This morning I heard about the President’s Nobel Peace Prize. It was followed by laughter, and the running joke of the morning: “I thought I was reading The Onion,” people said. The incredulousness is deep on both the left and the right.
Mr. Obama needs to think long and hard about accepting this award. The vapidity of the criteria used for his selection could ratify in the public mind the vapidity of his prior and current achievements.
We already know that as a young Senator he was shielded from major policy issues by a party protecting him from future political attack (as reported by Frontline, no friend of the right wing). Then his first Supreme Court nominee followed in the same mold, having made no major rulings so her path up the bench would be unimpeded. And he’s continued the worst policies of this predecessors, just renaming them to provide distance and proof of “Change.”
Is this our new standard? Do nothing, speak well, and be rewarded? The President needs to drive to substance as fast as possible before this tag catches up to him.
I saw the most depressing chart last week. It was part of Boston Consulting Group’s Wealth 2009 Report, an annual series they run to track the global asset management industry. The chart (on page 14 of the full report) showed the distribution of global wealth, in which by 2007 the U.S. had already slipped behind Europe (37.9% to 38.5%). That second place position was bad enough, but what was really depressing was the BCG projection to 2013 which showed the U.S. dropping to 31.2% while Europe grows to 40.8%. Japan, the Middle East, and Asia are all expected to grow as well, while we decline. So as we come out of the world recession, U.S. wealth will shrink while the rest of the world will grow.
These are the real numbers of our global situation. Decline.
We need a President, we need national leadership composed of achievers not award winners. If Mr. Obama turned his considerable star power on speaking about the personal responsibility of work and reward, rather then programs of tax and redistribution, to begin praising our business people, not vilifying them, to speak about entrepreneurialism not volunteerism, then perhaps those projections by BCG could be reversed.
But as long as accolades go to those who have done nothing other than looked good, and as long as federal policy is based on taxing achievement and ignoring those taxed, as long as you can get a free handout from the Federal Government, as long as you can get something for nothing then the projections of decline will come true.
But this is the new character component of the global stage as well. Peace awards are given so long as we don’t speak out against the burka, or the stoning of women, or genital mutilation, or the tyranny of islamic fundamentalism, or the murder of 3,000 New Yorkers. Peace is achieved by allowing dictatorships to flourish while they oppress their people, and as they deny the holocaust; by not challenging fraudulent theocracy elections and abandoning those who rise up in revolt. Just don’t do anything that can get someone upset, for heavens sakes, don’t have convictions because it’s all culturally relative. I guess I can see why some call that peace.
So to a great extent this is an integrity test for the President. Declining the award really is the only way to prove he may someday actually deserve it.