The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

The Unintended Consequences of High Expectations

Occasionally, an event happens that requires a person to do something so great or spectacular that there’s no way they can possibly make the mark. Which, conversely, earns said person the “failure” label, regardless of what they may-or may not-have actually done.

Which brings us to the small matter of PBO’s newly awarded Nobel Prize…and the bigger issues behind it.

I can’t say that PBO’s specifically done anything, at this point in his administration, to warrant nomination for a Nobel, much less to win one. I’ve been arguing most of the day that even people I disagree with politically have had a moment, action, or event where I can say “that’s why they won a Nobel.” With PBO, that moment or action hasn’t arrived yet (more on that “yet” later).

The bigger problem I have is the corner PBO-and by extension, the country-has been painted into.

Having won the award for his “efforts” to bring about international dialogue, the Nobel committee has sent a loud, strong message to PBO: put up or shut up. Having the world-not just America anymore-thrust on his shoulders, Obama has two options: deliver on all the promises-which, already, hasn’t worked out well (Gitmo, anyone?)or run the risk of being labeled a failure. And not just by his detractors, but by the international community as well.

The political side of me has already written the campaign ads for 2012, should PBO fail to reach the high bar that’s been set. The human side of me will reserve judgement on whether those expectations are realistic, or even fair.

Regardless, they’re his. All I can do is wish him the best.

I’ve never been one to want to see Obama fail, because I’ve always thought the impalications of said would be disasterous for the nation. Even now, as hard as I can be on PBO, I hope that at the end of his administration-whenever that comes-there’s something I can point to as evidence that his Nobel was truly deserved. It doesn’t have to be something I like or agree with; it just has to be something.

Because I don’t know what it will mean for the country if that moment doesn’t come.



Written by Coby Dillard

October 10, 2009 at 7:53 am

One Response

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  1. Great blog!

    As a mil blogger, do you know about Digital Veterans Day, Nov 11? Check it out: and let me know if you want to take part. If you can’t join in person but have a webcam, I can add your name/email address to “satellite” participants who’ll be sent a Digital Veterans Day “toolkit” prior to Nov 11. All free, brought to you by MyVetwork (, to help the US military community.

    Thanks, Jay, MyVetwork, 212-452-4800


    October 29, 2009 at 10:45 am

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