Noonan: “It’s The Character Stupid”.

April 22, 2012

Character? Who Cares? (Image:

Peggy Noonan’s latest column America’s Crisis of Character does what Noonan does best. Take an issue that we all know is there but no one will talk about, roll said issue into a few hundred words of some of the best prose of our time, and then sit back and listen as the talking begins.

She starts with the openly obvious that we’re all talking about:

….”This week Gallup had a poll showing only 24% of Americans feel we’re on the right track as a nation. That’s a historic low.”…..

and that conventional wisdom puts the reason for such dissatisfaction as the economy.

She then pops us right off the interstate, puts it into four wheel drive and takes us down the over grown and muddied path of a less discussed but more plausible cause.

Unlike the now famous 1992 James Carville line, “It’s the economy stupid”, Noonan surmises that this time, “It’s our character stupid”. That two decades since “Slick Willy’s” simple slogan, it’s not so simple anymore.

That while the economy is most certainly much of the cause of our most recent disgruntlement it’s not all of the cause. Yes, we are worried about our pocketbooks, but we’re also worried about the ever declining balance we see on our “statement of character” delivered to us daily via the “news” about ourselves.

And what pray tell secret pearls of wisdom hath Ms. Noonan to dare think such a thought? Just one week of news stories taken not individually but in the aggregate: A McDonald’s beat down in Baltimore where the crowd laughs as they tape it on their smart-phones,, “flash robs” coordinated through social media swarming stores, yet another groping by a TSA agent that left yet another innocent woman in tears, the GSA and Secret Service scandals, school teachers who can’t be fired even though they had sex with students, and pictures of American soldiers posing with body parts in Afghanistan..

Seven stories on seven topics, each disturbing but not calamitous when viewed individually. Alone, each story having it’s own rationalization to explain it away: Juvenile delinquents have always been around, there’s a price to be paid for being “safe”, government waste and abuse has always been with us, and the truth of war is never pretty.

It’s when the stories are examined together as one, in aggregate, that the sadder, more worrisome picture presents itself.

A picture that paints an American decline far more dangerous to her future than any cyclical economic downturn.

For decades now the left and its allies in the media has fed Americans a steady diet of victim-hood, entitlement, and envy. Under Obama that diet has ballooned from a slice or two a day, into a full fledged smorgasbord to feast upon morning, noon, and night.

One soundbite after another, the sloths of ignorance gorge themselves upon their Dear Leader’s every word. America is not “fair”, she is “unjust”, she must be “transformed” through wealth “redistribution”. As moths to the fire they rush in, oblivious to the danger. The promise of more for less, the message that it’s not you, it’s “them”, the narrative of if you don’t’ have all you want it’s not your fault, it’s “their” fault.

The flames of class warfare are sweeping across the country faster, stronger and hotter and they are being fanned by a party and a complicit media that actually prides itself on NOT having values, morals or character that might “offend” the entitled. Flames that burn their brightest when engulfing the very values and traditions that put America at the pinnacle of human history.

An America proud of her charaacter and stronger because of it.

But under the Obama administration, that character has slid farther and faster towards bankruptcy than at any time in our history.

University business classes are filled with case studies of companies emerging from financial bankruptcy, leaner, stronger and more secure in their future but the Corner has yet to find a case study illustrating how a nation survives a bankruptcy of character.

Economies may run on capital but countries run on character.

And come November 6th, 2012, we’ll see just how much of that character, if any, we have left.

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One Response to Noonan: “It’s The Character Stupid”.

  1. anson burlingame on April 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Accumulation of debt with no idea how to pay it off is a character issue.

    Being “comfortable” being unemployed and on the “dole” is a character issue.

    Expecting OPM to pay for your own needs is a character issue.

    Routinely spending more than you make is a character issue

    Impregnanting a woman and not being responsible for her and the child’s care is a character issue.

    And the biggest character issue of a leader is NOT assigning clear responsibility to an indivudual in any organization and when things go wrong not hold that individual accountable.

    Or maybe the biggest failure of a leader is to blame others when your own organization does not deliver as demanded and promised.

    All of the above are big failures by individuals. Yet what do we argue about today? A few Secret Service agents being “serviced”. Yes, that is a character issue at the GS-13 level. But we have much bigger character issues today to concern us as a nation.



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