Nobel: Noteworthy or Nonsense?

October 9th, 2009

Reaction to news of President Barack Obama winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was swift. The sampling of headlines and links from the Drudge Report told it all:


PAPER: This makes mockery of peace prize...
White House Aide: 'It's Not April 1st, Is It?'...
Carter: 'Bold statement'...
Lech Walesa: 'Too early. He has no contribution so far'...
Michael Moore: 'Congratulations President Obama -- Now Please Earn It!'
Sen. Inhofe: Obama received Nobel Peace Prize for 'de-emphasizing defense'...

From the AP story:

Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said their choice could be seen as an early vote of confidence in Obama intended to build global support for his policies. They lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama’s calls for peace and cooperation, and praised his pledges to reduce the world stock of nuclear arms, ease American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthen the U.S. role in combating climate change.

Local political leaders didn’t miss a chance to weigh in either.

From state Democratic Party Chairman Brian Schatz:


The Nobel Committee’s choice of President Obama for the 2009 Peace Prize is an honor for the President and for our country.  For those of us in Hawaii, who know that Barack Obama’s roots are what led to his dreams and vision, we can be doubly proud.  We all know there is so much work ahead in a world filled with peril, but let us pause for a moment and reflect on what is possible and commit ourselves to a global community in which peace prevails.

Hawaii Republican Party Chairman Jonah Ka’auwai had a bit more to say on the matter:


President Obama’s star power continues to earn him praise without merit.  What significant shift has taken place on the international front since he has taken office?

North Korea and Iran continue to demonstrate their unwillingness to disclose nuclear capabilities or negotiate real disarmament. American troops are still risking their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq to protect the country from those who wish to do us harm.

American leaders such as President Ronald Reagan, who ushered America to the end of the Cold War, were not honored for their actual achievements, while President Obama, nominated after only two weeks in office, was recognized for his rhetoric by a committee of star-struck Norwegians.

Following on the heels of a similar Hollywood-fueled Nobel win by Al Gore, one can only hope that the Prize will someday regain its credibility.


UPDATE: 2:20 p.m.

Ka’auwai’s statement drew a response from Schatz:

This is a proud day for America, and an especially proud day for all of us in Hawaii, because we have the first Hawaii – affiliated winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. We should be thrilled about this, and it’s sad that the local Republicans can’t get beyond their partisanship for just a moment to realize what a great day this is.

It’s no wonder that the local GOP has been so ineffective in capturing the enthusiasm of Hawaii residents when they focus on nipping at the President’s ankles rather than solving problems.

If this statement in turn draws a response from the GOP, we will post that, too. After that, they will just have to leave a comment like everyone else!

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