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Obama’s (First?) Nobel Prize

- October 9, 2009

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There is an active discussion going on over at “Politico’s Arena”:http://www.politico.com/arena/ about “Obama’s Nobel Prize”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/10/world/10nobel.html, so I thought I’d throw open the topic to readers of The Monkey Cage as well.

To get the conversation started, two points. First, for people who study this sort of thing, is the awarding of the prize to Obama “unique”? I ask this based on the assumption (which could be wrong) that in the past, the award has generally been used to recognize achievement, whereas this particular decision seems to be based more on rewarding a shift in the US’s approach to diplomacy that the committee hopes will bear fruit in the future.

I also find myself wondering if there is going to be some cost to the Republican Party for its by now almost reflexive anti-Obama spin on everything. After all, a big charge Democrats have been making at Republicans is that they have turned into a “party of no”:http://www.democrats.org/page/content/partyofno, and now we’ve seen the right cheer when the US loses the Olympics and boo when the president wins a Nobel Peace Prize. While “John McCain”:http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/10/09/mccain-says-nobel-award-based-on-expectations/ at least was gracious enough to note that “Americans are always pleased when their president is recognized by something on this order”, RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s response (see “here”:http://washingtonindependent.com/63395/michael-steele-attacks-obama-over-nobel-peace-prize-yes-really) doesn’t even pause to say “congratulations” before going on the offensive. I continue to wonder if at some point there is going to some sort of backlash against Republicans for this sort of behavior, especially among the independents who will be crucial to their electoral chances in 2010 and beyond. Anyone with research that speaks to this type of question is especially encouraged to respond.

Finally, it is worth checking out “Nolan McCarty’s”:http://www.princeton.edu/~nmccarty/ prediction of a surprise _second_ “Nobel Prize for Obama”:http://blogs.princeton.edu/mccarty/2009/10/my_prediction_for_the_nobel_prize_in_economics.html that may be coming in the near future!