After nine months in office, Obama has already won the Nobel Peace Prize:
In a stunning surprise, the Nobel Committee announced Friday that it had awarded its annual peace prize to President Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” less than nine months after he took office.
“He has created a new international climate,” the committee said in its announcement. With American forces deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama’s name had not figured in speculation about the winner until minutes before the prize was announced here.
Reporters at a news conference to announce the prize pressed the committee’s chairman, Thorbjorn Jagland, to explain the reasons Mr. Obama had prevailed over other candidates who included human rights activists in China and Afghanistan and political figures in Africa.
Specifically, reporters asked whether Mr. Obama might not become mired in a war in Afghanistan as Lyndon B. Johnson was in Vietnam.
But the committee said it wanted to enhance Mr. Obama’s diplomatic efforts so far rather than anticipate events in the future.[via Skippy]
What will he win next? Super Bowl MVP?
Update: Obama supporter Brett at Harry’s Place can’t believe it, either:
…It is sad, but it seems not even the president of America is immune from patronising racist white affirmative action-driven low-expectations:
Yes, he has won the Nobel Peace Prize!
Even as a fan of the man, about all I can muster is WTF!!!???
He hasn’t even f**king done anything yet! He’s only been in office for 6 months [sic] and its not like he had a long and distinguished political career – much less an international profile – before he took office. He has not paid his dues.
Morgan Tsvangirai- who didn’t have the benefit of an expensive Harvard education, millionaire backers, and a holiday sanctuary in Hawaii, was overlooked. For a decade Tsvangirai stared down a military-backed tyrant who banned newspapers, murdered opponents, used famine as a political weapon and brought the country – a rapidly failing state – to the eve of civil war. And yet, through skillful statesmanship he managed to hold it together, avert a bloody war and bring the country slowly back from the brink.
But then, he didn’t have the difficult task of fighting an uphill battle against nasty Fox News pundits and vindictive Madison Avenue opinion-shapers to get to where he was.
Update II: Peter Beinart probably puts it best:
…[The Nobel Committee] clearly likes what Obama is trying to do: on nuclear disarmament, climate change and Middle East peace—and so, in a “preemptive” strike, it’s giving him the award now, in hopes that doing so will boost his chances of success later. It’s an interesting idea. Perhaps next they’ll start giving Oscars not to the people who have made the best movies of last year, but to the people who have the best chance of making the best movies next year. After all, once you’ve already made the movie, you no longer need the encouragement.
I like Barack Obama as much as the next liberal, but this is a farce. He’s done nothing to deserve the prize. Sure, he’s given some lovely speeches and launched some initiatives—on Iran, Israeli-Palestinian peace, climate change and nuclear disarmament—that might, if he’s really lucky and really good, make the world a more safe, more just, more peaceful world. But there’s absolutely no way to know if he’ll succeed, and by giving him the Nobel Prize as a kind of “atta boy,” the Nobel Committee is actually just highlighting the gap that conservatives have long highlighted: between Obamamania as global hype and Obama’s actual accomplishments.