Hope is Cheap

Sharon October 9th, 2009

Wow, that’s a backhanded compliment.  Here, President Obama, have the Nobel Peace Prize.  Everyone will know you didn’t earn it, or do anything to deserve it, but you seem like a nice man, and well, we really hated your predecessor.  So you get a special award just for not being him, kind of the Miss Congeniality for world leaders.  Either that or the Nobel Prize Committee was under the impression that our bombardment of the moon was actually subduing some enemy. 

Tough day for peace, y’know.  More troops and drones to Afghanistan, more money in a military budget that is by a whole lot the largest in the world, more rumblings with Iran….  But hey, the first black president is also the first black president to win the nobel peace prize, so things must be looking up.  I’m hoping they give him the the faux-nobel for economics next - if we give him enough awards, he’ll have to do better!  Or the Heisman trophy.

The only real explanation is this - the nobel prize nominees, made up of the world political elite, the most educated people in the world, and prior winners have no freaking idea what to do next.  They are all hoping that a resolutely-middle-of-the-road guy who got to be president in the US has a plan, and some hope for the future.  They hope if they give him a prize he hasn’t earned he’ll live up to it.  Just as a lot of us hoped that if we started with big expectations, he’d live up to them.

So far, not so much.  And that kind of hope is cheap.  But apparently, so is the definition of peace.


100 Responses to “Hope is Cheap”

  1. Heathon 09 Oct 2023 at 7:50 am

    Sharon, that’s a cheap shot. I was as stunned as anyone that he won this, but you don’t display any understanding of just how much of a difference it makes to foreigners that our president’s name isn’t Bush.

    Go the Guardian UK and get some viewpoints of observers outside the US media bubble, and then reflect on what he means to them.

  2. Denise in TNon 09 Oct 2023 at 7:55 am

    I’m going have to agree w/ Heath on this one..
    Your opinion your blog I give you that..and I am a little tiff at
    him right now.. But I’m also proud of him ..

    Denise in TN

  3. Michelleon 09 Oct 2023 at 8:11 am

    I’ll be the first to weigh in with you, Sharon, and dissent with Heath and Denise. Obama might have great plans, a good name in the world, and have begun to improve the reputation of the US enough to wheedle a spot in the worldwide sandbox for the US to come in and play again, but… he hasn’t accomplished anything yet. I am under the impression that Nobel prizes acknowledge accomplishments, not ambitions. As such, I find this award at best premature and at worst, pandering. At least they’re pandering to people’s hopes, not their fears, though.

  4. koryon 09 Oct 2023 at 8:17 am

    Personally I think he has spent far too much time proving he is not a liberal to a rabid and vocal opposition, thus avoiding the pesky need to do all those liberal things people were hoping for when they voted for him…such is politics…but…

    I’m proud we have a leader that the world feels it can cooperate with again. That goes a long way. My optimistic side says: “He has to move slowly or the rodeo clowns in the media will scream: I told you so!”

    Then again, it could be a case of “same as the old boss” and if so, well then at least of all the dirty powerhungry politicos in the world, ours is the most likeable.

  5. Sharonon 09 Oct 2023 at 8:19 am

    I’m sorry, but you don’t get the nobel peace prize for not being George Bush - that’s ridiculous and condescending. I don’t give a flying hoot how much foreigners like that he’s not our previous asshole president - that’s not grounds for giving him the peace prize. This isn’t teh special olympics.

    He did nothing to earn it - that’s not to say he couldn’t eventually, but he didn’t, and we all know this. Do you really think that a man who just upped troops in Afghanistan earned this more than people who have been fighting for real peace their whole lives?


  6. Sharonon 09 Oct 2023 at 8:24 am

    BTW, Denise and Heath, you do realize that the deadline for nominations means that he had to have been nominated within a few weeks or days of his inauguration. So he really didn’t do anything to deserve this?

    Note that not all non-americans think he deserves it - Lech Walesa, for example, made the perfectly reasonably observation that he hadn’t earned it. If I were Lech Walesa, and had, I’d be kinda pissed.

    Henry Kissinger probably thinks it is cool, though.


  7. Susanon 09 Oct 2023 at 8:25 am

    I’m totally with you, Sharon. I actually said the same thing as I was doing chicken duty this morning; DH came outside to tell me as he was surprised also.

    So what does this do to the Prize? Only diminish its importance, its relevance, its reputation. Kinda like the ‘Nobel’ in economics.

    Way to go, Nobel committee…I’m sure Al would be so proud of you sullying his name like that (sarcasm).

  8. e4on 09 Oct 2023 at 8:30 am

    I’m glad he won the election, but even I did a triple-take when I saw the news this morning. I kept trying to figure out if it was a parody or something. I mean, I usually think of the Peace Prize as like a lifetime achievement award. Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, the Red Cross…

    I was racking my brain trying to think if there was some big thing I’d forgotten. Closing Guantanamo (still in progress), changing the rules on interrogation, and, um… not starting any new wars? Talking to Iran? Letting Bill Clinton go to North Korea? Not denying climate change? I’m scratching my head a little.

  9. Judyon 09 Oct 2023 at 8:35 am


    One of your shorter pieces, but you couldn’t have hit the nail any more accurately with one word more.

    Seems that the whole world has gone Orwellian, not just the U.S.

  10. Denise in TNon 09 Oct 2023 at 8:36 am

    Sharon ok..I can understand where your coming from.. but are you mad at Obama or the Nobel folks?
    If its with Obama then IMHO the anger that I see is misplaced..

  11. ctdaffodilon 09 Oct 2023 at 8:41 am

    I’ve been reading this morning and just can’t figure out what it iwas he has done yet? Yes he has really gotten the country debating about health care for all, but he didni’t start the ball rolling , he gave it a good solid push.

    Unfortunately we are still at war overseas. There hasn’t been any sweeping change in education yet. And don’t even start on the environment.

