But it’s certainly true of the three previous American officeholders who were awarded the prize. Theodore Roosevelt won for his role in forging the Portsmouth Treaty, which ended the Russo-Japanese War but brought only a temporary cessation of animosity between those two countries. Woodrow Wilson won for his promotion of the League of Nations, but he was unable to persuade even his own country to join, and the organization failed utterly after the rise of fascism. Vice President Charles Gates Dawes was given the 1925 award for his formulation of a “plan” that was supposed to stabilize the German economy while allowing the payment of reparations for World War I. It didn’t, but it did further poison his already bitter relationship with President Coolidge, whose Cabinet meetings Dawes refused to attend.

Against that backdrop, the Norwegian pols’ preference for Obama’s hopeful rhetoric doesn’t seem quite so absurd…

It’s probably too much to hope that the Nobel committee’s decision to honor Obama for the constructive civility of his thinking and the inspiration engendered by his eloquence might exert any similar influence on our own poisonously partisan politics. The right-wing blogosphere was quivering with outrage Friday, a sentiment that reached its nadir in the assertion of Redstate.com commentator Erick Erickson that the award represented “an affirmative action quota.” Another right-wing blogger actually speculated that Obama had delayed announcing his decision on Afghan troop levels in order to get the prize.