April 24th, 2009
10:18 AM ET

Past, President and Future

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/22/100.days.jpg]

Peggy Noonan
The Wall Street Journal

What makes it hard at the moment to write sympathetically of Barack Obama is the loud chorus of approbation arising from his supporters in journalism as they mark the hundred days. Drudge calls it the "Best President Ever" campaign. It is marked by an abandonment of critical thinking among otherwise thoughtful men and women who comprise, roughly speaking, the grown-ups of journalism, the old hands of the MSM who have been through many presidents and should know better. They are insisting too much. If they were utterly confident, they wouldn't be.

In the area of foreign affairs, one of the arguments for candidate Barack Obama was that he would put a new stamp—new ways, new style and content—on America's approach to the world. This might allow some in the world—occasional allies, foes, irritated sympathizers—to recalibrate and make positive readjustments in their attitude toward Washington. With George W. Bush, everyone got dug in, and the ground froze. After 9/11 he cut like a sword and divided: You were with us or against us. He launched a war that angered major allies. For seven years there was constant agitation, and the world was allowed to make a caricature of U.S. leadership. There was no capture of Osama bin Laden, the man who made 9/11 and whose seizure would have provided a unifying Western rallying point and inspired instructive admiration: Those Yanks get their man.


Filed under: President Barack Obama • Torture
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Mari

    Peggy Noonan, I personally do not want to read anything you have to say. All I want is to quote Scripture, and ask you how you, who claim to be Christian can condone torture?

    " You have heard the commandment 'you shall love your countryman but hate your enemy' My commandment to you is: Love your enemies, pray for your persecutors. This will prove that you are sons of you Heavenly Father............." (Matt. 5:43)

    I can not imagine a single Christian who has read the Gospels who can condone or excuse torture.

    April 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  2. Melissa

    Simply put, you are wrong. He IS at least in the top 10 of the Presidents of history. Whether Republicans like it or not.

    April 24, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  3. earle,florida

    Past: President Clinton post-transistion team regarding the CIA's George Tenats, warned the Bush administration of "eExtreme Chatter" regarding Al-Qaeda in Nov&Dec/2000 and that something big was to happen. The Bush Administration kept CIA Chief Tenat on board, with the sage approval/advise from Bush#41 ,a former CIA chief! Please take no offense,but 911 was indeed (the security was lax to say the least) preventable! President: Obama's raw strength to carry on his back all the Bush failures befallen him is remarkable.His innate profound patience, tethered to his unique latent inteligence gives me solace, reassuring me of a great leader! As far as the first hundred days,I have this to say; to go accross a threshold without the right of passage is indeed folly,froth with treacherous consequences? Future: There always, will be wars, and threats of nuclear annililation ,but this will never,never,come to pass in our lifetime! The only thing the far-right is good at ,s fear-mongering,kinda like the propaganda a guy in Germany used in the mid1930's! If you think for one moment that the world wants itself destroyed by some idiotic radical group, think again! PS. I do enjoy reading particular sections of the Wall Street Journal. Thanks

    April 24, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  4. Nancy

    Can't we just picture Congressional hearings? It makes me shudder to think of the political posturing that will be demonstrated.

    April 24, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  5. Terry, TX

    "a commission is better than a public prosecutor with an endless prosecution, and a public prosecutor is better than congressional hearings. Really, almost anything would be better than that."

    You wrote all that for that comment ...well obviously CNN does not have the pulse of the Nation...you didn't have it with the Tea Parties either. Well the ones leading charge is Conyers who's wife is under theft federal investigation and Leaky Leahy didn't release classified info and had to resign from a committee..Lincoln and Roosevelt must be rolling in their graves.

    April 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  6. Matthew

    I dont think it would be fair to analyze not just a first standing African American Leader, but a Democratic leader after indications from the Clinton Administration of these perilous what remarkable times (noting Clinton's promise for social advacement in the areas of science and recreation...including education). The Bush reign was a deficit of miscause of fortune and information, which by the way is the break of the new century. I think Obama's change mantra is by all means the ladder leading toward the module for economic transformation of what has and will be dictated. DEMOCRATIZATION BY ALL MEANS.

    April 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm |