Somebody explain this to me: The president of the United States wins the Nobel Peace Prize and Rush Limbaugh joins with the Taliban in bitterly denouncing the award? Glenn Beck has a conniption fit and demands that the president not accept what may be the world's most prestigious honor? The Republican National Committee issues a statement sarcastically mocking our nation's leader -- elected, you will recall, by a healthy majority -- as unworthy of such recognition?
Why, oh why, do conservatives hate America so?
Okay, I know, it's just some conservatives who've been exhibiting what they, in a different context, surely would describe as "Hanoi Jane" behavior. Others who haven't taken leave of their political senses -- and are familiar with the concept of manners -- responded to President Obama's unexpected award with equanimity and even grace. Sen. John McCain, for example, offered his good-natured congratulations.
Some of Obama's most strident critics, however, just can't give it a rest. They use words like "farce" and "travesty," as if there were always universal agreement on the worthiness of the Nobel peace laureate. Does anyone remember the controversy over Henry Kissinger or Yasser Arafat or F.W. de Klerk?
Obama has shifted U.S. foreign policy away from George W. Bush's cowboy ethos toward a multilateral approach. He envisions, and has begun to implement, a different kind of U.S. leadership that I believe is more likely to succeed in an interconnected, multipolar world. That this shift is being noticed and recognized is to Obama's credit -- and to our country's.