Politics

Pundits Batter Nobel Committee for Awarding Obama Peace Prize

A raft of conservative pundits and even one network anchor used the Sunday morning news shows to batter the Nobel committee for awarding President Obama the Peace Prize before he had a chance to turn his lofty rhetoric into historic accomplishments. 

The decision, announced Friday, to award Obama the peace prize has drawn widespread astonishment. While past recipients like Al Gore praised the move, even Obama said upon learning of the award that he did not deserve it. "Surprised and deeply humbled," he said he would nevertheless travel to Oslo in December to accept the honor. 

But some analysts said the president should have rejected the award outright, and thrashed the committee for in their view prematurely honoring the president. 

"It's not clear to me (the committee) speaks for the world. It speaks for five Norwegians," The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol said on "FOX News Sunday." "This is an anti-American committee." 

The Nobel committee said that its decision to honor the president was motivated by Obama's initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism. Critics of the decision, though, took it as a slap at past U.S. military action. 

"I think (Obama) should have refused it, respectfully. But I think the second-best thing would be to go over and give a pro-American speech," Kristol said. 

Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said for the president to go to Oslo would "sort of add to the farce." She said Obama should send the mother of a fallen U.S. soldier to accept the prize on behalf of the U.S. military, "to send the message to remind the Nobel committee that each one of them sleeps soundly at night ... because the U.S. military is the greatest peacekeeping force in the world today." 

Conservative columnist George Will said the Nobel committee essentially awarded Obama for "values and attitudes shared by a majority of the world's population." 

"The Nobel Prize committee would with this decision have forfeited its reputation for seriousness if it had a reputation for seriousness," he said on ABC's "This Week." 

Some Republicans, like Sen. John McCain, were more reserved in their reaction, simply congratulating Obama for winning the high honor. 

"I can't divine all their intentions -- but I think part of their decision-making was expectations, and I'm sure the president understands that he now has even more to live up to," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union." "But as Americans, we're proud when our president receives an award of that prestigious category." 

NPR's Juan Williams said that while Obama has not yet "earned it at this juncture," it's hardly an insult to America. 

"Our president just won the Nobel Peace Prize," he said. "They just honored the United States and our stature as the lone superpower in the world and our ability to bring peace." 

Democratic strategist Donna Brazile said Obama earned the award by moving to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center and CIA prisons. 

But Bob Schieffer, host of CBS' "Face the Nation," said in his brief editorial commentary Sunday that the committee may have done Obama a disservice. 

"I would guess no one at the White House was praying for the president to win the Nobel just yet, not because they're selfless humble souls whose only goal is to help humanity but because they are very good professional politicians who would know better than most of us that an undeserved accolade has a high probability of backfire," he said. "I generally agree with the president's approach on foreign policy, but the Nobel Committee did him no favors by giving him the award before he had anything to show for his efforts. ... What the Nobel Committee has managed to change -- and I am sorry to say it -- is the way we look on the prize."