Friday, July 13, 2007

Gritting and Waiting....

Peggy Noonan, a conservative columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and former special assistant and speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, wrote a very insightful piece today called, "American Grit.... We can't fire the president right now, so we're waiting it out."

The first paragraph sets the defection tone. She was watching President Bush on TV and thinking about what it is about him.... "that makes people who used to smile at the mention of his name now grit their teeth."

A little condescendingly perhaps, she quickly points out that she is not referring to what used to be called Bush Derangement Syndrome, referring to someone who so passionately disliked the president they seem somewhat unhinged. The mood has changed she says, and no one thinks that anymore.

Well, maybe the "deranged" never were, maybe Peggy and her friends have finally taken off the partisan blinders.

She tells how a rock-ribbed Republican of her acquaintance has "had it" with Bush. Another has taken the "W" off their car.... finally realizing we must assume that the W stood for worst.

Noonan herself is jarred because Bush doesn't seem to be suffering even though "every major domestic initiative of his second term has been ill thought through and ended in failure. His Iraq leadership has failed. His standing is lower than any previous president's since polling began," and yet, "He's in a good mood."

She finds his good humor "disorienting, and strange."

Noonan is also put off by Bush's justifications for his actions, claiming more virtue for himself than the other side. He is "idealistic" which means opponents are lacking in ideals. He makes his decisions "based on principle," unlike his critics who are poll watchers. "He is steadfast, brave, and he believes 'freedom isn't just for Americans' .... unlike those selfish, isolationist types who oppose him."

She forgot to mention patriotic.... those who oppose his Iraq agenda aren't, to him.

Maybe Noonan's best summation of the situation is: "With Mr. Bush it is the people who are forced to be cool-eyed and realistic. He's the one who goes off on the toots. This is extremely irritating, and also unnatural. Actually, it's weird."

This is really a sea change for Noonan. In August of 2004, she took an unpaid leave from the WSJ to campaign for Bush's reelection. She was a true believer.

Today, she is waiting it out and gritting her teeth. Welcome to the Bush Derangement Syndrome club, Peggy.

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