Whose Missed Opportunity?

Health care reform, nuclear war, global climate change, hunger and poverty…. and the huge mistake Pres. Obama made in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, really. This is what Ross Douthat wants to write about in his New York Times column:

This was Barack Obama’s chance.

Here was an opportunity to cut himself free, in a stroke, from the baggage that’s weighed his presidency down — the implausible expectations, the utopian dreams, the messianic hoo-ha.

Here was a place to draw a clean line between himself and all the overzealous Obamaphiles, at home and abroad, who poured their post-Christian, post-Marxist yearnings into the vessel of his 2008 campaign.

Here was a chance to establish himself, definitively, as an American president — too self-confident to accept an unearned accolade, and too instinctively democratic to go along with European humbug.

He didn’t take it. Instead, he took the Nobel Peace Prize.

Big mistake.

Uh, care to remove that mote in your eye, Ross?

It’s strange to watch op-ed columnists using their valuable and finite real estate to complain that the real problem with Barack Obama accepting is that there were more deserving recipients. One might say the same about these op-ed columns, which could surely be about something more useful.

Ross Douthat, for instance, says it will be “offensive when Obama takes the stage in Oslo this November instead of Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s heroic opposition leader.” By that same logic, it seems a bit offensive for Douthat to spend his column arguing that Obama should give back the Nobel rather than devoting his column to the struggles of Tsvangirai, who has never before been mentioned in one of Douthat’s op-eds. That’s all the more true given that Douthat chooses the subject of his columns, while Obama does not choose the recipients of the Nobel.

Let’s just say he had given it back, though:

Ooooh! He refused it! Who does he think he is? Le Duc ThoSartre? Whatever happened to No-Drama Obama?
[…]
Typical Obama — he gives the queen an iPod and now he has the bad taste and lack of manners to turn this into an international melodrama. Now the world will be focused on him next month when all these silly Scandinavians convene in Oslo and Diva Barack isn’t there!

It’s all about him — it’s always all about him.

Really, it’s just his way of saying, “You think I’m great? I’m going to be even greater!” He’s trying to look humble, but we can see through his act. It’s just the opposite of what it seems to be — it’s his biggest moment of narcissism yet.

And the same point, served straight up:

I wonder if any of these guys criticizing Obama have given even half a minute’s thought to the optics of a presidential refusal?  Frankly, I can’t think of anything that would look more arrogant than turning down the Nobel Prize.  What, it’s not good enough for him?  He’s above such things?  Euro-weenie prizes have no place in the White House?

That’s how it would look.  Not humble or self-effacing.  Arrogant.

There is also a wee, wee problem of logic here:

… [T]he basic thesis of Douthat’s piece is that Obama has basically failed/is going to fail all in the context of the notion the Nobel Peace Prize was prematurely awarded (at best). The irony here is that Douthat is criticizing premature judgment while engaging in premature judgment. Surely if it is too early to declare Obama a success (and it is), then it is too early to declare him a failure, yes? That does follow logically, does it not?

He also ends the piece in peculiar fashion:

by accepting the prize, he’s made failure, if and when it comes, that much more embarrassing and difficult to bear. What’s more, he’s etched in stone the phrase with which critics will dismiss his presidency.

Slick Willie. Tricky Dick. Jimmy “Malaise” Carter. Dubya the Incompetent.

And now Barack Obama, Nobel laureate.

I am guessing that if one had to choose, “Nobel laureate” trumps Slick, Tricky, Malaise or Incompetent, yes?

I fully understand finding the Nobel committee’s choice to be odd and even to criticize it. However, one cannot simultaneously declare it too early and declare it the coda to Obama’s career.

Well, you can. But then you’ll be Ross Douthat.

And speaking of being Ross Douthat: Did you know his birthday is coming up soon? He’ll be 30. Ironic, eh?

After all, when it comes to receiving high-profile, sought-after honors after a brief public career, based largely on hopes of future successes and political considerations, Ross Douthat knows of what he speaks.

One Response to “Whose Missed Opportunity?”

  1. The Nobel Peace Prize has become solely a prize for Liberals by Liberals. Can’t blame Obamba here, everyone wants a piece of this guy. Only issue I have here is the cost. It will cost the US taxpayers tens of millions for Obamba to collect his medal and money from a bunch of fawning Anglo’s in Europe.

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