    Forgive my ignorance but what was the award given for?

    I do think that its time for change - but haven’t really seen changes yet.

  12. Cathyon 09 Oct 2023 at 8:42 am

    Sharon: A really cheap shot which is beneath you. I have always admired your ability to see both sides of an issue, but this response is really childish. Obama did not ask for this prize - it was voluntarily given to him by those who admire his efforts to bring peace to the world by making peaceful overtures to the Muslim world (rather than continually threatening to kick their collective asses) and by extending the kindness of the United States to the poor of the world with increased humanitarian efforts.

    Really, Sharon, I would have expected better from you.

  13. MEAon 09 Oct 2023 at 8:47 am

    I feel sorry for Mr. Obama over this. He’s smart enough to know that the two weeks in office before the nomination didn’t include anything to earn the Peace Prize. Either was as given out of hope that he will do something worthy, or because they don’t have an award on hand that you get just for being the first U.S. president who is partically of African descent.

    What are his choices, rudely refuse or sheepishly accept?


  14. Patrickon 09 Oct 2023 at 8:51 am

    I couldn’t agree more. I stand by my vote for Obama, but only because he was the better choice over McCain. Still though, lack of better options doesn’t make him the best. His entire message is not substantiated by any actions I’ve seen and I really couldn’t be more disappointed. But hey, what can you expect out of our government? I’ve essentially given up on our government and I can’t see any way of it being fixed short of a complete collapse. And in that same vein I’m eternally optimistic that we can get things right once given the chance.

    Keep writing and thanks,

    Chattanooga, TN

  15. Chrison 09 Oct 2023 at 8:53 am

    Spot-on, Sharon. I used to think that Nobel prizes were given for extraordinary accomplishments and ones that had a real effect on society. Look at this year’s Nobel physics prize: it was given to the teams that developed fiber-optic cable and the charge-coupled device back in the 1960s. The internet and digital cameras would not exist without these components. Would. Not. Exist. And they did this in the 1960s.

    For comparison, what has Obama actually done and what tangible effect have these actions had? (cue crickets)

    I like Obama and I’m still clinging to a tattered bit of Hope(TM). But that’s beside the point. In my eyes a big-name international award just lost a lot of credibility. It should be more than just an Academy Award for politicians.

  16. Brenda W.on 09 Oct 2023 at 8:58 am


    I have to agree with Cathy … one of the reasons I’m a regular on your blog is how objectively you present issues. Many of your stances on these issues I disagree with, but your clear, fact-based presentations help me clarify my own positions, “keeping me honest” with why I believe a certain way.

    Today’s post struck me as more gut-based on your part … reacting without thinking.

  17. Kateon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:01 am

    Hi Sharon,
    I agree with you. I don’t think it is childish at all and yes, he certainly could have no thanks. Of course that wouldn’t have been politically correct.
    I am disgusted with both. Obama promised change and none has occurred. The lobbyist - two in particular have grown by 65% and 57% respectively. He was supposed to tell them to pack up their toys and go home. Not happened yet.
    The Nobel prize committee did much to deplete the meaning of the prize.

  18. Brad K.on 09 Oct 2023 at 9:01 am


    Thank you for expressing my own disappointment, with respect and dignity I would not have managed.

    Brad K.

  19. Green Assassin Brigadeon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:03 am

    I have to agree Obama is not deserving of this. (YET)

    Sure he’s offered to broker Middle East peace but who hasn’t in the last half dozen administrations? We all know it’s a hollow and pointless offer as an accommodation between these two sides is unlikely. Israel’s demographics seem to favour increased power to ultra orthodox and nationalistic coalitions not people who would make accommodations for peace, the other side(s) seems no more conciliatory either.

    I would applaud him if he could pull it off but Obama’s offer is just window dressing at this point.

    Yes Obama OFFERED to reduce nukes but until those weapons are gone talk is cheap, credit him when the job is done.

    What has he done? He’s still supporting 2 wars and talking tough to towards another.
    The U.S still allows and in some cases subsidies massive weapon sales to dictators and human rights abusers,
    Obama still funds the largest spending military force in the world,

    Is he a better man than Bush was? Hell Yes, but to get this prize needs to fulfill his promises and create peace not just talk about it.
    I think this cheapens the prize for others, who get it later,

  20. UrbanWorkbenchon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:06 am

    This feels like it should be embarrassing for the Oval Office, having people swooning over your policies before you’ve made any inroads. Still at war, still as many nukes out there, yet to redeem America fully from it’s position in the Middle East. His ideas are on the right track, but as many readers here know, there were not too many other options for a president who got voted in on a change platform, the world had changed radically in the previous couple of years and Obama was one of the leaders who got it.

    @Heath - you say that we should be looking at the foreign perspective, well the poll on the Guardian Website gave an indication that 68.9% of respondents believed it was too early for Obama to receive this award. After all, he took office only two weeks before nominations closed back in February.

  21. carolynon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:07 am

    I am almost speechless…..this is about on a par with kindergarden graduation ceremonies…
    I agee, he doesn’t have much choice but to accept it gracefully, but it certainly does cheapen the whole thing.

  22. Brian M.on 09 Oct 2023 at 9:12 am

    Hey Sharon, I’m inclined to agree with you, but let’s tighten it a bit.

    Who should the committee have given it to instead?

    I’ll work up some suggestions and you can too

  23. Stephanieon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:15 am

    I voted for Obama and thought I was hearing a parody when the radio said he won the Nobel. He may earn it someday but that day is not today.

  24. Zach Freyon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:19 am


    Nail. Head. HIT. Nicely done.

    For everyone whining about Sharon’s “objectivity” — please tally the objective, concrete peace accomplishments of Barak Obama.

    Then compare them to prior Peace Prize winners.

    Not Being Bush™ doesn’t count as an “accomplishment”. Heck, by that standard they could have given the prize to me. Or to Sharon. Or to any of you.

