Quotes of the day

“I have just notified the Nobel Peace Prize Committee that upon due consideration, I have decided to decline the great honor they have presented me and therefore will not be going to Oslo in December.

I explained to them, I hope convincingly, that I should have done this yesterday, after the award was announced. But to be honest, I was in a state of shock and not thinking clearly. A President of the United States must be prepared for any news, any time someone walks through the door. But being told that I had won the Nobel Peace Prize was simply not on what the National Security folks call ‘the Threat Board,’ a mere nine months into my term of office. In retrospect, it was a very ‘teachable moment,’ and one I hope to have learned from.

I don’t know the Norwegian words for ‘Let’s get real,’ but I tried earnestly to convey in plain English that awarding me the Nobel Peace Prize, at this stage of my presidency, opens the Committee itself to the charge that it dispenses its gold promiscuously, without regard to actual accomplishment.”

“This is an award for not being George W. Bush. This is an award for not making the world nervous. This is an award for sharing the basic political sentiments and assumptions of the members of the committee. It is for what Barack Obama may do, not what he has done. He hasn’t done anything.

In one mindless stroke, the committee has rendered the Nobel Peace Prize a laughingstock, perhaps for as long as a generation. And that is an act of true destruction, because it was actually good that the world had a prestigious award for peacemaking…

How to redeem this? That is a hard question, but here is one idea. The president will deliver a big speech in Oslo Dec. 10: white tie and tails, a formal, bound statement. The world, as they say, will be watching. He should deflect the limelight. (Can he?) He should make his subject bigger than himself. (Is there a subject bigger than himself?) He has been accused of traveling through the world on an extended apology tour. That isn’t fair, but the tag is there. How about an unapologetic address, a speech, with the world’s elites leaning forward and listening, about the meaning of America? A speech that shows a grounded and sophisticated love for his country and its great traditions and history. Not a nationalistic speech, not a prideful one, but a loving one.”

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