A Reasonable Candidate?

The Iowa caucuses are next week, and Peggy Noonan has a word for Iowans to consider before they select their candidates. Noonan thinks there are “reasonable” and “unreasonable” candidates on both the Democrat and Republican sides.

She defines a “reasonable” candidate as follows: “a candidate who does not appear to be obviously insane. We’d like knowledge, judgment, a prudent understanding of the world and of the ways and histories of the men and women in it.”

On that basis, here’s how she sizes up the field.




Joe Biden

Chris Dodd

Barack Obama

Bill Richardson



Mitt Romney

John McCain

Duncan Hunter

Fred Thompson

Rudy Giuliani


Hillary Clinton

John Edwards





Mike Huckabee





Several items from Noonan’s column are worth of note. First, she says that Giuliani is “reasonable” but not desirable, for reasons she promises to explain if he wins.

Second, the only “unreasonable” Republican candidate that she mentions is Mike Huckabee. She gives no reasons. She just says that he is an unreasonable candidate. On her definition (see of above), I guess that means that Huckabee is obviously insane and without knowledge, judgment and a prudent understanding of the world.

Third, Noonan is unusually up-beat about Barack Obama. She writes, “Mr. Obama is thoughtful, and it would be a pleasure to have a president who is highly literate and a writer of books.”

Fourth, Noonan saves her most scathing words for Hillary Clinton. I’ll close with an excerpt:

Hillary Clinton? No, not reasonable. I concede her sturdy mind, deep sophistication, and seriousness of intent. I see her as a triangulator like her husband, not a radical but a maneuverer in the direction of a vague, half-forgotten but always remembered, leftism. It is also true that she has a command-and-control mentality, an urgent, insistent and grating sense of destiny, and she appears to believe that any act that benefits Clintons is a virtuous act, because Clintons are good and deserve to be benefited.

But this is not, actually, my central problem with her candidacy. My central problem is that the next American president will very likely face another big bad thing, a terrible day, or days, and in that time it will be crucial–crucial–that our nation be led by a man or woman who can be, at least for the moment and at least in general, trusted. Mrs. Clinton is the most dramatically polarizing, the most instinctively distrusted, political figure of my lifetime. Yes, I include Nixon. Would she be able to speak the nation through the trauma? I do not think so. And if I am right, that simple fact would do as much damage to America as the terrible thing itself.

Read the rest of this interesting article here:

“Be Reasonable: As Iowa sizes up the candidates, so do I” – by Peggy Noonan (Wall Street Journal)


  • J. Pat Lamb

    And here I thought I was going to have to size up a candidate on the basis of integrity, candor, and vision. I must be insane and out of touch!

  • D. Taylor Benton

    I hate to say it, but Noonan has gone the way of the chic, elitist, economic and policy conservatives of the North and is writing Huck off for no defensible reason, just like the majority of the press and non-social/moral conservatives. unfortunately, she is already planning for the next attack like 9/11. I would hope we would elect someone that would be smart enough to prevent such a tragedy. I think if we were to assess W before he was elected by the same “can he guide us through a tough time” mentality, I don’t think we would of seen the W we know today in terms of taking the fight to the Islamo-fascists and not letting them take it to us. I believe that Huck would do a great job protecting our country, given the fact he says what he thinks and he means what he says.

  • Paul

    I don’t think Noonan has GONE that way at all. True RIGHT WING (read: conservative) politics are the politics of, as you say, fiscal conservatives.

    Either be a conservative or don’t, but quit trying to pin the morality pin on conservatives. They aren’t. And simply being pro-gestational period and anti-gay marriage doesn’t make one moral. being pro-LIFE makes one moral. And far too many of the republicans running with the evangelical vote in mind never learned the difference.

  • D. Taylor Benton

    ohhh believe me, I am a fiscal conservative as well but that is not all, and telling me what my views on morality is rather hilarious due to the fact you have no idea who I am. and if you say that the conservative movement isn’t morally conservative, than your more confused than Noonan is biased…which is hard to accomplish.

  • Paul

    uhhh, D, I never told you what you believe.

    Heck, you could be the most moral person on the planet for all I know.

    But let’s face it, most of the people who claim to do things in God’s name very rarely do things for God’s glory. And that’s the story of the modern republican party. And don’t go thinking otherwise, Jack.

    And you’d do well to take a poli sci class before telling me what “conservatives” are REALLY all about. Last I checked, right wing politics was all about keeping the government out of people’s lives, not about constitutional amendments to claw it’s way INTO them.

  • D. Taylor Benton

    not entirely…who do right wing republicans champion as their hero? Ronald Reagan. and who did Reagan appeal to the most? those conservatives that were socially conservative above all things. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are three legs to the Republican stool, and less government is one of the three, and I would agree with you Paul in saying that we shouldn’t legislate amendments one way or the other. I would be happy if the Government stayed out of it completely!
    I think we may both be overstating our case a little, anyway, I think Noonan is just showing her elitist blood in condemning Huck for no real apparent reason. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is a “perfect” candidate anywhere in the field, but when it comes to the candidates we have, I think Huck, Romney, and even Thompson would come down somewhere in the realm of social conservative, so the next issue to me is economic issues, and the fair tax is something that has been a big puller for me. All of the top economists say this would level the playing field in terms of fairness and honestly, the less money the government has of mine the better! anyway, I honestly really appreciate the conversation and hope both you and Don have a wonderful new year and the rest of the Advent until Epiphany(Jan 6th).

  • D. Taylor Benton

    Hey Guys,

    I also would be interested, sincerely, about the next post on Denny’s site about Huck’s interview with meet the press and if that has any bearing on your views.

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