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By Jay Cost

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How Is This a "Farce?"

People are worked up that Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize, but isn't the Nobel Committee just following the lead of the United States on this one?

Let's look at the top-line qualification of the men this country has elected to be President:

(1) George Washington: General
(2) John Adams: Vice-President
(3) Thomas Jefferson: Vice-President
(4) James Madison: Secretary of State
(5) James Monroe: Secretary of State
(6) John Quincy Adams: Secretary of State
(7) Andrew Jackson: General
(8) Martin van Buren: Vice-President
(9) William Henry Harrison: General
(10) James K. Polk: Speaker of the House
(12) Zachary Taylor: General
(14) Franklin Pierce: Congressman / Senator (10 years)
(15) James Buchanan: Secretary of State
(16) Abraham Lincoln: Congressman (2 years)
(18) Ulysses S. Grant: General
(19) Rutherford Hayes: Congressman (2 years) / Governor of Ohio (5 years)
(20) James Garfield: Congressman (18 years)
(22) Grover Cleveland: Governor of New York (2 years)
(23) Benjamin Harrison: Senator (6 years)
(25) William McKinley: Congressman (12 years) / Governor of Ohio (4 years)
(26) Theodore Roosevelt: President
(27) William Howard Taft: Secretary of War
(28) Woodrow Wilson: Governor of New Jersey (2 years)
(29) Warren G. Harding: Senator (6 years)
(30) Calvin Coolidge: President
(31) Herbert Hoover: Secretary of Commerce
(32) Franklin Roosevelt: Assistant Secretary of the Navy / Governor of New York (4 years)
(33) Harry Truman: President
(34) Dwight Eisenhower: General
(35) John F. Kennedy: Congressman / Senator (14 years)
(36) Lyndon Johnson: President
(37) Richard Nixon: Vice-President
(39) Jimmy Carter: Governor of Georgia (4 years)
(40) Ronald Reagan: Governor of California (8 years)
(41) George H.W. Bush: Vice-President
(42) Bill Clinton: Governor of Arkansas (12 years)
(43) George W. Bush: Governor of Texas (6 years)
(44) Barack Obama: Senator (4 years)

Barack Obama might not be the least-credentialed person ever to win election as President, but he is pretty darned close. This is a highly subjective process, so I'll just give you my personal opinion. When it comes to qualifications, I would rank Barack Obama in a three-way tie for last place with Woodrow Wilson and Grover Cleveland. Obama technically served four years in the United States Senate, but the nature of our permanent campaign means that he was only around for two of them. Lincoln's time in government was as limited as the other three, but I'd place him a notch higher because he put his reputation on the line in opposition to the Mexican War (the country's original "war of choice!").

The Democrats chose Obama to be their nominee over Hillary Clinton, who was clearly more qualified. Next, the whole country elected him over John McCain, who has been in the Congress for over 20 years. Both times, the man with the half-page résumé and inspiring rhetoric was selected over opponents who could point to tangible, if less grandiose, contributions they had actually made.

This is why I am perplexed. The Democratic Party, then the entire country, elevated Barack Obama to the presidency not based on any actual accomplishments or manifest experience in handling the affairs of state, but rather his extravagant promises of change. Hasn't the Nobel Committee done the same thing here? If you were fine with the former, how is the latter "farcical?"

-Jay Cost