Peggy Noonan on Daniels-as-Coolidge

Has Peggy Noonan been reading my blog? I suppose it’s just an instance of great minds thinking alike (said he, modestly). At any rate, former Reagan speechwriter, author, and columnist Peggy Noonan does make the Coolidge-Daniels link I ventured recently, singling out recent speeches by governors Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie as particularly important and memorable.

We’ll have to wait and see if all this is mere talk with no substance. But I feel the rising popularity of “tough love” governors such as Daniels, Christie, and now apparently Wisconsin’s Walker may be an indication that a sea change in the direction of more austerity is on its way.

Update: Michael Gerson at the Washington Post also discovers a Coolidge-like coolness about Mitch Daniels 🙂

10 thoughts on “Peggy Noonan on Daniels-as-Coolidge

  1. I have always liked Ms. Noonan’s one reference to Calvin Coolidge in What I Saw at the Revolution (1990) describing her preparation for writing President Reagan’s Inaugural Address:

    “I read every inaugural address that had ever been given. There were surprises. Calvin Coolidge’s was clear as crystal and written with a kind of dry fluidity; it didn’t ask you to like it.”

    An excellent description of Coolidge’s prose style!

    • Thanks for your comment! I’ve been reading Peggy Noonan’s column more or less faithfully for a long time, and have read her “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”… i may have missed that Coolidge remark when I read her account of her years in the White House. And yes, it is a fine description!

    • As for Daniels, I suggest that a truce does not mean retreat on principle, but a respite in order to regroup and marshal your strengths. As for Coolidge…it’s hard to say, but I think he would have ordered his priorities in a similar fashion, without necessarily backpedaling on those other issues. I’m not so sure he would align himself with social conservatives rather than fiscal conservatives, given that choice. Then again, maybe I’m just reading into him what my own preferences are 😉

  2. “Don’t you know that four fifths of all our troubles in this life would disappear if we would just sit down and keep still?”
    — Calvin Coolidge

    Now, that sounds like a truce to me. I regret to say I don’t know the source or context of the quotation.

    • Jim Cook

      I have read a fair bit more about President Coolidge than most Americans I think but I have sadly missed out on this one.

      However, in “Jaksonian Philosophy” I rate the former President as by far the Greatest Presidential Philosopher of all time and would not be surprised if your quote came from him. Ironically enough it would be equally true and relevant today, or even more I would hazard to add.

    • Jim, how was your appearance in Grand Rapids? Did you meet “Ronald Reagan”? I’ve always loved this quote, although some people (like Hoover) have pointed out that it does make sense to identify and plan for that one fifths of our troubles that are indeed headed our way, so as not to be overwhelmed by them.
      As for the truce… most of the social issues dividing people today (abortion, same-sex marriage etc.) were unthinkable in Coolidge’s time (I’m not saying there was no abortion or same-sex attraction, but it was not a matter of public policy). On the social issues of his day, such as the women vote or racial equality, Coolidge was fairly progressive, I think.

  3. I had a wonderful time!
    The Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies put together the program titled, “Reagan’s Heroes”
    President Coolidge shared the stage of the Gerald R. Ford Museum with Presidents Jefferson, FDR and JFK. Of course “President Reagan” was there, too. Many refused to believe that we had not worked together before.
    We had a full day beginning with a radio interview, television interview, a high school performance and a show at a library. I was then able to fit in the best part of my Coolidge impersonation – the afternoon nap prior to the evening reception and stage presentation of “Reagan’s Heroes”.
    All the above will soon be up on YouTube.

    • That does sound fantastic, can’t wait for it to be on YouTube. You know it’s definitely on my “bucket list” to see you as Coolidge…in person.

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