I have to admit that I really like the Norwegians' decision to award this year's Nobel Peace Prize to the incumbent President. Not because he deserves it or did anything to earn it, as it is so premature and shoddily justified that it's almost embarrassing. Scratch that – it is embarrassing to see the kind of obsequiousness rained on George W. Bush by conservatives circa 2002 lavished upon Obama. Frankly I'm surprised he accepted it, as self-aware people are generally uncomfortable with being fawned over. But perhaps the committee and the President are in cahoots and share a twisted sense of humor, in which case this is merely a bar bet on a grand scale between two parties interested in seeing if they can make Glenn Beck's head explode.
The reaction has been predictably hyperbolic and easily matches in intensity the extent to which the prize is undeserved. Call it Obama Derangement Syndrome or whatever you want. Going forward, this could be a component of an effective strategy for the White House.
In 2004 the Kerry campaign was (justifiably) criticized for chasing rabbits; that is, every day the Bush campaign threw out some nonsense to distract them, to knock them off of their message (whatever that was). The Kerry people obliged, of course, dutifully running after every lark like the Bob Shrum-led idiots they were. Here's the thing. I just checked with some scientists at the University of the Obvious, and they noted with great certainty that Glenn Beck and his kind are all idiots too. So perhaps Bill Maher was onto something when he recommended in jest that the President repeal "don't ask, don't tell" to make Limbaugh freak out. We know these people lose whatever tenuous association with reality they have at the mention of words like "gay" or "feminism." So why not endlessly distract them from the administration's real agenda with a series of meaningless, non-binding resolutions? How hard is it to get Congress to declare something Harvey Milk Day or to rename an airport concourse after George Tiller?
These people can be played like a fiddle. No matter how furious "socialized medicine" and "negotiating with terrorists" make wingnuts, they just can't help themselves when it comes to the godless homos, abortion, bra-burning 1960s feminism, and so on. All of those issues are legitimate ones, of course, but they're not being dealt with directly right now and they make fantastic diversions. We can't help but notice how an Olympics and a symbolic award destroyed whatever capacity for logical thought exists on the right. What did Sun Tzu say about using every available weapon in war?