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Opinions on President Obama's Peace Prize Win

-- Ruth Marcus

At least the Nobel committee came clean this time. In awarding the peace prize to President Obama, its chairman acknowledged that it did so because it agrees with and wants to promote his politics.

"We are hoping this may contribute a little bit for what he is trying to do," Thorbjorn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said on Friday. The prize "is a clear signal to the world that we want to advocate the same as he has done to promote international diplomacy."

The confession of political motive should be no surprise following the Nobel Committee's behavior during the Bush administration, when the peace prize was regularly handed to fierce opponents of the president -- from Jimmy Carter to Al Gore to Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In those cases, though, the committee denied that its intentions were political. Now Jagland doesn't mince words. "We have to get the world on the right track again," the New York Times quoted him as saying. "Look at the level of confrontation we had just a few years ago. Now we get a man who is not only willing but probably able to open dialogue and strengthen international institutions." Obama may get a boost from the Nobel Prize; in time he may prove the committee's declaration right. But I suspect even he might shrink from some of its rhetoric. "His diplomacy," the citation declared, "is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."


--Jackson Diehl


In a stunning development, Millard Fillmore Senior High School announced today that it had chosen Shawn Rabinowitz, an incoming junior, as next year's valedictorian. The award was made, the valedictorian committee announced from Norway of all places, on the basis of "Mr. Rabinowitz's intention to ace every course and graduate number one in his class." In a prepared statement, young Shawn called the unprecedented award "[expletive]ing awesome."

At the same time, and amazingly enough, the Pulitzer Prize for literature went to Sarah Palin for her stated intention "to read a book someday." The former Alaska governor was described as "floored" by the award, announced in Stockholm by nude Swedes beating themselves with birch branches, and insisted that while she was very busy right now, someday she would make good on her vow. "You'll see," she said from her winter home in San Diego.

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