Peggy Noonan has a sharp eye for the political scene, but usually not too sharp of a pen. Not so today, as she slices and dices Barack Obama, John Paul Stevens, Dick Durbin and other solipsistic members of our "ruling class". Some prime cuts:
This week comes the previously careful Sen. Barack Obama, flapping his wings in Time magazine and explaining that he's a lot like Abraham Lincoln, only sort of better. "In Lincoln's rise from poverty, his ultimate mastery of language and law, his capacity to overcome personal loss and remain determined in the face of repeated defeat -- in all this he reminded me not just of my own struggles."
Oh. So that's what Lincoln's for. Actually Lincoln's life is a lot like Mr. Obama's. Lincoln came from a lean-to in the backwoods. His mother died when he was 9. The Lincolns had no money, no standing. Lincoln educated himself, reading law on his own, working as a field hand, a store clerk and a raft hand on the Mississippi. He also split some rails. He entered politics, knew more defeat than victory, and went on to lead the nation through its greatest trauma, the Civil War, and past its greatest sin, slavery.
Barack Obama, the son of two University of Hawaii students, went to Columbia and Harvard Law after attending a private academy that taught the children of the Hawaiian royal family. He made his name in politics as an aggressive Chicago vote hustler in Bill Clinton's first campaign for the presidency.
You see the similarities.
She even gives Obama a pass on denigrating Lincoln's legacy as the Great Emancipator. BTW, Obama has become exactly what I thought Ron Kirk would transform into if he had won the Senate race against John Cornyn in 2002 (and this is why I would not vote for Kirk): a knee-jerk, follow-the-Left, toe-the-line Democrat partisan who ran as a moderate, cross-the-aisle, good-for-business, uniter-not-divider moderate.
But wait, there's more:
The Supreme Court this week and last issued many rulings, and though they were on different issues the decisions themselves had at least one thing in common: They seemed to reflect a lack of basic human modesty on the part of many of the justices. Many are famously very old, and they have been together as a court for a very long time. One wonders if they have lost all understanding of how privileged they are to have lifetime sinecures of power and authority. Do they have any sense anymore of common human wisdom, of the normal human arrangements by which Americans live?
Maybe a lot of them aren't bothering to think. Maybe Ruth Bader Ginsburg is no longer in the habit of listening to arguments but only of watching William Rehnquist, and if he nods up and down she knows to vote "no," and if he shakes his head she knows to vote "yes." That might explain some of the lack of seriousness in the decisions. Local government can bulldoze Grandma's house because it's in the way of a future strip mall that will add more to the tax base? The Ten Commandments can appear on public land but not in a courthouse, but Moses, who received the Ten Commandments can appear in the frieze of the House but he'll be sandblasted off the Supreme Court? Or do I have that the other way around?
She slams Bill Frist too for touting his "compassion" because those who are compassionate need not tout it with words but can testify to that trait with their deeds.
Good stuff. Read it all.