Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Cult of Personality Reaches Oslo

I voted for Barack Obama, and I'm glad he's the president, rather than a Republican. I support many of his policies. Still, I see absolutely no reason why he is worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize so early into his presidency, especially since he certainly never did anything significant before he was elected president. Though he has lofty goals, he has not achieved them yet. He is repairing the damage left by George W. Bush in the international arena, but he has a lot of work left. The world hasn't suddenly fallen in love with America because of Obama, at least not the third world. He has brought some change, but not a revolution.

Two previous sitting presidents won the Nobel Prize. Teddy Roosevelt was five years into his presidency when he was honored with the prize. Woodrow Wilson had been president for seven years. A third US president, Jimmy Carter, won decades after leaving office. And Obama? He was just 9 months into the job. I've heard a report that he was nominated just two weeks after taking the oath of office.

There are many who see Barack Obama as some kind of political messiah. All the political art he inspired during the campaign, and all the enthusiasm he generated among young Americans who are interested more in celebrities than politics, the zillion Time magazine covers (I'm sure they'll be happy for the excuse to put Obama on the cover again) - it looked quite a bit like a cult of personality. Now, the Nobel Committee has joined in.

Giving Obama the prize now is a mistake. The Norwegians should have waited a few years to see if he actually earns it. I have to say, though, that compared to the egregious mistakes of some of the previous years, this year's choice is just misguided, but not totally outrageous.

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