Americans Ask: Is Anyone in Charge?

As Washington squabbles, citizens lose faith: Noonan
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2009 10:24 AM CST
President Barack Obama speaks to the House Democratic Issues Conference Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009 in Williamsburg, Va.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – Americans are indulging in a strange disjunction between real life and the fate of the nation, Peggy Noonan writes for the Wall Street Journal: "Your long-term thoughts are pessimistic, and yet you're cheerful in the day to day." But as the recession gets worse and the threat of terrorism fails to abate, Washington offers little solace. Americans "know huge and historic challenges are here, but they're not confident they can or will be met."

Who's to blame? Nancy Pelosi, "a mere ward heeler, a hack," comes in for Noonan's opprobrium—but it's Barack Obama, who put his mandate behind an old-style spendathon instead of a third-way stimulus, who has really let us down. As with Hillary Clinton during primary season, Obama has resuscitated his enemy. Now, writes Noonan, we have a squabbling Congress, a surprisingly weak president, and "a public sense that no one is in charge."