Not many people have a chance, a clear-cut chance, to be magnanimous. Obama had one today, and he blew it. By his own admission he doesn’t deserve the Nobel prize, yet he accepted it, leading to countless howls from the right and some raised eyebrows on the left.
He should have declined to accept it. There’s precedent: Lê Ðức Thọ was awarded the Peace Prize (along with Kissinger) in 1973, but he did not accept it, explaining that there was still no peace in his country. He’s the only person to decline it, and it shows a certain honesty that is rare.
Obama should have said, “I am humbled by the honor bestowed upon me. However, I feel I do not deserve it; therefore, I respectfully decline to accept the award.”
What could anyone, on the right or the left, have said about that? Amid the inevitable cries of “political posturing,” a reasonable person could only, however begrudgingly, admit that it was a magnanimous decision.