Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 9, 2009
WAR: Because Kellogg and Briand Were Not Available

Today's announcement that Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize - having been nominated a grand total of 12 days into his presidency - officially places Obama and the Nobel Committee alike beyond parody. There's no stereotype of liberals they won't embody. Could you possibly come up with a storyline that more perfectly captures the whole idea of Obama - all talk and promises and of course self-congratulation, and nothing to show for it? At least they haven't (yet) renamed the prize after him, but I assume that future winners will be given a framed commemorative picture on black velvet of a shirtless Obama astride a unicorn. This is the most self-evidently ridiculous award since Rafael Palmeiro winning Gold Glove for season when he played only 28 games in the field. The ESPYs are now a more prestigious award than the Nobel Peace Prize.

I can't top Benjamin Kerstein's thoroughgoing vivisection of what this all says about Obama, but let me add a few thoughts of my own.

First, the contrast to last week's Olympic snub is telling. The Olympics would be something of concrete value to the country - small, localized, and dubious value, but at least Obama could have claimed to have brought home the bacon for someone other than himself. That, he couldn't do. But a cash prize payable personally to Obama, and a bunch of gassy generalities about "hope"? Sure thing! Even the international organizations seem to have figured out what Obama deserves and how to placate him when he gets nothing for his country.

Second, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in his first year in office, like promising to roll back the seas, pledging a net reduction in federal spending, promising no tax hikes for 95% of the American public, and circulating those infamous graphs showing the unemployment rate if the stimulus package was passed (hint: it's much higher now than Obama's people said it would be without the stimulus) sets an awfully high bar that Obama is bound to regret setting, for he will inevitably and certainly fall short of it.

Third, even on the Left's own terms, it's hard to see what exactly Obama has produced. The war in Iraq has been winding down since before he was elected, but it's not over. The war in Afghanistan has gotten worse, and the U.S. presence there has escalated. Obama might decide to turn tail anyday now - earlier this week he gave a speech on terrorism that referenced Al Qaeda and multiple locations around the world but pointedly omitted mention of the Taliban or Afghanistan - but as of today, the anti-war movement has zilch to show there either. He hasn't brought an end to rendition, electronic surveillance or indefinite detention, or closed Guantanamo - simply making our policies in those areas more opaque and less effective doesn't count. He hasn't produced anything concrete on "climate change." The only concessions he's won have been from the United States, such as dropping missile defense in Eastern Europe in exchange for an unspecified "hey buddy, I owe you one" from Vladimir Putin. Even the statements of the Nobel Committee were basically an affirmation that he was being given it as a form of social promotion: we hope if we give you the prize, it'll encourage you to get more done.

Unsurprisingly, the most sycophantic reaction comes from Andrew Sullivan. Even Sullivan has to admit the award is "premature," but then goes on to gush that "this is thoroughly deserved" and

Americans ... haven't fully absorbed the turn-around in the world's view of America that Obama and the American people have accomplished.

As usual with such statements, Sullivan bypasses evidence and declines to specify who he means by "the world" - Putin? Hugo Chavez? Al Qaeda? The man on the street in Beijing, who has no political voice? - or what sort of results one would expect to see, if in fact "the world" was more favorably disposed towards the United States. Sullivan then ejaculates:

I hope more see both the peaceful intentions and the steely resolve of this man to persevere.

I'm at a loss to think of even a fictional, hypothetical example of Obama displaying "steely resolve," but whatever gets you through the night, I guess.

This president has done a huge amount to bring race relations in this country to a different place...[the "far right"] know he threatens their politics of division and rule.

Leaving aside what any of that has to do with world peace (Bishop Tutu, he's not), what place would that be? Henry Louis Gates certainly didn't seem to think so. I doubt very much that we're going to see anybody arguing from the Left that any issue of race relations has improved sufficiently under Obama so as to justify an end to race-conscious government policies or policies premised upon arguments about racial inequality. I can predict with 100% confidence that the Left will continue to spend far more time talking about race throughout Obama's presidency than the Right. All that has changed is the benefit to Obama himself of Obama getting elected.

He has also directly addressed the Muslim world, telling some hard truths, and played a small role in evoking a similar movement of hope and change in Iran, and finally told the Israelis to stop cutting their nose off to spite their face.

