Why do the wingnuts so hate America?

An American patriot would be pleased to have the American President win the Nobel Peace Prize. But there’s no rejoicing in wingnuttia. The wingnuts, like the Taliban, are outraged.

The President of the United States has won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Naturally, the Taliban is outraged. And of course all American patriots are proud.  Oh, wait … Maybe not.

I hope that Dan Riehl, David Bernstein, and Mullah Omar will be very happy together. But couldn’t they be happy together somewhere far away?

Update Hamas and the Pakistani extremist party Jamaat-i-Islami agree with the Taliban, Riehl, and Bernstein.

Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohamed ElBaredei, Morgan Tsvangirai agree with the Nobel committee.

Second update Erick Erickson joins the Taliban’s side of the argument with a little bit of racist sneering about “affirmative action” thrown in. Michael Steele, naturally is dismayed at the honor paid to our country.  Maybe this is good electoral strategy, but I doubt it.

Third update The awardee writes:

This morning, Michelle and I awoke to some surprising and humbling news. At 6 a.m., we received word that I’d been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize — men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it’s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.

That is why I’ve said that I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations and all peoples to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. These challenges won’t all be met during my presidency, or even my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it’s recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone.

This award — and the call to action that comes with it — does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs to you, the men and women of America, who have dared to hope and have worked so hard to make our world a little better.

So today we humbly recommit to the important work that we’ve begun together. I’m grateful that you’ve stood with me thus far, and I’m honored to continue our vital work in the years to come.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

Fourth update Megan McArdle dissents. She’s wrong; Obama earned his prize.

Fifth update John McCain isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, and I wouldn’t answer for his morals, either public or private, but he knows how to behave, and sometimes acts on that knowledge.

I congratulate President Obama on receiving this prestigious award. I join my fellow Americans in expressing pride in our President on this occasion.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

50 thoughts on “Why do the wingnuts so hate America?”

  1. Proud of what? This is just flat out embarrassing, it's like the teacher putting a gold star on your forehead because you showed up for class.

    No, it's like watching the teacher put a gold star on the forehead of the teacher's pet just because he showed up for class: You're actually embarrassed on his behalf, that he takes it seriously. It's like handing ribbon to a runner in the marathon as he passes the first watering station, and he pumps his fist in the air. He hasn't DONE ANYTHING TO EARN IT YET!

    Seriously, this was so out of the blue, I had to check the calender to make sure it wasn't April 1st, look at the url to make sure I hadn't visited the Onion. It actually manages to be stupider than Gore's Nobel Prize, and that took some doing.

    It's just a joke, that's all the Nobel prize has become. To give him this prize at the beginning of his term? A joke.

  2. Whatever the merits of Obama receiving the 2009 Peace Nobel Prize, let me guess Brett: you're a conservative? Know what, your comment on Gore was a dead give-away.

    I'd grant you one thing though: Your comment is going to be one of the more restraint ones we'll hear from conservatives. I mean, if the decision on the 2016 Olympics made conservatives erupt in glee, this one is bound to cause mass head explosions. Sort of a national bipolar episode for a whole political movement.

  3. I'm sure that Mark is celebrating this prize in the same way that he celebrated Kissinger's peace prize. That too was a proud day, wasn't it Mark? Your love for America probably caused the young Mark Kleiman to throw a party that day.

  4. Even the Ego's aides thought it was a joke:

    Two key White House aides were both convinced they were being punked when they heard the news, reported ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

    "It's not April 1, is it?" one said.

  5. Obama knew it was coming and that's the reason for the delay on more troops for Afghanistan. Soldiers had to die for his peace prize.

  6. The one very fun part of Pres. Obama winning this award, besides the fact that it is actually deserved, is watching the wingnuts heads explosion it has generated.


  7. Despite whatever Obama may be contributing to world peace, shouldn't a prerequisite to winning the Nobel Peace Prize be that one is not at the moment conducting a war (other than one defending one's own soil)? I'm afraid that this news brought Henry Kissinger to my mind too.

  8. The deadline for nominations is February 1, meaning Obama would've been nominated after being in office for just 11 days.

    Can someone explain what he did in those 11 days that merits a Nobel Prize?

