with the presidential campaign thing in full swing (almost) i’m paying a little more attention to the pundits. my favorite, because she is probably the most clearheaded is peggy noonan. here’s a clips from todays wsj…
Churchill had been scored by an acquaintance for his own very high self-regard, and responded with what was for him a certain sheepishness. “We’re all worms,” he said, “but I do believe I am a glowworm.” He believed he was great, and he was. Is Mr. Obama a glowworm? Does he have real greatness in him? Or is he, say, a product of the self-esteem campaign, that movement within the schools and homes of our country the past 25 years that says the way to get a winner is to tell the kid he’s a winner every day? You can get some true people of achievement that way, because some people need a lot of reinforcement to rise. But you can also get, not to put too fine a point of it, empty suits that take on a normal shape only because they’re so puffed up with ego. Is Mr. Obama’s self-conception in line with his gifts, depth, wisdom and character? That’s the big question, I suspect, on a number of minds.
As for Mr. McCain, I think he had the best moment of the month this week at the big motorcycle convention in Sturgis, S.D., when he was greeted with that mighty roar. And his great line: “As you may know, not long ago a couple hundred thousand Berliners made a lot of noise for my opponent. I’ll take the roar of 50,000 Harleys any day.” Oh, that was good.
There’s a thing that’s out there and it’s big, and latent, and somehow always taken into account and always ignored, and political professionals always assume they understand it. It has been called many things the past 50 years, “the silent center,” “the silent majority,” “the coalition,” “the base.” The idea of it has evolved as its composition has evolved, but the fact that it’s big, and relatively silent, and somehow always latent, maintains. And watching that McCain event—vroom vroom—one got the sense it is perhaps beginning to pay attention to the campaign. I see it as the old America, and if and when it reasserts itself, the campaign will shift indeed, and in ways you can even see from 10,000 feet.