respondents than it does about the award. Why would the prize be any different now than it was in the past? What sort of objective standard was there before? Can anyone answer that? Any one my 100+ Facebook friends, that is?

I doubt it. I’m guessing that people’s reactions are in direct proportion to their feelings about Obama. My right-wing friend, who reliably attaches the adjective “socialist” to any Obama policy, is still a die-hard George W. Bush supporter, and one suspects he’s a big fan of the right-wing talk radio and TV circuit that reveled in Obama’s Olympic “failure.” Sadly, he was on his honeymoon at the time, so the world didn’t get to hear his tweets and clucks at the news, so we’ll use one from a Weekly Standard writer:

As a citizen of the world who believes that No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation, I’m glad that the Obama White House’s jingoist rhetoric and attempt to pay back Chicago cronies at the expense of undermining our relationships with our allies failed.

I wonder what the writer, John McCormack, will come up with today, now that the other nations of the world have effectively decided Obama has done anything but attempt to dominate them. Once happy with the world pushback, now McCormack will have to go on the offensive against the world’s love affair with the, yes, BARACKSTAR! There ought be a tornado watch in McCormack’s vicinity as he attempts to untangle himself from his own logic.

At the same time, it does seem to me to be a bit early for President Obama to have won the award—until you realize that he’s been America’s de facto world representative since before he gave a speech to two million Germans before the Brandenburg Gate. Other countries still needed the signatures of Cheney/Bush et. al, but they bought up the Obama “hope” message in bulk. Turns out, they really believed that message, which a majority of Americans did as well. And now some Americans are calling them fools.

One need to look no further than the Olympic decision to know that Barack Obama can’t push other countries around at will. America can lead the world, but the world won’t blindly follow us around. Having failed to snag the games for Chicago, Obama will have hopefully learned his lesson.

A final friend lamented that the Europeans “injected their politics” into the decision. He said it was “gross.” I say it’s probably always been that way, and even if it hasn’t, why is it bad that Europeans like our President? I, among others, chastised George W. Bush for alienating European countries—and now we’re going to complain when they show appreciation for our choices? How does that make any sense?

The Nobel Prize is what it is, and nothing more—a committee of people handing out awards. If you think it’s more important than that, be proud. If you don’t think it’s more important than that, then what’s the big deal?