Look on the bright side: after Arafat, Carter, and Iranian marionette Mohammed ElBaradei, the award couldn’t possibly be more degraded. There are few things more important to the American left than the approval of the international left (a.k.a. “the way the world sees us”), though, which is why this really will turn up the volume on the “draft Gore” nonsense. As I said once before, it’s like getting an A++ on John Kerry’s all-important “global test.” In fact, the last American to win the Peace Prize told Wolf Blitzer two days ago that his dream for a Democratic president’s inaugural speech in 2009 is a 20-minute mea culpa apologizing to our European betters for George Bush’s sins. And whose voice would that groveling sound better in than Al Gore’s?

Your quotes of the day. First, from this morning:

The chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Ole Danbolt Mjoes, addressed reporters after the awards were announced and tried to dismiss repeated questions asking whether the awards were a criticism — direct or indirect — of the Bush administration…

He said the peace prize is only a message of encouragement, adding, “the Nobel committee has never given a kick in the leg to anyone.”

And from 2002:

The Norwegian Nobel Committee contrasted Carter’s success in finding peace between Egypt and Israel through diplomacy with President Bush’s vow to oust Saddam Hussein, by force if necessary.

“It (the award) should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current administration has taken,” said Gunnar Berge, the Nobel committee chairman. “It’s a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the United States.”

Now, read Krauthammer’s column today about Hillary. As bad as she is, it could be worse.

Update: Nice photo, by the way.

Update: Carter Eskew and two other unnamed Gore advisors tell Reuters and the AP, respectively, that he’s not getting in. From the latter: “If anything, the Peace Prize makes the presidential race less appealing to Gore, they said, because now he has an international platform to fight global warming and may not want to do anything to diminish it.”

More (Bryan): Gore won’t run for US president, but will become the first American Secretary General of the UN. Watch for it.

Update: Having been installed as America’s leftist pope, the Goracle can now crown the next king — or queen — of America. Donna Brazile:

“I don’t know if this will re-shape him or allow him to move back gracefully into politics. I believe Gore wants to be above the fray and not back in the middle.” But, Brazile said, he can wield his enhanced power with an endorsement (one he hopes turns out better than his support of Howard Dean, of course: “With the Nobel Prize now his to claim, Gore can play kingmaker and help the Dems win the White House in 2008.”

He’ll end up supporting Silky because Silky’s the leftiest of the bunch. And then Silky will flame out in the primary and we’ll all have a laugh. So this isn’t a total loss.

Update: Jim Treacher e-mails, “Don’t forget Kofi. He got a Peace Prize too. Because of all the peace!”

Update: I’m pleased to report that this post has earned the Enlightened Finger-Wag of Shame from Think Progress.

Update: At Britain’s Daily Telegraph, Damian Thompson drops a MOAB on the Goracle and asks the question of the day:

But there is a more fundamental objection to awarding Gore the peace prize that goes beyond issues of character. Climate change is a threat to the environment, not to “peace” and international order. The prize has gone to some sleazy recipients in the past, but at least you can make a case that their actions staved off bloodshed.

I’ll defend Gore a bit here. Norman Borlaug won the Peace Prize in 1970 for another initiative that wasn’t self-evidently “about” peace — namely, for his pioneering contributions to the world food supply. The peace angle lay in the fact that the more plentiful resources are, the less conflict would result from scarcity. That’s the same logic in Gore’s case, from what I can tell. If the ice is going to melt and the oceans are going to rise and climate disaster is going to deplete the world’s resources, then wars over those resources will inevitably result. By trying to prevent the depletion, he is, at least in theory, preventing war, too. It’s weak, but like I say, they did it for Borlaug.

The all important difference, though? Borlaug addressed a problem that was indisputably real with indisputably real solutions.

Update (Bryan): Darn! I was really hoping my Armenia post would earn the “Think” Progress Finger-Wag of the Day. Always the bridesmaid…

Update: Not even a Nobel can stop the Clinton machine:

A source involved in Gore’s past political runs told CNN that he definitely has the ambition to use the peace prize as a springboard to run for president.

But he will not run, because he won’t take on the political machine assembled by Sen. Hillary Clinton, said the source. If the senator from New York had faltered at all, Gore would take a serious look at entering the race, the source said. But Gore has calculated that Clinton is unstoppable, according to the source.

Update: According to Gallup, his pre-Nobel favorables are lower and unfavorables higher than Hillary’s among Democrats. Maybe Gore’s right about her being unstoppable.