Peggy Noonan is a veteran of the Republican presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan and the elder George Bush. She is a conservative columnist for the Wall Street Journal, a regular guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe and supported Senator John McCain.
While her side may have lost, Peggy says this election was an extraordinary event. Seeing the large crowds and celebrations full of exuberant young people reminded her of another presidential election. "I thought of how it was for me when I was a little girl in 1960 when something new and astonishing had happened: A Catholic—an Irish Catholic—had been elected president," she says. "I thought of Jack Kennedy and that extraordinary night that was so important to me as a child and thought the breakthrough I felt then is the breakthrough so many are feeling now. And it is a beautiful thing to see history regenerate and move forward and broaden itself and surprise us and take its turns."
Peggy says one thing that impresses her about President-elect Obama is his grace. When Governor Palin was announced as Senator McCain's running mate, some in the press zeroed in on her unwed teenage daughter's recently revealed pregnancy. "They went to Barack Obama for his reaction. ... He said, 'My mother was 18 when she had me.' And he took the wind out of the sails of the critics and he also shamed people who were being unkind. He just stopped them going down that road," she says. "You know, in politics you sometimes see grace, but it's mostly when they have to be graceful. That was grace when he didn't have to be. And it was a very touching and lovely thing."