There are a hundred things in Peggy Noonan's Wall Street Journal hit-piece on Howard Dean that are wrong, idiotic, or otherwise objectionable, but let me just point this out:
He is not a happy warrior but an angry one. In the past I have thought of him as an angry little teapot, but that is perhaps too merry an image. His eyes are cold marbles, in repose his face falls into lines of mere calculation, and he holds himself with a kind of no-neck pugnacity that is fine in a wrestling coach or a tax lawyer but not in a president. We like our presidents sunny, easygoing and optimistic. They have access to the nuclear launch code, and we don't want them losing their tempers easily. Mr. Dean's supporters no doubt see him as optimistic, but optimists aren't angry.
I suppose, as a good, patriotic American, I should believe Peggy rather than my own lying eyes, but to me Howard Dean seems happy and angry, angry and optimistic. You too? Isn't that amazing -- that a personality could have multiple aspects?
I hope the conservatives really work this line of argument -- that Dean is gloomy and angry and dour. Because he smiles a lot. He's brimful of cheer and optimism and confidence -- all of it, to be sure, tempered with anger (as opposed to, say, Joe Lieberman, who, according to the conventional wisdom, is a classic Humphreyesque Happy Warrior, but who in fact has become more and more petulant and self-pitying).
The righties are so sure of their ability to turn their spin on any subject into conventional wisdom that they my well fall into this trap, as they fell into the trap of describing the loud-laughing, occasionally cornball Hillary Clinton as a cold cyborg, particularly during her Senate campaign. (Voters who actually met or saw her dismissed this spin as nonsense and gave her a big win.) So let the righties say Dean's a gloom merchant. It'll be self-evident that they're wrong.