Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Noonan on Bush

Peggy Noonan admires President Bush, but wishes he’d be a little more like (dare I say it?) Richard Nixon on a good day.

In the course of her column, she also calls attention to a few things he said in this speech. He twice uses the expression "natural rights" in a way that is intelligible and intelligent. So far as I can tell, he has only used this expression once before, in his speech at Goree Island, Senegal. Am I right about this?

Discussions - 3 Comments

This sounds right to me. I would add that Bush has ALWAYS used the terms "rights," "human rights," and "human dignity"
interchangeably to mean exactly what he recently referred to as
"natural rights." He gets it right out of the Declaration of Independence, and understands by it the belief that each human being is endowed by the Almighty with the same rights or freedoms as every other human being. That’s what makes these rights natural; they’re part of one’s nature as a human being created in the image of God (i.e., he made us all the same in this fundamental respect). It’s what Bush means when he repeatedly
says that human rights are not America’s gift to the world but God’s
gift to humanity (Gerson’s turn of phrase, and quite a good one at
that). Bush is quite Lincolnian in his undertsanding of the equal
rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

"When the President does it, that means that it it is not illegal"

- Richard Nixon, in interview with David Frost - May, 1977

Maybe this is what she’s talking about how Bush should be more like Nixon...

Peggy Noonan admires President Bush, but wishes he’d be a little more like (dare I say it?) Richard Nixon on a good day.

Funny, I recall how Nixon used to chaff, in interviews, How Bush Sr. had somehow degraded the office of the presidency by doing a press conference without a "tie" on.

Go figure, eh?

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