Although the award itself was bizarre and self destructive, the debate following Obama's Nobel Day is of a piece with what we've been seeing for quite some time.
First, there is still the effort - diminishing but still breathing - to hang on to the Transcendent Obama - the figure who is salvific by virtue of who he is rather than what he does. The DNC trotted that out, repeating the tired notion that opposition to the President is opposition to the nation. We have to feel pride in the President's honor or be accused of "throwing our lot in" with the Taliban and placing politics above patriotism.
We have to take pride in an award that everyone agrees (and the Nobel Committee concedes) was given to the President not for his accomplishments, but because the Norwegian leftists who hand it out want to encourage what they understand to be his policies. Whether or not we believe that the policies that the Committee sought to endorse would be disastrous for the nation and the world, we have to celebrate the award.
We have to - at the risk of suggestions of treason - because ... why? We have to celebrate Obama and his policies (for there is nothing to be "proud of" here but the policies)because Obama is America? Geez, if you don't want to encourage over the top Hitler references, that's not a good approach to take.*
The second theme is ... see ... the world loves us now. No, they don't. We are the same as we always were. What they would love is an America that does not use its power in support of its interests. What they would love is an America that, if it offers its power in support of world peace, does so at the direction of and in service to a mythical international community.
Maybe that would be a better America but whether it would or would not has nothing to do with whether European socialists think so.
The third - advanced by conservatives - is that this shows that Obame is headed in precisely the wrong direction. Think of it as the mirror image of the second theme. When Scandanavian socialist internationalists love us, something is very wrong. Again, the truth of the matter is or is not in its substance and not in the company it keeps.
Finally, it advances the current political theme that Obama is a joke. It isn't merely that he has not accomplished anything. There is, after all, still a long way to go. The theme has power because he became President without really accomplishing anything of Presidential stature and (this is critical) he and his supporters repeatedly act like he is ready for Mount Rushmore. Never has so much been claimed by so many for so little.
And this brings me to a point of speculation. Are the folks in Oslo really that clueless? This prize does not help Obama. Couldn't they see that? Did they really bestow this award without any communication with the White House? Are they that impressed with themselves?
*Die Partei ist Hitler - und Hitler ist Deutschland, gerade da Deutschland Hitler ist! - Rudolph Hess (1934)