Obama’s Nobel: What a Bummer!
Our beleaguered rookie president can’t seem to catch a break: endless snags in the healthcare debate… the hornets’ nest in Afghanistan… the aftershocks of last fall’s economic meltdown… a presidential to-do list that grows each day without any check-marks to ease the pain. And now this: a premature Nobel Peace Prize.
For most of us, a Nobel Peace Prize would take the sting out of a grueling day at work. “Sure, I had to sit through another endless PowerPoint presentation by the marketing VP, and my boss slashed our departmental budget by 12%, but at least I won the Nobel Peace Prize.” I’m sure you can relate.
No such consolation for Obama. Now the right can hoot about the wild wave of Obamamania — no, make it an Obamagasm — that has rippled across the heaving, fatuously smitten souls of white Euroliberals. (And the Nobel Peace Prize committee represents some of the world’s choicest examples of white Euroliberalism. Norway, after all, is just about the whitest liberal nation on earth, second perhaps only to its neighbor Sweden, which doles out the other Nobels.)
Meanwhile, Obama’s American compatriots on the left are begrudging him the Prize because 1) their man still hasn’t actually accomplished anything in the realm of world peace, and 2) they know that Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Co. can milk this cow until the next election. The Prize has essentially granted all wingnut conservatives the inalienable right to snicker at the spectacle of worldwide Obama-worship, reducing a complex and gifted statesman to the laughable status of “Magic Negro” — that weirdly indispensable prop in Hollywood films of the past twenty or thirty years. (You know… modest but supernaturally gifted black man uses his powers to save grateful white protagonist.)
Obama doesn’t need any more grief from the right or the left. I’m sure he’s already weary of playing Magic Negro to a fawning Europe. He doesn’t want to be dismissed as an affirmative action Nobel laureate, the coddled recipient of honors he hadn’t earned. (He undoubtedly suspected that he was capable of winning the prize on his own merits, given another two or three years in office.) He doesn’t want the award simply because he’s the UnBush, either.
But the Nobel is his, and it will stick to him like flypaper for the rest of his presidency. Taliban fighters agitating in Afghanistan? Al-Qaeda insurgents pouring into Pakistan? Nuclear clouds swirling around Iran or North Korea? Obama will be sitting in the Oval Office, gazing at the golden glow radiating from his medal, and fretting fitfully. Peace, peace, peace, the medal whispers to him. Get lost, he wants to answer. But can he? Will he? Should he?
Tough spot for a rookie. I don’t envy him.