"The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists - the Taliban and Hamas this morning - in criticizing the president for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize ... the Republican Party has no boundaries, has no shame and has proved that they will put politics above patriotism at every turn."
That is the reaction of Brad Woodhouse, director of communications of the Democratic Party, to those who believe it was a mistake to award the prize to President Barack Obama.
Criticism of the award was directed more at the judgment of the Nobel Prize Committee for selecting the president. Even those who support the president were stunned by the announcement. A Washington Post columnist, Ruth Marcus, wrote, "This is ridiculous - embarrassing even. I admire President Obama. I like President Obama. I voted for President Obama. But the peace prize?" She continued, "Please. This turns the award into something like pee-wee soccer: Everybody wins for trying."
Marcus ended her column with, "Obama's cheerleaders don't need the encouragement - and his critics will only seize on the prize to further lampoon the Obama-as-Messiah storyline. Speaking of which, what does he do for an encore? Somebody, quick, call the pope."
The selection of Obama for the award was accompanied by near apologetic statements. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who won the award in 1984, said, "It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope." Obama himself said, "To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize."
To illustrate the inconsistency of the Nobel Prize Committee in making its selection, let's compare Obama's contribution to world peace with the contribution of an earlier candidate. The Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee said, "Only very rarely has a person, to the extent as Obama, captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future."
Obama took office less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline for the Nobel Peace Prize. Other than delivering inspiring speeches, just what else did Obama do during that period of time to warrant the Nobel Peace Prize?
An earlier candidate for the prize, Mahatma Gandhi, spent 21 years of his life working to bring civil rights to Indians in South Africa. During that time he suffered all the indignities associated with discrimination - beaten by a stagecoach driver, unable to obtain a hotel room and humiliated by all the other hardships of those who are second-class citizens.
From 1916 to 1945, Gandhi led the struggle for Indian independence and succeeded in winning independence for India and having the British troops withdrawn from his homeland. During those 29 years, he arranged for the release of 100,000 political prisoners. There were three attempts on his life and he finally was assassinated.
The world knew of the accomplishments of this man who believed in non-violence and knew he freed India to take its place among independent nations. A statue of Gandhi in Tavistock Square in London, a monument of him in Moscow and a sculpture of Gandhi in Union Square, New York, all recognize his contribution to world peace.
Gandhi was nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize, but never selected.
This, Woodhouse, is what has drawn criticism. Your accusation of "shame" should be directed at the Nobel Prize committee, not the Republican Party or any others who are critical of the Nobel Prize committee decision.