I first saw this posted on Nimbusters, a popular no-holds-barred parody site, and thought it was a joke. No joke. Obviously, the Nobel Prize Committee has an affirmative action quota.
Believe it or not, Barack Obama has been selected for the Nobel Peace Prize. National media stories from CNN, USA Today, the New York Times. Mainstream reaction posted by the Washington Post, Politico, Hot Air, Stormfront, a Fox News blog, and a slew of threads on Free Republic.
Utah media stories (including public comments) from the Deseret News, the Salt Lake Tribune, KSTU Channel 13 (with video), and KSL Channel 5. KSL news video embedded below:
Obama was first notified of his selection by press secretary Robert Gibbs at 6 A.M. on October 9th, 2009. Self-effacingly, he used the announcement as an opportunity to extend his reach around the world and define his ambitions. "Let me be clear, I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations," Obama said in a brief speech. "To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize". Read the full transcript of Obama's remarks HERE. Salon discloses that Obama will donate the $1.4 million prize money to a charity.
But Obama has yet to achieve any major breakthroughs on the many international efforts he has undertaken: drawing down U.S. involvement in Iraq and beefing it up in Afghanistan, reaching peace in the Middle East, forcing Iran to forgo its nuclear program, resetting relations with Russia, improving diplomacy with the Muslim world and reducing the world's supply of nuclear arms. Nevertheless, some apologists claim that the prize could help Obama advance his goals.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee picked the 48-year-old president from 205 nominees for his efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The committee praised Obama's creation of a new climate in international politics, and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the United Nations to the center of the world stage. Obama becomes the fourth current or former U.S. president to win the prize, after Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, Woodrow Wilson in 1919 and Jimmy Carter in 2002, long after his presidency had ended.
Prominent Utahns have already placed their reaction on record in the Deseret News. Most noteworthy was the reaction of Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who seems distinctly unimpressed. Chaffetz said, "On what did he win the prize? He has not done anything yet, the world is not a safer place, that's for sure. I've lost all respect for this prize, it is no longer on my radar screen as a distinctive prize. What can you point to seriously that the president has actually accomplished in foreign policy? I can't think of anything." Asked if we all shouldn't be proud that an American won it, Chaffetz said: "Who cares? What does it matter? Maybe Jay Leno should win because he's been more civil than David Letterman." Deseret News editor Jay Evenson also questions whether Obama is worthy of the honor.
In contrast, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch sucked up: "Whenever an American receives an important international honor, it reflects positively not only on the achievements of that individual but also on our nation as a whole. So I am very pleased that President Obama has been honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, and I commend him for it." But in an interview on Fox News, Hatch said he expected the Nobel committee would have selected former President Bill Clinton for raising $1 billion for international humanitarian efforts, but he hopes Obama will take this as an incentive to do an even greater job around the world. Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson also joined the cheerleading squad, opining that the honor says something about the United State's place in the world. "This award is a statement from the international community on the value of America's involvement on the global stage in working towards increased democracy and human rights," Matheson said.
Governor Gary Herbert issued an official letter of congratulations to President Barack Obama. In his letter, Herbert noted the unusual nature of a U.S. president winning such a prestigious award so soon in his first term, and referred to Obama's "potential" for fostering peace in the world. Read between the lines, though; key words are "unusual" and "potential". Read the full letter HERE.
Now that Barack Obama has been given the Nobel Peace Prize, it's time to right yet another injustice. I propose that BYU quarterback Max Hall be immediately nominated for the NFL Hall of Fame. So what if he hasn't played in the NFL yet; that's just a minor detail. We now award based upon potential rather than production.