Peggy Noonan, in defiance of all normal expectations, keeps getting more embarrassing. It’s one thing to think outside the box. When the box is your head, you get this:
It was a good thing, the Nobel Peace Prize. Every year the giving of it was a matter of note throughout the world, almost a matter of state.
Don’t you love the reflective tone of pipe-puffing wisdom in the first sentence? No, you don’t. You find it phony and insufferable. As for, “Every year the giving of it…” well, you feel (as I do) that it displays all the homespun authenticity of a Quaker Oats commercial. The bad ones, without that fun mumbly music they’ve had recently.
So much for style. What about the writer’s substance?
Briefly: Obama doesn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize because he’s not Mother (“You’re so good, it’s SCARY!”) Teresa. Neither is he Nelson Mandela, Woodrow Wilson or “Ferocious Teddy Roosevelt.” Fair enough, in its whiny way. Then, alas, the crazy takes over, and Peggy “The Ophelia of the Right” comes into her nudnik own.
More deeply into the political life of the 20th Century, there were Jimmy Carter and Al Gore, and their Peace Prizes were what they were.
Can’t argue with that. Who, other than the right-wing fantasists whose divorce from reality has proven anything but amicable, would dare argue that they weren’t what they were? But get this:
It was always absurd that Ronald Reagan, whose political project led to the end of the gulag and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and who gambled his personal standing in the world for a system that would protect the common man from annihilation in a nuclear missile attack, could not win it.
This is the Republican creation myth, and so it deserves exactly as much respect, free of literal agreement or belief, that one would show a Hopi legend about the origin of the world (“So Tawa divided himself and there came Muiyinwuh, God of All Life Germs; Spider Woman also divide(d) herself so that there was Huzruiwuhti, Woman of the Hard Substances, the Goddess of all hard ornaments of wealth such as coral, turquoise, silver and shell…”).
Note, to your queasy disbelief, that the words following “Berlin Wall” refer — [in addition to Ronnie’s “personal standing,” as if that a) means anything when you’re acting as President, and b) means anything to a man decreasingly able to distinguish between life and movies — to the “Star Wars” missile defense system.
Yes, that missile defense system — the one whose components could never be shown to actually work, the one whose field tests required foreknowledge of where, when, and along what trajectory the targets were to be launched, the one that (at a cost of tens of billions) would at best have been destabilizing and would have brought anxiety to the trigger fingers in the USSR, the Warsaw Pact, and the general vicinity even though everyone would know that it didn’t work.
To sum up: Ronald Reagan deserved the Nobel Peace Prize because he failed to waste a fortune on a boondoggle that would have made the world less safe. That he failed to win it was “absurd.”
Oh, Peg, how can you possibly top that?
But nobody wept over it, and for one reason: because everyone, every sentient adult who cared to know about such things, knew that the Nobel Peace Prize is, when awarded to a political figure, a great and prestigious award given by liberals to liberals. NCNA–no conservatives need apply. This is the way of the world, and so what? Life isn’t for prizes.
Never mind the nausea lurking in the prospect of learning what Peggy Noonan thinks “life” is “for,” or that the final lines are a crabby old schoolmarm’s idea of “consolation.” What we want to know is, what about Andre Sakharov (1975)? What about those liberal scalawags, Anwar al-Sadat and Menachem Begin (1978)? What about Lech Walesa (1983)? Why does Peggy Noonan hate freedom?
And what about Henry Kissinger? Because, as every sentient adult knows, “Along with North Vietnamese Politburo Member Le Duc Tho, Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1973, for their work in negotiating the ceasefires contained in the Paris Peace Accords…”
This is an award for not being George W. Bush. This is an award for not making the world nervous. This is an award for sharing the basic political sentiments and assumptions of the members of the committee. It is for what Barack Obama may do, not what he has done. He hasn’t done anything.
Actually, dear, no. This is an award for having traveled more than any other president in the first year of a term specifically and explicitly to repair the damage done by the man and the administration you spent eight years defending and praising. This damage was done to the very possibility of world peace, to the legitimacy of diplomacy, to the idea of respecting international law, to the reputation of the United States as an honorable member of the community of nations, and to the hopes of every “common man” around the world whom people like you, Peggy Noonan, and your right-wing propagandist colleagues, take such pleasure in bleating admiration for until it comes time to hold them indefinitely, torture them, or blow them into protoplasm as “collateral damage” in wars you promote against people who are no threat to us.
Go watch the video, again, of the exultation around the world when Obama was elected. That sound you’ll hear is of the human race breathing a sigh of relief. You want the United States to be the leader of the world? Once again, finally, you’ve got it. Now choke on it.
Oh, wait. One more thing. Please, please grace us with more rants like this:
America hasn’t just helped the world, it literally lit the world with its inventions, which are the product of its freedoms. The lights under which the Peace Prize judges read, and rejected, the worthy nominations? Why, those lights were invented by an American. The emails the committee members sent to each other, sharing their banal insights on leadership? They came through the Internet. Who invented the Internet? It was a Norwegian bureaucrat with a long face and hair on his nose and little plastic geometric eyeglasses? Oh wait, it was Americans. The members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are healthy because they have been inoculated against diseases such as polio. Who invented the polio vaccine, an enfeebled old leftist academic in Oslo? Nah, it was a man named Jonas Salk. He was an American.
It doesn’t get any more jejune than this, from the Cowardly Lion recitation of accomplishments (“Who invented the electric light/So you can see in the dark and put your pj’s on right?/Who is the guy who invented email/For every computerized male and female?” etc.) to the teen sarcasm of “oh, wait” to the thick-as-a-brick obliviousness of the fact that, e.g., “Sir Timothy John ‘Tim’ Berners-Lee, OM, KBE, FRS, FREeng, FRSA (born 8 June 1955), is a British engineer and computer scientist and MIT professor credited with inventing the World Wide Web, making the first proposal for it in March 1989.”
Face it, Peg. Reagan is dead and W is in permanent, well-deserved disgrace. Join him there or, like that other Scandinavian said, Get thee to a nunnery.