  25. Carolon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:29 am

    I’m an American living in Britain, and perhaps y’all see a different version of the Guardian website in the US than we do here in Britain. The article comments I see are not positive, but have the typical articulate style of the British.

    It does seem rather condescending to give a prize to someone who hadn’t actually *done* anything yet.

    As for commenters bashing Sharon for “attacking Obama,” y’all should go back and read what she said, not what you thought she said.

  26. Denise in TNon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:33 am

    not bashing her!!! my word Carol.. just taken back a bit .. that’s all.. like Obama ,Sharon is human.. and I don’t agree with either one of them about certain subjects but highly respect them both..
    IHMO her words should be directed to the Nobel folks.. not at Obama.. because he had nothing to do with winning.. and he is damned if he give it back or he is damned if he keeps it.. so it really sucks to him today

  27. MEAon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:33 am

    How about this — in order for the world to express its delight that Mr. Obana is not Mr. Bush, they give the prize to the voting population of the US, which comes, I think, to about 30 cents per person who turned out (regardless of whom was voted for).

  28. Obama Wins The Nobel Prize Luckydip — UrbanWorkbenchon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:34 am

    [...] Source: Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » Hope is Cheap [...]

  29. Denise in TNon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:34 am

    Bingo MEA!!!!! Maybe this is what its REALLY about ..

  30. Wendyon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:39 am

    I feel sorry for President Obama for the plate he was handed, but I don’t think he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Surely there must be an aid worker or a scientist or some missionary in the wilds of South America who’s done more to cultivate peace than our current President.

    It’s very sad to me that this Prize is about politics rather than something more substantial and meaningful.

  31. MEAon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:42 am

    Er, Mr. Obama, not Obana — typo

  32. deweyon 09 Oct 2023 at 10:05 am

    I agree. It’s great (at least to most of us) that Obama, unlike our previous president, WANTS to see peace with justice in the Middle East, and to reduce the world’s nuclear arsenals, and to get America to pay for the climate-changing consquences of its energy addiction. However, the prize isn’t warranted until he actually makes concrete progress toward one of those goals. I would LIKE to discover a cure for cancer; can I have a Nobel for medicine?

  33. Erikon 09 Oct 2023 at 10:15 am

    The NPR piece I heard this morning did make the point that the prize is sometimes given as a spur to action, but I have to say that I also agree that he hasn’t earned it yet. Of course, they also gave the prize to Arafat, so after that everything about it requires a few grains of salt.

  34. Mike Cagleon 09 Oct 2023 at 10:28 am

    Wow, look who’s a big grumpy-face this morning. I think this post is unfairly harsh. I was surprised by the announcement too, but really! Your post takes a similar tone as the comments from the Taliban and some nut group called “conservatives4palin.”

    A few points:

    1. The peace prize is not always awarded for past accomplishments. Sometimes it’s awarded to people who are in the midst of having an effect, in order to encourage and support what they are seen to be trying (or even what they stand for). This is fine. It’s the Nobel committee’s prize and they follow their own rules. Just as this is your own blog and you write what you want.

    2. This prize is being awarded to the American people as much as to Obama, for turning away from Bush-Cheneyism. Those of us who are Americans are probably unaware of how great a difference Obama’s election made to the rest of the world (and those of us who are liberals are naturally preoccupied by Obama’s shortcomings and the things he hasn’t done yet, which I think distorts the picture somewhat as to what a difference his election has made). A recent poll showed that opinions of America have vastly improved in other countries. There was a vast feeling of relief, decrease of tension, anger and fear, and increase of hope. Obviously, as seen from abroad, this has made a huge difference.

    I think Andrew Sullivan’s post on the topic is much more balanced and thoughtful:


    Mike Cagle

    ps — what’s with the grumpy comments about the moon mission? The moon gets several similar impacts each month. In this case, what would have become floating space junk was sent to the moon instead, so as to gather data! You’re married to an astronomer, right? Sheesh.

  35. Errrrrron 09 Oct 2023 at 10:37 am

    This just shows you are RIDICULOUS these “prizes” are. How successful was President Carters efforts for middle east peace in the long run? What is valid about the science awards is they usually let a little history unfold to see how effective those “accomplishments” have been over time.

    Just more form over substance….

    Sharon, I agree with you. Did not vote for our President, HOPE he someday is effective, but have concluded that GOVT will not solve our problems, people will. Until enough people realize and begin to act on that in the personal lives and in the voting booth, then BAU continues….


  36. Sharonon 09 Oct 2023 at 10:47 am

    Wow, I’m trying to read my post and see where I was attacking Obama, but I don’t see it. I stand by what I say - the guy got a backhanded compliment, that will probably do him as much political harm as good, at least in the near term (give him 20 years, and he’ll be able to use it, but as long as people remember why…) He’s the victim of a nobel committee’s foolishness - of course, we know they are foolish - they gave the nobel peace prize to Henry Kissinger, for cripes sake. As for “grumpy comments about the moon” - huh? All I did was make a joke about possible reasons the nobel prize committee might have given him the prize - why do you think I’m criticizing NASA? Are we even reading the same stuff?

    Brian, the nobel prize committee had some really good candidates this year - I personally like Denis Mukwege and Mordechi Vanunu. We could come up with other names, of course….

  37. Kerrickon 09 Oct 2023 at 10:50 am

    I agree that he hasn’t done anything yet to match up to many other Nobel Prize recipients. In fact my first response was “What. This is embarrassing.” Embarrassing that the world now thinks this is the best we can do. But after reading your blog post, I felt a little embarrassed by my embarrassment.

  38. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLifeon 09 Oct 2023 at 10:51 am

    I agree with you all around, Sharon. He hasn’t earned it, not by a country mile. My hope is that he knows this and that he declines the prize. That would generate more goodwill for him than anything else. I also think this is indicative that the prize committee simply had no better ideas, which is very, very sad.

