By David Keene - 10/12/09 10:22 PM EDT
Our pleading fell on the deaf ears of the old Afrikaner and Calvinist gate agent. Like his Calvinist superiors, he wouldn’t approve an upgrade because we hadn’t earned it and giving it to us “would be bad for our souls.”
Since his nomination had to have been made less than two weeks after his inauguration and he had accomplished absolutely nothing but election, his supporters, celebrating his good fortune, began describing his selection as “aspirational.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, for example, who seems almost desperate to become court jester to a president again, leaped to Obama’s defense, arguing both that the president richly deserved the Nobel, but would now have to justify the committee decision by “earning” it.
Apparently neither the Norwegians nor Brzezinski has experienced the homeowner’s disappointment after naively paying a contractor for work before the job was completed. If they had, they might have waited.
The Norwegians seem to have been caught up in the cult of Obama that swept Europe after his election. Obama was viewed as the leader who would reverse the policies of the hated Bush and “change” his country to more closely resemble theirs. They no doubt believe the young president, who has gratifyingly apologized to the Europeans and pledged to emulate their economic and foreign policies, deserves encouragement.
Some Europeans who perhaps take the Nobel Prize more seriously have been as unimpressed by the arguments mustered in support of giving it to the president as, say, Rush Limbaugh. The London Times, for example, wrote that the award “risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronizing in its intentions, and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun the period in office.” Others were less kind.
I, for one, applaud the Nobel Committee for finally blatantly revealing itself to be what most conservatives have known it to be since it got into the business of using the prize to promote its peculiar ideological agenda: a fraud. If bestowing the award upon Jimmy Carter for bringing peace to the Middle East and giving it to Al Gore for a sensationalist movie weren’t enough, this one should do the job.
The London Times denounced the committee for “its obvious political and partisan intent” for another award to a president who has yet to accomplish much of anything. Whatever moral authority the Nobel Prize of old retained these selection committee members blew when they in essence shed their clothes and ran naked down the streets of Oslo shouting political slogans.
It is perhaps not just early, but too harsh to suggest that President Obama has accomplished so little. He has, in fact, accomplished a fair amount in just the few months he’s been president. He’s united Republicans in a way that few of us believed possible a year ago, and he’s managed to reinvigorate the body politic. More Americans than ever are today calling and writing their elected officials, attending Tea Parties and promising to vote and turn out their neighbors in 2010 and 2012.
Obama has reawakened the healthy fear of an over-intrusive government and reminded Americans of the importance of federalism and the checks and balances the Founders so wisely built into our system of government. Seniors, gun owners and others threatened by his brand of change have been drawn back into the political process, and for that he deserves our gratitude.
Keene is chairman of the American Conservative Union and a managing associate with the Carmen Group, a Washington-based governmental