News So Absurd There Is Almost No Point In Commenting On It

I really thought the Norwegians couldn' t fall much further into absurdity when they gave Al Gore the Peace prize for producing a movie that turned out to be mostly wrong  (one may still argue for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, but almost no one uses the specific evidence any more that Gore used in his movie).

But I underestimated the Norwegian's tolerance for absurdity.  You see, these guys really don't like George Bush.  Now, I am not a big fan of the man's presidency, but the Peace prize folks went further, using their prize to tweak Bush when they had the chance.  The best example was the 2002 prize for Jimmy Carter, who was awarded the prize mainly for undermining Bush's foreign policy approach to North Korea.

But it turns out that the Norwegians really really didn't like George Bush, for this year they have given the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama, who's only discernible accomplishment is that he replaced the hated George Bush.

This is perhaps the worst possible thing that could happen to Obama at this moment.  Just when he was being pushed into the realization that maybe he couldn't accomplish things just by flashing his aura in front of detractors, along comes the Nobel Peace Prize to compliment him on the brightness of his aura.

A while back, I commented on the disparity of coverage between Norman Borlaug's death and Teddy Kennedy's, and observed what a mismatch the coverage was vs. the relative level of their accomplishments.  Obama's joining Borlaug as a Nobel Peace Prize recipient just highlights the same contrast between a man who saved hundreds of millions of lives in quiet obscurity and man whose main accomplishment is parlaying a rich speaking voice and looking good in a suit into worldwide fame.

Postscript: For those that don't know, the Nobel peace prize is not awarded by an international committee of some sort - it is chosen by a group of Norwegian politicians that are selected by the Norwegian parliament.  Imagine if our Congress was tasked with giving out such a prize what a hash they would make out of it.  I must say that about 50% of the time the Norwegians make a good (or at least reasonable) choice, which is probably better than Congress would do.

Update: Maybe it was a grammar mistake -- they thought "to the person who shall have done the most" in Nobel's charge was future tense.

Update #2: Along the same lines, this is funny:

In a stunning announcement, Millard Fillmore Senior High School chose Shawn Rabinowitz, an incoming junior, as next year's valedictorian. The award was made, the valedictorian committee announced from Norway of all places, on the basis of "Mr. Rabinowitz's intention to ace every course and graduate number one in class." In a prepared statement, young Shawn called the unprecedented award, "f"”ing awesome."

At the same time, and amazingly enough, the Pulitzer Prize for Literature went to Sarah Palin for her stated intention "to read a book someday." The former Alaska governor was described as "floored" by the award, announced in Stockholm by nude Swedes beating themselves with birch branches, and insisted that while she was very busy right now, someday she would make good on her vow to read a book. "You'll see," she said from her winter home in San Diego.

And again in a stunning coincidence, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the Oscar for best picture will be given this year to the Vince Vaughn vehicle "Guys Weekend to Burp," which is being story-boarded at the moment but looks very good indeed. Mr. Vaughn, speaking through his publicist, said was "touched and moved" by the award and would do everything in his power to see that the picture lives up to expectation and opens big sometime next March.

Update #3: I think, all kidding aside, Jonathan Adler has the right explanation for the Nobel Committee's logic.  They supported Obama's (stated) goals and philosophy in foreign policy and wanted to help him by increasing his prestige with this prize.  My gut feel is that the prize (which Obama has now accepted) will actually be a hindrance.  First, some will harbor resentment, as the prize to a President with no accomplishments is just another example of special treatment of the US and a de facto acknowledgment of American exceptionalism - the prize is saying in fact the America President matters a lot, which other leaders resent.   Second, the prize may circumscribe his room to maneuver.  Peace prize winners are not supposed to call in air strikes and send in troops (yeah, I remember Kissinger), but any package of international actions to curb rogue states will likely require both a carrot and a stick.


  1. Evil Red Scandi:

    Unfortunately, whenever I see new the recipient of the prize, my first thought is usually that the selection criteria that time around was "highest body count" (Carter, Arafat, etc.). One of my favorite historical anecdotes is that Adolph Hitler was nominated for the award (yes, it's true)...

