Peggy Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal that the disease endemic to Washington ravaging the country is selfishness. With slightly hyperbolic rhetorical flair, she calls politicians “the locus of selfishness in the modern world.”
Noonan states succinctly, “Chris Christie’s problem isn’t that he’s a bully, it’s that he’s selfish. Barack Obama isn’t stupid and therefore the maker of mayhem, he’s selfish.” It’s not just the famous politicians she targets; she adds, “There isn’t a staffer on the Hill who won’t tell you 90% of members are driven by their own needs, wants and interests, not America’s.”
From her perch seated above the fray, Noonan moans that the new book by former defense secretary Bob Gates has passages that speak of such selfishness, and they “read like a cry from the heart.” She continues that the chaplain of the Senate, Barry Black, prayed several months ago for the executives and legislators in Washington, intoning, “Save us from the madness. We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness.”
Startlingly, Noonan, who once was a huge Barack Obama fan, defends Tea Party acolytes, writing, “We are in unprecedented trouble. Citizens know this. It’s why they buy guns. They see unfixable America around them, they think it’s all going to fall apart. In Washington (and New York) they huff and puff their disapproval: Those Americans with their guns, they’re causing a lot of trouble. But Americans think they’re in trouble because their leaders are too selfish to face challenges that will do us in.” Methinks Noonan is eager to jump off the Obama ship before it sinks.
She notes the selfishness of Christie at the 2012 GOP national convention, when, given the keynote speaker slot, he focused almost entirely on himself and hardly mentioned the nominee, Mitt Romney. She quips, “The GOP nominee needed a boost from blue-state man, but there wasn’t much in it for blue-state man. He’d only get Republican cooties on him. So he played it like a vanity production and made a speech about himself.” She also eviscerates Christie for his famous love-in with Obama when Christie already had a huge lead in the polls and didn’t need Obama’s help to win in New Jersey.
Noonan correctly notes that politicians call themselves public servants but “act like bosses who think the voters work for them,” while “physicians who routinely help the needy and the uninsured do not call themselves servants. They get to be called the 1%. Politicians who jerk around doctors, nurses and health systems call themselves servants, when of course they look more like little kings and queens instructing the grudging peasants in how to arrange their affairs.
Finally, Noonan attacks Obama, “the King of I, who unselfconsciously claims ownership of . . . everything. ‘My military,’ ‘my White House,’ ‘my cabinet,’ ‘my secretary.'” She adds that Obama’s selfish actions have more of an effect than Christie’s “because they’re national and because they play out in the area of policy.” She says of ObamaCare, “The president’s health-insurance reform had to be breathtaking, mind-bending, historic. It had to be a Democratic Party initiative only. It required a few major lies to gain passage, but what the heck.”
Noonan concludes with the story of a New York public school that is in desperate shape; the children are left to watch movies; the principal doesn’t show up for work, but when the New York Post, which reported the story, showed up, the Potemkin village was quickly constructed to cover for the principal and members of the teachers’ union.
Noonan states, “Someday history will write of our era, and to history the biggest scandal will be the thing we all accepted in our leaders, chronic and endemic selfishness. History will be hard on us for that.”
Yet this was the very same self-serving woman, once a Reagan worshiper, who became a starry-eyed Obama fan, writing of Barack Obama’s refusal to help those courageous Iranians who attempted to rebel against Iran’s tyrannical government in 2009:
To insist the American president, in the first days of the rebellion, insert the American government into the drama was shortsighted and mischievous … Mr. Obama was restrained, balanced and helpful in the crucial first days, keeping the government out of it but having his State Department ask a primary conduit of information, Twitter, to delay planned maintenance and keep reports from the streets coming.
When it comes to self-serving, which is quite close to selfishness, Noonan is right up there with her Washington buddies. She’s correct when she says politicians are selfish, but the oily woman should at least have the decency to include herself.