Peggy Noonan, former Reagan speechwriter and current Wall Street Journal columnist, often serves in my mind of an example of how even East Coast conservatives share a mindset that is parochial, elitist, insular, and irredeemably statist. However, in today’s column she steps back from the Bos-Wash bubble to marvel at the bloviating egomaniacs that populate Washington.
What’s wrong with them? That’s what I’m thinking more and more as I watch the news from Washington.
Welcome to the club, Peggy. Too bad it took you so many decades to join up.
How exactly does it work? How does legitimate self-confidence become wildly inflated self-regard? How does self respect become unblinking conceit? How exactly does one’s character become destabilized in Washington?
And, bless her, she even takes on the fair-haired boy of the elites, Barack Obama. Barack is widely heralded because he is young, a Democrat, reasonably articulate, and, of course, because he is black. He has also revealed himself to be a first-rate egomaniac. Although in the Senate he doesn’t even make the A team for self-importance, what with such colossi as Roberty Byrd and John McCain to contend with, he is certainly putting himself forward as a bloviator to be reckoned with.
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.”
Because this kind of inflated self-regard is part of the molecular make-up of politicians, there is no such thing as “good” government, instituted through any kind of ethical or institutional means. There is only “limited” government.