Friday, July 15, 2011


Peggy Noonan to President Obama: I don't like your attitude, mister:

Majority Leader Eric Cantor reports Mr. Obama went into enough-is-enough mode during White House talks this week, warned Mr. Cantor not to call his bluff, and ended the meeting saying: "Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting here?" I'm glad Reagan is his model for how presidents should comport themselves, but he should know Reagan never tried to scare people into doing things his way. Instead he tried to encourage support, and with a light touch. When locked in battle with a Democratic Congress he didn't go on TV and make threats. He didn't say, "Congress needs to know we must rebuild our defense system, and if they don't, your children will die in a fiery hale of Soviet bullets."

Oh, really, Peg? He never made apocalyptic threats?

I take it this has slipped your mind?

With a critical congressional vote just two weeks away, President Reagan escalated his rhetoric Monday in an effort to gain support for his $100-million aid package for the guerrillas fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

With three rebel leaders at his side, Reagan told a group of conservative supporters in the Cabinet Room that defeat for the guerrillas--the so-called contras-- would create "a privileged sanctuary for terrorists and subversives just two days' driving time from Harlingen, Texas."

And this?

"If we cannot defend ourselves there (Central America), we cannot expect to prevail elsewhere. Our credibility would collapse, our alliances would crumble, and the safety of our homeland would be in jeopardy"? No? Don't remember that, Peggy? (For the rest, click to enlarge.)

Yes, I understand: Everyone just "knows" that Reagan was a nice, easygoing guy. So I apologize for confusing everyone with the facts.


Elsewhere in today's column, Noonan looks at polls showing that most Americans think we're on the "wrong track" and concludes that they aren't just about the economy -- they're about ... the culture:

But there are other reasons for American unease, and in a way some are deeper and more pervasive. Some are cultural. Here are only two. Pretty much everyone over 50 in America feels on some level like a refugee. That's because they were born in one place -- the old America -- and live now in another.

... everyone over 50 in America feels a certain cultural longing now. They hear the new culture out of the radio, the TV, the billboard, the movie, the talk show. It is so violent, so sexualized, so politicized, so rough. They miss the old America they were born into, 50 to 70 years ago. And they fear, deep down, that this new culture, the one their children live in, isn't going to make it. Because it is, in essence, an assaultive culture, from the pop music coming out of the rental car radio to the TSA agent with her hands on your kids' buttocks. We are increasingly strangers here, and we fear for the future. There are, by the way, 100 million Americans over 50. A third of the nation. That's a lot of displaced people. They are part of the wrong-track numbers.

Excuse me, Peg -- I'm over 50. Do you know what what was going on in the culture when I was a child? When I was, say, ten years old? This:

Political outrage, dirty words, and (off camera) naked people having sex. May I just suggest that a lot of people my age, and a bit older, actually wanted to be a part of this? And that the culture doesn't seem any more depraved and decadent today than it did then?

Sorry, Peg. You're describing people a lot older than this 52-year-old. And the displacements those people feel are in response to a lot of things you don't want to talk about -- for instance, living in a country that clearly won't always be dominated exclusively by white people. For them, yeah, it's that. For the rest of us, trust me: it's the economy.

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