Friday, January 12, 2007

An isolated president

My ego is pretty healthy, so I hardly ever feel envy at what somebody else has written. One of the few who occasionally provokes a touch of the green-eyed monster at the facility of her writing is Peggy Noonan. She's a loyal Republican -- speechwriter for Bush 41, coiner of "thousand points of light," took a leave from the Wall St. Journal to work for Bush 43 in 2004. So when she expresses disappointment at President Bush's speech Wednesday, as she did in her column today, you know there's a professional eye at work. You also get the feeling that if Peggy Noonan feels this way the president must be increasingly isolated.

"I had the odd and wholly unexpected experience of feeling supportive of a troop increase until I saw the president's speech arguing for it. What a jarring, furtive-seeming thing it was," she writes.

One more paragraph: "There was something unnerving about the speech, from the jumpy beginning to the stumbles to the sound glitches. A jittery affair, and some dusk hung over it. [I don't know just what that means, but it's evocative, isn't it?] At the end I suspected the president's aides had instructed him again and again not to strut or have an edge. He perhaps understood that as: Got it -- don't be me. He couldn't do wounded wisdom, but he could repress cocky cowboy. The result was that he seemed not chastened but effaced, not there. it was odd. One couldn't find the personal geography of the speech."

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