Friday, October 9, 2009

Hey Nobel Committee! What About Bill Clinton?

Ladies and gentlemen, I am about to do something that is far out of the norm for me. I am about to defend Bill Clinton.

Yes, Bill Clinton - the man who one email (reported by Politico) said is today the angriest man on the planet. For once, I have to agree with his anger (assuming he is in fact upset about the news that broke earlier today).

If you haven't heard - and at this point I don't know how anyone couldn't have heard - President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, barely two weeks after taking the oath of office in January, he was nominated for his efforts in ...

Shoot, I forgot; what was it he did? Ah, yes; now I remember. It waas awarded for - and let me get this right - his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." That's a helluva lot he accomplished there in his first 12 days, isn't it? It's incredible what a catchy phrase like "Yes we can!" can get for someone. Rodney Dangerfield had his "I get no respect" line, but nope, no prize for him; George Burns had his "Say goodnight, Gracie" closing each episode of the old "Burns and Allen" show, but no, the Nobel Committee ignored him; Elton John had "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" - oh, wait; the title of that song exempted him from consideration.

Seriously, folks? Nominated after two weeks in office? I don't care what anyone says about how much he deserved this and how much he accomplished in his (snicker) 12 days in office before the nomination. This is a reaction not to what Obama did, but is another rebuke of Bush. We get it: the international community wasn't thrilled with what Bush did and decided to knock his Administration down a few pegs by giving the Prize to someone who talked about change, restoring our standing in the international community, and bringing the nations of the world together in a spirt of kumbayah where we can all sit at the table of brotherhood, a round table on the patio where a black professor and a white cop can share a beer.

And so I go back to - gasp - Bill Clinton. Clinton has done more in his post-presidency to deserve a Peace Prize than either President Obama or even Al Gore (Side bar: I want speed bumps on my street so that cars will slow down and pose less of a threat to the neighborhood children. Can I have a Prize?); he worked with President George H.W. Bush to raise astounding amounts of money and aid for the folks devastated by the Asian tsunami. His Clinton Foundation has raised untold amounts of money to help poor and impoverished nations and regions around the globe. He should even get credit for the work he did in trying to bring peace to the Middle East and to Central Europe. I think that even Bono merits consideration for the tremendous amount of good works he has done.

So why didn't he win? Was he even nominated? He's gotten passed over for his former vice president. He's gotten passed over for the person who knocked his wife out of running for the White House. Is Bill Clinton angry? I'd put good money down that he is - and I can't really blame him. I'm a bit angry that it takes so little to get the Prize nowadays - Desmond Tutu and Elie Wiesel worked for years before they were recognized. Guess it doesn't take much now to amaze the Nobel Committee other than excited crowds, a catch-phrase, and the promise that you'll try to do something.

So based on the new criteria, I'm off to pick up trash off the front curb, get a cat out of the tree, get folks to chant "Look what I did!" and help my neighbor carry in her groceries.

Oh, and I'll expect my Peace Prize in the mail tomorrow.

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