Friday, October 9, 2009

Look both ways crossing the tracks

Just listen to the jingle, the rumble and the roar
As we glide across the woodlands,
Through the hills and by the shore. ---The Wabash Cannonball

WITH OUTRAGED REPUBLICANS, it's always something. Today it was the roaring matter of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to President Obama, that came after the matter of the president's botched efforts in America's exclusion from the Olympics, that came after the matter of the death panels in Obama's projected health reform, that came after the matter of his certain birth in Labrador or wherever, that followed the matter that he shoots basketballs in his spare time, followed by the lack of grey matter by Michael Steele, Rush Limbaugh and other revelers of the anticipated day when Ronald Reagan will reappear in a World War II bomber to save the nation from extinction. At this moment, the raucous critics and the Taliban are on the same page.

That Obama promptly decided to give his $1.4 million prize to charity didn't cost the GOP a single stride because conservatives have long considered Nobel Prizes to be ill-gotten awards from an international leftist institution. So it didn't come as much of a surprise that Limbaugh, doing his frantic hula hoop movement at the mike, profoundly referred to Obama's honor as a "greater embarrassment" than the loss of the Olympics. But even that thought is a non-sequitur inasmuch as conferring conservatives gloated and cheered at the news that the event was going elsewhere. These, after all, are Rush's people, and having watched their reaction, it didn't seem to me that anybody in the hall was a tad embarrassed.

The leader of the drive-by assaults on the Obama award was, once again, the GOP national chairman, Michael Steele, who quickly popped off with the question: "What has President Obama actually accomplished?" and ranted on about fiscal responsibility and unemployment. Well, for one thing, he won the election handily and as they say, it's the victors who write the history. For heaven's sake, Mike, stop talking under the heads of your public. The history is already being written with Obama's towering approval ratings in Europe in the high 80s to low 90s. Why so high? Bush is gone. You bet.

There were warnings from all around, including the mainstream media, that Obama had been sucked into political swamp that may sink him, maybe 25 or 30 years from now. The reporter for the New York Times called our attention to the award as a "potential political liability" for the president, adding: "Already, Republicans are criticizing the president more for his star power than his actual achievement..."

Already??? Slamming Obama has been their schtick since his nomination. Why is it so much different now?

Time magazine was less than enthusiastic, reporting that the prize was the last thing Obama needed in his diplomatic efforts to restore a gleam of order in the international scene. Well, now that he is a tall figure in the European electorate, what's the next to last thing that he needs to gather support from other nations?

The last thing the national media and the howlers needed was to be blindsided by this blockbuster. They are just finding it hard to say so.

May Day! May Day!


PJJinOregon said...

Hearing all Republicans and most pundits snarl at Obama because he won a prize gives me pause. Obama didn't award himself the prize, the Nobel committee did. Those who are unhappy should harangue the committee, not their selection. My guess is that the committee was sending a message about the policies of Obama's predecessor, not about Obama himself.

Grumpy Abe said...

Yeah, you're right. And although critics are saying that he had only been in office a couple of weeks when he was nominated, the prize was not awarded until many months later during which his policy I.D. came more clearly into focus. But any honor awarded to an American after Bush had demolished our image at home and abroad should be welcome. It's a start.
Let's hope he can finish it.