One could spend weeks unpacking the untruths in this single sentence, a masterpiece of dishonesty and self-deception for which I can only tip my cap to Sullivan. The Cairo speech was, as I have previously discussed, full of at best half-truths and appalling moral equivalencies, Obama's response on Iran was far later and more muted than similar statements on Iranian liberty by his predecessor (and the Iran crisis undercut the whole point of his Cairo speech)...but yes, I'll give him "credit" for disagreeing with the Israeli people and their elected leaders as to matters of Israeli national security. Everybody loves to have Obama lecture them on how he knows best. Oh, and I guess the Israelis aren't part of "the world."

[W]e were facing a spiral of conflict that, unchecked, could have taken the world to the abyss. I see this prize as an endorsement of his extraordinary reorientation of world politics, and as an encouragement to see it through....[T]his is an attempt to tell us: look up for a moment, see how far we've come in pivoting away from global conflict, and give this man a break for his efforts and the massive burden he now bears.

And, in the darkness that still threatens, know hope.

This is hyperbole not on stilts but aloft in a zeppelin, and one can only extend best wishes that Sullivan survives the altitude. And as usual with Obama, it measures his accomplishments entirely by positing an unknowable "but for" world of unimaginable horror, then simply assuming that everything that didn't happen is a positive accomplishment. He's being lauded here for peace "created or saved," the alternative to which is unprovable - the very definition of a faith-based standard of accomplishment. And even on these grounds, Sullivan can't begin to specify what concrete thing Obama has done or will do, since that would open him to having to move his goalposts when reality intrudes in his castles in the air.

Today, we saw the real fruition of Barack Obama's international ambitions. He delivered the one thing he's really good at: accolades and money for Barack Obama.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:33 PM | War 2007-12 | Comments (33) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I burst out laughing when I heard about this. Another affirmative action promotion for Teleprompter Jeezus--just what he needs. "Throw it in the closet with the rest."

And the struggle to justify the award is at least as funny. Look at Sullivan redefine grade inflation. What a joke he's made of himself.

Though you could have spared us Sullivan then ejaculates:

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 9, 2009 1:19 PM

Hilarious. The Nobel Board steals Rove's "let's do shit to make the other guys head explode" schtick.
Good stuff.

Posted by: Berto at October 9, 2009 1:23 PM

Winning the Nobel Prize is not Obama's fault; it's not like he campaigned for it. Still, it's completely ridiculous that he received the award; he has done nothing of substance to deserve it. Not even close.

What galls me is the transparent attempt of the Nobel board to try to influence American foreign policy. By giving him the award, they hope that he will act in a certain way in the future, rather than base the award on his actions in the past:

"Defending their surprising decision, the committee chairman said they sought not just to reward the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, but to 'enhance' the recipient's actions - to promote peace."

Or their version of "peace." Meanwhile, someone, somewhere, who has sought peace in his/her country at great personal sacrifice and danger, has taken a backseat to a first-term US president who has made a bunch of speeches. Well done, committee.

Posted by: MVH at October 9, 2009 2:14 PM

This is among the more comical things to occur during Obama's presidency. More than anything, this reminds me of Milli Vanilli's Grammy Awards. The Nobel Peace Prize has been a meaningless exercise for years, so this qualifies more as ludicrous than maddening.

edgycater.blogspot.com

Posted by: edgycater at October 9, 2009 5:13 PM

"Hilarious. The Nobel Board steals Rove's "let's do shit to make the other guys head explode" schtick.
Good stuff."

Interesting analogy. One side is purportedly an unbiased, prestigious organization dedicated to peace and justice, and the other is a nakedly partisan operative. But in actuality the former only has the objectivity of the latter. Therefore, the award from said group is meaningless. Way to go!

Posted by: tsmonk at October 9, 2009 5:38 PM

Andrew Sullivan is George Costanza. Barack Obama is Dan Cortez, Elaine's Mimbo named Tony.

Posted by: RW at October 9, 2009 6:19 PM

A facebook friend posted the best overview I have heard so far-"this is the worst thing that could have happened to Obama, all anyone is talking about is how he hasn't accomplished anything".

Posted by: dch at October 9, 2009 9:31 PM

Arod-Home run

This is the perfect illustration to show how great Mariano Rivera is and why Trevor Hoffman and Joe Nathan are simply not in his league.

