I thought it was bad when Al Gore won the signature prize for "raising awareness" about global warming/cooling/climate change/lack of climate change, but now this? Evidently Obama was nominated after being President for only two weeks. Heck, I didn't even know that he had been nominated. Now he's walking home with what once was the greatest honor in the Nobel pantheon. Nobody has cared about the Nobel Physics winner since Einstein. Everyone, however, loves a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
The stated reason that Obama won the prize is that he has set a new tenor for global cooperation and is attempting to ease tensions between the United States and the Islamic world. I'm willing to concede that he has a set a new tone for foreign relations, albeit an unrealistically idealist one, but "setting the tone" and actually doing something are entirely different things.
Another point--how are we gauging this "new tenor" of international relations, anyway? Maybe Europeans don't automatically think that we're all imperialistic pigs who love to spend money and watch television anymore, but so what? None of Obama's foreign policy initiatives have borne fruit yet. They may very well in time, although I find that unlikely except in a few instances. If nothing else, awarding a rookie president with less than a year of experience in office with the most distinguished prize in the Nobel family is premature. And that's the best case scenario. At worst, this smacks of just another feather in the cap of the Obama ego machine. Fortunately, we've all come to our senses, even if we did a year too late.
Even readers on MSNBC.com, who tend to be more liberal than not, are overwhelmingly outraged, or at least perplexed, by Obama's win. An unofficial MSNBC poll with comments demonstrates these feelings. You can see it here: Poll: "Is President Obama deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize?"