THE PLANK OCTOBER 9, 2009
Taking a quick look around the right-wing fever swamps this morning, it was possible to form the opinion that the Nobel Prize Committee had honored Barack Obama with its peace prize in order to confuse and enrage American conservatives.
The Right clearly did not coordinate its talking points. There was in fact a breakfast buffet of reactions.
Dismissal of the prize as "anti-American" was one approach. At The Corner, Andy McCarthy suggested it be renamed the "Yasir Arafat Peace Prize," and denounced the award as a "symbolic statement of opposition to American exceptionalism, American might, American capitalism, American self-determinism, and American pursuit of America's interests in the world."
Others went for pure snark along the traditional lines of mocking Obama as "The One." Here's Ann Althouse:
The question isn't why did they give Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize. The question is why didn't he get the Olympics.
The story of Barack Obama is the story of winning things when he hasn't yet done enough to deserve them. He is, quite simply, Barack Obama. We understand that. Why didn't the IOC understand? You could see it in that smile on his face, when he concluded his little speech in Copenhagen, that he bore the sublime knowledge he would acquire the Olympics for Chicago. Because he is Barack Obama, the man to whom grand prizes are given.
Then there were those who suggested a sinister intention by the Nobel Committee to force Obama even further in his horrible anti-American direction. That was the tack taken by Rush Limbaugh:
And with this award the elites of the world are urging Obama THE MAN OF PEACE not to do the surge in Afghanistan, not take action against Iran and its nuclear program and to basically continue his intentions to emasculate the United States.
Finally, and I didn't delve deeply into such literature, some on the Right just went nasty nuts. Behold the reaction of Erick Erickson of the prominent conservative site RedState: "I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news."
(Oops, sorry, I forgot: by mentioning this slur, I am guilty of playing the "race card.")
It will be interesting to see which of these interpretive themes will emerge as the conservative consensus choice. One thing's for sure: the Right will claim what many have called an "aspirational award" damages Obama's domestic political standing, for that is their own fond aspiration.