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The Republicans need to take a “chill pill” about their reaction to the president being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. They have gone overboard and are risking the “sour grapes” perception by the public at large. If there are any sour grapes, they should be found in the garden of former President Bill Clinton. I speculate that upon hearing the news Friday morning, President Clinton let out a few expletives that would have made Rahm Emanuel blush. President George Bush must have done the same.
The fact is that the Norwegian Nobel Committee decides who is the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Norway is a peaceful country with a long history of making surprising choices with the Nobel. Not only did they give it to Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat, but Henry Kissinger also won. Many people were shocked when both of these men were awarded the peace prize. The prize has been used as both an award and as a carrot to promote better action and leadership on specific issues. In my view, President Obama is getting the award for what some would call “representative leadership.” There were other people in addition to Mikhail Gorbachev and former President Ronald Reagan who were responsible for ending the communist era. However, both of the leaders were the individuals who represented the change. The same is true for President Obama. Many people have worked on climate change and non-proliferation, but he is the one who represents much of what is being done and the change that is taking place in the world.
The carping on the airwaves has included the fact that the nominations are made in February and that President Obama had only been president for a very short period of time. The fact is that the Norwegian Nobel Committee can decide at any point to change its mind and decide that candidate Obama had already reached across the ocean with his goals and dreams by the time he became president.
It is also something to be proud of as Americans. This year was an excellent year for Nobel Prizes won by Americans. Some of the medicine, chemistry and physics prizes went to Americans. I didn’t see any Russians on the list, and despite China’s huge population only one Chinese person was on the list. America should be proud. We may be having a difficult time economically, but we are still out in the forefront contributing to science and medicine.
There were some Republicans who were proud of the president and Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly was one of them. He said as Americans we should be proud, but not so with the Republican Party and its Chairman Michael Steele. There are times to comment and times to let it be, and his timing was way off. He asked, “What has the president accomplished?” The Norwegian Nobel Committee was clear in what it stated about the award. It was due to President Obama’s “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.”
The award did not say that he created peace or that a treaty had been signed. The honor states that it is for “effort.” Like him or hate him, Barack Obama has put in the effort. He did it before he became president and has continued to do it since taking the highest office in the land.
The Republicans really went overboard with their fundraising letter that they produced and distributed just 30 hours after the prize was announced. They sent the letter to their vast e-mail list, and my guess is that it will go directly to their direct mail house.
In his fundraising appeal the Republican Chairman said: “It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working toward peace and human rights.”
Steele goes on and lumps the Democrats in the same boat as people on the very far Left. He stated: “the Democrats and their international leftist allies want America made subservient to the agenda of global redistribution and control. And truly patriotic Americans like you and our Republican Party are the only thing standing in their way.”
He goes on with his pitch to say, “Help our party spread the word about the Obama Democrats’ dangerous naïveté and power grab. Please support GOP elected officials as they work to hold the Democrats accountable by making a contribution of $25, $50, $100, $500, or $1000 to the Republican National Committee today.”
It is shameful that the Republican Party is so desperate to raise cash that they would stoop to the lowest tactics possible and utilize the receipt of the Nobel Peace prize by the president to raise money and red bait by saying “leftist allies.” It is a complete outrage, and the Republican Party really should take its foot out of its mouth and substitute “a chill pill.”
Republicans would do themselves a favor if they put aside partisan differences and were proud of the Nobel committee’s recognition of our president instead of using the award as a divisive fundraising technique.