Noonan for WSJ: The President's Island Retreat

August 19th, 2011

Wall Street Journal

The President’s Island Retreat

Is his visit to Martha’s Vineyard a sign that he’s giving up?

By PEGGY NOONAN
AUGUST 19, 2011, 9:25 A.M. ET

The phrase of the day is “new lows.” It blares from every screen. The number of Americans satisfied with the ways things are going hits new lows—11%. President Obama’s popularity: new lows. The Dow Jones Industrial Average this year: new lows. Maybe it will enter ordinary language. “Charlie, it’s been ages. How are you, how’s Betty?” “I’m experiencing some volatility, but she’s inching toward new lows.”

The market is dispirited. I’m wondering if the president is, too, and if that won’t carry implications for the 2012 race. You can imagine him having lunch with political advisers, hearing some unwanted advice—”Don’t go to Martha’s Vineyard!”—putting his napkin by his plate, pushing back from the table, rising, and saying in a clipped, well-modulated voice: “I’m tired. I’m going. If they want this job so much let them have it.”  Read More…