NOONAN HEARTS CLINTON ... NOW
Wow, this is almost too easy: Peggy Noonan -- after briefly doing a post-Wisconsin dance on the bleeding body of the labor movement, as if she were the girlfriend of a 1950s movie hoodlum and the hoodlum and his thug friends had just thrillingly curb-stomped the victim -- moves on to presidential politics, and declares that (I hope you're sitting down for this) Barack Obama is a bad man and a bad president. Obama's bad, Noonan says ... not like that nice Bill Clinton:
Bill Clinton -- that ol' hound dog, that gifted pol who truly loves politics, who always loved figuring out exactly where the people were and then going to exactly that spot and claiming it -- Bill Clinton is showing all the signs of someone who is, let us say, essentially unimpressed by the incumbent.
I love that -- especially the bit about Clinton being a guy "who always loved figuring out exactly where the people were and then going to exactly that spot and claiming it." Would that be the same Bill Clinton about whom Noonan wrote the following in 1998?
... that was Mr. Clinton's problem, his real sin -- a fundamental lack of respect for his country, for its citizens, for his colleagues, for all of us. The pollsters have it wrong when, seeking to determine whether he can continue to govern, they ask, "Do you respect the president?" The real question is, "Do you think he has any respect for us?"
(This from a column titled -- I am not making this up -- "American Caligula.")
What does Noonan say today is Obama's great sin?
President Obama's problem now isn't what Wisconsin did, it's how he looks each day -- careening around, always in flight, a superfluous figure. No one even looks to him for leadership now. He doesn't go to Wisconsin, where the fight is. He goes to Sarah Jessica Parker's place, where the money is.
By contrast, Clinton was much more serious! Clinton had much more gravitas! Right, Peggy? You certainly feel that way now. Didn't you always feel that way -- back in, say, 1996?
... Bill Clinton was so confused about what he wanted to do as President, so unsure as to his Administration's reason for being, that he flailed about wildly, jumping from gays in the military to nationalized medicine to budgets so big and greasy they could have been served with hot sauce at a Texas barbecue.
He was ... a walking, talking Human Blunder....
And what does Obama care about now?
Any president will, in a presidential election year, be political. But there is a startling sense with Mr. Obama that that's all he is now, that he and his people are all politics, all the time, undeviatingly, on every issue. He isn't even trying to lead, he's just trying to win.
Compare that purely political, Machiavellian monster to nice ol' public-service-oriented Bill Clinton in the 1990s:
...he demonstrated that people and principles are, to him, objects to be manipulated. You can tell preachers you cherish scripture, tell Monica you cherish her, it doesn't matter. The object, as Dick Morris says the president told him, is to "win."
Given Citizens United, I doubt we'll have another Democratic president after Obama. But if we do, and if Noonan lives long enough to see that Democrat's term, I assure you she'll declare that Democrat a monster of unprecedented depravity -- and tell us she longs for the days of that nice old Barack Obama.
(X-posted at Booman Tribune.)