Saturday, July 30, 2011

Noonan: “They’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”

According to former Reagan speechwriter and syndicated columnist Peggy Noonan, any devotion to President Obama, even by his most ardent supporters, is lukewarm at best.

The past few weeks I've asked Democrats who supported him how they feel about him. I got back nothing that showed personal investment. Here are the words of a hard-line progressive and wise veteran of the political wars: "I never loved Barack Obama. That said, among my crowd who did 'love' him, I can't think of anyone who still does." Why is Mr. Obama different from Messrs. Clinton and Bush? ... "Maybe the most important word that described Clinton and Bush but not Obama is 'genuine.'" He "doesn't exude any feeling that what he says and does is genuine."

He sure had most Americans falling for it, though, didn't he?

Her statement that "nobody loves Obama" is a bit over the top, even in the sense that she uses the term. He can still draw an enthusiastic crowd both here and abroad, and he still has most of Hollywood and the mainstream media in his pocket (although the latter has wavered somewhat in the past year). Why do these two segments matter? Because they are the ones who influence the voters more than anyone else. Americans don't invest much time in examining the issues, or researching the candidates themselves. They are likely when interviewed on the street by the evening news, to spout the same inane platitudes as their favorite movie stars.

We get the leaders we ask for, and we deserve them. It was just as true in 2008 as it will be in 2012. The "love" to which Noonan refers is not a choice, never mind a virtue, but a feeling, more akin to a schoolgirl crush. It will break hearts just as easily.

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