  2. Methinks:

    The Norwegians are probably just hopeful that the U.S. finally has a president who loves his Muslim overlords more than those dirty Jews in Israel. They want to give him all the encouragement they can.

    This prize has been a joke for a long time. Last year, in awarding the Nobel in economics to Krugman, they decided to make the econ prize a joke as well.

  3. morganovich:

    whatever your views about bush, isn't it a bit contrary to the spirit of a peace prize to award it as a final f-bomb to someone you don't like?

  4. Rolo Tomasi:

    Woodrow Wilson won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919, I'm not sure if it was for sending the U.S. into WWI or due to the coming success of the League of Nations.

  5. spiro:

    One of my friends since childhood, a very successful and accomplished DC lawyer, went immediately on his Facebook page today and lauded this for making him "proud of his country" and "proud of the president for instilling hope in other world leaders."

    Of course, as an otherwise reasonable and well-educated guy, he is getting KILLED by the rest of his online friends...yet no other B.O. supporters are coming to his rescue. Personally, I am still amazed by the level of partisan loyalty that people hold -- defending "their guy" even to the point of losing credibility. I'd say it's as bad as Red Sox fans who defend Big Papi's 'roid use...but I think it's actually worse. At least professional sports teams can't enact legislation that handicaps my children's future.

  6. Chris K.:

    Go read the entry at about this. It's fantastic.

  7. Michael:

    Obama also joins Woodrow Wilson who supported segregation and fired many federal black workers, detained American citizens for vocal opposition even if than opposition was in their home, and implemented the forced sterilization of undesirables, a policy the nazis later adopted.

    Wilson ran like FDR, to keep the US out of the war. When liberal policies fail, go to war. I would bet Obama keeps the US in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a distraction tool to cover for his policies.

  8. Rolo Tomasi:

    My Mom, "Maybe they gave it to him for the Beer Summit?"

  9. Zach:

    "My Mom, “Maybe they gave it to him for the Beer Summit?”"

    Actually, word on the street is that nominations were taken in February, less than 1 month in to Obama's term.

  10. Patrick M.:

    "One of my friends since childhood, a very successful and accomplished DC lawyer,"

    ... What a tragic waste of talent and promise ...

    " went immediately on his Facebook page today and lauded this for making him “proud of his country” and “proud of the president for instilling hope in other world leaders.” "

    The hope is the glint in the eye of our enemies, knowing the US has a chump for a President.

  11. Methinks:

    “proud of the president for instilling hope in other world leaders.”

    Yeah, hope that he'll cave to their demands and make him their water boy.

    "Peace prize winners are not supposed to call in air strikes and send in troops (yeah, I remember Kissinger), but any package of international actions to curb rogue states will likely require both a carrot and a stick."

    Like the Bama was ever going to call air strikes on anyone except Wall Street.

  12. Maddog:

    Interesting, but maybe this is the reason:

    All right thinking Europeans know that the single greatest danger in the world today is the US. Obama has kneecapped the US both domestically and internationally. For that reason alone he received the prize. But there is more the committee gets a twofer.

    Domestic Kneecapping
    Obama’s policies domestically are a disaster and have crippled banking, insurance and financial institutions. Nationalizations to protect unions, stimulus that is not, and policy after policy (cap and trade, health care, stimulus II, etc.) seemingly designed to destroy small business and control and tax large business has all but stopped economic recovery and guaranteed a jobless or job decreasing recovery once it comes. Finally, Obama has engineered the near total collapse of the dollar and US financial stability – we are the third world now.

    International Kneecapping
    Internationally Obama spends his time backslapping tyrants and snubbing and ignoring friends. He expends time, effort and energy on trivialities while ignoring the serious issues. He sits on the UN Security Council and turns it into the gassy platitude hour. Even high school kids treat mock UN with more respect. France is shocked by Obama’s naiveté. Russia is appeased, Poland and Eastern Europe are set adrift and Obama acts as if this is how foreign policy is done. We meet with Iran giving substance to their claims that they only want nukes for peaceful purposes.

