Thursday, June 30, 2005

Noonan Strikes Again

A ways back Eric wrote a post comparing the recent efforts of his two arch nemeses, Peggy Noonan and Maureen Dowd. Using a deft maneuver mastered only by a true smart-ass, Eric was able to doubly insult Dowd of the NY Times while back handing Noonan of the Journal. The subject of Noonan's column that day was pompous politicians, specifically with regard to the infamous filibuster compromise. She was widely hailed by liberals and conservatives alike for that diatribe and, in the opportunistic fashion that defines DC lifers, has recycled the theme for yesterday's piece. Noonan saves her harshest vitriol for Sen. Joe Biden, a personal favorite of this side of Exit145. However, she is also particularly hard on freshman Senator Barack Obama, a personal favorite of the other half of Exit145.

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.

There is nothing wrong with Barack Obama's résumé, but it is a log-cabin-free zone. So far it also is a greatness-free zone. If he keeps talking about himself like this it always will be.

Mr. Obama said he keeps a photographic portrait of Lincoln on the wall of his office, and that "it asks me questions."

I'm sure it does. I'm sure it says, "Barack, why are you such an egomaniac?" Or perhaps, "Is it no longer possible in American politics to speak of another's greatness without suggesting your own?"

Oh, she's good. Somewhere in Maine Eric is canceling his free online subscription to OpinionJournal.



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