Posted by: dch at October 9, 2009 9:34 PM

So Karl Rove is full of shit. Whouda thunk?

Posted by: Berto at October 9, 2009 9:40 PM

Your attention please. Crank is now entering the game, replacing Kanye West.

Posted by: Berto at October 9, 2009 10:11 PM

We are talking about Karl Rove because......why?

Posted by: dch at October 9, 2009 10:15 PM

I love the thought of all the blood vessels in Crank's neck exploding at the news.

By the way, try learning a little history before writing. Many times in the history of the Nobel Peace Prize, the award has been given on the basis of promise and not necessarily accomplishments banked away (e.g., Woodrow Wilson, Bishop Tutu and others). \

Obama turned the United States from a lawless, torturing, international pariah back into what the ideals on which the country was founded. Given that you support the torture regime, warrantless wiretaps, executive branch authority to disregard enacted laws, etc., you may not see these as acheivements. And, perhaps if the GOP and its fellow travellers could get away from the nonsense spewed by Palin, Beck, Malkin, Limbaugh, et al., more could get done.

By the way, I hope you saw the article in the Washington Post this week on the men who served on the USS Pueblo and their tales of the wreckage caused by North Korean torture. Thanks to Cheney, Rummy and Bush, our soldiers can expect more of that.

Posted by: Magrooder at October 9, 2009 10:19 PM

dch,

A-Fraud's homer proves Riveria's greatness? Not Span's single? Oh, sorry, logic and reason have no meaning to a wing nut

Posted by: Magrooder at October 9, 2009 10:21 PM

Yeah, Nathan not being able to close a game out in a playoff proves how special Rivera is.

Dude this Nobel prize thing is the funniest thing ever, other then Obamabots, everyone I know, including people who voted for Obama, are just laughing at it-see the comments I referenced above for the real fall out from this.

And hey I thought we were bonding over baseball a week or so ago, I even listed you as one of the people in the proposed Fantasy baseball league for this blog. Man that hurts.

Posted by: dch at October 9, 2009 10:40 PM

"Obama turned the United States from a lawless, torturing, international pariah back into what the ideals on which the country was founded."

Magrooder, what are you possibly basing this on? Maybe he promised to do that, but he hasn't delivered on that promise at all.

Posted by: per14 at October 10, 2009 7:54 AM

Per14-you are allowing him to define the world according to extremist view-don't fall into that trap. Again as I mentioned earlier in the week-people don't like us because we are strong, rich and powerful, when powerful countries show their power, weak countries only recourse is to show disdain. They are weak we are strong and we don't need nor should we seek their approval. We lead they follow-period.

Finally, just got off FB with someone from Norway-they are laughing themselves silly over there regarding this pick. Again all this has done is set Obumbler up for spoofing and derision and shown what a joke this award has become .

Thank you lefties.

Posted by: dch at October 10, 2009 9:47 AM

Per DCH FB correspondents in Poland, Malta and South Korea-people are laughing themsleves silly over this.

hey didn't they give him a Grammy for an audio book, maybe he can do a voice over in a movie and get an Academy Award-we could have Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn give it to him with that orgamic wideeyed religious fervor look that lefties get when they worship their secular gods.

Posted by: dch at October 10, 2009 10:32 AM

dch,

Rivera is the best ever; no questions about it. See? We do agree about one thing.

Posted by: Magrooder at October 10, 2009 12:12 PM

I feel the love

Posted by: dch at October 10, 2009 2:16 PM

You neo-commies just can't quite get your minds around this, can you?

If Obama had been given this award after actually accomplishing some minor, pathetic excuse for peacemaking then perhaps we'd be gnashing our teeth over it. But in fact the committee did nothing but expose themselves and the award as a joke, as Hussein McBikehelmet hasn't accomplished a damned thing.

So we're laughing that this joke of a president got a joke of a prize and the world knows it. No one's head's exploding--that's us laughing our asses off.

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 10, 2009 4:59 PM

I hear Obama is up for an Academy Award. It will be for his potential for acting like a president.

Posted by: Lee at October 10, 2009 7:01 PM

I think Obama winning the award is patently absurd. But it's not HIS fault he won. As mentioned above, I'm not sure any part of the resulting discussion is good for him or his agenda

Though watching guys like Crank blow a gasket night make it worthwhile...

