For Republican scribe Peggy Noonan, the political is personal—very personal. Like a beery sorority girl confiding too-explicit details about her boyfriend’s attributes, she can’t seem to suppress the breathless swoon conservative politicians (and the pope) stir in her. The speechwriter who crafted George I’s “Thousand Points of Light” and the Gipper’s “Shining City on a Hill” is on hiatus from her Wall Street Journal column to spice up the national dialogue and help keep her Mr. Rights employed. Here’s a sampling of what to expect based on Noonan interviews and book excerpts.
On Men: “Men are back. Manliness is once again being honored and celebrated in our country … I am speaking of masculine men, men who push things and pull things and haul things and build things … Manliness wins wars.”
On George W. Bush: “He’s not like some smooth country-club-entitlement baby, he’s rougher” … “Mr. Bush has an instinctive personal modesty … he will not discuss his underpants” … “[After 9/11] he gave it to you plain and hard with the common words of a common man” … “This is a victor” … “Our leader, the American president.”
On Rudy Giuliani: “Mr. Giuliani … our king” … “He flourishes in war. When there wasn’t a war he created battles just for fun and out of need. Now we have a war, and it is big enough for him.”
On the Pope: “Our warrior-saint of a pope … raised his staff … turned toward the east and … commanded the atheist Soviet Union to recede” … “On the streets of Mexico City they sobbed as he went by … The force of his presence was like a blow to the heart … John Paul the Great … I bent and covered his thick old knuckles with Chanel No. 23 red raspberry lipstick … I think I said, ‘Papa.’ ”
On Ronald Reagan: “I would work once more with Reagan, my Reagan” … “a man who had the massive presence of a battleship” … “I wanted to find him, stand close and see his shape, look in those eyes, understand that hugeness” … “To see this guy is to want to move to California” … “I used to imagine him as a … sailor … ambling down a rolling deck as the ship rolled in the sea. He never fell or had to grab the rails, he just rolled with the swells as they rose and fell” … “[Upon leaving the White House] I wrote a letter of resignation to the president, and signed it with X’s for kisses.”
On Rush Limbaugh: “In March 2001 I met with Rush Limbaugh, a man I admire … He was wearing a gray sweater … and his graying hair was softly combed back … He is a man who can literally stop traffic.”
On Colin Powell: “His presence has force because his persona is dense with meaning: hero, leader … dove … He radiates warmth but is a reactor cool to the core.”