Peggy gets in some good ones

First, a confession — I’m backdating this. I meant to post it on Saturday, but ran into technical difficulties, and when I was finally back to where I could do something, the Biden stuff was a higher priority. But I just saw yesterday’s WSJ on the table, and it reminded me that I wanted to call attention to Peggy Noonan’s piece yesterday.

The thrust of it was why McCain had suddenly pulled even with, or ahead of, Obama in polls. She posited that it was because the American people had just started paying attention, and what they saw was:

The Rick Warren debate mattered. Why? It took place at exactly the moment America was starting to pay attention. This is what it looked like by the end of the night: Mr. McCain, normal. Mr. Obama, not normal….

She, like some others, thought Obama really backed himself into a corner on abortion, to wit:

As to the question when human life begins, the answer to which is above Mr. Obama’s pay grade, oh, let’s go on a little tear. You know why they call it birth control? Because it’s meant to stop a birth from happening nine months later. We know when life begins. Everyone who ever bought a pack of condoms knows when life begins.

To put it another way, with conception something begins. What do you think it is? A car? A 1948 Buick?

Then there was her little shot at W. As a former speechwriter for his Dad, she’s always been sort of amiably disapproving toward the current POTUS:

(The number of men who’ve made it to the top of the GOP who don’t particularly like making speeches, both Bushes and Mr. McCain, is astonishing, and at odds with the presumed requirements of the media age. The first Bush saw speeches as show biz, part of the weary requirement of leadership, and the second’s approach reflects a sense that words, though interesting, were not his friend.)

Her way of doing that provokes a thought: Don’t you think the Bush-haters would get a lot farther if they could tamp down the virulence enough to be able to criticize the kinder, gentler way she does?

But while the piece had some good bits, I had to disagree with her conclusion, which was that McCain should make the one-term pledge:

A move that would help him win doubtful voters, win disaffected Democrats, allow some Republicans to not have to get drunk to vote for him, and that could possibly yield real results for his country. This seems to me such a potentially electrifying idea that he’d likely walk out of his convention as the future president.

In other words, she’s saying, it would be a great gimmick for winning the election. She said his political ambition prevents him from making the pledge. But wouldn’t the ultimate evidence of political ambition, of desire to win this election at all costs, be pulling just such a stunt as she suggests?

8 thoughts on “Peggy gets in some good ones

  1. p.m.

    Hitchcock, twice, gave us “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” about a man given a note handed to him by a man impersonating an Arab as he died from a murderer’s bullet.
    Obama, the presidential candidate with an Arab’s name, is the man who thought too much to answer decisively and thus seems an impersonator.
    His picking an old Wastington hand to complete the ticket gives his change platform the flavor of impersonation, too.
    The election was his to lose, and he’s well on his way to doing just that.

  2. Guero

    The 800 lb gorilla in the room that Mr. Warthen, along with the reality-based portion of the Republican Party(admittedly a minority), has been avoiding at all costs,
    is the increasing evidence of the mental fragility of their nominee, John McCain.
    He’s an old man, Strom Thurmond in $500 loafers(does that trump a $400 haircut?) with six or seven more houses than Strom, but still a national version of Strom Thurmond.
    Do we need a hot-headed wrinkly old dude who has hitched his star to three losers, Chalabi, Saakashvili, and Musharraf? His judgment, when presumably not impaired by
    age, is bad enough. More importantly, let’s talk his mental compentence.
    Anytime he’s unscripted, he’s in trouble. The senior moments are there and available on-line. Let’s talk about it, Mr. Warthen. Be honest and address it. This is not the first time you’ve been asked.

  3. bud

    Obama’s decline in the polls is attributable to one thing: He didn’t pick Hillary. That seemed so obvious to me, yet he fumbled the ball on that one. The pundits can spin away but just don’t seem to get it. P.M. is right on this one, it’s Obama’s to lose. Perhaps with a bit of help from McCain’s elitism and senility the good guys can still pull this one off.

  4. bud

    Aside from any disagreements I have with McCain on policy he just doesn’t look sharp. This is becoming more and more obvious with each passing day.

  5. Guero

    Once again Mr. Warthen avoids the question of John McSame’s increasing number of senior moments.
    It’s not going away. You’re going to have to face the issue at some point in time.
    Your judgment has been bad to horrible before. You helped foist Mark Sanford on us and endorsed TWICE the worst president in the history of the United States.

  6. Ben (The Tiger)

    Before you start talking about Peggy Noonan on George W. Bush, poke around here a little bit.
    Here’s one:
    I just recounted something that has stayed in my mind. About a year ago I was visiting West Point, and I was talking to a big officer, a general or colonel. But he had the medals and ribbons and the stature, and he asked me what I thought of President Bush. I tried to explain what most impressed me about Mr. Bush, and I kept falling back on words like “courage” and “guts.” I wasn’t capturing the special quality Mr. Bush has of making a tough decision and then staying with it if he thinks it’s right and paying the price even when the price is high and–
    I stopped speaking for a moment. There was silence. And then the general said, “You mean he’s got two of ’em.” And I laughed and said yes, that’s exactly what I mean. And the same could be said of Reagan.

    Throughout Bush’s first term, she wrote as though she had a crush on the man — she even took three months off to work for his re-election.
    But then, in a certain sense it may reflect how Americans’ thoughts about this president have gone — intense admiration to disillusionment.
    Re McCain and the one-term pledge — I think it’s a bad idea. I’ve always assumed that he’d only be good for a term anyway. But what if he’s in there and we decide that we want to keep him around for a while longer?
    Best to keep the option open.


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