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Peggy’s Tacit Endorsement of John McCain

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:36 pm - October 31, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics

Reading Peggy Noonan’s column before bed last night, I had at first thought she offered a kind of neutral piece, highlighting the strengths of each of the two major party presidential candidates.  She had kind words for Barack Obama.  She had kind words for John McCain.

It was a unique piece of opinion journalism.  The tone was quintessentially Peggy, a wise female voice, looking at things from a distance without passion or rancor.  Such articles remind me why I once compared her to the Greek goddess Athena.  She did not attempt to demonize, but to understand.

As I finished the essay and pondered the passages I had underlined and the comments I had scribbled in the margins (of my print-out), it seemed that without saying so directly, she favored the Republican nominee.

The first clue was when she recounted a conversation with two former U.S. Senators:

The talk turned to presidents they had known, and why they had wanted the job [the presidency]. This one wanted it as the last item on his résumé, that one wanted it out of an inflated sense of personal destiny. Is that why Mr. McCain wants it? “No,” said one, reflectively. He wants to help the country.” The other added, with almost an air of wonder, “He wants to make America stronger, he really does.

She then questioned those “who have historically been sympathetic to the Republican Party or conservatism, and who support Barack Obama,” countering:

But conservatives must honor prudence, and ask if the circumstances accompanying an Obama victory will encourage the helpful moderation and nonpartisan spirit these supporters attempt, in their endorsements, to demonstrate.

Borrowing an expression from Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, she described an Obama victory with increased Democratic control of Congress as a “runaway train:”

A runaway train with no one to put on the brakes, to claim a mandate for slowing, no one to cry “Crossing ahead”? Democrats in Congress will move for innovation when much of the country hopes only for stability.

Yes, all these comments suggest support for John McCain — or at least the Republican Party at the congressional level. But, where she really tipped her hat for the Republican nominee was the final quote she offered about his Democratic rival. She address his response to Pastor Rick Warren’s question on abortion Saddleback Civil Forum on Presidency:

For Mr. Obama, whose mind tends, as intellectuals’ minds do, toward the abstract, it all seems so . . . abstract. And cold. And rather suggestive of radical departures. “That’s above my pay grade.” Friend, that is your pay grade, that’s where the presidency lives, in issues like that.

Telling someone he doesn’t know where the presidency lives doesn’t indicate much confidence in his ability to handle the job.

All that said, just read the whole thing. And know that while I appreciate Peggy’s tone and her insights, I disagree with her that a liberal moment is at hand. Next week, we Americans may have a more liberal government, but we remain a center-right nation. That liberal government may well help galvanize those on the center and on the right to reassert ourselves at the ballot box and in positions of power, policy and influence.

Ok, maybe she’s right.  Perhaps a liberal moment, but not for very long.



  1. I read the piece too and my impressions were less favorable. Noonan seems to take it for granted that Obama is OK at heart, and Palin awful: two very stupid positions to take.

    No one who has followed the Obama campaign and thought about its ideas and philosophy honestly can doubt that Obama is a corrupt “Chicago pol” and socialist who does not care to fight cop-killers, terrorists, etc. (William Ayers being both) And no one who gives such a person as much credit as Noonan has done should call themselves a conservative, a Reaganite, or for that matter even a libertarian.

    Noonan is far more disturbed by Sarah Palin than she is by Barack Obama. And that, in itself, is disturbing about Noonan.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 31, 2008 @ 9:14 pm - October 31, 2008

  2. Sen. McCain drives me nuts. More times than not, he agitates more Republicans than Democrats. That being said, I cannot find a man more deserving to be Commander In Chief than he. He is a man that has spent his entire life in the service of our nation and loves it with all his heart. He is a man of strong principle, almost to a point where it’s to his detriment. Nevertheless, I can’t compare the life he has led and the decisions he has made to Obama’s short and somewhat ominous political tenure. Oddly, I find McCain’s 20+ years in the Senate is the least flattering of his accolades.

    Also, the results of the upcoming Presidential election [I am predicting a McCain/Palin victory] will reinforce the fact that the mainstream media does not dictate the political or cultural narrative in America. When a candidate outspends his opponent nearly six to one and only hold a 2-5 point advantage in the polls tells us that the citizens aren’t easily bought.

    I am already preparing for accusations of election fixing, ignorance, hate, racism, etc. when all of this goes down on Tuesday night.

    Comment by Right Turn — October 31, 2008 @ 9:46 pm - October 31, 2008

  3. Somewhere, Dan, I got the idea you know Peggy Noonan. If not, do you kow anyone who does? It would be interesting to know what she did intend in her guest editorial.

    I first read it as a reluctant endorsement of Obama. I just got home from a Halloween party for Republicans supporting Obama. There was a lot of talk about GOP personalities who’ve endorsed Obama and most people who mentioned Ms. Noonan shared my initial opinion that she had endorsed Obama.

    There was a lot more talk about today’s endorsement of Obama by longtime Ronald Reagan aide, Ken Duberstein, and his very strong criticism of McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin. I haven’t had the chance to read any article about it, but someone told me Duberstein said something about McDonald’s spending more time interviewing a teenage hamburger flipper than McCain did Palin.

