Despite some misgivings about the president, the gifted Peggy Noonan cannot help but regard him as someone special.
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So I am now in a pickle: As a junior member of the Irish-American Pundits Guild, it is not my place to suggest that well-placed cynicism could shield Noonan from future remorse. Fortunately, P.J. O’Rourke has already said much the same thing, and he writes with a muscular disdain foreign to her experience, as a comparison of similar passages in their respective essays makes clear.
While claiming that Obama had “donned the presidential cloak” near the end of a speech delivered February 24, Noonan wrote, “Every president has a moment when suddenly he becomes what he meant to be, or knows what he is, and those moments aren’t always public.” Her criticisms of the economic recovery plan were muted. President Obama was throwing everything he could against the wall to see what would stick, she noted, but it was hard to criticize him for reminding her of the spaghetti-cooking technique she claimed to have learned from an old Italian woman.
Well, I have Italian friends, too, and mine know that any spaghetti that sticks to the wall is overcooked. Is it churlish to say that to a woman whose writing evokes images of Anna Magdalena Bach at the harpsichord, all perfect posture and moderate volume while plinking skillfully at one of her husband’s compositions, or is this another case of “many a thing you know you ought to tell her; many a thing she ought to understand”?
A few days after Ms. Noonan filed her “presidential epiphany” column, Mr. O’Rourke also wrote about Obama, but he bypassed Bach to thunder like Beethoven at a grand piano: “When a Democratic president goes from being wrong to being damn wrong is always an interesting moment,” he wrote. “Barack Obama condemned himself (and a number of human embryos to be determined at a later date) on March 9 when he signed an executive order reversing the Bush administration’s restrictions on federal funding of stem cell research.”
As the jury foreman for this study in contrast, I think a harder tone is more appropriate than a softer one. While Noonan described Obama as showing “welcome modesty” at the G20 summit, I heard our president congratulate himself for “not having to drag the French kicking and screaming into Afghanistan.”
Frankly, from where I sit, it looks like the First, Second, Tenth, and Twenty-Second Amendments are being undermined by initiatives from a president who thinks pulling other countries into conflicts is an American prerogative. Whether Peggy Noonan sees the same thing would be hard say. But God bless us, every one. God help us and forgive us, too.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?