skirt and a blue workshirt andnheavy walking shoes with whitenwoolen socks. Not exactlynWhite House issue, but I wasngoing walking. She looked menup and down and I swear hernmouth curied. She looked awaynand said something to an aide.nThe next time I saw her I hidnbehind a pillar.nCount these personal pronouns. Wondernabout that attire. Meditate upon thenthoughts and emotions attributed tonNancy Reagan. And what are we tonmake of Noonan’s presumption innjudging that Mrs. Reagan had “nonmeaning” in her eyes?nOf course, given this narcissistic sensibility,nnothing is ever good enough fornPeggy Noonan. Like most people whonwork in “The White House,” she actuallynwas installed in the old ExecutivenOffice Building. Not good enough:nThey gave me an office thatnfaced a courtyard that never gotnthe sun. I could look out andnsee the exhaust system of thenEOB. An old radiator hissednforlornly, carrying into my officenthe metallic rumblings of thendeepest insides of the oldnVictorian building. It was danknand clanked.nYet the old Executive Office Buildingnwas good enough for Secretary of StatenCordell Hull and for Secretary of thenNavy Franklin Roosevelt, and it’s anhelluva long way from Massapequa.nThough there can be no doubt thatnNoonan possesses some talent as anspeechwriter, still she is not favorablynrecalled by her colleagues. She claimsnto have originated George Bush’sn”thousand points of light” phrase;nothers, however, trace it to an article innCrisis magazine. They dispute, too,nher claim to the words Reagan bestowednon the Challenger catastrophe.nNow, most official speeches result fromna collaboration and are not ordinarilynthe work of a single ghost. The badnfeelings among her former colleaguesncome from the fact that Noonan, innleaks to the media, imperialisticallynclaimed personal authorship.nWhat I Saw at the Revolution is, innmajor aspect, novelistic: “Bill Bennett,nwho walks in thinking Holy smokes,nI’m in the White House. I am an32/CHRONICLESnmember of the Cabinet of the UnitednStates, holy smokes!” And for its fictionalnaspect, this book should havenbeen signed “Peggy Bronte.” Its pervasivenplot amounts to “Reagan didn’tnlove me,” which becomes rather embarrassing,nas when Peggy Noonannwrites, “there was a childlike quality tonhis robust self-regard, an innocenceneven to his sin.” To his what? The onlynReagan “sin” to be documented in thenbook is Reagan’s insufficient appreciationnof you-know-who:nHe was at his desk. He camentoward me warm as ever; henhardly seemed aged. Does henremember me? I think so butnam not sure.nMr. Rochester, please call your office.nThere is a message from Miss Eyre.nAnd the following must be about thenstrangest conversation ever to have takennplace in the Oval Office. In it,nNoonan is questioning the President ofnthe United States:n”Do you ever feel like the boynin the bubble?”n”Who was that?”n”The boy who had nonimmune system, so he had tonlive in a plastic bubble where hencould see everyone and theyncould see him, but there wasnsomething between him and thenpeople, the plastic. He couldn’tntouch them.”n”Well, no.”nAt least in part of her disordered mind,nReagan does not measure up tonNoonan’s idea of presidential greatness:n”Where is the anguish that usuallyncomes with greatness?”nWell, to hell with the anguish. LetnPaul Muni play the Reagan part. Itnoccurs to the reader that Ceorge Washington,nthough often angry, was never,nso far as we know, “anguished.” No,nReagan simply does not measure up fornNoonan. No anguish.nAnd yet, as a youngish conservative,nshe does admire Reagan’s undoubtednaccomplishments, as in the followingnweird sentence:nAnd Reagan? I knew he’d donenmore good for our country innsix years than any presidentnsince Roosevelt.nBut wait a minute: just what werennnRoosevelt’s accomplishments? Certainlynnot ending the Depression; the warndid that. Historians are somewhat at anloss to delineate FDR’s “greatness.” Incan only suppose that Peggy Noonan isntalking not about the historical FranklinnRoosevelt, but about some movie ornTV version of him.nBut though she deems Reagan tonhave accomplished much, there arenmoments when her unrequited love —nor her desperate need to be noticed andnappreciated—turns to fury:nThere were times when I wouldnsee the earnest young people innthe middle levels of thenadministration trying to getnsomeone to listen to theirnthoughts, fighting to advancenideas that were not country clubn[sic] but human andncompassionate, and see thensunny president who did notnseem to know or notice, and Inwould think to myself (if I wasntired enough, frustrated enough)nthat the battle for the mind ofnRonald Reagan was like thentrench warfare of Worid War I:nNever have so many fought sonhard for such barren terrain.nThis spasm has as its premise the notionnthat Reagan did not have a mind of hisnown, that he had to be instructed bynpeople like Noonan. In actuality, Reagannpossessed several large and clearnideas, and had possessed them since hendecided to enter active politics morenthan forty years ago.nToday, Peggy Noonan is personannon grata at the Bush WhitenHouse, and for good reason. She maynbe the worst thing to have passednwithin the pearly gates since the palmyndays of Cordon Liddy and John Dean.nHer exploitation of her minor role innthe Reagan administration is regardednby professionals as an unprinciplednoutrage, a gross violation of the code ofnthe speechwriter, which insists that thensaid writer submit to being a spectralnone: the speech belongs to the publicnfigure who delivers it. In his review ofnWhat I Saw at the Revolution, anothernformer speechwriter, Aram Bakshian,nobserved that while on the job Noonannhad a “canine” hunger for publicity.nShe courted the press, leaked hernspeech assignments, and determinedlyn