    Someone who had flown in from St. Louis for the party told me Lawrence Eagleburger, one of the four Republican former Secretaries of State supporting McCain, said he hoped Palin never had to be tested as president.

    BTW, tonight’s party was costume-only and we each had to go as our least facorite member of the Bush-Cheney Administration. I had to leave early because I have to go out of town tomorrow to meet with my publisher so I don’t know whose costume won the prize (airline tickets to the Inauguration). Twenty, both male and female, came as Dick Cheney. Seventeen came as George Bush and seventeen came as Donald Rumsfeld. Twelve came as Alberto Gonzales, 11 as Alan Greenspan, ten as SEC chief Chris Cox, seven as Harriett Meiers, six as Henry Paulson and 42 as various other officials. I don’t even remember his name but I went as the 20-something the White House dispatched to NASA to keep an eye on scientists who believe in climate change.

    Comment by Jack Allen — October 31, 2008 @ 10:53 pm - October 31, 2008

  4. Please tell me these people have better reasons to vote Obama than to just show disapproval of Palin?!?!

    How could someone who defines his stances as Republican/Conservative vote for Obama?

    Comment by Timothy — October 31, 2008 @ 11:06 pm - October 31, 2008

  5. While Liberals keep chiming in on how Palin is just one heartbeat away from the Oval Office, it horrifies me even more that Joe Biden is a just an impeachment and resignation away.

    Biden is the worst type of idiot: one that actually thinks he is an intellectual.

    Comment by Right Turn — October 31, 2008 @ 11:16 pm - October 31, 2008

  6. Right Turn, you’re right on. That plot to assassinate Obama that was just broken up was a grim reminder that there’s no guarantee that any person will survive 4 years in office. Not to mention, Obama SMOKES. Ha!

    I think Obama’s choice of Biden calls HIS judgment into question. But it was a great gift to the Republicans–assuming Obama loses the election or at least survives his term.

    Boy, isn’t THAT a choice, Obama or Biden? Which would be worse for the country?

    Comment by Polly — October 31, 2008 @ 11:54 pm - October 31, 2008

  7. BTW, tonight’s party was costume-only and we each had to go as our least facorite member of the Bush-Cheney Administration

    That is so sad and pathetic, I don’t know where to begin.

    My personal happiness does not depend on which team’s banner hangs in the Oval Office. It’s just plain mental that some people’s whole lives are centered on hating Bush.

    Oh, and apparently Larry Eagleburger had to eat his words on Neil Cavuto by admitting that the One was less qualified to be president than Sarah Palin.

    Comment by V the K — October 31, 2008 @ 11:56 pm - October 31, 2008

  8. #2

    Lattes and limousines for all, eh?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — November 1, 2008 @ 2:05 am - November 1, 2008

  9. I think Obama’s choice of Biden calls HIS judgment into question

    What? You mean FDR didn’t go on Television in 1929 to comfort Americans after the Stock Market crash?

    (Some of our dimmer trolls are still trying to figure out why the right is laughing at that statement.)

    Comment by V the K — November 1, 2008 @ 7:12 am - November 1, 2008

  10. Peggy Noonan, it seems, learned very little from Reagan afterall.

    Comment by American Elephant — November 1, 2008 @ 9:58 am - November 1, 2008

  11. Bush Derangement Syndrome, it seems, can even affect a handful of Republicans – enough for them to form a costume party and desperately, pathetically try to tell each other that they’re right.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 1, 2008 @ 10:04 am - November 1, 2008

  12. (i.e., right to sell their country to The Messiah, even though He is less qualified than Palin and more incompetent, corrupt and socialist than Bush.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 1, 2008 @ 10:09 am - November 1, 2008

  13. “There was a lot more talk about today’s endorsement of Obama by longtime Ronald Reagan aide, Ken Duberstein, and his very strong criticism of McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin.”
    Really, Jack? “Longtime aide” Duberstein? Ken Duberstein came in to the Reagan White House in the wanning days of Mr. Reagan’s second term. Mr. Duberstein is the quintisesntial Washington insider. As are the rest of the so-called conservative Republicans that are supporting The One. All those that are critical of the selection of Gov. Palin live in the Washington bubble. Gosh, if these people got out of that damn bubble more and actually see how the REST of us lived, they may never go back. I am serious. Do you not realize the impact Gov. Palin is having on the people? That is the people who actually vote? Gov. Palin is not perfect, but she is who she is. And that is why people love her. Except for some bitter trolls who can not stomach one coming in to do exactly what Ronald Reagan did.

    Comment by Mark J. Goluskin — November 1, 2008 @ 7:35 pm - November 1, 2008

  14. Ann Coulter had a great epigram regarding Biden: his Secret Service code name is “Assassination Insurance.”

    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — November 2, 2008 @ 2:49 pm - November 2, 2008

  15. […] CLOSING THOUGHT:  As I excerpt an excellent Peggy column today, I do want to address the view that some readers have that she endorsed Obama.  During last fall’s campaign, I believe she offered a tacit endorsement of John McCain. […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Athena’s Insight: Why Obama’s Bow Matters — November 28, 2009 @ 1:46 am - November 28, 2009

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