Everybody knows the Nobel Peace Prize has been politicized for quite a while now. Every once in a while, the political aspect seems to coincide with a genuine contribution to peace, like when it was awarded to Muhammad Yunis in 2006, or Médecins Sans Frontières in 1999. Nobody can deny that Begin and Sadat deserved the 1978 prize for negotiating the only lasting peace agreement in the Middle East that any of us can recall, and that Jimmy Carter's role in that agreement plus the work of the Carter Center in succeeding years qualified him for the 2002 prize. Speaking of lifetime achievement, Martti Ahtisaari, the 2008 laureate also was no slouch.
When Al Gore won the prize in 2007, mostly for a PowerPoint presentation, it was pretty silly — but, at least, he'd done something. So what did Barack Obama do?
So far, nothing. Maybe the committee was hoping awarding him the Nobel would encourage him to continue resisting McChrystal and refrain from escalating the war in Afghanistan. If so, I suspect they'll be disappointed. Our President, in all likelihood, will continue in his wishy-washy, distinctly non-heroic pattern of splitting the difference.
More likely, though, Obama was awarded the prize for one simple reason: he's not George W. Bush.
Hey, Norwegians! I'm not George W. Bush either! Where's my million-and-a-half bucks?