Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nobel Committee Having Buyer's Remorse?

Can some Norwegian please translate the politics underlying this news report from AFP?

First of all the report itself couldn’t be more vague. It claims that the “Norwegian tabloid” Verdens Gang says that three of the five members of the (now infamous) Nobel Committee “had objections” to awarding the prize to President Obama.

There were five members on that committee:

  • one from the Progress Party (VG calls this group “right wing populist. I wonder where they’d actually come out on an American political spectrum),
  • one from the Conservative Party,
  • one from the Socialist Left, and
  • two from the Labour Party.

The chairman of this august body is one of the two members from the Labour Party. Did his vote simply carry more weight so that he was able to vote the others down?

Last week, this man (secretary Geir Lundestad) was telling AFP that the vote was “unanimous”. This week, Verdens Gang went nosing around to see what it could find.
- - - - - - - - -
It appears that “unanimous” is a fungible word.

“VG has spoken to a number of sources who confirmed the impression that a majority of the Nobel committee, at first, had not decided to give the peace prize to Barack Obama,” the newspaper said.

No one knows who these “sources” are so we’re left to guess how much arm-twisting and promise-making went on in order to get that unanimous vote.

We’ll probably never know for sure how this one went down. Unless…do Norwegian politicians publish their memoirs at the same rate Americans do on leaving office?

Given the world’s reaction to their choice (from anger to derision to applause), what we may be seeing here is a smidgen of buyer’s remorse. Ah well, too late now y’all. You had your chance to pick someone else but you didn’t.

This decision has tarnished the Nobel Committee in many places around the world. However, the Prize has been around for a long time and they’ll eventually recover that lost ground.

Meanwhile, one has to wonder what accepting the prize is going to cost President Obama? It would have been insulting to refuse their recognition, but he knows that everyone else knows he didn’t deserve this on the merits. Getting an affirmative action prize must be galling for such a sensitive man.

Come 2012, depending on how events play out, he could find that award a big liability during his campaign. Makes you wonder what that Committee was really up to, doesn’t it?

9 comments:

Tuan Jim said...

I posted some policy-letter essays from the Progress Party (from norwaypost - don't have time to dig up now) in the news posts in September before the elections. I'd say they fall around the same level as PVV in the Netherlands. Maybe a little bit less socialist on social matters - but fairly conservative for a Euro party - a bit more of a rural party - rights for fishermen, snow-mobilers, hunters, etc.

Sorry for a lack of links at the moment - I think this was the best example - http://www.norwaypost.no/content/view/22403/

Might have been some more there though.

Opus #6 said...

They say Nobel Peace Laureates are cursed. We'll see.

Natalie said...

Meanwhile, one has to wonder what accepting the prize is going to cost President Obama? It would have been insulting to refuse their recognition, but he knows that everyone else knows he didn’t deserve this on the merits.

I disagree, Dymphna. I think you're misreading our dear leader. First off, Obama could have refused it gracefully--and that would have been the right thing to do. And he doesn't think that he doesn't deserve it. He's so narcissistic that the idea of refusing it has never even crossed his mind.

Dymphna said...

Natalie said..

I disagree, Dymphna. I think you're misreading our dear leader. First off, Obama could have refused it gracefully--and that would have been the right thing to do. And he doesn't think that he doesn't deserve it. He's so narcissistic that the idea of refusing it has never even crossed his mind.

I do think they strategized on this one. Rahm Emanuel is the consummate spinmeister so they would've thought thru the implications. Whether or not they did it skillfully is another matter.

I don't think anyone has turned down the Peace Prize before, have they? So *that* would be a minefield.

OTOH, he knows accepting it is , too. Being a narcissist doesn't preclude looking for the MAIN chance. He's bright.

At any rate, he was wakened at 6:00 am by Gibbs and given the info. Like the rest of us, he had trouble believing it at first.

Obama is always campaigning. It's all he knows how to do. So the immediate question was "how does this fit in with my projected image for the next campaign?"

I think he wrestled with it a little. Michelle? I think she said firmly "Take.The.Money.NOW"

They probably spent a lot of time jumping up and down on the bed, throwing pillows and hollering.

Eileen said...

The Truth About Obama's Nobel Prize

Nobel Prize Committee Chariman Thorbjørn Jagland is shamelessly seeking the spotlight.

"The Committee has defended its decision by saying that Obama has opened up the international diplomatic scene after some 'scary years', as Jagland puts it. Norway is heavily vested in the UN system and the whole political elite is happy to see U.S. participate more in UN processes.

His official English manuscript for the award says “Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.”

His Norwegian announcement used the word “should” instead of “can”. This is a fairly significant change of wording, because it reflects the Norwegian ambitions for being an international powerbroker in humanitarian work. The national ambition is paired by classic public choice concerns.

laine said...

"Getting an affirmative action prize must be galling for such a sensitive man".

I respectfully disagree. Affirmative action has wafted him through life starting with entrance into Ivy League schools for which he was not qualified (why the transcripts are buried deeper than nuclear waste) and ending up in the White House when no fully white man with the exact same resume and associates would have gotten past the primaries.

The man is shameless, a pathological narcissist of the first order who accepted a million dollar award for jejeune public speaking on nuclear disarmament and world peace on the same level as a Miss America candidate.

WAKE UP said...

The key lies in knowing EXACTLY WHO NOMINATED HIM.

Buck said...

Dymphna said: I don't think anyone has turned down the Peace Prize before, have they?

Le Duc Tho, 1973. Obama should have refused it. I'm no fanof The One, but there would have been MUCH less of a downside for him.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Natalie, a slight matter of etiquette:

I think the proper title for the Chosen One is 'Dear Leader', not merely 'dear leader'. Underscores his unique qualifications - or, when read with the eyes of a devil's advocate, his lack thereof.

A man of principle would have refused to be boxed in with Jimmy Carter and Yasser Arafat after merely 9 months in office. The logical deduction is that accepting it was to be expected.

Interestingly, refusing the prize would have been a servere reprimanding of the Nobel Committee for politizising - and would probably lead to the prize regaining some of its former status.