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Obama’s Nobel ‘Hope’ Prize

Congratulations, President Obama, for being honored with the Nobel Peace Prize. You may not have invented dynamite like Alfred Nobel did, but your simple message of hope has affected the nation and the world with much the same impact.

We understand that you are humbled by the award, even stating that you feel you do not deserve it. You say it gives momentum to causes that you and others have embraced.

The award came as a surprise to you, we are told. It did to us, too. We can’t recall another time when a person has been honored in such a way for sharing only a vision. Few results — at least so far — can be measured, but you have eloquently stated your vision to “reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions in the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.” This is finely worded, well-rehearsed and clearly spoken, yes, but it’s still just a vision.

President Obama, our hope is that this award places pressure on you to complete the campaign promises you made. You said you would close Guantanamo Bay. You said you would reduce the world stock of nuclear arms. You said you would end the war in Iraq. You said you would work with the U.S. Congress to pass laws reducing carbon emissions. You said you would make significant progress in combating climate change. And now you tell us that you may send 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan?

Where is the hope?

Your other campaign promises are being tracked, too. has compiled more than 500 and is tracking your progress on their “Obameter.” To date, you have “kept” 47, “compromised” 12, “broken” seven, “stalled” 12, have 117 “in the works,” and have taken “no action” on 320.

Hope seems to be spinning its wheels.

Many would argue that you have not had enough time to make a significant impact, and we agree. But you have had enough time to win the Nobel Peace Prize by providing the one thing that you campaigned so masterfully about — hope.

But hope is no longer enough. Now we want peace at home, peace that comes from an improved job market, safer neighborhoods and a stable economy. The Republicans will continue to criticize you for lack of progress in these areas, and they should. You have the opportunity to become one of the greatest presidents of all time and to prove that you were worthy of this honor. But this isn’t 1906, you are not Theodore Roosevelt, and you didn’t end a war. This also isn’t 1919, you are not Woodrow Wilson, and you didn’t create a League of Nations.

President Obama, you may have been surprised by the announcement of this award, but we don’t imagine that your predecessor was. Your recognition seemed to be more of an appropriate slam on President George W. Bush than anything you have done. When State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said it is better to have accolades tossed your way than shoes, we knew what he meant. And so did the previous administra.tion, which certainly became accustomed to world criticism.

Setting the Bush mistakes aside, we wonder how the Clintons feel. Eight years of relative peacekeeping under the Clinton administration never brought such an award. Ongoing peace efforts across continents, led by the former president, seem overlooked. And even Hillary’s key role as Secretary of State is overshadowed, once again, by you and your great speeches. Don’t expect the Clintons to complain, though. The world has showered them with love in many other ways. But when the Taliban and Hamas condemn your award, calling it “unjust” and “too early,” they might be on to something.

Through all of this, the most disturbing fact is that the nomination deadline for the Prize was Feb. 1, 2009, just two weeks after you took office, reinforcing our point that this award was truly all about words of hope.

President Obama, in addition to the prestige that you will receive with this honor, you will also be provided a cash award of more than $1 million. We expect this will help with the costs that will be associated with spreading hope in your next campaign. We would like to think that you will have some measurable results by then to go with it.

We wonder how Alfred Nobel, the Swedish industrialist the award is named after, would feel about you receiving the award for your vision. The guilt he felt from inventing dynamite led him to provide cash prizes to people who made significant discoveries or inventions in the fields of chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine, literature and peace.

And we can now apparently add hope to that list, too. CV

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