    For kneecapping the greatest danger to world peace Obama received the Nobel. But the committee also knew it could manipulate Obama through his vanity. By giving him the completely undeserved prize they could push this keenly indecisive man into doing nothing regarding Iran and likely North Korea. After all, the Nobel Peace Prize winner would not unilaterally bomb a sovereign nation.

    Mark Sherman

  13. Magnus:

    As a Swede I can tell you there's a lot of "what the hell just happened?!" reactions here. Or rather - while there are a multitude of different reactions they can be sorted into two groups. First there is the "Great! Of course Obama should get it! He is, after all, Obama!" (Yes, that is pretty much the extent of the argumentation.) The second is more in the line of what I wrote in the beginning.

    Noteworthy is also what the chairman of the Norwegian committee said in an interview with a Swedish news station - he pretty much said that Obama got the prize because they felt this would give him extra leverage in the rest of the world to make everything he promised come true.

    But as others already have said - personally I lost my last faith in the peace price as something that actually means something in 2007, when Al Gore & IPCC got it.

  14. Mesa Econoguy:


    I heard he’s also front-runner in the Miss America Pageant, and is being considered for a best supporting actor Oscar for his appearance in Mikey “Jabba the Hutt” Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story

  15. Michael:

    I don't know how Obama will fare in the Miss America Pageant. Limbaugh is a judge.

  16. spiro:

    re: Obama and the "international community"

    Since the U.S. has become the world's de facto patriarch, I think that other world leaders like Obama b/c he is the "cool" parent. You know, the parent wants to be friends with his kids, tries to act cool when their friends are over, and even buys them beer and stuff. Other world leaders like coming over to Obama's house now b/c it's soooo much easier to get away with sh_t and to use him to get what you want (as long as you pet his ego and remind him how cool he is, often.)
    And, just like cool parents in real life, as we as a country are getting to know Obama, see his shortcomings and his MASSIVE insecurity and neediness, we further lose respect for him -- as will the rest of the world. Yes, they hated Bush, but they respected his pimp hand. Obama has nothing but a limp wrist.

  17. narciso:

    Cohen's was of course, a cheap shot, although the Swedes beating themselves
    with birches, I'd almost pay to see

  18. Max:

    It may well be a constraint for Obama on foreign policy, but I think it is inherently wrong to give prizes for something other than accomplishments already done! I find it reprehensible that this is still called a Nobel PRIZE. If it were a Noble future voucher, I'd gladly accept that...

  19. Brad K.:

    I know the Muslim influence in Europe is growing - Germany expects, barring catastrophe, to be a Muslim nation by 2050, by virtue of 4.5-to-1 reproduction rates between Muslim and non-Muslim. I wonder what the Muslim influence in Norway is now?

    And, too, the Nobel committee may be courting the Kenyans, who still consider Obama a native son (citizen) of that African nation.

    And, of course, the Chicago "protection" committee may still be in Scandanavia on their trip over while promoting the lamented Olympics bid.

    I would truly like assurance there wasn't an untoward money flow - or three - related to the award.

    And I wish B. Hussein Obama wouldn't threaten the nation and the world. "I accept this award as a call to action." With his track record on subverting national values regarding right and wrong, individual rights, wealth redistribution (I will swipe what you have that I don't), and illegal and underhanded efforts to disarm his opponents (the citizens of America) - the last thing I need to comfort me as I rest my head at night, is a vision of Obama "finally getting off the dime".

  20. boqueronman:

    It pains me to say this but so much of "polite society" seems to be treating Obama like a pet monkey. He is treated by the "intellectual elite" as if any demonstration of being able to "walk and chew gum at the same time" is to be celebrated as the highest of achievements. It seems Mr. Biden expressed the reality behind the mask of Progressive political correctness when he said "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy" during the primaries in 2008. The Norwegian politicians who comprise the selection committee for the Nobel Peace Prize couldn't have demonstrated the soft racism of low expectations that forms the dark heart of contemporary Progressivism any more clearly.

  21. Steave:

    Interesting post as for me. It would be great to read a bit more concerning that topic.