Here's Peggy Noonan writing from Rome, where she watched two popes become saints this week and then sat down to write, as usual, about how awful President Obama is:
To be in Europe is to realize, again and at first hand, that America has experienced a status shift. Europeans know we are powerful -- we have the most drones and bombs and magic robot soldiers -- but they don't think we are strong. They've seen our culture; we exported it. The Internet destroyed our ability to keep under wraps, at least for a while, our embarrassments. People everywhere read of our daily crimes and governmental scandals. The people of old Europe thought we were great not only because we were wealthy but because we were good. We don't seem so good now. And they know we're not as wealthy as we were.You know what? We had a leader like that not long ago. Was he a deeply believing enthusiast? Oh yes -- until his last day in office. Did he look at our problems and tell America and the world that we could, and would, turn things around? Oh, absolutely. He said that all the time.
In these circumstances it would be quite wonderful to have a leader who is a deeply believing enthusiast who could tell the world -- and us -- that we can, and will, turn it all around.
His name was George W. Bush, and if you think Europeans liked America more in his second term than they do in Obama's, well, take a look at Pew's numbers:
Compare 2013 to, say, 2006, and the favorability of the U.S. is improved in every European country that was surveyed in both years.
But who are you going to believe -- a respected polling firm doing multiple scientific surveys? Or Peggy Noonan picking up gut impressions from her contact with a totally unrepresentative sample of extremely Catholic Europeans?
Noonan goes on to lament Obama's failure to rally the American public around ... well, here, let her explain:
How wonderful it would be to see an American president appreciate all the possibilities of becoming a great energy-producing nation -- all the new technologies and jobs, all the rebound they'd bring. To have a leader who feels and conveys a palpable joy in the transformative nature of this new world. Instead what we see is a ticket-checking approval, coupled with a wary, base-pandering, foot-dragging series of decisions such as the latest delay of the Keystone pipeline. It looks like a kind of historical lethargy, or listlessness.Renewing the optimism of a dispirited America by singing the praises of the nation's industrial might? What I love about Noonan's idea is that it's just so .... communist.
But wait: Noonan's calling for a president who "conveys a palpable joy" when he sees an oil derrick? I've got it: she's endorsing Rick Perry!
Oh, my goodness -- first James Carville called him a dark horse, then Dick Morris said he could make a comeback in 2016, and now this. It's Perrymania! We have a new front-runner!