Thursday, August 05, 2004

Peggy Noonan on Hiatus again

Peggy Noonan, one of my favorite columnists, has decided to go on hiatus again. No, she's not writing another book. This time, she feels that the elections is so important that she can't sit it out.
Because I am a conservative I support the party that best represents conservative views, the Republican Party. Sometimes I get mad at it; often it disappoints me. It is imperfect, and not perfectible. But to a greater degree than in the past I feel an urge to help it. Since peace was wrenched off the tracks on 9/11, deep in my heart I have pulled for President Bush, Vice President Cheney, members of the current administration, and Republicans in the Senate and the House. With the decline of the Democratic Party I have become convinced there is a greater chance we will win the war if the Republican Party wins the election.

In the past four years I have written about and given advice to both parties in this column. But a week ago, while watching the Democratic convention, I made a decision.

I am going to take three months' unpaid leave from The Wall Street Journal and attempt to support the Republican Party in the coming and crucial election.
Perhaps she felt she could contribute in other ways, by appearing on "Hardball" or other NBC shows, but she seems to have found that route unfulfilling.
A while back I also agreed to spend part of the 2004 election year commentating on MSNBC and NBC. But it was not fully satisfying. I never felt I was moving the ball forward either for my beliefs or for myself or for that elusive thing that yet exists called "what is true." The oppositional nature of TV news shows--there's a liberal and a conservative and they fight, which equals drama, which equals ratings--often keeps progress from happening and truth from being said. And in an odd way people talk a lot on these shows--there's a high syllabic content--but they often don't say what they really mean.

Anyway, I never felt I was moving the ball forward. So I ended my contract and figured out where I should be. I decided it's good to be on TV in whatever venue seems right when you feel you have something important you want to say. I also decided that when you are living through crucial history and you believe one political party is on balance right, and trying to fight a valiant fight, you should join in if you can.
But she will be back, regardless of the results.
When I return after the election I hope I will bring to my work a new and deeper knowledge of modern politics, the American electorate, and changes in media coverage of both. If it turns out things go well I'll come back and tell you why I think it went well. If things don't go well--if the Republicans lose, or they lose plus I'm a big flop in my efforts--I'll tell you about that too.
I'll miss her, but I hope that her free advice given publicly will be just as good, and more politically useful, when given privately. Good Luck, Ms. Noonan.

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