DENVER—It is not too much of a simplification to say that, politically speaking, if you grew up as an ethnic Catholic kid in New York and its suburbs in the Fifties and the Sixties, you were destined to end up one of two ways.
The church offered a message of social justice, within a protectively rigid hierarchical structure.
If you stuck with the script, and were instinctively alarmed by the excesses of Sixties liberalism, you ended up as a political conservative, like the Buckley family, or Al D'Amato.
If you had a bit more rebel in you, and found yourself more moved by, and forgiving of, those on who God's chisel slipped, you were more likely to follow the example of the Kennedy family and emerge a Catholic liberal, like Mario Cuomo.
Sometimes the split took place within families. My mom was a feisty Kennedy Dem, and her sister, an outspoken Goldwater Republican. It made for zesty holiday gatherings. Still does, in fact, when the cousins gather.
Peggy Noonan and I grew up a few miles apart on Long Island. Though I voted for, and admire, Ronald Reagan, I never joined the conservative movement or the Republican Party. But I have always admired her talent and smarts.
She got screechy for a while, but her work as a columnist for The Wall Street Journal this campaign season has been first rate. I don't agree with a lot of what she writes, but she's real good at provoking me, and getting me to challenge my assumptions.
And from time to time— like here—she's inimitably Peggy.
The general thinking among thinking journalists, as opposed to journalists who merely follow the journalistic line of the day, is that the change of venue Thursday night to Invesco Field, and the huge, open air Obama acceptance speech is ... one of the biggest and possibly craziest gambles of this or any other presidential campaign of the modern era. Everyone can define what can go wrong, and no one can quite define what "great move" would look like. It has every possibility of looking like a Nuremberg rally, it has too many variables to guarantee a good TV picture; the set, the Athenian columns, looks hokey; big crowds can get in the way of subtle oratory. My own added thought is that speeches are delicate; they're words in the air, and when you've got a ceiling the words can sort of go up to that ceiling and come back down again. But words said into an open air stadium...can just get lost in echoes, and misheard phrases.
Read the rest: Bill. Hillary. Teddy. She hits it out of the park.