The Other McCain

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I May Have Reached A Peggy Noonan Diagnosis

Posted on | November 5, 2010 | 26 Comments

by Smitty

The continued descent of Peggy Noonan into abject silliness seems to parallel that of her Presidential Savior. I can’t sustain a full fisk, but the end of her latest post about the President, which could not resist a swipe at Governor Palin, merits a quick once-over with the bus, emphasis mine:

Noonan Smith
Electable doesn’t mean not-conservative. Electable means mature, accomplished, stable—and able to persuade. It also means able to withstand a napalm shower of derision from so-called feminists and so-called conservatives who are so eager to maintain their status on the cocktail party circuit that they will cheerfully throw anyone without the proper résumé under the bus faster than you can say “Noonan should retire”.
Conservatives talked a lot about Ronald Reagan this year, but they have to take him more to heart, because his example here is a guide. All this seemed lost last week on Sarah Palin, who called him, on Fox, “an actor.” She was defending her form of political celebrity—reality show, “Dancing With the Stars,” etc. This is how she did it: “Wasn’t Ronald Reagan an actor? Wasn’t he in ‘Bedtime for Bonzo,’ Bozo, something? Ronald Reagan was an actor.” In other words, the point is that appearing on TV in a paid billet is not a disqualifier. Thankfully, Reagan’s acting career was mostly behind him by the time he was operating at the State and national political level.
Excuse me, but this was ignorant even for Mrs. Palin. Reagan people quietly flipped their lids, but I’ll voice their consternation to make a larger point. Ronald Reagan was an artist who willed himself into leadership as president of a major American labor union (Screen Actors Guild, seven terms, 1947-59.) He led that union successfully through major upheavals (the Hollywood communist wars, labor-management struggles); discovered and honed his ability to speak persuasively by talking to workers on the line at General Electric for eight years; was elected to and completed two full terms as governor of California; challenged and almost unseated an incumbent president of his own party; and went on to popularize modern conservative political philosophy without the help of a conservative infrastructure. Then he was elected president. So, what are the minimum requirements for quotation of Reagan’s resume, then, Peggy? Are you entirely certain that Palin is not well-versed in Ron’s résumé? Overreact much?
The point is not “He was a great man and you are a nincompoop,” though that is true. The point is that Reagan’s career is a guide, not only for the tea party but for all in politics. He brought his fully mature, fully seasoned self into politics with him. He wasn’t in search of a life when he ran for office, and he wasn’t in search of fame; he’d already lived a life, he was already well known, he’d accomplished things in the world. Do you read your own drivel, Peggy? Have you not just omitted recounting Sarah’s own history, the very crime of which you’re trying to hang her? Reading yours, let’s see: you write. Got it. Props for selling the book copies, and putting words in some famous mouths. Have you decried Progressivism? For whom did you vote in the last election?
Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service. And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can’t just bully them, you can’t just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade. Which you have done how, exactly, in the last two years? What about your attempts to bully Sarah Palin with your column? What makes YOU cool? If Sarah Palin has, rather demonstrably, shown talent and leadership, does your endless kvetching make you John Cleese in the Argument sketch?
Americans don’t want, as their representatives, people who seem empty or crazy. They’ll vote no on that.

It’s not just the message, it’s the messenger.

By what diagnostic means do you arrive at the notion that Palin is crazy?

Since freestyle, non-medical diagnosis is all the rage, let us suppose that Peggy Noonan is depressed. It seems as though the anti-Palin crowd are realizing that that, in BHO, they voted for the charming aristocrat whom they admired in grad school, who then turned into the cad who divorced them, and, since Tuesday, morphed into the mal-adjusted father responsible for their current status as basket cases.
So, they turn their self-loathing onto Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell, stalwart ladies all, certainly exceedingly the ankle-level bar set by the current administration, and commence a spleen dump.
Well, Peggy, to the extent that this broad-brush generalization applies to you, get stuffed.
The fact that our politics have been moved away from individual liberty and verifiable principles and into the realm of hero-worship, in some idiotic quest for an impossible philosopher-king to wave a wand and magically fix stuff and rule over us in an Aristotalian Golden Age of Swellness (TM) is due to the kind of thinking shown in this article. Thanks.
Bonus: can’t mention the Argument sketch without embedding:


26 Responses to “I May Have Reached A Peggy Noonan Diagnosis”

  1. JeffS
    November 5th, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

    How could Peggy continue her descent into silliness? She reached the nadir long long long ago.

