Friday, October 9th, 2009
The deadline for nominations for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize was Feb. 2.
That’s about 12 days into the Obama Administration. So it would be hard to argue that those who intended for President Barack Obama to win were judging him by his accomplishments, unless you consider his election itself through a highly skilled campaign a contribution to world peace.
That’s what some critics figure: The international committee that selects the prize was so repulsed by George W. Bush and his failed “cowboy diplomacy” that they wanted to embrace Obama and his sit-down-and-talk approach.
In his remarks this morning, the President humbly said he did not deserve to be in the company of such great past recipients of the prize, which include Theodore Roosevelt and Rev. Martin Luther King. But he noted that the prize has also historically been granted as “a means to give incentive to momentous causes,” such as his efforts to solve the Middle East dispute and end nuclear proliferation.
Objectively speaking, the prize committee has done Obama no favors. The award adds more pressure to his historic presidency to live up to its potential and fuels critics in cutting him down to size if he fails to measure up to the stature of a Nobel laureate. It also gives those with whom he has to negotiate the power to drive harder bargains through delay and obstruction.
More than ever, the president has his work cut out for him.