What a difference a week makes. Last Friday, despite pleas by Oprah and the Obamas, an Olympics that was (in many U.S. citizens' minds) rightfully ours was awarded to the largest city of the largest country in South America, a continent that has never had the glory of hosting an Olympiad. A nation gasped while those in the right-leaning portion of the blogosphere chuckled.
A week later President Obama woke up to his daughters' informing him that he had won the Nobel Peace Prize. A nation gasped. Again.
While the reaction from the conservative blogs and the right-wing commentators was mostly predictable, liberal blog Talk Left seemed to agree with the sentiment that the award comes undeserved, and further, should be politely rejected by Obama, "Just because the Nobel Committee wants to make fools of themselves, Obama should not have to play along. He should turn it down."
Other lefty bloggers, though, saw some method in the perceived madness. Glenn Greenwald of Salon said that when he first read today's news he thought those jokers at the Onion had hacked into CNN.com. But then he realized that perhaps Obama has actually created the foundations of change in his first eight months of his presidency:
Obama has changed the tone America uses to speak to the world generally and the Muslim world specifically. His speech in Cairo, his first-week interview on al-Arabiya, and the extraordinarily conciliatory holiday video he sent to Iran are all substantial illustrations of that. His willingness to sit down and negotiate with Iran -- rather than threaten and berate them -- has already produced tangible results.
When the president spoke to the media this morning he too expressed surprise with the honor and explained that he was humbled with the nod.