Well, one thing is for sure: The Nobel Prize Committee's decision to give President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize is at least giving people something to talk about this weekend! Even as the President himself admitted he didn't think he deserved the award—but said he'd accept it as a "call to action— a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century"—the decision was met with some enthusiasm and a lot more criticism.
The head of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele said, "The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?'" However, some other members of the GOP actually gave (measured) praise—Obama's 2008 opponent Senator John McCain said, "I'm sure the president understands that he now has even more to live up to. But as Americans, we're proud when our president receives an award of that prestigious category," while apparent 2012 hopeful Tim Pawlenty said, "I would say regardless of the circumstances, congratulations to President Obama for winning the Nobel Prize. I know there will be some people who are saying 'Was it based on good intentions and thoughts or is it going to be based on good results?' But I think the appropriate response is when anybody wins a Nobel Prize that is a very noteworthy development and designation and I think the appropriate response is to say 'Congratulations.'"
On the side of the skeptical: The Taliban, whose spokesman said, "We have seen no change in his strategy for peace. He has done nothing for peace in Afghanistan. We condemn the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for Obama. When Obama was elected president, we were hopeful he would keep his promise to bring change. But he brought no change, he has continued the same old strategy as (President George W.) Bush." The Hamas was also meh, "Unless real and deep-rooted change is made in American policy toward recognizing the rights of the Palestinian people. I would think such a prize would be useless."
Thorbjorn Jagland, head of the Nobel Prize Committe, has emphasized that they are embracing's Obama's message and approach to diplomacy. The NY Times reports, "He likened this year’s award to the one in 1971, which recognized Willy Brandt, the chancellor of West Germany, and his 'Ostpolitik' policy of reconciliation with Communist Eastern Europe." Jagland said, "Brandt hadn’t achieved much when he got the prize, but a process had started that ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The same thing is true of the prize to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990, for launching perestroika. One can say that Barack Obama is trying to change the world, just as those two personalities changed Europe."
Of course, the whole matter is sort of a headache for Obama's administration, too, giving his opponents more to freak out about. His senior adviser David Axelrod said, "I’d like to believe that winning the Nobel Peace Prize is not a political liability. But this isn’t something I gave a moment of thought to until today. Hopefully people will receive it with some sense of pride. But I don’t know; it’s uncharted waters."
Well, the Washington Post thinks the Nobel committee should have award the prize to Neda Agha-Soltan—"The Nobel Committee could have spared Mr. Obama this dilemma if it had given Neda the award instead of him."