Eugene Robinson has a column out today that is such a masterpeice of confusion it deserves to be broken down and analyzed in small doses:
“WASHINGTON — Somebody explain this to me: The president of the United States wins the Nobel Peace Prize, and Rush Limbaugh joins with the Taliban in bitterly denouncing the award? Glenn Beck has a conniption fit and demands that the president not accept what may be the world’s most prestigious honor? The Republican National Committee issues a statement sarcastically mocking our nation’s leader — elected, you will recall, by a healthy majority — as unworthy of such recognition?”
As I understand it, the Taliban’s criticism of the prize is that Obama is committing murder and genocide by keeping ythe war in Afghanistan going. Let me repeat this: they are accusing him of murder and genocide. Rush Limbaugh’s beef with it is that Obama has done absolutely nothing to deserve it. I ask you in all sincerity – on what planet, in what galaxy, in what language, could these two ciriticisms be plausibly interpreted as the same? What kind of thought process could produce this reasoning?
As to “elected by a healthy majority” – if this is the standard of presidential accomplishment then Eugene Robinson has to be a great fan of Nixon, Reagan, and Bush 41. Do you think he is?
“Why, oh why, do conservatives hate America so?
OK, I know, it’s just some conservatives who’ve been exhibiting what they, in a different context, surely would describe as “Hanoi Jane” behavior. Others who haven’t taken leave of their political senses — and are familiar with the concept of manners — responded to President Obama’s unexpected award with equanimity and even grace. Sen. John McCain, for example, offered his good-natured congratulations.
Some of Obama’s most strident critics, however, just can’t give it a rest. They use words like “farce” and “travesty,” as if there were always universal agreement on the worthiness of the Nobel peace laureate. Does anyone remember the controversy over Henry Kissinger or Yasser Arafat or F.W. de Klerk?
The problem for the addlebrained Obama-rejectionists is that the president, as far as they are concerned, couldn’t possibly do anything right, and thus is unworthy of any conceivable recognition. If Obama ended all hunger in the world, they’d accuse him of promoting obesity. If he solved global warming, they’d complain it was getting chilly. If he got Mahmoud Abbas and Binyamin Netanyahu to join him around the campfire in a chorus of “Kumbaya,” the rejectionists would claim that his singing was out of tune.
Let the rejectionists fulminate and sputter until they wear themselves out. Politically, they’re only bashing themselves. As Republican leaders — except RNC Chairman Michael Steele — are beginning to realize, “I’m With the Taliban Against America” is not likely to be a winning slogan.”
Umm…”Hanoi Jane” refers to a a private citizen who vigorously denounced a war that we were in the middle of conducting.
Whatever one thinks of Kissinger, Arafat, and de Klerk, absolutely no one anywhere doubts that they had produced tangible results, results that you could reach out and touch with your hand, in the real world. I’m not saying you have to like the results. But they had left their fingerprints on actual geopolitical events, in the empirical world, in real time. In regard to Obama, the exact opposite is true – almost nobody, not even his most ardent supporters, claim he’s had a practical impact as yet.
I do agree that there is an element of “he can’t possibly do anything right” – that’s a fair point in my view.
“I’m With the Taliban Against America” – puh leeze sir. This goes back to the first paragraph, to the absurd claim that all criticism carries the same message. This is like saying that filet mignon and cotton candy are both “Food” and not explaining the difference. The Taliban criticized the award, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck criticized the award, they must all be saying the same things, the upshot of their criticism must all be the same, etc. Please!
“More interesting, but no less goofy, is the recommendation — by otherwise sane commentators — that Obama should decline the award. This is ridiculous.
If the award just represented the political views of a handful of left-leaning, self-satisfied Norwegian Eurocrats, as some critics have charged, then it wouldn’t matter whether Obama won it or not. But of course it means much more. The Nobel Peace Prize, irrespective of the idiosyncratic process that selects its winner, is universally recognized as a stamp of the world’s approval. For an American president to reject such a token of approval would be absurdly counterproductive.”
The idea that the Nobel Peace Prize is universally recognized as a stamp of the world’s approval is highly questionable, but for the sake of argument let’s grant it. This raises the following point – would that hold for the Nobel Prize in Economics as well? Because in the history of the Nobel Prize there have been dozens and dozens and dozens of Nobel Laureates in Economics who disagree with Obamanomics…so where does that leave us if the Nobel is the universal arbiter? Do we want to try to say that it is the universal arbiter for the Peace prize, but not for the Economics prize?
“Obama has shifted U.S. foreign policy away from George W. Bush’s cowboy ethos toward a multilateral approach. He envisions, and has begun to implement, a different kind of U.S. leadership that I believe is more likely to succeed in an interconnected, multipolar world. That this shift is being noticed and recognized is to Obama’s credit — and to our country’s.”
At this point anyone with enough brain cells to be counted as “alive” should be tearing their hair out. No matter what you think of Bush’s “cowboy ethos” the fact is that it’s already a part of history and, as such, it is possible to pass judgment on it thumbs up or thumbs down. Robinson’s telltale phrase “I believe is more likely to succeed” sayls it all – this is the Hope Kool Aid. What Robinson is saying is that with Obama we can’t look to his past accomplishments (there aren’t any) so we should look to his speeches, to what he promises. If I was sarcastic I would suggest creating a Nobel Prize for Public Speaking.