Friday, October 9, 2009

WaPo: Dumbest...blogposting...ever.

I like Ezra Klein's work, and all...but...

America has already gotten used to Obama. It's common to talk about the "overexposure" of the first African American president in history. It's ordinary to see him hedging on important political priorities, and failing to please his most ardent supporters. It's normal to see him called communist by his enemies and spineless by his friends. America, to its credit, has adjusted to its first black president with ease and swiftness.

But the rest of the world hasn't necessarily done the same. This prize, which came as Obama contemplates a troop build-up in Afghanistan and hectors the international community on financial regulation and global warming, suggests that there is some reservoir of relief and amazement for America's young president. The international gushing may seem absurd to us, as the schoolyard lionization of an older brother often seems funny to a sibling, but it can be used to our advantage. Leaders in allied countries no longer run against America, and now the Nobel Committee is attempting to welcome America back as the leader of the free world. And it didn't cost us anything. Would that life told more jokes like that one.

Are you freakin' kidding me? Ease and WHAT?!?

Looks to me like the rest of the world is way used to Obama, its this country that has to catch up.

MSNBC: Obama's Speech on the Consumer Protection Agency (VIDEO)

The World is watching...

The news that President Barack Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Prize for Peace has got tongues a-waggin’ and keyboards a-clickin’ just about all over the world. To me, the most extreme negative reaction to this news should be mezzo-mezzo; a “meh” if you will. If the Republican Party-slash-conservative movement had any brains left in it that’s how they would have played it.

Instead, we got Rush Limbaugh:

Nobel Gang Just Suicide-Bombed Themselves.


They love a weakened, neutered U.S and this is their way of promoting that concept. I think God has a great sense of humor, too.

We got David Frum:

From the age of 20, Barack Obama has collected acclaim, awards and prizes not for his accomplishments (which have always been rather scanty), but for his potential. You think with the guy nearing 50 and elected president of the United States that the prizes for “most promising young man” would cease. But no! The Nobel Committee has just awarded him one more.

We even got a little racism from Erick Erickson (

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. There is no way Barack Obama earned it in the nominations period.

From the left, the response hasn’t been a hell of a lot better. The most quoted thing I’ve read has been douchebags like Glenn Greenwald (and yes, I reserve my right to call him a douchebag):

We're currently occupying and waging wars in two separate Muslim countries and making clear we reserve the "right" to attack a third. Someone who made meaningful changes to those realities would truly be a man of peace. It's unreasonable to expect that Obama would magically transform all of this in nine months, and he certainly hasn't. Instead, he presides over it and is continuing much of it. One can reasonably debate how much blame he merits for all of that, but there are simply no meaningful "peace" accomplishment in his record -- at least not yet -- and there's plenty of the opposite. That's what makes this Prize so painfully and self-evidently ludicrous.

Some guy named Jesse Berney (Huffington Post Blogger):

Barack Obama's presidency is 17 days younger than my daughter, and she just figured out how to put Cheerios into her mouth. The Norwegian Nobel Committee made a grave mistake.

Jake Tapper
(ABC News...the links to his Twitter account, of which this is a tweet):

Apparently the standards are more exacting for an ASU honorary degree these days.

To top it all off, we even heard from the effin' Taliban:

We have seen no change in his strategy for peace. He has done nothing for peace in Afghanistan.

Which made Rush follow up with this:

Something has happened here that we all agree with the Taliban and Iran about and that is he doesn't deserve the award.

I get the feeling Rush is mad that he just bought his "I get to bash Obama about the Olympics toy" and now the Nobel Committee's taken it away from him.

It strikes me that both sides are missing the point in all this.

The Nobel Peace Prize wasn’t so much a message to President Obama, as it was to America.

It was…in short, the world telling us that this is our last chance with them.

Martin Luther King was awarded his Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 in the middle of the tumult of the Civil Rights Struggle. He would only (unfortunately) be with us for four more years. It’s not hard to imagine the Rush Limbaughs, Sean Hannitys and the Michelle Malkins of their day launching a non-stop assault on the integrity of the award just for giving it to King.

But think about what the award conferred on King; it conferred legitimacy. Not only that, it conferred global legitimacy. It was the rest of Planet Earth telling America that we approve of what Dr. King is trying to do.

The number one criticism of Barack Obama’s award is that he is not deserving of it, at least not yet. But, as the Nobel Committee noted themselves, it’s not about whether he deserves it now:

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama’s appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

Again, as with his spiritual predecessor, the President’s award is about global legitimacy. It is another moment wherein the world (at least in the form of the Nobel Committee) is telling America, again, that they approve of what this man is trying to do; and that its time to get your act together.

So what does this do…to the people who hate the President? Is this message going to sink in?

Probably not. If anything, it's going to have the opposite effect in this country.

But the world is watching...

I’m not talking about people with legitimate Political disagreements over policy (like Glenn Greenwald…douchebag though he remains), I’m talking about the people who’s opposition is fueled by the visceral, by his political positions, by his name, and most of all, by the color of his skin; all of whom using the language of violence and threat to make their point.

But the world doesn't care what they think. They just reminded them that they are watching.

