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Peggy Noonan

Speechwriter for U.S. President Ronald Reagan, author of many of his inspirational presidential speeches


A president doesn't have to be brilliant... He doesn't have to be clever; you can hire clever... You can hire pragmatic, and you can buy and bring in policy wonks. But you can't buy courage and decency, you can't rent a strong moral sense. A president must bring those things with him... He needs to have, in that much maligned word, but a good one nonetheless, a vision of the future he wishes to create.. But a vision is worth little if a president doesn't have the character-- the courage and heart-- to see it through.

from her essay on Ronald Reagan in Character Above All
[The Clinton administration] They lack a sense of awe. Not the kind of awe that can inhibit you or can falsely cripple you by making you think that you are smaller than you are or less than you are, but the kind of awe that makes you bigger, that makes you reach higher as if in tribute to some unseen greatness without you.

Feb. 10, 2000 - from a speech at a Lincoln Day dinner organized by the Claremont Institute
We've lost that sense of mystery about us -- our purpose, our meaning, our role. Our ancestors believed in two worlds and understood this one to be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. We are the first generation of human kind that actually expected to be happy here on earth, and our search for it has caused such unhappiness. The reason: If you do not believe in another, higher world; if you believe only in the flat, material world around you; if you believe this is your only chance for happiness; if that is what you believe, then you will be disappointed when the world does not give you a good measure of its riches.

[The mass shootings at a Colorado high school] The kids who did this are responsible. They did it. They killed. But they came from a place and a time, and were yielded forth by a culture. ... The boys who did the killing, the famous Trench Coat Mafia, inhaled too deep the ocean in which they swam.

Apr. 22, 1999 - from "The Culture of Death" published in the Wall Street Journal
Reagan the political figure had a form of courage that I think is the hardest and most demanding kind. A general will tell you that anyone can be brave for five minutes; the adrenaline pumps, you do things of which you wouldn't have thought yourself capable. But Reagan had that harder and more exhausting courage, the courage to swim against the tide. And we all forget it now because he changed the tide.

from her essay on Ronald Reagan in Character Above All
Americans love their country and fear their government. Liberals love their government and fear the people.

on NBC television's Today show
[Political polls] ... the more often you take your temperature, the more likely you are to be a hypochondriac.