    I didn’t vote for him, but I do find him congenial. I know how much people hated and continue to hate his predecessor - both in the US and abroad. And believe me when I say I can relate to that sentiment. But this does really cheapen hope, peace, and the prize.

  39. MEAon 09 Oct 2023 at 10:54 am

    The more I think about it, the more I realize that more or less says, we don’t expect you to do anything later to earn it.


  40. Brian M.on 09 Oct 2023 at 11:02 am

    OK I put up a post of better options the Committee had than giving the prize to Obama, and I didn’t come up with either of Sharon’s ideas

    Here’s my post http://selfreferentialcollapse.blogspot.com/2009/10/better-choices-than-obama-for-peace.html

    And I like MEA’s point that this sorta says “we don’t expect you to do anything later to earn it.”

    Vs. Mike Cagle - the Prize has been awarded (occasionally) to people in the midst of having an effect, but never before that I can see, to someone at the VERY BEGINNING of having an effect.

  41. Sharonon 09 Oct 2023 at 11:03 am

    You know what really bugs me about this is that I’ve met a few people nominated for the peace prize who really deserved it - people who cross borders in war zones and see their friends killed trying to get the real story of refugree camps. An 80 year old man who drags his body up to 11,000 feet to help train Tibetans cross the border to go back and resist Chinese crackdowns. A woman who brings medical supplies into Afghanistan and Gaza, into places where it isn’t safe to go, but where people are still being blown up.

    Again, it isn’t Obama’s fault he got the prize. But he didn’t deserve it, and there are people who really, truly do.


  42. llon 09 Oct 2023 at 11:14 am

    I am amazed at the vitriol. He didn’t give the prize to himself.

    Others might be more deserving, but it is the Committee’s choice.

  43. Sharonon 09 Oct 2023 at 11:16 am

    Right, that’s why I’m criticizing the committee, and saying they actually did Obama a bad turn.


  44. Veganon 09 Oct 2023 at 11:19 am


    Well said!

    Obama has blood on his hands! Certainly, he’s no peacemaker!


  45. Rebecca the cat loveron 09 Oct 2023 at 12:00 pm

    Thanks for the reality check. Some of the progressive/Democrat blogs and websites are starting to sound almost religious in nature. And the conservative/Republican ones are even worse. How can they criticize when much of this economic/military/climate mess is because of things they ignored because it didn’t help them? Who are they to say anything? I wish I could just ignore them all.

    I congratulate President Obama and wish him the best. I sincerely hope this winds up being a good thing.

    I think I’ll just sit here and watch it rain.

  46. Shambaon 09 Oct 2023 at 12:00 pm

    Just to keep things from the Obama household real, Yahoo News reports how his kids reacted,

    I quote:

    ‘ “Well, this is not how I expected to wake up this morning,” Obama said. He described his interaction with his two daughters.

    “After I received the news, Malia walked in and said, ‘Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is Bo’s birthday.’ And then Sasha added, `Plus, we have a three-day weekend coming up.’ So it’s — it’s good to have kids to keep things in perspective.” ‘

    Peace to All,

  47. Kelsieon 09 Oct 2023 at 12:10 pm

    I have little respect for the man as our President, but I feel that had he graciously REFUSED the award, he would have garnered more respect than he will now that he’s accepted an award that even HE acknowledges he doesn’t deserve.

  48. The Ravenon 09 Oct 2023 at 12:14 pm

    Even my 10yo son, who loves Obama in general, was furious when he heard the announcement on the NPR this morning: “What did he win THAT for?”

  49. Royon 09 Oct 2023 at 12:16 pm

    Good words Sharon.
    In accepting the prize of 1.4 million “for America” and in keeping with “tax the rich”, it is my opinion that Obama should pay income tax on monies received and then donate the balance to reduce the national debt.

  50. Frankenmamaon 09 Oct 2023 at 12:31 pm

    Hey There. There is no way he could have refused. He was as surprised as all of us. His comments about what his daughter Malia said this morning shows that he is humbled by this. Instead of refusing the award he accepted it on behalf of all of the many people throughout the world who are working toward peace. We, as a nation, are trying not to stick out as all so important and perhaps this didn’t help in that effort but he has given us all a great sense of hope and frankly makes me breathe easier. I am certain I am not alone.

  51. Stephon 09 Oct 2023 at 12:35 pm

    Just wondering what the quote: “This isn’t teh special olympics.” in respect to his not being George Bush. Then followed by: “He did nothing to earn it” ??? Do they go together? Special Olympics and doing nothing to earn something? Speaking of condescending.

    Anyway, just wondering, and wanting to clear up my immediate offense to it.

  52. Ravenon 09 Oct 2023 at 12:36 pm

    (Not the same as The Raven)

    True that, Sharon.

    Oh well. The Nobel folks haven’t made sense to me for years…


  53. Sharonon 09 Oct 2023 at 12:39 pm

    No, Steph, they were separate statements - my kid does special olympics. The point is that in the special olympics, everyone gets an award just for trying. In the Nobel prize, not so much.

    Again, I agree that Obama is not at fault here. I don’t actually think he could have refused - that too would have been an affront. The point is that this demeans something that ought to mean something - it probably hasn’t really for the last few decades, since Kissinger, but it should.


  54. Hummingbirdon 09 Oct 2023 at 12:40 pm

    I was shocked and speechless when I heard about the Nobel. I still am.

    This is an absolute travesty and cheapens the award for all those who earned it by actually working and accomplishing something toward a better and more peaceful world.

    Obama may be a nice man-personally I think he is either a clever con man or the weakest man ever to hold the office.

    Bah, Humbug!

  55. Anonymouson 09 Oct 2023 at 12:46 pm

    Amen sister. What’s also sad is that now that it’s been given for nothing, it’s been given, and can’t be given again, no matter what he might do in the future to earn it. The Nobel Committee has deprived President Obama of that opportunity forever, and cheapened the award to boot.

