Can you make heads or tails out of this Obama-tory slush from Peggy Noonan in today’s Wall Street Journal:
“He has within him the possibility to change the direction and tone of American foreign policy, which need changing; his rise will serve as a practical rebuke to the past five years, which need rebuking; his victory would provide a fresh start in a nation in which a fresh start would come as a national relief.”
Huh? We only won the war in Iraq. When I last looked, a couple of weeks ago, the second-in-command of Al Qaeda, along with a bunch of his operatives hiding out in Iraq, was dead, dead, dead. What’s to rebuke about that.
“He climbed steep stairs, born off the continent with no father to guide, a dreamy, abandoning mother, mixed race, no connections. He rose with guts and gifts.”
Plus an education (thanks to the grandmother he threw under the bus) at Honolulu’s elite Punahou School, Columbia and Harvard.
“He is steady, calm, and, in terms of the execution of his political ascent, still the primary and almost only area in which his executive abilities can be discerned, he shows good judgment in terms of whom to hire and consult, what steps to take and moves to make.”
Yeah, like throwing the reporters off his plane from newspapers that didn’t endorse him.
“We witnessed from him this year something unique in American politics:”
Yes, a “Triumph of the Will”-style acceptance speech in front of a fake Greek temple.
“He took down a political machine without raising his voice.”
No, Barack Obama is part of a political machine: the Richard Daley/ACORN axis in Chicago.
“A great moment: When the press was hitting hard on the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, he did not respond with a politically shrewd ‘I have no comment,’ or ‘We shouldn’t judge.’ Instead he said, ‘My mother had me when she was 18,’ which shamed the press and others into silence. He showed grace when he didn’t have to.”
Well, yes, Obama did show class in his response to Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. But “shamed the press and others into silence”? C’mon, Peggy! Haven’t you ever heard of this guy named Andrew Sullivan who can’t shut up blogging about Bristol’s pregnancy and Bristol’s brother Trig for the Atlantic, one of the most prestigious representatives of the “press” in the country?
“There is something else. On Feb. 5, Super Tuesday, Mr. Obama won the Alabama primary with 56% to Hillary Clinton’s 42%. That evening, a friend watched the victory speech on TV in his suburban den. His 10-year-old daughter walked in, saw on the screen ‘Obama Wins’ and ‘Alabama.’ She said, ‘Daddy, we saw a documentary on Martin Luther King Day in school.’ She said, ‘That’s where they used the hoses.’ Suddenly my friend saw it new. Birmingham, 1963, and the water hoses used against the civil rights demonstrators. And now look, the black man thanking Alabama for his victory.
“This means nothing? This means a great deal.”
Yes, it means that Obama was 2 years old when Sheriff Bull Connor turned hoses on civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham. And if you can pooh-pooh criticism of your palling around with an unrepentant bomber as an adult because you were only 8 when his pals tried to murder hundreds of Army recruits and their dates, shouldn’t you not try to piggyback yourself to victim status over an event that occurred shortly after you learned how to walk?
Look, I’m as happy as the next person that an African-American is the candidate of a major party for president of the United States-but that’s not a sufficient reason to vote for someone who wants to raise my taxes so he can “spread the wealth around” and to play dead in the face of terrorism. Voting for someone strictly on the basis of his skin color is, well, racist. Are Peggy Noonan’s friends racist?
Then we come to Peggy’s assessment of John McCain:
“John McCain’s story is not of rise so much as endurance, not only in Vietnam, which was spectacular enough, but throughout a rough and rugged political career of 26 years. He is passionate, obstreperous, independent, sees existential fables within history. His self-confessed role model for many years was Robert Jordan in Ernest Hemingway’s novel of the Spanish Civil War, ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls.’ Mr. McCain, in his last memoir: ‘He was and remains to my mind a hero for the twentieth century . . . an idealistic freedom fighter’ who had ‘a beautiful fatalism’ and who sacrificed “for something else, something greater.’ Actually Jordan fought on the side of the communists and died pointlessly, but never mind. He joined his personality to a great purpose and found meaning in his maverickness. In his campaign, Mr. McCain rarely got down to the meaning of things; he mostly stated stands. But separate and seemingly unconnected stands do not coherence make.”
Actually, Peggy, for whatever its politics and those of its author are worth, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was almost the only readable thing that Ernest Hemingway wrote after the brilliant short stories he penned as a teen-ager catapulted him to a fame he could not handle. “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is surprisingly even-handed, narrating gruesome leftist atrocities (which did not endear Hemingway to the Communist Party) and highlighting the hollowness of leftist rhetoric and the omnipresence of Soviet handlers on the anti-Franco side of the war. It’s not surprising that McCain, tortured for a cause denounced by almost every member of the chattering classes for whose favor Peggy Noonan now seems to eager, would identify with the loner Robert Jordan
At any rate, Noonan’s column goes on and on, wondering why Obama hasn’t sounded more serious on the abortion issue and crossing her fingers, hope to die, that an Obama presidency won’t be so destructive to the U.S. economy and U.S. national security as it sounds. And she ends with this:
“Something new is happening in America. It is the imminent arrival of a new liberal moment. History happens, it makes its turns, you hold on for dear life. Life moves”
But not so much-to make another allusion to “For Whom the Bell Tolls”–as the earth seems to move for you, Peggy, whenever the “steady,” the “calm,” the “good judgment”-filled One We Have Been Waiting For clacks his silver tongue.