President Barack Obama may have been more surprised than anyone to find himself the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize.
Obama responded, “I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honored by this prize. I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the challenges of the 21st Century.”
An AP article announcing the award pointed out that Obama is continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has “launched deadly counter-terror strikes in Pakistan and Somalia”—issues that have raised objections worldwide to the Nobel Committee’s choice.
Rush Limbaugh chimed in, “The Nobel gang just suicide-bombed themselves. Gore, Carter, Obama, soon Bill Clinton. See a pattern here? They are all leftist sell-outs….Obama gives speeches trashing his own country, and for that gets a prize, which is now worth as much as whatever prizes they are putting in Cracker Jacks these days.”
Predictable, yes, but friends and foes alike have been taken aback that the award was given after only 263 days into Obama’s first administration.
The Nobel Committee unexpectedly acknowledged that its choice could be seen as an early vote of confidence in Obama intended to build global support for his policies. It cited changes already wrought in “global mood,” through Obama’s promises to reduce the world stock of nuclear arms, to ease conflicts with Muslim nations, and to increase America’s role in reducing global warming.
In what the AP called a “rare interview,” Aagot Valle, a lawmaker for the Socialist Left Party who joined the Nobel Committee this year, said she hoped the selection would be viewed as “support and a commitment for Obama.” She concluded, “And I hope it will be an inspiration for all those that work with nuclear disarmament and [nonnuclear] disarmament.”
Only hours later, Obama addressed the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Dinner in Washington, DC, receiving huge rounds of applause as he spoke of ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and seeking to rescind the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
If, as suggested in the AP and other sources, the members of the Nobel Committee believe that their selection represents “an early vote of confidence in Obama intended to build global support for his policies,” one has to admire their daring, and their faith in Obama’s “Yes We Can!” campaign slogan.
The call to action has been sounded. HRC, the nation—and the world—wait to witness Obama’s response.