Peggy Noonan‘s latest column reminds me yet again why I call her my Athena. The Greek goddess of war, handicrafts, industry and skill, Athena sprung fully formed–and fully armed–from the head of her father Zeus, king of the gods, whose favorite she was. In some tellings, Athena was born only after Zeus swallowed his pregnant first wife, Metis, goddess of wisdom, thus making his favorite child an incarnation of wisdom.
Peggy Noonan also incarnates a certain wisdom. Like Athena, she is a hawk. A speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, she penned an excellent memoir of her White House days, What I saw at the Revolution: A Political Life in the Reagan era. The book’s eighth chapter, “Who Was That Masked Man?” as well her her 2001 besteller, When Character was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan, capture the essence of the Gipper.
In her latest column, defending John Bolton, the president’s much (and wrongly) maligned choice for U.N. Ambassador, she notes that Bolton is not the only public figure alleged to have a bad temper. She doesn’t think however that such a bad temper should necessarily disqualify him from service:
Bad temper is a bad thing in a public servant, but it is not the worst thing. Worse is the person who judges all questions as either career-enhancing or career-retarding, who lets the right but tough choice slide if standing for it will make him controversial and therefore a target. Mr. Bolton apparently never does that. Worse is the person who doesn’t really care that the right thing be done, as long he gets his paycheck. That’s not Mr. Bolton either. Worse still is the cynic who is above caring about anything beyond his own concerns. And that isn’t Mr. Bolton either.
Emphasis added. It was that bolded (and italicized) line which reminded me of Peggy’s Athena-qualities.