Monday, December 31, 2007

Wise Words from Peggy Noonan

"This is my 2008 slogan: Reasonable Person for President. "

With these words, Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan begins her final assessment of the candidates and of our national leadership needs before the January 3 Iowa caucuses and the rapid movement of political developments from one tightly scheduled primary to another following that ("Be Reasonable: As Iowa sizes up the candidates, so do I," Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2007).

Peggy is a strikingly reasonable person. When you read her, you feel as though you are in conversation with a friend, regardless of your party affiliation. And whether or not you agree with her, you always find her conversation enjoyable, challenging, and profitable. I think that is why I feel inclined to call her "Peggy," rather than Noonan.

From an aerial, bipartisan perspective, she speaks for reasonable voters everywhere: "
We just want a reasonable person. We would like a candidate who does not appear to be obviously insane. We'd like knowledge, judgment, a prudent understanding of the world and of the ways and histories of the men and women in it."

Among the Democrats, she respects Joe Biden and Chris Dodd for their many years of experience in the Senate dealing with serious national security concerns.

Mitt Romney gets her nod. "
Characterological cheerfulness, personal stability and a good brain would be handy to have around. He hasn't made himself wealthy by seeing the world through a romantic mist."

In Peggy's judgment, McCain is also sane. "
Mr. McCain is an experienced, personally heroic, seasoned, blunt-eyed, irascible American character. He makes me proud. He makes everyone proud."

"Mike Huckabee gets enough demerits to fall into my not-reasonable column."

Obama may possibly have the character it takes to lead the nation in times of national peril, but he is too young and inexperienced. Those are two separate considerations. "
Men in their 40s love drama too much. Young politicians on fire over this issue or that tend to see politics as a stage on which they can act out their greatness. And we don't need more theatrics, more comedies or tragedies."

Hillary? No. The next American president must be someone who, for reasons of character or of circumstance, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have not been: someone the nation can trust in times of crisis. Hillary Clinton is obviously not that such a person.

...[T]he next American president will very likely face another big bad thing, a terrible day, or days, and in that time it will be crucial--crucial--that our nation be led by a man or woman who can be, at least for the moment and at least in general, trusted. Mrs. Clinton is the most dramatically polarizing, the most instinctively distrusted, political figure of my lifetime. Yes, I include Nixon. Would she be able to speak the nation through the trauma? I do not think so. And if I am right, that simple fact would do as much damage to America as the terrible thing itself.
Though she had some respectful words for HRC, John Edwards gets an unbroken drubbing. "John Edwards is not reasonable. All the Democrats would raise taxes as president, but Mr. Edwards's populism is the worst of both worlds, both intemperate and insincere." Yes, that sounds right.

Giuliani "
is reasonable but not desirable." She doesn't waste time explaining. Perhaps later.

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