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Nobel Peace Prize Shocks Bloggers: "This is Insane"

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
As America woke up Friday morning to the news that President Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize, a common sentiment of utter surprise flooded the Internet from both liberal and conservative commentators.

Right wing pundits took the opportunity to blast the president and the award itself, while even some liberal writers contended the president has so far fallen short of his potential to do good. Other liberals saw the award as an opportunity for Mr. Obama to expand his influence for the better. Nearly all, however, seemed to agree it was shocking to see the president receive the prize so early on in his presidency.

John Miller at the National Review succinctly summed up conservative reaction to the news: "This is insane."

"Shouldn't you at least do something before winning such a prestigious award?" asked Matt Lewis at the conservative blog "It seems Obama was awarded based on zero accomplishments, but on lots of 'hope' for the future."

Obama supporter Michael Russnow asked the same question at the liberal site the Huffington Post.

"Whatever one might feel about Obama, he has not earned this singular award," Russnow wrote. "Few American presidents have received it and of those who have it was bestowed after they'd been engaged in something special.... I believe it is enormously premature for Obama to be getting this great tribute, which to a certain extent cheapens the prior recipients and the work all of them performed over so many years."

Richard Kim at the Nation rattled off a list of deeds liberals are still waiting for Mr. Obama to accomplish before they deem him worthy of the prize: "Fully closing Gitmo and restoring civil liberties and compliance with the Geneva Conventions; negotiating with Iran in good faith; withdrawing from Iraq and, of course, withdrawal from Afghanistan. Escalation, or even maintaining the status quo there, would alone discredit this award in history's eyes."

Some conservatives aimed their fire at the Nobel Committee.

"The transnational progressives who pass out these accolades believe America is the problem in the world, the main threat to peace, the impediment to 'progress,' etc.," wrote Andy McCarthy at the National Review. "The award is a symbolic statement of opposition to American exceptionalism, American might, American capitalism, American self-determinism, and American pursuit of America's interests in the world. That is why Obama could win it based on only ten days in office — merely by capturing the White House and the levers of power, he stands to do more for the Left's 'knock America off its pedestal' program than any figure in history."

In a more blunt assessment, the right wing blog Hot Air accuses the committee of turning "the Peace Prize into a 'f*** Bush' award by bestowing it on a liberal American Democrat."

The leftwing blog FireDogLake also acknowledged the apparent jab at the Bush administration, taking the opportunity to taunt conservatives: "The prize itself is one thing, but in four brief paragraphs, the Nobel Committee draws some stark contrasts between Obama and . . . how to put this? . . . other recent leaders on the world stage.... Diplomacy? Cooperation between peoples?... Multilateral diplomacy? Dialogue and negotiations?... I can almost hear the screaming from Dick Cheney and the neocons as they get the news."

The president beat out an Afghan woman's rights activist for the prize, points out Meredith Jessup of TownHall -- which she contends gives credence to Bush policies.

"I would just like to point out this bit of irony," she writes, "if it hadn't been for 'the evil one,' President George W. Bush, and the U.S. military's efforts in ridding Afghanistan of the Taliban's tyrannic rule, I'd imagine there would be no 'Afghan woman's rights activist' around today to even be considered for this award."

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Taliban does not think Mr. Obama deserves the award either.

"We have seen no change in his strategy for peace. He has done nothing for peace in Afghanistan," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP. "When Obama was elected president, we were hopeful he would keep his promise to bring change. But he brought no change, he has continued the same old strategy as (President George W.) Bush."

Exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer was more optimistic: "I am very happy that he got it," she said. "Now he has to do something with the award. It raises expectations on him to stand up for oppressed nations."

Some liberal commentators were also pleased, like Jacob Heilbrunn at the Huffington Post who wrote, "It would be hard to think of a more electrifying and deserved recipient of this year's Nobel Peace prize than President Obama."

"Obviously, the award is based on the hope that Obama will achieve real progress in advancing diplomacy rather than confrontation around the globe. To some degree, he already has," Heilbrunn continues. "American relations with Europe are vastly improved. He is focusing on global warming. Negotiations are underway with Iran. So are nuclear arms reductions talks with Russia. Leading conservatives such as George Shultz are calling for immediately ending sanctions on Cuba and restoring relations with it."

Steve Clemons at the Washington Note agreed the award was "great news."

"This Prize puts some air back in the Obama Bubble," Clemons said, "and this is good for the country and world as the challenges in the international system are enormous today. Obama's efforts to talk the world into a better place have indeed created opportunities that were hard to imagine during the Bush administration -- but now a lot of heavy lifting and deal-making are required, and the Nobel Prize will give Obama a boost in these efforts."

More Coverage on Obama Winning the Nobel Peace Prize:

Obama: Nobel Prize a "Call To Action"
Analysis: Nobel Peace Prize Doesn't Help Obama
Obama's Nobel Win: A "Mission Accomplished" Moment?
The Audacity of the Nobel Committee
Nobel Peace Prize an Unprecedented Honor for Obama
Obama's Next "Most Important Speech"
Placing a Wager on Peace

Obama's Remarks: Video Text
Politics of Obama's Nobel Win
Washington Unplugged: Nobel Prize "Complicates Things" for Obama
Nobel Peace Prize Photos

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