The Washington Post posits a very interesting idea, which it doesn't really follow up on...their second paragraph:
The Nobel committee's announcement Friday that Obama won the Peace Prize was a fresh reminder that much of the world expects him to lead the way toward a global climate pact. The committee cited his "more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges."
And their (next-to) last:
Denmark's climate and energy minister, Connie Hedegaard, who will be chairing U.N.-sponsored climate talks in December in Copenhagen, said Obama needs to do more on climate. "It is hard to imagine that he will be receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Dec. 10 and then come empty-handed to Copenhagen a week later," she said.
The rest of the article is the usual inside-Washington blather about who's pulling who's chains, but the idea of the Nobel being handed to Obama with some strings attached is worth examining.
Is it possible the Nobel committee took measure of Barack Obama, and realized they were dealing with a intently vainglorious man, to whom praise and applause was like the needle to the addict? Did they feel that by giving him this award prematurely, that the president would now feel that he had to earn it? Did they believe that to prove his Nobel-ity, he would go along with drastic climate change legislation, rather than face the wrath of foreign liberals (and their press) and the accusations from his "own side" that he was unworthy of the Nobel Peace Prize?
Will Obama stand up for the economic needs of his nation, or will he go to Copenhagen (his Waterloo, to date) prepared to sacrifice all (of us) so that he can stare up at his Nobel Prize at night, hear the echos of the roaring European crowds, and feel convinced that he earned it?
What price vanity? Perhaps the greatest, most powerful nation the world has ever known will be the bill for one man's ego...
UPDATE: Jonathan Tobin believes the Nobel was a down payment for future continued one-way pressure on Israel. I dunno, doesn't seem to me as if Obama needed any encouragement in that regard...