  56. Crunchy Chickenon 09 Oct 2023 at 12:51 pm

    This gives me great hope for winning the Nobel prize in Physics next year. What’s that? I didn’t do anything notable? No problem.

    Well, I can always go for the gold in the Special Olympics. I’m fairly sure I probably qualify on a number of disabilities.

  57. jlpicard2on 09 Oct 2023 at 12:55 pm

    My first thought was, WTF? Hmm. Not April Fool’s day, this was listed in a local paper, so it’s not the Onion website… wait, this isn’t a joke?

    I fully agree Sharon.

  58. Denise in TNon 09 Oct 2023 at 12:58 pm

    bottom line .. he won… he didn’t ask for it… he’s not going to give it back..
    this is Sharon’s blog..and she intitled to her opinion.. right or wrong..
    and NOTHING is going to change any of these..

    So lets get back to learning …

  59. limesarahon 09 Oct 2023 at 1:35 pm

    This prize is being awarded to the American people as much as to Obama, for turning away from Bush-Cheneyism.

    If this is true, I want my cut of the price. Which I shall use to buy one of those grocery-store vending machine bouncy balls which so mesmerized me when I was five.

  60. limesarahon 09 Oct 2023 at 1:35 pm

    *”cut of the prize”, that should say…

  61. kestrelon 09 Oct 2023 at 1:49 pm

    I will give you a total pass on this because I value your website for its helpful information on FOOD SECURITY. Some of us feel a lot safer in the world of Oct 2009 than we did in the world of Oct 2008, or at any time in the last 8 years, and know that his is because we have a president who knows how to get along well with others. I am sad to see you do not feel the same.

  62. limesarahon 09 Oct 2023 at 1:54 pm

    Kestrel — me [or Sharon] thinking that Obama is a good president, and thinking that he should have won the Nobel Peace Prize, are two different things. I just feel that while he’s doing pretty decently at a horribly difficult job, he should be able to prove that he’s doing something other than Not Being Bush, especially since given the timing on these things he had to have been nominated within days of his election.

  63. ceceliaon 09 Oct 2023 at 2:15 pm

    Sharon I think your comments are disapointing and reflect how very much you are focused on economic and depletion issues and your disapointment that Obama is also not going in the right direction on those issues.

    I would however suggest that as a people, Americans do not have a clue (nor do we seem to care) about how we are perceived by our neighbors on this planet. We do not understand the anxiety and resentment our behavior can create nor do we appreciate that we can also inspire hope.

    Over the ast ten years or so I have seen a great deal of fear over what was seen by many Europeans I knew as a dangerous and arrogant foreign policy and climate policy on the part of the US. I also heard expressions of disappointment that the US had ceased to be a country which stood for principles that were greatly admired.

    The Peace Prize is often given to people not for accomplishment but for trying to accomplish. When it was given to the women from Northern Ireland they for sure had not accomplished much in the way of peace for Northern Ireland. When it was given to ML King racism and segregation was very much still the norm in the US. The Prize is as much a carrot as a reward. It is used by the Nobel committee to encourage as much as reward.

    I believ what we are seeing in the award of the Prize to Obama is a huge sigh of relief that we have abandoned for now a course which was very frightening to the rest of the world. I also see it as an acknowledgement of the power the IDEA of America still exerts over the people of the earth. In this sense we might take a break from our usual partisan bickering and spend a few moments of wonder at the way our messy American experiment can still inspire hope in people. The award is as much for that American Idea as it is for the baby steps Obama has taken to get us on a new path.

  64. Brookeon 09 Oct 2023 at 2:16 pm

    The very first thing that popped into my head when I heard the news this morning is, “Well, I guess hope won again.” I am a supporter of President Obama and would agree materially that he has not accomplished things yet that might make him feel more deserving of the award. That being said, however, a man who inspires hope in the hearts of millions of pessimists like myself both here and abroad surely cannot be said to be entirely undeserving. Who deserves it more? Someone who works toward massive change, or someone who inspires the masses to make changes in their own daily lives? Do we all need to do more? Of course we do, but that many more of us are doing something should not be ignored. No, President Obama should not win the prize simply for the honor of not being President Bush. Many of us who felt paralyzed by despair during the Bush administration have found new hope that fuels new actions with the desire of being the change we wish to see in the world. It’s really a shame, with so many people sacrificing around the world for peace and for the greater good, that only one person is honored with the prize.

  65. Lizon 09 Oct 2023 at 2:54 pm


    I absolutely agree with you. I, too, am glad that he is not Bush. I DO think he could’ve done more that we would be proud of, if his hands weren’t tied in so many ways…but, that said, he still did NOT deserve this. I have yet to be proud of my country, again.

  66. Chrison 09 Oct 2023 at 3:05 pm

    Well said. My thoughts exactly.

  67. Abbieon 09 Oct 2023 at 4:03 pm

    I have to say I’ve been disappointed with Obama as a president so far. I voted for him and had high hopes (perhaps that was my mistake) for positive change. And what has happened? We are still losing lives in the war, there’s no universal health care, there’s no improvement to environment, there’s no improvement in family leave, and my tax dollars have bailed out the greediest of the greedy. Disappointment overall.

  68. Sharonon 09 Oct 2023 at 4:04 pm

    Cecelia, I don’t think it actually has anything to do with my focus on depletion or my feelings about the Obama presidency - saying “Obama didn’t earn the nobel peace prize” isn’t the same as saying “we might as well still have president bush”. Those folks in Ireland may not have succeeded, but they worked really hard a long time - Obama had been president all of two minutes when we decided that the winds of change had blown. And if they wanted to give it to America, why not give it to Americans, or at least the ones who voted Bush out of office? I’d be delighted to add “Nobel Peace Prize Winner” to my resume - I don’t care about my share of the prize money, but heck, even if I have to share it round a bit, I wouldn’t mind the title ;-) .