  9. "Wingnuts heads exploding"?! What small minds you have. How narrow your thinking, that the first thing you think of in any situation is "will this make conservatives unhappy?"

    How about "is this good for our country?" It's like you idiot liberals don't even care about that. As long as you think it makes conservatives angry, then screw the country, right?

  10. Paul,

    Perhaps he was nominated with the expectation that he would subsequently do something to merit the prize, and perhaps the judges may take into account what he does subsequently.

    Tom Lehrer said that political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Taking the Nobel Peace Prize seriously also became obsolete on that day.

  11. Yes — the only people who believe this is absurd are Talibani and American conservatives. Furthermore, as with the Miss America pageant and American Idol, the polite congratulations of past winners and disappointed aspirants must be taken literally, as these express sincerely held opinions reached through dispassionate analysis. Nice to know that at least Prof. Kleiman has not succumbed to "motivated reasoning" and is reacting to this unburdened by any a priori political views.

  12. The deadline for nominations is February 1, meaning Obama would’ve been nominated after being in office for just 11 days.

    Can someone explain what he did in those 11 days that merits a Nobel Prize?

    In your excuse, you probably hadn't yet had your Morning brew to replenish your coffein levels and boost your thought processes. What about the nomination day and the day the NPP committee made its decision were not the same? Does that help?

    Pleasure, don't mention it.

  13. You know Mark, I am a "wingnut" and I deeply resent the "why do they hate America" meme. This award is an insult to every good American who actually accomplishes something without the aid of a teleprompter. You know, the millions of us who give our time, money (NOT tax money, but actual hard earned money that we WORKED for), and effort to make this world a little better. We don't stand on a podium in a foreign land and apologize for what America has become. We see some things wrong and we try to fix them, in our own small way.

    "Hate America?". I don't think so. We love America. This award is an insult to every right thinking American, and to America herself and for what she stands for. At least what she used to stand for before "the one" came into power and is quickly dismantling what America once was.

    If you cannot see that, then it is you who hates America.

  14. SRW1, what did he he do in those 11 days that earned him the nomination? Or is pretty much everyone nominated so that committee can consider people who accomplish something after the Feb 1 deadline? The fact that his staff thought it was a joke is pretty solid evidence that it is a joke. Just not a very funny one.

  15. Get a grip, folks. The Nobel Peace Prize is and has always been a political tool. It gets awarded to make political statements about the state of the world. Rewarding people for having done good is a secondary consideration.

    President Obama got the prize for not being George Bush and for his anticipated efforts to bring the United States back into the world of diplomacy and negotiation. I think it was a little premature myself, but I don't get a vote.

  16. Why should Americans be proud, or really care at all, that a bunch of leftist Norwegians who previously honored Yasser Arafat, an IRA leader, the leader of North Vietnam, and other unworthies who happened to be be politically correct at the moment, gave Obama the Nobel Peace Prize? Would you be proud if members of the Shas Party voted to give an award to George W. Bush for promoting religious value?

  17. SRW1 says:

    "Whatever the merits of Obama receiving the 2009 Peace Nobel Prize, let me guess Brett: you’re a conservative? Know what, your comment on Gore was a dead give-away. "

    No, Brett is a rather far-out right-winger; see his comments on Obsidian Wings to get a better grip on him.

  18. Bush freed 50 million people from tyranny and Obama freed a puppy from the pound. Oh wait – Obama didn't even do that!

    Happy Birthday Bo!

  19. I just think it's facially absurd to believe Obama could have earned a Nobel peace prize nomination after less than two weeks in office, or that he's done anything to earn the prize itself 9 months into his first term. Apparently they're handing out for aspirations now, not accomplishments.

    Maybe the Dali Lama can get next year's award, for the liberation of Tibet. He didn't liberate it? Yeah, but he wants to.

  20. These comments make Mark Kleiman's point far more convincingly than he could do it unassisted. It's not just the questioning of the decision (of which there's a lot on all points of the political spectrum) but the reflexive sneers and the insistence on denigrating the Nobel committee. Self-styled conservatives who approved or even condoned the previous regime should at least take a moment to consider what this says about the world's opinion of the direction the US was taking until recently. But instead of a pause for reflection, and perhaps humility, we see them making loud common cause with those they consider enemies and "evildoers".

