A Little Mail

by Jay Nordlinger

In notes earlier today, I commented on a batch of last night’s speeches. I did not comment on Susana Martinez’s. (She is the governor of New Mexico.) Some readers have asked why. Last January, I interviewed Martinez and “wrote her up,” here. Much of what she said in her speech, she told me (and us — us National Review readers). Scribbling this morning, I did not have much to add.

Admirable, smart, interesting, nervy woman. And a conservative Republican who grew up Democrat and knows exactly how to talk to Democratic voters (who, in her state, are two-thirds of all voters).

In my notes, I also touched very lightly on the Nobel Peace Prize. Mike Huckabee said that President Obama had won only for what he might do in the future, not for what he had already done. I said this was not quite true. Some readers have asked, “Could you explain?”

Well, I’ve written an entire book on the subject — a history of the Nobel Peace Prize. But let me point you, if you’re interested, to two documents: the Nobel committee’s announcement of its 2009 selection, here; and the “presentation speech” by the committee chairman on “presentation day,” here. These tell you the committee’s reasons (public reasons).

But let me clear up something right quick: Readers have said, “How could they have given him the prize on the basis of about ten days’ work!” Obama was sworn in on January 20; nominations are due on February 1. Yes, nominations are due: but the announcement is not made until the second Friday in October (usually), so the committee has about nine months to weigh the nominations.

And BHO’s performance from February to October so impressed them that . . . (I don’t mean to be flip, entirely. The question of why Obama won the peace prize is very interesting, and I enjoyed researching it and reporting my findings.)

P.S. Alfred Nobel’s will says that his prizes are to be awarded for work done “during the preceding year.” No one knows that. (And committees have often ignored this stipulation in the will.)

P.P.S. Speaking to the press, the peace-committee chairman said contradictory things. In one breath, he would say that Obama was being awarded for his potential — his potential as a peacemaker. In the next breath, he would say, “No, no, only for what he has already done. For his concrete achievements. We are just abiding by the will, which is very clear.”

Anyway, the October announcement and the December presentation speech speak for the committee, officially.

P.P.P.S. Sorry you asked? 

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