    I would, of course, argue that simply electing a less bad or even good president to the United States is not grounds to win the Nobel Peace prize either - it is awarded for an extraordinary act. In order to believe that it is extraordinary that we chose not to continue with the Bush policies, you have to believe some rather awful things about the mainstream of America. Some of them may even be true, but generally speaking, the peace prize is awarded for those doing more than the least they could possibly do to make the world a tolerable place.


  69. Tammy and Parkeron 09 Oct 2023 at 4:26 pm

    Yeah, I’m not Bush either. But nobody’s giving me any prizes.

    One can’t be faulted for believing that something along the level of a Nobel Peace Prize would have come after some hard work and effort.

    What does Obama have to show for his Nobel Peace Prize. What exactly did he do? Where is it more peaceful due to Obama’s efforts? I’ve heard thoughts…….but seen no results.

    Sharon, I stopped by to let you know that I’m slaving and sweating over pots and quarts of applesauce, made from organic apples grown on my parent’s trees.

    See the influence you have on people?

    I still have TWO more bushels staring me in the face. But they are going to have to wait until next week.

  70. Erikaon 09 Oct 2023 at 5:04 pm

    WOW, I can’t believe the response one of your shortest posts! Personally, I thought that my co-worker was making a joke this morning when he told me that President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. My first reaction, once I found out it was true, was to wonder what, exactly, he had done to deserve such distinction so early on in his political career. Perhaps, inspiring hope in such a large number of people is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize (although, I’m still at a loss to understand what, exactly, this hope he inspires is for - I haven’t quite figured it out - maybe it’s not the same “hope” I understand…). His nominator(s) obviously saw something worthy of such an honor, but I’m still confused as to how the committee decided he was the *most* worthy of the prize.

    High-five, Sharon!


  71. Lisa Kaeon 09 Oct 2023 at 5:26 pm

    Hey Sharon and everyone else,

    I’m weighing in support of Sharon’s opinion today. When I heard the news, I could not believe it. The nominations were due by February 1. Pres. Obama had been in office for what-2 weeks? The Nobel committee could find no one else more worthy?

    I am thankful that he is not Bush as much as many of you. I voted for Obama, but this award doesn’t make much sense. I’m glad to hear that Obama was gracious in his acceptance of the award.

    As to our standing in the eyes of other countries, what must the majority of the citizens living in those countries think of the U.S. now?

    It’s just all kind of odd to me. Do you think he’s up for sainthood next?


  72. Isison 09 Oct 2023 at 5:34 pm

    Yeah, see, this is why I treat the Nobel Peace Prize as nothing but a source of entertainment.

  73. Isison 09 Oct 2023 at 5:57 pm

    Orlov did it again!



  74. Kerrickon 09 Oct 2023 at 5:58 pm

    So, judging by the letter in his voice sent out by his press office this afternoon, the president feels the same way. It’s an effective letter. I still feel angry on behalf of the other people who have been working very hard and with a lot less recognition than Mr. Obama. Who knows what the rationale was for the committee. I think the right thing to do would be to create a second Peace Prize, perhaps the Not Bush Peace Prize, to recognize an individual’s potential to make tremendous positive change.

    At any rate, speaking of peace, Shabbat Shalom; I hope you’re going into Shabbat with a peaceful heart.

  75. Ron Resnickon 09 Oct 2023 at 6:45 pm

    That demon, Henry Kissenger won the Nobel Peace Prize too [1973]

    There is no need for ay further comment, is there?

  76. Anonymouson 09 Oct 2023 at 7:16 pm

    Divide and conquer-divide and conquer-
    and all the good little sheep take a side and still they argue over what is not the point. *sigh*

    Peace prize my arse-
    Nix to the folks who gave it
    Nix to Obama
    nix to Bush
    nix to all of the figureheads who really are nothing but that.

  77. Laurenon 09 Oct 2023 at 7:26 pm

    Here’s the full text (from the committee) regarding the decision:

    The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

    Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

    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.”

  78. Lindseyon 09 Oct 2023 at 7:50 pm

    Why are we so shocked? The man is practically worshipped just for being who he is…not George Bush.

    He campaigned on the whole premise he was not Bush (but yet, we didn’t really know what he was…but it didn’t matter, because change is good and change & hope matter!)

    So we should not be shocked that the whole world is handing him the keys to the planet on a silver platter. They are celebrating WHO he is—Not-George-Bush.

    I am a libertarian. I have mixed feelings about him; I support him because he’s our President, but I also think he’s a narcissist of the worst fashion. I don’t tow any party line. I woke up this morning and have yet to find more than a few democrats who even support his “win” of the “prize.” They’re embarassed too!

  79. Susan Bon 09 Oct 2023 at 8:53 pm

    With you Sharon!

  80. Sara: in northern rural Alabamaon 09 Oct 2023 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks to Lauren for posting the complete text!

    It occurred to me that while the deadline for nominations occurred 2 weeks after he took office, the deliberations on the winner for the prize most certainly took months.

    I DO see the promise of Obama becoming manifest in small moves. He has been trying to LEAD us towards a consensus to make these changes as a nation, not unilaterally. He was awarded the prize for DIPLOMACY. Can we honor that?

  81. sglon 09 Oct 2023 at 10:21 pm

    well, since i’m Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2006 (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1569514,00.html), i feel i have sufficient gravitas to weigh in on the issue. And frankly, I feel it cheapens my award completely, (even though it was given by a different organization entirely.) ;-)

    slightly more seriously if your tin foil hat isn’t adjusted properly… perhaps there were some behind-the-scenes decisions that he made that can’t be made public? there’s been lots of discussion of attacking Iran over the last several years. I’d imagine there was a fair amount of diplomatic bantering behind the scenes among all the major players in the world, only a smidgen of which we peons ever get to see. and i have no idea what the protocol between a departing and an incoming administration might be in preparing for such a potential situation either. just a wild speculation…

    aside from humor or wild speculation, no, i don’t think it was earned.


