Monday, June 22, 2009

Being Peggy Noonan VI

Peggy Noonan does not always cut it for me in her written or television opinions. I have written of Ms. Noonan on this blog before. Sometimes it appears as if she is in competition with some former self and that she is too fond of days gone by as the speechwriter for President Reagan. But at other times she has been relevant and timely. Today was such a time.

Noonan's article in the Wall Street Journal was potent and precise and did not wreak of partisan politics. Noonan addressed many Republicans who have called for President Obama to become involved in the Iranian national election and protests. I have written of this last week in a post, Being with the Iranian People.

When addressing President Obama's response to the protests in Iran, Noonan wrote:
To refuse to see all this as progress, or potential progress, is perverse to the point of wicked. To insist the American president, in the first days of the rebellion, insert the American government into the drama was shortsighted and mischievous. The ayatollahs were only too eager to demonize the demonstrators as mindless lackeys of the Great Satan Cowboy Uncle Sam, or whatever they call us this week. John McCain and others went quite crazy insisting President Obama declare whose side America was on, as if the world doesn't know whose side America is on. "In the cause of freedom, America cannot be neutral," said Rep. Mike Pence. Who says it's neutral?

This was Aggressive Political Solipsism at work: Always exploit events to show you love freedom more than the other guy, always make someone else's delicate drama your excuse for a thumping curtain speech.

Mr. Obama was restrained, balanced and helpful in the crucial first days, keeping the government out of it but having his State Department ask a primary conduit of information, Twitter, to delay planned maintenance and keep reports from the streets coming. Then he made a mistake, telling the New York Times in terms of our national security there is little difference between Mr. Ahmadinejad and his foe, Mir Hossein Mousavi, which may or may not in the long run be true but was undercutting of the opposition.
These are wise words from Peggy Noonan that are good for the country.