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True Grit

Peggy Noonan pens op-ed today which probably would have been more accurate had it been titled "American Nero". Peggy goes on at length about how off-putting President Bush's seemingly perpetual chipper attitude can be.
As I watched the news conference, it occurred to me that one of the things that might leave people feeling somewhat disoriented is the president’s seemingly effortless high spirits. He’s in a good mood. There was the usual teasing, the partly aggressive, partly joshing humor, the certitude. He doesn’t seem to be suffering, which is jarring. Presidents in great enterprises that are going badly suffer: Lincoln, LBJ with his head in his hands. Why doesn’t Mr. Bush? Every major domestic initiative of his second term has been ill thought through and ended in failure. His Iraq leadership has failed. His standing is lower than any previous president's since polling began. He's in a good mood.

She also goes on to point out how the American people have become the realists to the starry eyed romantic in the White House.
I suspect people pick up with Mr. Bush the sense that part of his drama, part of the story of his presidency, is that he gets to be the romantic about history, and the American people get to be the realists. Of the two, the latter is not the more enjoyable role.

Americans have always been somewhat romantic about the meaning of our country, and the beacon it can be for the world, and what the Founders did. But they like the president to be the cool-eyed realist, the tough customer who understands harsh realities.

With Mr. Bush it is the people who are forced to be cool-eyed and realistic. He's the one who goes off on the toots. This is extremely irritating, and also unnatural. Actually it's weird.

Welcome to the Bush Derangement Syndrome club, Peggy. Better late, than never. T-Shirts are in the back.

Update: More from Carpetbagger, Libby, and Joe Gandelman.

(Filed at State of the Day)

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