After Barack Obama’s defenders accused critics of his Nobel Peace Prize of being un-American for criticizing the award, Gallup polled over 1500 adults to determine the public response to it. Surprisingly, Gallup found that 61% of Americans hate America — at least according to Obama’s defenders:
The majority of Americans do not believe President Barack Obama deserved to win the Nobel Peace Prize (61%), but the public is split in its personal reaction to the announcement. Asked if they are “glad” Obama received the prize, 46% of Americans say yes and 47% say no. …
The USA Today/Gallup poll conducted about a week after the announcement did not ask Americans whether they believe that the award may ultimately be deserved, or whether it was appropriately given in anticipation of the potential of the Obama administration’s peace efforts. The central question simply asked whether Obama “deserved” the award, and found Americans by roughly a 2-to-1 margin saying no rather than yes.
Not surprisingly, reaction to the awarding of the prize is partisan, although support for Obama’s receiving the prize among Democrats is perhaps not as large as might be expected. Fifty-nine percent of Democrats say the award is deserved, which can be contrasted with the 84% of Democrats who in the same survey approve of Obama’s job performance. Independents and, in particular, Republicans are highly likely to say Obama did not deserve to win the prize.
It’s not fair to blame Barack Obama for the decision to award him the prize, of course. The White House didn’t campaign for it, and got so surprised by the news that initially some of them thought it was a joke. Some blame Obama for accepting the Nobel, but that’s unfair as well. It would have been needlessly insulting to reject the award, and would have accomplished nothing. While we believe that Obama has made a fetish of apologizing for America to get people to like us, we don’t want to gratuitously insult people, either.
However, the decision to award Obama the prize by the Nobel committee for his rhetoric was and is still laughable. It’s not un-American to point out that Obama has accomplished nothing to deserve it. Even the one action that the Nobel committee highlighted in its apologia of the decision, the reversal of the US missile-defense stance in eastern Europe, has been at least somewhat reversed since. We await the next Peace Prize, which might go to the winner of the Miss America contest, for her rhetorical support of “world peace,” using the same criteria established in Oslo.
Gallup’s respondents are about evenly split on whether Americans are happy or unhappy over the award. Most of those unhappy are annoyed at the very obvious attempt by the Nobel committee to interfere with American domestic politics. Perhaps a better question would have been whether we were amused by the award.