Here's my question:

If the award is a joke, why the hell do you guys on the right give a shit?

Otherwise, perhaps recognize that (any) American President winning might be something the country could be happy about?

Or at least not inexplicably livid.

You'd think Obama was standing on the throat of Crank's puppy while Obama personally filled out the five Nobel ballots and cut himself the check.

Posted by: Mr Furious at October 11, 2009 1:06 AM

No it is not Obama's fault he won the award. He appears to be embarrassed by it, because he realizes, like anyone with an IQ above 40, that he doesn't deserve it. In addition, the award is now going to make his ability to perform his defense/foriegn affair duties, when he finally gets around to performing them, more difficult.

What the award does show however that the narrative conservatives have been repeating about Obama is 100% correct. Empty Suit, no accomplishments but bouyed by an army of synchopants who conjure up reasons to worship him and ignore his total lack of leadership ability, accomplishments and multitude of weaknesses.

Finally, the real problem is how this award has now been debased by, once again, lefties unilaterally inflicting their political beliefs on everyone. It is now a meaningless award for a large chunk of the population-going forward people will just ignore this award, like they have started ignoring Academy Awards winners, Grammy Award winners, but leftiess, cocooned in their little echo chambers, still won't get it.

Posted by: dch at October 11, 2009 11:46 AM

Many liberals hate America.

I am beginning to hate America for things like this...Obama winning the election, Obama giving the 'finger' to others during a speech, Obama's Nobel, Obama's acceptance of global warming, too many other Obama issues to list here...

What's left is that nobody gives a shit anymore...and we find ourselves with a country that isn't anything like the founding fathers wanted.

Posted by: Joel at October 12, 2009 9:23 AM

I think it was too soon for Obama to be nominated for this so early in his presidency. Yes, he has changed the face of America and made our foreign policy more favoring for overseas countries. But he isn't anywhere near where the US should be with the relationship of the international system as a whole. The US has a lot of catching up to do.

Posted by: Bar Stools at October 12, 2009 10:13 AM

Instead of "...and we find ourselves with a country that isn't anything like the founding fathers wanted. "

I'd say we find ourselves with a country that isn't what a majority of the present US citizens want.

Posted by: Lee at October 12, 2009 10:16 AM

I would like to see one example if Crank or anybody else "blow(ing) a gasket". A little scorn and a whole helping of ridicule, that's easy to find, but this idea that anybody takes either this president or that award seriously enough to "blow a gasket", you can't find that anywhere on the right.

But I am willing to stand corrected if you'd care to link an example.

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 12, 2009 2:17 PM

I think this award is an outrage because of all the worthy people that were overlooked. Poltically, this is going to be a net negative for Obama.

Posted by: dch at October 12, 2009 3:49 PM

dch,
I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill with your "Poltically, this is going to be a net negative for Obama" line.
Passing (or not passing) a comprehensive healthcare bill that provides citizens access to heathcare, while not being a give-away to insurance companies and big pharma will decide the political battle for Obama.
If it passes it will be a HUGE political positive for him. If it doesn't, that will be the big political negative.
The Nobel debate is just another big political sideshow.

Posted by: Berto at October 12, 2009 5:21 PM

I heard the BBWAA is going to give Obama the AL Cy Young Award, for throwing out the first pitch at the ASG.

Posted by: 94by50 at October 12, 2009 6:11 PM

I think - even if you agree with what Obama's trying to do in the international arena - that this is the equivalent of enshrining Chris Shelton in Cooperstown for what he accomplished in April of 2006.

Posted by: Joel in Seattle at October 12, 2009 6:41 PM

Berto - Well, if your head exploded some time ago, that explains a lot.

Magrooder - You really don't understand the Right if you think we're angry about this. Certainly Obama sometimes does things that make us angry, but this is just hilarious, as the Nobel Committee - long a joke anyway - has thoroughly beclowned itself even in the eyes of Obama's fans.

Posted by: Crank at October 12, 2009 11:16 PM

So you imagine that even with a skull losing brain-matter I didn't fall for the Iraq WMD lies. Yet you did. Curious that.

Posted by: Berto at October 13, 2009 5:31 AM
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