Are Elected Republicans Plotting Nobel Strategy Or Just Taking A Long Weekend?

October 9, 2009 12:41 p.m.

Crickets seem to be a theme of the last few days, but there’s been a fairly stunning quiet from (most) Republicans today regarding President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win.

Check out our site – with the exception of Mike Steele, conservative pundits and media types, most of the Republican responses have come via television interviews. (Sen. John McCain’s is here, Sen. Jim Inhofe’s is here, CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a laudatory statement.)

Whenever there’s news like this, my inbox is usually full of messages from Republican members of Congress, or GOP fundraising lists. Today, very very few.Former President Bush isn’t saying anything, and there so far haven’t seemed to be any fundraising emails.

The Republicans I’ve talked to today acknowledge they are in a tough spot, not wanting to seem anti-American but tempted to point out that it’s shocking a president who hasn’t been in office for a year and whose campaign promises on the war and Guantanamo Bay remain unfulfilled has received the honor.

(Though Ana Marie Cox will report on her upcoming Air America show “The Inside Story” that Republicans have suggested they weren’t so off base with the “biggest celebrity in the world” ad last summer.)

Congressional Republicans are most notably silent, and one source indicated they might be cooking up something for next week given the long holiday weekend.

Mark Salter, a McCain friend and chief campaign aide last year, told TPMDC he blames the Nobel Committee, not Obama. He said the committee “should be ashamed.”

“The proper response is not to criticize the president for being the recipient but to note the moral indefensibility of what the Nobel Committee did. There are a great many people in this world who are risking their lives today for the cause of peace and human dignity,” Salter said. “Recognizing their moral, political, and physical courage would have aided their cause and them personally.”

Salter added that even if he agreed with Obama’s foreign policy direction (he doesn’t), “I wouldn’t expect any of it to produce any tangible result in less than 9 months.”

“Nor can I see how giving it to anyone based on their style of diplomacy or what they discern as his potential will advance by a single degree world peace or comfort one oppressed person,” he said.

Former Bush spokesman Tony Fratto penned an item for the Washington Post today calling it “overreach,” said mocked the committee had made clear “that Obama’s hope of achieving peace was all that was required, presumably making countless Miss Universe contestants equally eligible.”

“Smart people would have quickly noted that President George W. Bush reduced stockpiles by nearly 4000 weapons from 6000, making new reductions of a few hundred relatively inconsequential,” Fratto said. “No, as with all things Obama, it’s far better to bet on a hopeful vision than to wait around for what are inevitably becoming disappointing results.”

Fratto said the award is an “albatross” for Obama that’s opened him up for scrutiny.

“As an American, I’m happy for the president’s recognition, but my hope is that over time his record shows him to be deserving — not for his hopeful quest, but for actual achievement,” he said.

Late update: Perhaps I spoke too soon — Media Matters catches Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) saying “Most people actually tend to think the world is a more dangerous place than, say, it was a year ago.”

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