They’re watching the threats, the town halls, the guns at the President’s appearances, the Birthers, the Tenthers, the Teabaggers, the Glenn Beck horseshit, the threats against Congressmen and women, the threats against the President himself...

In truth, you want to know when I think the President won the Prize?

The moment Joe Wilson opened his damn mouth.

The moment this lowlife Congressman showed such open, defiant disrespect, unleashing such venom, displaying (sorry to disagree with you, Mr. President) such typical American racism; everything started to change...the health care debate, and the internal political dynamic in this country.

The quiet discussions about violence and threats to the President came out into the open. We had a U.S. Congressman willing to embarrass himself, and embarrass his country to show this in however small a way that he was somehow above or superior to the duly-elected President of the United States.

And the world was watching.

Today, the world decided to send a message right back to America: You did the right thing in electing this man. We respect you for it. We admire you for it.

But how you treat him in the future is going to weigh heavily on how we treat you

What happens now…what happens to our country…if the duly-elected President of the United States, the first African-American (and yes, I count him as one) to hold the position, and Nobel Laureate…is felled by an assassins bullet?

How the world going to look upon us…if we should so cavalierly spit on their judgment?

I don’t think their reaction to us will be kind, nor forgiving. In fact, there’s a part of me that suspects the world will say, “that’s it. You’re on your own.”

The world is watching, and now demands better of us.

And they expect better of Obama, too. Now, granted he has some really solid Foreign Policy successes on his curriculum vitae. Iraq is drawing to a close, however slowly. The President (along with Hillary Clinton and George Mitchell – who deserve a share of this award, if you ask me) is pushing Israel on the Peace Process (and pissing people off). He spoke to both the Muslim world, and to our own racial divide in ways that people are still talking about. He ramped down tensions with Russia. He’s made significant strides in relations with Iran, with a lot more work to come. His work on Environmental policy drew the notice of the Nobel Committee (and the ire of the Right). And his commitment to rid the world of Nuclear weapons is both good Politics, and good Foreign Policy.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s a flip side to this coin. He is on a path to accelerate things in Afghanistan (a plan I’m not completely against, to be honest). American Forces have killed far too many civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan (any number greater than one). American Special Forces delivered a lethal warning to Somali pirates (again, which I support). And he has unleashed our drones and our Pakistani allies in Waziristan and the Swat Valley.

The world is watching the President too. Unlike his radical foes, Obama seems to have gotten the message:

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build -- a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action -- a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.

These challenges can't be met by any one leader or any one nation. And that's why my administration has worked to establish a new era of engagement in which all nations must take responsibility for the world we seek. We cannot tolerate a world in which nuclear weapons spread to more nations and in which the terror of a nuclear holocaust endangers more people. And that's why we've begun to take concrete steps to pursue a world without nuclear weapons, because all nations have the right to pursue peaceful nuclear power, but all nations have the responsibility to demonstrate their peaceful intentions.

Yes, it is still early in his Administration, and not all of us are satisfied. But there is so much road to go, so many more things to build on and explore.

Can you think of a better man for the job?

I can’t.

(And if you can…odds are they don’t have a Nobel Peace Prize, so…SCOREBOARD!)

HuffPo: The Arizona Threat Matrix...

Obama signs in Arizona vandalized...but with the violent rhetoric on overdrive:

PHOENIX, AZ -- "Kill Obama" was spray painted in purple on campaign signs at two locations in Cave Creek, a suburb of Phoenix, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO).

Rejected! (VIDEO)

This was originally posted on TPM (and by extension HuffPo), but I just had to pass it along.

MSNBC: Obama Nobel Acceptance Speech (VIDEO)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

One more thing from Ezra...

From the same article, but a very important point:

[The Compromise] also creates a neat policy experiment: We can see, over time, what happens to state insurance markets that include the national public option and compare them with those that don't. We can see whether the worst fears of conservatives are realized and private insurers are driven out and providers are forced out of business due to low payment rates, and we can see whether the hopes of liberals are right and costs come down and private insurers become leaner and more efficient. Or both, or neither. It's an opportunity to pit liberal and conservative policies against each other, rather than just pitting liberal and conservative congressmen against each other.

Erza Klein on the Public Option Compromise...

Ezra likes it. I'm sensing a trend.

[The Public Option Compromise] gives you an essentially national administrative structure, but also gives states the right to reject the option entirely. It means, in other words, that the blue states get the public option at full strength and the red states get to ignore it entirely.

Nate Silver on the Public Option Compromise...

Nate likes it.

Some of the usual suspects are out this morning with criticism of Tom Carper's compromise proposal to insert a robust public option into the Democrats' health care bill, but allow states to opt out of it by legislative or popular action. I'm not going to call these people out by name because I consider some of them friends and they're doing good, important, productive work. But this compromise is leaps and bounds better than most of the others that have been floated, such as Chuck Schumer's proposal to have a public insurance option that would be forced to negotiate at private market rates.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

MSNBC: I'm in... (VIDEO)

And for the record, Keith, I'm in.

Confused? Watch the Special Comment. The complete video is below, take a moment when you can, then donate what you can, when you can. It has the added benefit of being both Political and Chartiable.

The Text of the Special Comment is here.