The Nobel Peace Prize was a nice consolation for President Obama not getting the Olympics for his adopted hometown, but that doesn't explain the decision by the Norwegian inscrutables – they apparently voted before
the I.O.C. chose Rio over Chicago for the 2016 Olympic Games. One plausible motivation is that the Europeans really, really wanted to vote for Obama in the 2008 election, but, well, they can't vote in U.S. elections. But they could certainly vote against George W. Bush.
So the Nobel committee was telling us how they felt about our guy, as if we didn't know already. Or, perhaps it was a preemptive strike: If they give it to Obama, they don't have to give it to Bill Clinton, who has been openly coveting the peace prize for the better part of two decades.
The real reason, of course, was no mystery: European liberals just can't tell us enough times how dumb they think we were for sending Bush to the White House. (Twice!) Nor is this the first anti-Bush, anti-Republican Party Nobel. By my count, it's the fourth. The first was Jimmy Carter, who did not
win, as he should have, for a lifetime of working for Habitat for Humanity or for spending his retirement traveling to the least desirable tourist destinations on the globe to monitor elections.
No, they gave it to Carter, by their own admission, because of his consistently churlish, partisan and un-presidential sniping at Bush over the looming U.S. invasion of Iraq: "It should be interpreted," a Norwegian functionary named Gunnar Berge said of Carter's prize, "as a kick in the leg." Bush's leg, that is.
Okay, but the Oslo orgy was just getting going. In 2007, Al Gore shared a peace prize for his work on global warming. That issue is hardly about the promotion of "fraternity between nations" or "the reduction of standing armies" (the stated Nobel criteria), but they couldn't resist: Here was yet another area in which the elites in the "world community" found Bush wanting. After all, wasn't Gore the guy Bush stole the election from?
A year later, Paul Krugman won a Nobel Prize
in economics, supposedly for his work on showing that the tide of global trade really was lifting all boats, yachts and dugout canoes. But was there still a serious debate about that in 2008? (Oh, yes, but only in the Democratic Party, where Obama ran as a protectionist against free-traders like Hillary Clinton.) Ironic, but irrelevant, 'cause Krugman's real claim to fame was the relentlessly anti-Bush invective he dispensed weekly during the Bush era in his New York Times
column. Oslo loves
that, by its own admission.
The statement issued by the Norwegian Nobel Committee
on Friday consisted of four little paragraphs of code words that continue to kick Bush in the leg. Many conservatives were beside themselves, and you can't really blame them. But even liberals were laughing about the award. One parlor game was whimsically naming various other Bush antagonists – Arianna Huffington, the Dixie Chicks, the Iraqi television journalist who threw his shoes at Bush – as possible future Nobel laureates.
One friend of mine quipped that Obama ought to take Kanye West to the Scandinavian acceptance ceremony. (He wouldn't be shy about telling the committee who they should have picked.) Noting that White House officials had announced that the $1.4 million cash award that goes with the peace prize will be donated to charity – but didn't specify which non-profit would receive the largesse – this buddy also deadpanned that Obama ought to give the money to ACORN.
While watching college football over the weekend, I mentioned to my longtime friend George Condon, White House correspondent for Congress Daily
, that the competition for the Heisman Trophy seemed wide open this year. I asked George if he had anyone on his radar screen. "You're probably going to laugh," he replied, as I scanned my brain for the Ohio State Buckeye whom George had in mind. "But I'm thinking . . . Obama."