The Shakespearean Ross Douthat

The New York Times just hired a new token conservative to replace the rhetorically challenged William Kristol: Ross Douthat. He's barely out of school and a blogger found this September 27, 2001 essay from the Harvard-based publication The Salient:

At least for now, before the casualties mount and the failures begin and the inevitable partisanship rears its head, we seem to be showing the necessary steel for the task ahead. And at the risk of sounding predictable, let me say how glad I am, and how fortunate we are, to have such a collection of hard men and women (Condaleeza [sic] forever!) at the helm of state today. Rumsfield [sic] and Powell, Cheney and Wolfowitz, all make me feel far more secure than the collection of ineffective hand-wringers (Anthony Lake, Warren Christopher) who dominated the Clinton years. (Think, for a moment, what a tissue of squandered opportunities Clinton’s foreign policy now seems.) And yes, in that list of leaders I include George W. Bush, whom even I have always considered a good but slightly callow man, but who seems so far to be rising to the occasion [...] as America’s leaders always have, so far. Call it Prince Hal becoming Henry V, if you will, but Dubya is growing up, and his speech last week before the Congress was one of the one of the finest political addresses that I have ever heard [...] and certainly the best American speech since the close of the Cold War. A friend tells me that she watched the speech with a collection of Harvard Housemates, who spent the entire thirty minutes heaping scorn on the President. This should not surprise, but it does sadden.

Many bad columnists trotted out the George Bush/Henry V comparison from their college Shakespeare courses in the wake of 9/11; at least Douthat was actually in college. Yet 'twas Prince Hal, not Henry, that conducted yon wars, counseled by the personage the bard described as "that trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey Iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years."