While I still hope Obama’s team will tell him to turn down the Nobel Peace Prize (see my earlier post), that now looks unlikely.His initial reaction doesn’t leave much wriggle room (“humbled to be selected” etc). Given that he was woken in the early hours to be told the news, one wonders whether this was the 3 am call that Hillary tried to warn us all about.
So let’s look forward to Obama’s December, which could progress along two dramatically different paths. Here’s the key dates:
December 7: Copenhagen climate summit opens.
December 10: 300 miles away, Obama arrives in Oslo to give his Peace prize acceptance speech.
December 16: Copenhagen’s high level segment starts (the bit Ban-Ki Moon, Ministers and some heads of state pitch up for – Gordon Brown is confirmed, other are under pressure to turn up).
December 18: Copenhagen concludes – with a deal (triumphant headlines) or no deal (major league acrimony).
So by Christmas, two scenarios – one that will see the President attain mythical status before his first anniversary in office; the other will fuel claims that he is already a busted flush:
Obama’s best case: Health care passed. Nobel prize accepted to great acclaim. Climate change deal sealed (now an outside chance, that is certain to require Obama’s personal intervention).
His worst case: No health care. Copenhagen talks have collapsed. Remorseless mockery for Obama’s Nobel. The IOC’s snub to Chicago’s Olympics dream (also delivered in Copenhagen) now seen as portent for what was to come.
So hold tight Mr President. December is going to be quite a ride.