Peggy Noonan was one of Ronald Reagan’s speechwriters. One of her (and his) finest moments was this:
She famously gave candidate Obama some fine words of support during his election campaign:
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.
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.
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.
Then he was elected. And Noonanian eloquence continued in his favour:
Mr. Obama’s cabinet picks and other nominations suggest moderation, also maturity, and his treatment of Joe Lieberman shows forbearance and shrewdness… There’s nothing in being a maverick now. Mr. Obama’s preternatural steadiness continues.
Although there was this strangely fatalistic/pessimistic un-Reagan passage:
But in tough times we will surely expand unemployment benefits, and welfare, and food stamps and housing assistance, which will mean more and greatly accelerated spending, which will mean bigger and steeper deficits, and higher taxes, with the one feeding on the other, which may mean an economic death spiral comparable to, say, Britain in the decades after World War II, its economy mired and held down by government control and demands.
It continued more than a quarter century, until the change of economic thinking encapsulated in the phrase “the Thatcher years.” Is that what this will be?
Now she seems, shall we say, unimpressed:
On Wednesday President Obama gave a news conference to share his thoughts. Viewers would have found it disappointing if there had been any viewers. The president is speaking, in effect, to an empty room.
From my notes five minutes in: "This wet blanket, this occupier of the least interesting corner of the faculty lounge, this joy-free zone, this inert gas." By the end I was certain he will never produce a successful stimulus because he is a human depression.
Actually I thought the worst thing you can say about a president: that he won’t even make a good former president…
Sometimes you do get what you hope for.