Peggy Noonan has spent some time in airports, as (recently) have I. She thinks that her fellow travelers wonder whether Obama "gets" America and knows that the people she has been visiting are over George W. Bush.
I finally understand the party nostalgia for Reagan. Everyone speaks of him now, but it wasn’t that way in 2000, or 1992, or 1996, or even ’04.
I think it is a manifestation of dislike for and disappointment in Mr. Bush. It is a turning away that is a turning back. It is a looking back to conservatism when conservatism was clear, knew what it was, was grounded in the facts of the world.
The reasons for the quiet break with Mr. Bush: spending, they say first, growth in the power and size of government, Iraq. I imagine some of this: a fine and bitter conservative sense that he has never had to stand in his stockinged feet at the airport holding the bin, being harassed. He has never had to live in the world he helped make, the one where grandma’s hip replacement is setting off the beeper here and the child is crying there.
The last bit is a little unfair. We stand in lines and endure the indignities of the TSA not because of Iraq, but becuase of 9-11. Unfortunately, for better or worse, Iraq has made us forget 9-11, or rather our response to the latter is filtered through our opinion of the former. And whatever one can say about the decision to invade Iraq or about the reasons for finishing the "job," once it has been undertaken, the demoralized confusion of those of us trudging through the concourses is the President’s fault.