If I were Nelson Mandela, I would check to see if my medal were tarnished. When you think about it, this has got to be the ‘Thank God It’s Not George Bush” Peace Prize. This is up there with Jimmy Carter and Al Gore.

Poor President Barack Obama. I can imagine his surprise when he heard about it. I’m sure his first words were: “What!” “You’re kidding” and “Omigod!”

He was pretty cool about it in his speech, though, saying to the effect that he knew he hadn’t really done anything other than to get elected. Then he went off on one of his high-minded speeches about global responsibility. I loved the question yelled at him by a reporter as he walked away: “What are you going to do with the money?”

I think it says something about the Bank of Sweden committee more than anything. These are people who believe the United Nations is a worthwhile institution. For the most part, their awards for the prize in economics have been boring Keynesians. Paul Krugman?

Can you imagine what Bill Clinton is muttering under his breath? “I’ve done more for world peace than any of those jerks. Why I …”

Then think about someone like Mandela, a Marxist, who quietly endured his decades in prison. Who became a revered figure when he was released, lionized by his countrymen and the world, and who, through the force of his personality and stature, held his deeply racially divided country together. With all its problems, South Africa is still the best country in Africa.

Now there’s a man to be honored.

— Jeff Harding is a principal of Montecito Realty Investors LLC. A student of economics, he has a strong affinity for free-market economics. This commentary originally appeared on his blog, The Daily Capitalist.