Peggy Noonan Would Like Another Tincture Of Opium Please
Ah, fall in New York City! There is a chill in the air, a nip that can invigorate the soul as one sits in a favorite saloon, sipping a mug of one’s favorite whiskey fortified with a generous dollop of coffee, if one is so inclined to while away an afternoon in this fashion. An afternoon leading into an evening, a night, and then the following morning, even.
Was this poor judgment? Thus do I, Sister Peggy Noonan of Our Lady of the Perpetual Hangover Runs, ponder the question as my deadline approaches and the bartenders change shifts. Again. Is it as poor as the judgment exhibited by President Obama on everything he ever does, ever?
For example, making healthcare reform the central issue of his first term. Who does that? Just because reforming our terrible system had been the dream of every Democratic president since Harry Truman? And why be clever by trying to get Congress to write the bill, as if it is the job of Congress to write bills and pass them? Was he trying to be generous? Who does that in politics? Why would he want to make sure that both parties shared credit for fixing a major problem? Oh sure, that ethos might be in keeping with the post-partisan politics he preached from the moment he took the oath of office, when he told us it was time to set aside childish things and get to work. But that was just a speech! What president says things that they mean in a speech?
The door swings open as customers enter. Is that … daylight? I squint at the ancient watch on my wrist. It must be 11 A.M., not P.M. Darned analog. I misjudged the passage of time.
Like our president, misjudging Republicans. Thinking they were out to kill him from the very beginning. Just because they made a plan on Inauguration Day to oppose everything he did. He could have still picked a few of them off. All he had to do to get their support on healthcare reform was make some minor adjustments to his bill to make it more to conservative liking. He could have, for instance, dropped that public option idea, even if doing so enraged his liberal base. Or figured out a way to insist people be responsible and buy insurance. Some sort of, I don’t know, a mandate, perhaps. Or he could have inserted language into the bill that made super-extra-double-sure no taxpayer money would go towards paying for abortions. Or compromised on the contraception issue, so no religious organizations would have to offer insurance plans that included birth control for non-religious employees. See? He has poor judgment.
Note to self: Ask my editor if an intern at the paper has access to that Internet thingy and can double-check all of this for me.
Russia? He misjudged Putin. Would Vladimir now be making boastful threats about capturing pretty much all of Eastern Europe in a day if he wanted to if he was not an impotent potentate who sees post-Crimea sanctions hurting his economy and has resorted to empty bragging that he will make everyone pay if they mess with him anymore, as if he is some sort of tinpot dictator? I think not!
Benghazi? That’s not going away. The Republican Party is sure to find something terrible to pin on the president and ruin Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign any minute now. The IRS? People are still mad about that! Surely all the people talking about it on this Twitter I’m always hearing about will be proven correct someday.
Barkeep! Bring me a telephone. I need to find out if my houseboy, Manuel, has returned from Chinatown with the tincture of opium I sent him to procure this morning. Today is still Tuesday, isn’t it? What? No, I don’t recall him being here. Oh, this vial? Hmmm, it seems to be empty. Please summon him back here so that I may send him to Chinatown again for another tincture of opium, posthaste.
Where was I? Ah, the president and his poor judgment. He should have gone after this ISIS a month ago and bombed its troops or something and destroyed the mystique! But he’s bombing them now, which will give them more mystique instead of destroying it. I think. Anyway, poor judgment!
Barkeep! When Manuel gets here, have him take these cocktail napkins I’ve been scribbling on over to Mr. Murdoch at the offices of the Wall Street Journal, posthaste! I’m just going to put my head down on this bar and take a little nappy-poo. Wake me up before I have to write next week’s column.
Note: If you find yourself paywalled as the Wall Street Journal, simply type the title of Peggy’s column (The Unwisdom of Barack Obama) into Google, and presto! A link with no paywall.