    Gentlefolk, I beseech you think it possible you may be mistaken.

  21. Gosh! Talk about a knee jerk, group hissey fit. Go change your shorts guys. It's really embarrassing and smells pretty bad.

  22. The day Kissinger got the Nobel Peace Prize – which I regarded then as the natural result of his having concluded peace with Vietnam, much as I did and do despise him – Harvey Mansfield, who had been his colleague at Harvard, made a little speech in class about what a great honor this was for the Government Department, and how happy they all were about it. He then added, completely deadpan, "But I wonder why they didn't give it to Nixon, for the Christmas bombing?"

    And yes, I'd like to thank Brett & Co. for making my point for me. From now on, Barack Obama will bring the prestige of the Peace Prize to every international negotiation. To some extent, that strengthens the hand of the United States in its dealings abroad. Those who hate Obama enough not to be able to see that, or to care about it, may not be subjectively unpatriotic, but they do our country no service.

  23. I should add that I will bet Jonathan or anyone else $5 even up that when GWB comments on the prize his comments will more or less track the ones Jonathan imagines for him. The man, for all his infinite faults, has more sense than some of his political friends of the fitness of things, on a purely formal level.

  24. No, its because we love America. As she is. Not like P. Obama likes it – as it will be after he is finished bringing us all under government control and completely neutering our ability to defend ourselves.

  25. Hey, Mark, you know who also wants to keep cocaine illegal? Evil, smelly drug lords. I can't believe you're on the side of the evil, murderous drug lords. Mark Kleiman and drug kingpins — on the same side in favor of prohibition!

  26. Douglas Kubler:

    Obama knew it was coming and that’s the reason for the delay on more troops for Afghanistan. Soldiers had to die for his peace prize.

    This is a very serious charge. Do you have any evidence for it, or is blood libel just a reflex?

    I note that a Douglas Kubler of Thousands Oaks CA contributed money to a lying organization called Swift Vets and POWs for Truth in 2004. Are you this same person?

  27. Disclosure first: I'm pretty much a libertarian, usually vote Republican, and don't like Obama much, mostly because of domestic policies.

    That said, I think that Obama could very well earn a Nobel peace prize at some point during his presidency. While I don't agree with his strategy on Israel and Palestine, I see that forcing the Israelis to the table could result in a long-lasting peace there. (Certainly Bush's strategy didn't work, so let the other guy try his.) There is the possibility that he could actually get something done on de-nuclearization in the Korean peninsula, or in Iran. Maybe he can do something to mediate some of the many, seemingly interminable conflicts in Africa. Maybe he can come to a lasting deal on Russia's place in the world. Or maybe he can come up with an international deal to cut farm subsidies in the rich world, so that poor agricultural countries could grow.

    Any one of those would merit a Nobel peace prize. But really, what has he done as of now? Even where I give the President (of either party) no credit for the ridiculous stuff he does domestically, I usually cut him a lot of slack in foreign affairs. There's a lot of guesswork and negotiating there, so I'm willing to give a lot of credit for even small advances. But, seriously, no one has been able to say what he has done other than to change people's emotional states.

    Words count for very little in matters of peace and governments are the last people you would expect to live up to their words. So the peace prize should go for changing the facts on the ground: less dead people is a good start. While there are some grounds to believe that Obama might do something in the future, he really hasn't brought peace to anyone anywhere.

    So, I say it is premature at best. It might be deserved at some point, but not now.


  28. Maybe the Dali [sic] Lama can get next year’s award, for the liberation of Tibet. He didn’t liberate it? Yeah, but he wants to.

    This would be in keeping w/ the long-established practice of the Committee, & I don't see anything inherently ridiculous about it. In face, I think it'd be rather admirable. Unlike the other Nobels, the Peace Prize has always been prospective rather than retropective. The idea is to endorse the aspiration & encourage its realization. It could only further the just aspirations of the Tibetan people if the Dalai Lama were given the prize.

  29. No, Brett is a rather far-out right-winger; see his comments on Obsidian Wings to get a better grip on him.

    This is the guy who's arranged to have his head cryonically frozen, right? So the future can have the benefit of a never-ending stream of his blog comments.

