Friday, January 09, 2009

Advice to the Times: Get Noonan

As William Kristol's year-long gig (Why does it seem so much longer?) runs out, the Gray Lady should go after the stylish Peggy Noonan to replace him.

Those of us who have been gagging over Kristol's dopey, fact-free New York Times columns would welcome Noonan as a reminder of the days when conservatives had a way with words as well as ideas (see Will, George and Sullivan, Andrew). In the coming era of Sarah Palin, they will be needed more than ever in the national political discussion.

Today's Noonan effort in the Wall Street Journal is a sweet sample of her talents, parsing yesterday's Obama speech about the economy:

"He spoke of 'our capacity for future greatness' and argued 'the very fact that this crisis is largely of our own making means that it is not beyond our ability to solve.' This was a relief. It's time someone began to speak of the current crisis with optimism, as if it can be handled and got through. This is not a nation of 300 million people in extremis and on a morphine drip; it's a nation of 300 million people who are alive, alert and ready to go."

Looking at the mug shot of five presidents in the Oval Office, Noonan observes:

"The Founders, who were awed by the presidency and who made it a point, the early ones, to speak in their inaugural addresses of how unworthy they felt, would be astonished and confounded by the over-awe with which we view presidents now...It's no good, and vaguely un-American. Right now patriotism requires more than the usual candor. It requires speaking truthfully and constructively to a president who is a man, and just a man. We hire them, we fire them, they come back for photo-ops. They're not magic."

If the Times needs any further incentive to go after Noonan, it would bring the added satisfaction of taking something valuable away from the media's mad acquirer Rupert Murdoch.

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