Saturday, October 10, 2009


Ace of Spades:

In the sidebar, I'm collecting up "terrorists." Here's one that writes a long confession to his terrorist designs.

George W. Bush launched a “preemptive” war. Now the Nobel Committee is trying for “preemptive” peace. I had always thought the way these things worked was that you helped bring peace or democracy to some corner of the globe first, and then you won the Nobel Prize. But this year, the Nobel Committee has turned that logic around: It clearly likes what Obama is trying to do: on nuclear disarmament, climate change and Middle East peace—and so, in a “preemptive” strike, it’s giving him the award now, in hopes that doing so will boost his chances of success later. It’s an interesting idea....

I like Barack Obama as much as the next liberal, but this is a farce. He’s done nothing to deserve the prize. Sure, he’s given some lovely speeches and launched some initiatives—on Iran, Israeli-Palestinian peace, climate change and nuclear disarmament—that might, if he’s really lucky and really good, make the world a more safe, more just, more peaceful world. But there’s absolutely no way to know if he’ll succeed, and by giving him the Nobel Prize as a kind of “atta boy,” the Nobel Committee is actually just highlighting the gap that conservatives have long highlighted: between Obamamania as global hype and Obama’s actual accomplishments.

He says Obama will "survive" this award, but the Nobel committee might not.

Obama will survive the award, but this will be the most damaging blow to him yet. The floodgates open for talk-show jokes. The American public will begin thinking, "Can we maybe wait until he actually solves some problems before rushing to decorate him with Certificates of Participation and Badges of Effort? Is Barack Obama here to improve our lives, or we his?"

And they will also begin noticing Obama's outsized ego, and worrying about further feeding that bloated, dangerous monster.

A minor actor can be perfectly average but perfectly respectable in his averageness. No one usually begrudges an average person for being average.

But if that average actor wins the Academy Award, suddenly his inadequacy becomes the talk of the town. He was neither more or less average before the award -- but the bestowing of the undeserved award suddenly makes his quite-unobjectionable averageness a subject of sudden derision and his otherwise-unremarkable career the butt of a thousand jokes.

The Marisa Tomei comparison is already being made -- but Marisa Tomei actually earned her Oscar. It's not her fault that the Academy Award almost never rewards inspired comic performances, and so we're surprised when they finally see some comedic acting they think is worth noting.

And Marisa Tomei at least fulfilled the most basic requirement for receiving an Oscar -- she finished a project and did so to general accolades.

Obama has done none of that.

Barack Obama has done nothing to earn his many accolades -- his book deals, his law review editorship, his Senate seat, his presidency -- except simply exist.

Woody Allen observed that 80% of success was just showing up. For Barack Obama, that's 99.9%.

And this highlights the already-wide and quickly-expanding gulf between Obama's reach and his grasp, his reputation and his resume, his accolades and his accomplishments, his words and his deeds... and his hopes and his actual changes.

There has long been an elephant in the room, best ignored, at least best ignored for Obama's political sake.

The Nobel Prize committee has painted that elephant in hot-pink and gold-flake and thrown a ten thousand watt spotlight on it.

The elephant can no longer be ignored.

Obama will become a laughingstock because of this.

Is this his fault? Partly, sure. But not mostly his fault.

But then, neither it is the fault of a mediocre actor who awakes one day to the grim news he has been honored far beyond his abilities, and now will be ridiculed far beyond his culpability for that.

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