Thursday, May 26, 2005

Peggy Noonan 1, Maureen Dowd 0

Maureen Dowd's evil twin, Peggy Noonan, has written a blistering column criticizng the self-congratulatory nature of the coalition of moderates that saved the Senate from nuclear holocaust.
People who charge into burning towers are heroic; nuns who work with the poorest of the poor are self-denying; people who volunteer their time to help our world and receive nothing in return but the knowledge they are doing good are in public service. Politicians are in politics. They are less self-denying than self-aggrandizing. They are given fame, respect, the best health care in the world; they pass laws governing your life and receive a million perks including a good salary, and someone else--faceless taxpayers, "the folks back home"--gets to pay for the whole thing. This isn't public service, it's more like public command. It's not terrible--democracies need people who commit politics; they have a place and a role to play--but it's not saintly, either.

I have never read a column by Noonan that sounded so sensible. I have never read a column by Noonan that didn't make me want to tear out my hair. I also never knew that during the JFK era, the term "politicians" was deliberately changed to "public servants," reflecting either a sea change in public perception of politicians or the success of a political strategy to manipulate our use of language.

So for those of you keeping track of worthwile Noonan and Dowd columns, it is now Noonan 1, Dowd 0. (Book reviews don't count)
-- Eric


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