  30. On the sites Mark linked to, and everywhere else I've looked, I haven't found a single outraged right-winger. Just a bunch of very perplexed ones. You're setting the "hate" bar mighty low, here.

  31. Or is pretty much everyone nominated so that committee can consider people who accomplish something after the Feb 1 deadline? – Tom K

    Tom, you must know about this intertube thing since your on it. You can also use it to find information about things, like for example the nomination process for the NPP. In short: There's a limited number of qualified persons and groups, such as parliamentarians, academic institutions, etc, who have the right to nominate candidates for the Peace Nobel Prize. The six-member NPP committee then goes through the nominations and decides who the prize should be given to. The total number of nominations for the 2009 prize was 205 candidates (among them George W Bush and Silvio Berlusconi if that is any consolation).

    The fact that his staff thought it was a joke is pretty solid evidence that it is a joke. – Tom K

    Well, if that is what you require for solid evidence then good for you. I don't feel any inclination to follow your lead though, because this kind of a call is ideal for a playing a prank on someone, so there are all sorts of innocent other explanations. Ever heard of the prank Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen though was being played on her, and made her hang up on Obama when he called her to congratulate her on her re-election?

    See, here's the thing: The merits of the decision the NPP committee took, namely to go for an aspirational award, might be open for debate. But you guys on the right just can't manage your anger in all things Obama. All that ever come out as soon as you open your mouth to talk about him is what Paul above quite correctly called 'reflexive sneers'. And that is if you are in a kind mood.

    You know, for me this paranoid Obama fixation is kind of déjà vue all over again. When I was a young man living in Germany the conservatives there were the same about thew then Chancellor Willy Brandt, another politician who got an aspirational Peace Nobel Prize. In his case for his courageous new policy of detente. He was also called a 'Vaterlandsverater' (traitor) by his detractors on the right, but was fully validated by history. So, excuse me, but furor just doesn't impress me very much.

  32. Maybe the Dali Lama can get next year’s award, for the liberation of Tibet. He didn’t liberate it? Yeah, but he wants to. – Brett Bellmore

    You're right Brett, the Dalai Lama hasn't liberated Tibet yet. But you might want to look up who received the Peace Nobel Prize in 1989.

  33. "This would be in keeping w/ the long-established practice of the Committee, & I don’t see anything inherently ridiculous about it. In face, I think it’d be rather admirable. Unlike the other Nobels, the Peace Prize has always been prospective rather than retropective. The idea is to endorse the aspiration & encourage its realization. It could only further the just aspirations of the Tibetan people if the Dalai Lama were given the prize."

    Did Teddy Roosevelt win the NPP because he was trying to get the Russians and Japanese to stop their war, no it was after he got them to stop. How about Sadat and Begin, it was AFTER Egypt and Israel signed the peace treaty. It is only in the last decade or so that the NPP has been for "aspirations" not actual deeds. Giving it away for "aspirations" cheapens the work of all those that have seriously risked personnal harm in the name of peace and human freedom.

  34. dbring, I think you're just mistaken about the historical record. According to Ronald Krebs, "Dangerous Prize," at Foreign Policy last 30 July (i.e., before today's news), more than half of the NPPs awarded since 1971 have been aspirational. (Having 'seriously risked personal harm' is in any case a different matter from actual achievement.) Which is in keeping with the idea that the Prize is oriented toward a practical interest. The American right, along w/ its co-thinkers abroad, is free to oppose that interest, but the pursuit of it is hardly a novelty of the last week or decade.

  35. The Berlin speech, the Cairo speech, his seriousness on U.S. Muslim relations, the ambitiousness of his agenda; what he has done, more in words than action (which is fine, words count), is he has begun to restore our international moral authority, and that is having a wider uplifting effect. They obviously feel it in Oslo, which is pretty far away.

  36. All ya'll claiming President Obama got it because he's not W, you got it wrong.

    He got it because he's not Dick Cheney.

  37. Well said Maximum Liberty.

    K – you need to understand the context of the word "aspirational". Nearly all of what could be classified that way are aspirations where a lifetime of work supports the goal. It's recognition for a work in progress, as opposed to a defined achievement, that has consumed the individual.

