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Douthat's Ignoble Nobel Blunder

I try not to comment about the New York Times, but for some reason I tripped across this story from Ross Douthat with the unfortunate headline: Heckuva Job, Barack. The first thing any conservative needs to know is that comparing President Obama to the guy who so badly mishandled hurricane recovery in New Orleans is only going to set your argument back.

Maybe some liberal copy editor slipped that headline past him.

Douthat based a his whole column on the notion that President Obama should have somehow managed to reject the Nobel.

Now I understand that the president is very powerful, but if he could swing largely symbolic European things his way he would have convinced the IOC to bring the Olympics to Chicago.

The Nobel is even less substantial, and I'm sure there's no way that he could have talked his way out of it.

One of my favorite books is from Richard Feynman, the physicist who's work spanned from Einstein to the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. 

IN that book, he wrote that he wished he could have gotten out of accepting the Nobel, but learned there was no way to do it.

(He wrote about that here, but the preview is missing the page that talks specifically about how he wanted to reject the prize. He discussed the idea of that with a reporter, and that reporter explained to him (in a phone call just after he learned he got the prize at 3:30 a.m.) that it would be a bigger deal to reject it than to get it. So he accepted the prize and spent much of the rest of his life making elaborate plans so that nobody would ever know that a Nobel-winner was going to be making a speech about physics.)

The Nobel prize has made it harder for the president to get his agenda done in the US, and anyone who knows 10 cents worth of domestic politics would have predicted that. The Nobel committee may be great at picking out really good books that I won't be reading, but they only have about a nickel's worth of sense about politics in the US.