  82. Bill--TNon 10 Oct 2023 at 8:44 am

    Right on Sharon!!! “Peace Prize”??? WTF is that all about? Give me a prize for spending multi-billions/trillions on death and destruction? Really!!! Sorry that I am, I voted for a change. Not happening. Any more, I’m seeing that the USA is nothing but a front and shill for big money, trying to front the irrational belief that it’s somehow exceptional. This all just a big f***ing joke. Who cares and who, in the end gives a flat flying ****.

    I’m angry, can you tell? So be it!

  83. janineon 10 Oct 2023 at 8:45 am

    Cheap Shot is right! We were in Europe last year and it was a wake up call to hear their feelings about the previous adminstration.

    President Obama repaired and is repairing relationships around the world that were woefully deficient.

    The difference between President Obama and the previous adminstration is, thankfully large.

    So, quite aside from the ‘vision’ thing he has accomplished making the world a better place through his respect for other countries and their views as well as working with them. Perfect? Nope, but the contrast is startling to those who took the time to take a look.

    Wasn’t former Pres. Bush made Time magazine ‘man of the year’ or some such honor?

  84. Coleenon 10 Oct 2023 at 9:33 am

    You are so right! I hate to say I told you so, but how does everyone like their CHANGE now? Americans forgot that change can go both ways. Thought it was the worst it could be. Ha! I had hoped that it might turn out better than it has since the majority of voters seemed to place more credence on the rhetoric than the reality that there was not a real plan to go with it, and of course finally having a black president, as if his race has anything at all to do with his policies.

    As to making apologies all over the world for being the USA and what we have done in the past, people forget how much of our tax money goes to feeding the poor, humanitarian aide and peaceful military support. President Clinton used a lot of military and many of our soldiers died during the time of “peace”.

    Check the history (the real one, not the media hype and emotion everyone s so caught up with). Obama has good intentions I think, but getting things done in a real way that helps the man on the street, not so much. Theory and reality are very far apart in this case. Go back an look at some speeches relating to unemployment in Feb with the stimulus package and where we are now.

    A law degree doesn’t exactly make for a good understanding of economics, but then it doesn’t seem that a economics degree does either these days. It’s just too frightening to say we need to quit believing that everyone can be as rich as Midas and no one will have to work or pay for it. They have been selling the spend to make the economy grow for so long that to reverse the statement, take the hit in the short run and correct ourselves will not get people re-elected and that’s what it is all about, right? Just go ask Japan how these types of policies have worked in the past.

    In the end, whom ever is president, we are going to have to pay for our excesses. Giving someone the Nobel Peace Prize because he’s a nice guy doesn’t get our country out of the crisis it is in. One of these days everyone will realize that it’s neighbor working with neighbor creating lasting relationships for good times and bad, and keeping the families together under God that will get us through this.

  85. kestrelon 10 Oct 2023 at 11:17 am

    Kudos to the person who posted the entire text of the Nobel Committees statement on why they awarded the NPP to President Obama. It appears that the majority of people posting replies here have not even bothered to read it, or if they have, their reading comprehension skills are seriously lacking.

    Sad. I come here to read about food security issues, and Sharon does a GREAT job on that. I never expected her to jump on the Let’s-All-Hate-Obama bandwagon……..he is not perfect, but then no other president has been either.

    I suppose you all would have preferred McCain/Palin. And McCain would drop dead and we would have Caribou Barbie in the White House………..

  86. Susan in NJon 10 Oct 2023 at 12:39 pm

    I’m so with you on this one, Sharon. The list of others who were nominated really drives it home. This is essentially a “so-glad you aren’t Bush,and by the way, what a great speech you gave at the Brandenberg gate” award”, and it reflects badly on the Committee and the award, IMHO.

  87. Denise - Illinoison 10 Oct 2023 at 12:51 pm

    Sharon - my son, and our friend have been discussing your commentary on the Nobel for the past hour. They were not familiar w/your blog and I was sharing w/them that I really value the thought you put into your positions even when I do not agree w/you. On this statement, the 3 of us are behind you 100%. Our President was not given this award because he earned it. My son, a political studies master’s student at the University of Illinois learned that the process of nomination for the Nobel began about 3 weeks after our President was sworn into office. Few of us could earn consideration for a Nobel Peace Prize in 3 weeks. When thinking of the Nobel recipients or those who might be worthy of consideration, I think of those who have made great personal and professional sacrifice endured for many years and at great cost before being nominated for such an achievement. Names that come to mind Louis and Marie Pasteur, Alexander Scholzeneitkin (spelling?), Albert Einstein, etc…you get the idea. Although you lean liberal in your political thought you took the time to analyze the situation in a logical manner rather than blindly agreeing that Mr. Obama is deserving of having accomplished a level of greatness that has changed the world for the better. We are proud of your proclivity to think for yourself rather than those who blindly agree just because they personally support the President and have faith in him. Many blogs in cyberland blow me away in their shallowness and in which I see no useful purpose. Reading your books and blogs has brought a new respect for blogging as a method of sharing truly useful, intelligent, and purposeful discussion/thought…keep up the good work…
    Denise - Illinois

  88. Jennaon 10 Oct 2023 at 4:54 pm

    Just… well said.

    Love him or hate it - handing him this when he’d been president for all of two weeks just kneecapped the man.

    Bit by bit the man is hoisted higher onto the pedestal - and what will happen when he proves to be human and fallible?

    I just can’t help feeling this is a bad idea all around.

  89. the politics of hope « A Simple Lifeon 10 Oct 2023 at 6:39 pm

    [...] politics of hope Posted in Uncategorized by goodbean on October 10, 2023 Well, Sharon Astyk said it best, so no point in trying to rephrase my thoughts exactly Here, President Obama, have [...]

