Noonan suggests what Obama "think[s] of America" is a mystery -- but he wrote a whole book on the topic

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

In her column, Peggy Noonan asked of Barack Obama: "What does he think of America ... Who would have taught him to love it, and what did he learn was loveable, and what does he think about it all?" But Obama's latest book -- The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream -- is all about "[w]hat ... he think[s] of America."

In her April 25 OpinionJournal.com column, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan claimed that "Hillary Clinton is not Barack Obama's problem. America is Mr. Obama's problem," and asked if Obama has "ever gotten misty-eyed over ... the Wright Brothers and what kind of country allowed them to go off on their own and change everything? How about D-Day, or George Washington, or Henry Ford, or the losers and brigands who flocked to Sutter's Mill, who pushed their way west because there was gold in them thar hills?" Continuing with this line of inquiry, Noonan asked of Obama: "What does he think about all that history? Which is another way of saying: What does he think of America?" and "Who would have taught him to love it, and what did he learn was loveable, and what does he think about it all?"

While Media Matters for America did not identify specific instances of Obama's getting "misty-eyed" over the Wright brothers, the 1944 Allied invasion of Europe, George Washington, the 1849 California Gold Rush -- or Henry Ford, for that matter -- the title of his latest book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, suggests that Noonan should have looked there before suggesting that Obama has yet to address "[w]hat ... he think[s] of America." She needn't have read past the prologue to find this:

I think America has more often been a force for good than for ill in the world; I carry few illusions about our enemies, and revere the courage and competence of our military. I reject a politics that is based solely on racial identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or victimhood generally. I think much of what ails the inner city involves a breakdown in culture that will not be cured by money alone, and that our values and spiritual life matter at least as much as our GDP.

Or she could have just skipped to Obama's final sentence: "My heart is filled with love for this country."

From Noonan's April 25 column:

Main thought. Hillary Clinton is not Barack Obama's problem. America is Mr. Obama's problem. He has been tagged as a snooty lefty, as the glamorous, ambivalent candidate from Men's Vogue, the candidate who loves America because of the great progress it has made in terms of racial fairness. Fine, good. But has he ever gotten misty-eyed over ... the Wright Brothers and what kind of country allowed them to go off on their own and change everything? How about D-Day, or George Washington, or Henry Ford, or the losers and brigands who flocked to Sutter's Mill, who pushed their way west because there was gold in them thar hills? There's gold in that history.

John McCain carries it in his bones. Mr. McCain learned it in school, in the Naval Academy, and, literally, at grandpa's knee. Mrs. Clinton learned at least its importance in her long slog through Arkansas, circa 1977-92.

Mr. Obama? What does he think about all that history? Which is another way of saying: What does he think of America? That's why people talk about the flag pin absent from the lapel. They wonder if it means something. Not that the presence of the pin proves love of country - any cynic can wear a pin, and many cynics do. But what about Obama and America? Who would have taught him to love it, and what did he learn was loveable, and what does he think about it all?

Another challenge. Snooty lefties get angry when you ask them to talk about these things. They get resentful. Who are you to question my patriotism? But no one is questioning his patriotism, they're questioning its content, its fullness. Gate 14 has a right to hear this. They'd lean forward to hear.

This is an opportunity, for Mr. Obama needs an Act II. Act II is hard. Act II is where the promise of Act I is deepened, the plot thickens, and all is teed up for resolution and meaning. Mr. Obama's Act I was: I'm Obama. He enters the scene. Act III will be the convention and acceptance speech. After that a whole new drama begins. But for now he needs Act II. He should make his subject America.

Network/Outlet
Wall Street Journal
Person
Peggy Noonan
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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