President Obama met with immense ridicule when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize not long after taking office, but who could have known how effective he would be.
If he had lived a century ago he might have been a bounty hunter carrying a Colt Peacemaker: Muammar Gaddafi, Osama bin Laden, and more are likely to follow. The death toll has been higher for common folk but they refused to give up.
The day after Gaddafi died Obama announced we would be bringing our 39,000 soldiers home from Iraq before Christmas.
No one explained the award better than Obama himself: "Throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes," Obama said. "And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action -- a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century."
There were many things as well that did not serve humanity, toleration of torture for example. Too often he seemed to be the tool of the military and the bankers.
Yet when that challenge came, in the form of the Arab Spring, even though his administration was barely staying afloat under constant attack from the Republicans he did not back down.
With the Internet preventing dictators from hiding their gruesome excesses, Obama joined France, England and other European countries, as well as seducing the Arab League, to bring democracy into North Africa and the Middle East. It began reaching elsewhere. Now the Occupy Wall Street has served warning: banks do not own governments.
Events in the past year have made it difficult to know when this will stop, or whether it can even be stopped.
And Obama was the leader, while struggling with his day job. And that was jobs for his people.
Many who had voted for him believed he had let them down, that he was spineless. That kind of talk has stopped, at least for the moment.
Now his people can see what he can do if he is not having to spend most of his time fighting his own people. Syria may be the next test. He may be allowed to keep troops in Afghanistan longer than the nation wants, yet they will want an assurance that they are coming home.
For now he is acting like a leader. If he keeps it up he may win another term. If he backs off it will be a great disappointment for the progressives and liberals who put him in office.