  2. TR Sterling
    November 5th, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

    Noonan writes on “maturity” then uses grad-school insults for the former VP candidate (Palin). Her standard Emo-op-ed is one small step above Joy Behar. Noonan’s claim to know the first thing about Reagan went out the window with her stealth campaign for Obama. Apparently Noonan was never acquainted with the Reagan who fought socialism and was honest about his actions and intentions (contrary to the “open-mic” Noonan).

  3. andycanuck
    November 5th, 2010 @ 10:34 pm

    I don’t know the context to know for certain, but a commenter at Hot Air pointed out that the Governor’s comment was sarcasm aimed at those on the Left (and GOP establishment types, undoubtedly) who mocked Reagan as “just a B actor”. It wasn’t an endorsement of that view.

  4. nukenanc
    November 6th, 2010 @ 12:25 am

    Bravo, Smitty! Thank you for saying what needed saying. Plain and simple, Peggy Noonan can’t stand the fact that Sarah Palin isn’t part of the East Coast Elite yet succeeds anyway. My heavens, she handles guns and snowmobiles and butchers dead animals instead of waiting for them to be tidily shrink-wrapped in plastic. Palin threatens Noonan’s comfortable world of smug, tepid conservative columns that say little and sway no one.

  5. Susan
    November 6th, 2010 @ 8:56 am

    If only Sarah Palin had Cher, Kanye West, Opie, Steve Colbert, Peggy Noonan, Shalres Krauthammer, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Sean Penn, Oprah Winfrey dictating to their audience how she is The One They All Must Vote For Cuz Celebrity Is Kweel then her negatives would unexpectly be viewed as positives.

    America will be free when Hollywood-addicted Americans pull their Collective Head out of Hollywood’s Illusions of Kweel.

  6. Susan
    November 6th, 2010 @ 9:05 am

    On that note; another of Sarah Palin’s life’s experience is that-unlike Peggy Noohan-Palin was not raised by Hollywood TV.

    Palin understands so many Americans were raised glazing into a black box projecting shiny images they believe represents the reality around them and the only way to reach America’s multitude of Peggy Noohans is to get on TV and reach out to Jon Stewart’s peeps.

  7. spaceman
    November 6th, 2010 @ 11:38 pm

    I really enjoy this blog, but I think you’re a bit off base here. Like many conservatives, I was very disappointed with Noonan carrying water for Barry during the campaign. But I am in total agreement with her points in this piece. Angle and O’Donnell had good positions but they were weak candidates. This was obvious to me, and I hope the Tea Party movement learns from this going forward. As for Palin, I find her intriguing as a political performer, but I think it would be a terrible mistake for the Republicans to nominate her for President. She simply does not have a compelling intellectual presence, and this would ultimately lead to her defeat. We need more conservative women out there running for office, but I would hope they would be more in the mold of Liz Cheney, not Palin.

  8. spaceman
    November 7th, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

    Here’s what I mean by “intellectual presence.” When Palin was asked by Couric to name a recent Supreme Court decision she disagreed with she totally wiped out (as did O’Donnell in a debate). But it seems to me that a well-informed, well-read, and policy-oriented conservative could have immediately sited the Kelo case and articulately explained why it was an egregious encroachment of property rights by the state of Connecticut. Palin, unfortunately, gives me the impression that she has, even now, NO IDEA, about the Kelo case. She has a lot of positive qualities, and is truly a charismatic speaker, but that’s off-set by a lack of intellectual depth. That’s why she’s a figure of sport to the liberal media, and why they would smirkingly question what she reads. If Keith Olbermann ever did that to Liz Cheney she would swiftly turn him into a eunuch, and he knows it. Cheney’s got the mental chops and is also persuasive and articulate. I wish there were more like her out there.