  38. I voted for Obama and I continue to be appalled by the condescension and racism exhibited by his supporters. There is no way to harm his legacy and accomplishments any more than to continually bend over backwards and treat him like a child who needs protection. SNL skits require explanations from Wolf Blitzer. Customary Presidential gaffes and errors are whitewashed like those group photos in the Stalin era. And now this Nobel Prize. It is pretty much the equivalent of announcing that a promising African American sophomore will be the High School Valedictorian, just to ensure that subsequent grades might not ultimately affect the result. It is racism, well-intentioned,but racism,nevertheless. Once again, the bigotry of low expectations.

  39. This was a joke pure and simple. Looking broadly at the original nomination, it's probably the same reaction as the SNL folks: "We had such high hopes for him…" No, watching the BBC and other international coverage, this is being treated as bad comedy by everyone except the most commited american partisans.

    Best wishes,


  40. Tom, again, you're just mistaken about the historical record. In some cases the NPP has been awarded for a life's work, but in others (Betty Williams & Mairead Corrigan come to mind) the laureates were nominated very soon after they first began doing the thing they were nominated for. There seems to be a notion among critics of this year's prize both that it should be given for exertion per se ("has consumed the individual") and also that it should be awarded only for definitively settled achievement. (Also that if the nominee is a US President, the criteria for evaluating his nomination should be the same ones we use for evaluating the sucess of his Presidency.) Those would be meritorious criteria for a prize if somebody could figure out how to satisfy them all, but that prize wouldn't be the NPP. And I still think the NPP is a rather nice thing & Barak Obama a rather nice Laureate. (But, as melk informs me, maybe I'm just being racist.)

  41. I'm not angry — my first and only reaction was a chuckle. I don't know why there's much fuss over it. I would say that the committee needs a good drink and a pause to take itself as unseriously as it does global peace. The NPP had already been debased by the actions (or lack thereof) of previous awardees. This only devalues it to what it truly is — the door prize for participation in foreign policy. Congratulations, Mr. President, you have completed another step on the path to being the President most like Jimmy Carter.

  42. The thing about door prizes is they're awarded randomly, whereas I suspect your real complaint is that the NPP is awarded nonrandomly, to people you don't like. Fine. Since peace, peace congresses, fraternity among nations, & the abolition of standing armies are inherently political values, potentially incommensurable or in conflict w/ other values, there will always be complaints about the Peace Prize. And in this case (as is sometimes true of people who use puerile joke names & begin by saying they're not angry) the pretend amusement fails to disguise a churlish edge.

    So yes, by all means, Jimmy Carter. In respect specifically of the Presidential achievements that were mentioned in his Nobel citation – the Camp David Accords & his emphasis on human rights – exactly how damning a precedent do you think Carter is? What do you think of the Accords? Of human rights?

    Again, Obama has managed to catch the ear of the most powerful government on earth at a time when it had been heading in a direction inimical to the values of the NPP. It's no insult to earlier Laureates to note that this is more than most of them ever managed.

  43. Mark Kleiman says:

    "blah blah blah, someones picking on our guy and wingnuts hate america because they are picking on our guy". Mark, it is doubtful they hate America, after all they were born here and their families are here. What they hate is liberal policy. But, you knew that.

    Yes, Mark, join your partisan friends in expressing pride in your president. The award is/has been devalued, as other have stated.

    I don't know why the left and the right don't quit wasting time criticising each other at every opportunity. I guess it is just designed to try and sway the middle.

    I think it would be more efficient to just say this what is truly on our minds. And leave it at that. Then we don't have to engage with one another. A kind of permanent policy statement.

    I will give you a starting template: "I would rather to see every (insert opposing party here) ____________ in a Russian prison and the country on fire, than accept liberal/conservative policies"

    There. A big time saver. Now, we can all go about our business and be productive, rather than wait around for some "gotcha" moment.

    The sooner this country gets divided up into two countries, the better. A civil war would be good, too. Anything but this continuing bullshit act about how we are all Americans united. We are not. We are two people that hate each other occupying the same space.

  44. Surely runnerup Morgan Tsangerai has achieved more than Obama. Also, that Colombian woman who was second runnerup. Everyone knows why she deserved it more.

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