Friday, October 09, 2009

Libertarians Comment on Obama's Nobel Prize

I've been getting these press releases for awhile for some reason - I honestly don't know where they came up with my name. But this one is a classic (see my commentary at end, if you wish):

Libertarians suggest Nobel announcements should be moved to April Fool's Day

WASHINGTON - The Libertarian Party today suggested that, in the future, the announcement date every year for Nobel Prizes be moved to April 1.

"Unlike the gullible people who listened to The War of the Worlds radio broadcast in 1938 and thought Martians really were attacking the United States, when I heard this morning that Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, I changed the channel in disbelief. But, the same thing was being said in multiple places," Libertarian National Committee Chairman William Redpath said.

"The gravity of the Nobel awards has not been augmented by some of their recent selections, including today's announcement, last year's award of the Economics prize to Paul Krugman, or the 2007 Peace Prize to Al Gore, whose global warming theories he will not defend in open debate. Maybe an early Springtime announcement date would be more appropriate."

Redpath continued, "I didn't know that it was the role of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to be handicapping the future performance of individuals and organizations. Nonetheless, we congratulate President Obama on his award and hope that three-and-a-quarter or seven-and-a-quarter years from now the Nobel Peace Prize Committee will be seen as prescient.

"President Obama will best fulfill the promise of peace that the Nobel Committee apparently sees in him by not trying to cure all the ills of the world, but by working to make the United States an example for the other nations of the world through implementation of a Libertarian foreign policy--military non-interventionism combined with free trade policies in fact, and not just in rhetoric. With those guiding principles, the world will be a freer, safer and more prosperous planet at the conclusion of the Obama Administration."

End Press Release

So, I was kind of glad to hear someone blast this selection, because now I don't feel so bad about knocking it. Perhaps I'm just another rapidly-becoming-disillusioned Obama-ite, but what exactly has the guy done to promote peace? I mean, we're still fighting in Iraq, aren't we? And all I hear about Afghanistan is that it's his war and that we're considering a troop increase. I don't understand. Does the fact that he hasn't started any new wars qualify Obama for this?

Anyhow, I know he has a lot of work to do, and he can't solve everything overnight, and I don't expect him to. However, someone apparently deemed it appropriate to give Obama this award. For what? Maybe I should read the selection details but on the surface, I just don't get it.





Anonymous said...

This was a jaw-dropper for me as well. I mean, I like Obama, but he hasn't done shit. As you say, we're still in Iraq and we're considering troop increases in Afghanistan.

Check out Ted Rall's latest for more Obama ctitique (and Rall is a lefty).

So, what do they give out the Noble Peace Prize for, lofty rhetoric?

stan langerhaus said...

I found the president's response to receiving the award to be spot on. He appears to be one of the few people to understand that this was an upfront award given to him. It is now his job to earn it. He strikes me as the kind of person with enough character to at least try to earn it.

What is really sad is how the reactionaries have taken to this occasion. This episode has done nothing if not show that there is no logical consistency, no beneficial strategy, no direction, no morality, nothing to the people who call themselves "conservatives" except that they violently oppose anything (and I mean ANYTHING) that the president represents.

This is to be expected on some level from these people, since that is how they pay their rent, food, etc. What I really do not understand is how fast the president's "party" has deserted him. If there is any reason that the president does not win (or is even renominated for) a second term, it will be because his fellow democrats are afraid to be seen with him. I guarantee you that the big news story will be that those democrats running for office in 2010 do not want the president to assist their campaigns just as the republicans did not want to be seen with the former president at the end of his term.

These are truly strange times we are living in. Some anti-reactionary groups are now posting videos along the lines of "what do the republicans stand for..." and the videos show americans cheering the selection of Rio for the Olympics and clips of critics wishing that the US is attacked again by terrorists. The cynicism that was once too disgraceful to be expressed outwardly is now rejoiced complete with white-boy high fives.

Can you imagine an america with a draft again? (not that I was alive when the last one occurred) The idea of national service, either voluntary or involuntary has become, to me, inconceivable. Not just because the common belief is that our country's problems are somehow some other person's problem, but the reactionaries (and now, i wonder if that is proper term) have equated the president's call for national service, however innocuous, to the mobilization of nazi brownshirts. And where are the president's elected fellow democrats? Of course, they will feign offense at the characterization, but they do nothing to forward his plans. If you think that I am generalizing, just look to the recent vote to prevent the closure of Gitmo and how many elected democrats supported that measure. And it was a key component of the president's election!

So maybe that is what the norwegians saw, that our president needs some help. That perhaps a group of people who really have nothing at all at stake in whether or not the US succeeds in cracking the world's top 30 in healthcare or our unemployment rate drops back below 7% or whatever standard of success the president is being scapegoated for america's failure to achieve, perhaps they saw that this guy is fundamentally a decent man who wants to help people because he himself was helped. They reached out with an atta-boy in the only way they could and the president received this awkward prize. I myself took it as a great day for america.

Ralph said...

Wow, Stan, I can hear America the Beautiful playing in my head when I read your comment. While I admit I have lost a little faith in Obama's ability to get things done, I don't know it's to the point yet where his own party members will distance themselves from him during upcoming elections.

I agree he's a "decent man," but he's going to have to get some shit done to be a successful president. He seems to be spinning his wheels a bit, but, that said, the mud the previous administration got him stuck in, was pretty deep. I think most people realize that and are not yet ready to sell him out completely.

Finally, I did hear an explanation from a Nobel representative that said the awards are not just made for achievement, but also to encourage future achievements. In that respect, they felt Obama (who was nominatedlike 18 days after his election) has the potential to get a lot done, so they gave this award to him to encourage him to head down the peacekeeping path, or something...