  90. Dianaon 10 Oct 2023 at 9:36 pm

    Thank you, Lauren for posting the text, and Kestrel, I must agree with you. WTF, Sharon? I can go to Faux News to read disparaging comments of the guy we elected. I can go to the stupid Millenium Ark (where I go to see what the nutjobs are thinking now) to see more mud slung. He didn’t nominate himself, and the reasons why he won are pretty clearly delineated in Lauren’s post. Apparently, not being George Bush is enough for the Nobel Committee, and it’s enough for me for a start as well. No, he is not helping pull individuals out of communist countries but he’s trying to do things that will have wider-reaching effects for entire countries. Like nuclear disarmament. Gosh, what a slacker.

  91. Mike Cagleon 10 Oct 2023 at 11:26 pm

    There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding along the lines of “he was only three weeks into his presidency when he was nominated for this.” NOMINATED, folks. That doesn’t mean it was decided then to give him the award. That means it was decided then to make it a possibility (in other words, “we might want to do this, let’s put him into the mix and see how things go and what we think about it when the time comes”). Nominating him then was keeping the option open. The decision to give him the award wasn’t actually made until last Monday. Just FYI.

    Nextly, those of you who are chiding Sharon for criticizing or attacking Obama, if you read what she wrote, that’s not her intent at all. Partly, I think she’s saying that the Nobel people created an awkward situation for Obama. Which is obviously true and many have remarked on it. I think in a way, that was their intention — they hope by this to influence his future behavior and nudge it in the direction of peacemaking. Once you are a Nobel Peace Prize winner you might feel weird about starting a war! (If you have a brain that is — it wouldn’t have had any effect on Bush.)

    Another thing — appaarently Obama’s own first comment when he was told about the award was, “what are you talking about? Is this a joke?” Obviously he thought it was as odd and surprising as anyone.

    ps — Sharon, I apologize for my testy remark about the moon thing.

  92. Mike Cagleon 10 Oct 2023 at 11:35 pm

    And another thing… Time’s “Man of the Year” (now “Person of the Year”) is not necessarily an “honor.” It’s supposed to be a person (or a category of person) (or even sometimes something non-human) who was highly influential in the recent year — not necessarily an admirable or honorable person. Hitler, Stalin and Khomeini were each named “Man of the Year” (in ‘38, ‘39, and ‘79).

  93. Laurenon 11 Oct 2023 at 3:12 am

    Here is an interesting blog entry:


  94. Sharonon 11 Oct 2023 at 6:53 am

    One of the things that I think is most telling about this is how reductionist the analysis gets - maybe mine too, but think about it. Now saying “you don’t deserve the nobel peace prize” has become an insult - imagine saying that to someone when you get mad “You don’t even deserve the nobel peace prize!” I mean c’mon - saying Obama doesn’t deserve NPP is hardly like saying he’s bad, or that we’d prefer McCain or that he’s even not a good man. But that’s the nature of backhanded compliments.


  95. Julien Peter Benneyon 11 Oct 2023 at 7:43 am


    for all those who complain about Henry Kissinger being given the prize, you are right that it is enough reason to be suspicious, especially if you read a quite well-known (well, among people of your political stripe) article by John Lukács unfavourably comparing Kissinger to Dorothy Day, the famed Catholic pacifist without whom the opposition to the Vietnam War would most likely never have threatened the US.

    The article can be read at “http://www.sparrowrose.com/homework/pol_econ_week_four.htm” or “http://www.cathinfo.com/index.php?a=topic&t=8694″.

    However, if Kissinger can quite legitimately be said to have usurped the Peace Prize from Dorothy Day (who was nominated but - believe it or not - considered too radically pacifist for the judges) it is hard to see who Obama could have usurped. At this moment at least I wonder why they do not consider failing to award the prize at all - it was far from uncommon before 1973.

  96. Sara: in northern rural Alabamaon 11 Oct 2023 at 9:36 pm

    oh what a box of _____ has been opened here.

    this wonderful oasis of a place to come together to attempt to DO SOMETHING about our dire predicament …. (PO, CC, etc)

    and now look

    such bickering amongst us

    can we go back to


  97. Bettinaon 12 Oct 2023 at 5:26 am

    When I heard first that Obama got the nobel prize / peace I thougt:
    What a slap in the face of all these people that are really working hard for a little bit of peace on this earth!(let’s say streetworkers in brasilian slums etc.).

    Bettina from Germany

  98. Christy Oon 12 Oct 2023 at 1:24 pm

    I think the rabid Obama supporters are funny. Where did Sharon say she hated Obama? Where did she say she would have preferred McCain/Palin? Why is it everytime someone says they don’t agree with a policy of Obama’s, they suddenly hate him and love Bush? I don’t even agree with everything my husband does or says, why should I be expected to agree with everything a president does or says? Get a grip people!

  99. Naomion 13 Oct 2023 at 12:37 am

    I’ll agree with you Sharon (and yes, I’m one of those “outsiders” who really does appreciate that Obama is NOT George W.).

    I do admire Obama for the work he is doing - he is at the start of a very long journey to change the way America sees the rest of the world, and the way the rest of the world sees America. It isn’t going to be easy, and he may not see the results while he is still in office (maybe even in his lifetime). People outside America are watching closely to see if he will be allowed to make the changes that are so desperately needed.

    But it seems as though this award has been given on the basis of good intentions - and that does neither Obama nor the Nobel Peace Prize justice.

    Talk is wonderful - but when it comes to something like a Nobel Prize, well, you would think that results carried a bit more weight, don’t you think?

  100. pat n.on 06 Jan 2023 at 12:04 am

    look. what are we to do. as people we’ve tried
    to get it over to everyone that understanding
    and truth is’nt some void but that we are all
    brother and sisters wading through deep/dark
    waters.that only hope is our selfelves and hope
    is shalllow.can we see others as those to emprace and seek to see all with aceptance.
    The alteranTIVE is total destruction with nouthing left.
    (No Hope,No _Place. What can I say?If You head one thing to say?

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