Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Best. Column. Ever.

OK, probably not THE best, but an incredible column nonetheless from Peggy Noonan in today's Opinion Journal. Every word is important, every thought insightful. She manages to corral a hunch that most Americans (perhaps subconsciously) hold in their hearts -- that we are unsure of, sometimes unhappy with, even exhausted by our president, but the Democrats' Bush Derangement Syndrome eliminates them as an option -- and verbalize it in crystal-clear clarity.

There's no one small section I could sample to provide a sample, but here's the best part (all ellipses mine):
Americans don't really know, deep down in their heads, whether this president, in his post-9/11 decisions, is a great man or a catastrophe, a visionary or wholly out of his depth.

What they increasingly sense is that he's one thing or the other. And this is not a pleasant thing to sense. The stakes are so high. If you woke most Americans up at 3:00 in the morning and said, "Tell me, looking back, what would you have liked in an American president after 9/11?" most of them would answer, "I was just hoping for a good man who did moderately good things." Who caught Osama, cleaned out Afghanistan, made it proof of the possibility of change and of the price to be paid by those who choose terror as a tactic. Not this historical drama queen, this good witch or bad.

The one thing I think America agrees on is that George Bush and his presidency have been enormously consequential. He has made decisions that will shape the future we'll inhabit .. .
. . .
With all this polarity, this drama, this added layer Mr. Bush brings to a nation already worn by the daily demands of modern individual life, the political alternative, the Democrats, should roar in six weeks from now, right? And return us to normalcy?

Well, that's not what I sense.
. . .
. . . I feel the Democrats this year are making a mistake. They think it will be a cakewalk. A war going badly, immigration, high spending, a combination of sentimentality and dimness in foreign affairs . . . and conservative thinkers and writers hopping mad and hoping to lose the House.

The Democrats' mistake--ironically, in a year all about Mr. Bush--is obsessing on Mr. Bush. They've been sucker-punched by their own animosity.

"The Democrats now are incapable of answering a question on policy without mentioning Bush six times," says pollster Kellyanne Conway. " 'What is your vision on Iraq?' 'Bush lied us into war.' 'Health care? 'Bush hasn't a clue.' They're so obsessed with Bush it impedes them from crafting and communicating a vision all their own." They heighten Bush by hating him.

One of the oldest clichés in politics is, "You can't beat something with nothing." It's a cliché because it's true. You have to have belief, and a program. You have to look away from the big foe and focus instead on the world and philosophy and programs you imagine.

Mr. Bush's White House loves what the Democrats are doing. They want the focus on him. That's why he's out there talking, saying Look at me.

Because familiarity doesn't only breed contempt, it can breed content. Because if you're going to turn away from him, you'd better be turning toward a plan, and the Democrats don't appear to have one.

Which leaves them unlikely to win leadership. And unworthy of it, too.
Again, every word is incredible, and you must read the whole thing.


  • At 9/19/2006 11:28 PM, Blogger terrance said…


    I think her point about the Democrats obsessing and having no plan is exactly right. You can't build a long term base on mere feeling.

    But, I think she's wrong about Bush. Use those same words about Lincoln and the Civil War. When you have a major issue where there is a deep divide in the nation about its future, there is no other alternative than to take a course that is quite different than what a good man doing moderately good things can accomplish.

  • At 9/20/2006 7:57 AM, Blogger Ken said…


    I agree, but I think part of her point is that Bush has done a sub-par job in setting forth his agenda, and that the agenda has changed over his term. Part of that is due to the changing nature of the WOT, and part of it is due to a media unwilling to convey the agenda without bias, but part of it is a very poor information campaign that -- only in the last year or so -- has improved. But that doesn't make up for four years of ineffective communication. (Can you say Scott McClellan?) And that's why, even if they support Bush, many Americans don't know if Bush "is a great man or a catastrophe, a visionary or wholly out of his depth."

  • At 9/23/2006 10:12 PM, Blogger Capitol 3 said…

    the Demonrats are wrong about president Bush and the news media definately lies to us every day about the Iraq war.we Just had an awesome support your troops rally at the oregon Army Armory in mcminnville good speakers and good guest speakers and special music.
    See our blog for the event and photos of the event.
    Gods blessings
    our vote is Going for Republican Ron Saxton at the republican meeting we grilled him really hard about being pro life or pro life issues.

  • At 9/23/2006 10:15 PM, Blogger Capitol 3 said…

    Hello I think that some of this event was sponsored by the American legion and America supports you America supports you sponsored by our president president Bush.
    they were in full support of the Iraq war the soilders who got up to be guest speaker Republican Donna Nelson is also a guest speaker for a few minuets at the event.Support your troops Rally in mcminnville


Post a Comment

<< Home