Peggy Noonan Nails It

I have found it amazing from day one how Sarah Palin has been shielded from the media. As Jon Stewart noted the other night, Joe the (Fake) Plumber gave more interviews in one day than Palin has in seven weeks. Instead, all we've heard is the usual whining about how unfair the "liberal" media has been to her. I'm sorry, but Katie Couric asking a question about what newspapers she reads is not an ambush,a nd if she is so brilliant she should be able to take on all comers.

Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan talks about this issue in her latest column.

There has never been a second's debate among liberals, to use an
old-fashioned word that may yet return to vogue, over Mrs. Palin: She was a
dope and unqualified from the start. Conservatives and Republicans, on the
other hand, continue to battle it out: Was her choice a success or a
disaster? And if one holds negative views, should one say so? For
conservatives in general, but certainly for writers, the answer is a
variation on Edmund Burke: You owe your readers not your industry only but
your judgment, and you betray instead of serve them if you sacrifice it to
what may or may not be their opinion.

Here is a fact of life that is also a fact of politics: You have to hold
open the possibility of magic. People can come from nowhere, with modest
backgrounds and short risumis, and yet be individuals of real gifts, gifts
that had previously been unseen, that had been gleaming quietly under a
bushel, and are suddenly revealed. Mrs. Palin came, essentially, from
nowhere. But there was a man who came from nowhere, the seeming tool of a
political machine, a tidy, narrow, unsophisticated senator appointed to high
office and then thrust into power by a careless Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose
vanity told him he would live forever. And yet that limited little man was
Harry S. Truman. Of the Marshall Plan, of containment. Little Harry was big.
He had magic. You have to give people time to show what they have. Because
maybe they have magic too.

But we have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and
there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or
the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high
office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is
the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for? For seven
weeks I've listened to her, trying to understand if she is Bushian or
Reaganite a spender, to speak briefly, whose political decisions seem
untethered to a political philosophy, and whose foreign policy is shaped by
a certain emotionalism, or a conservative whose principles are rooted in
philosophy, and whose foreign policy leans more toward what might be called
romantic realism, and that is speak truth, know America, be America, move
diplomatically, respect public opinion, and move within an awareness and
appreciation of reality.

But it's unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn't think
aloud. She just . . . says things.

Her supporters accuse her critics of snobbery: Maybe she's not a big
"egghead" but she has brilliant instincts and inner toughness. But what
instincts? "I'm Joe Six-Pack"? She does not speak seriously but attempts to
excite sensation "palling around with terrorists." If the Ayers case is a
serious issue, treat it seriously. She is not as thoughtful or persuasive as
Joe the Plumber, who in an extended cable interview Thursday made a better
case for the Republican ticket than the Republican ticket has made. In the
past two weeks she has spent her time throwing out tinny lines to crowds she
doesn't, really, understand. This is not a leader, this is a follower, and
she follows what she imagines is the base, which is in fact a vast and
broken-hearted thing whose pain she cannot, actually, imagine. She could
reinspire and reinspirit; she chooses merely to excite. She doesn't seem to
understand the implications of her own thoughts.

No news conferences? Interviews now only with friendly journalists? You
can't be president or vice president and govern in that style, as a
sequestered figure. This has been Mr. Bush's style the past few years, and
see where it got us. You must address America in its entirety, not as a
sliver or a series of slivers but as a full and whole entity, a great nation
trying to hold together. When you don't, when you play only to your little
piece, you contribute to its fracturing.

In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new
vulgarization in American politics. It's no good, not for conservatism and
not for the country. And yes, it is a mark against John McCain, against his
judgment and idealism.

I gather this week from conservative publications that those whose thoughts
lead them to criticism in this area are to be shunned, and accused of the
lowest motives. In one now-famous case, Christopher Buckley was shooed from
the great magazine his father invented. In all this, the conservative
intelligentsia are doing what they have done for five years. They bitterly
attacked those who came to stand against the Bush administration. This was
destructive. If they had stood for conservative principle and the full
expression of views, instead of attempting to silence those who opposed mere
party, their movement, and the party, would be in a better, and healthier,

At any rate, come and get me, copper.


Christine said…
Yes, she did. Thanks for sharing this, Scott. I would not have seen it otherwise.
Anonymous said…
When I saw you were quoting Noonan, and claiming she nailed it, I almost barfed my supper on the rug. But apparently even the neo-cons couldn’t hold their noses until November. McCain and Palin flat out called Obama a terrorist, and Palin accused Democratically dominated states as unpatriotic and un-American territories. As far as I’m concerned, McCain needs to be committed to a VA nut-ward, and Palin is living proof Alaska’s one party system is a disaster for the northwest territory. The Republicans have resorted to using Nazi propaganda tactics throughout this campaign, which is why little old ladies are standing up in Republican town hall meetings and exclaiming “Obama is an Arab“. At least they aren’t reaching for the ‘ol Jewish conspiracy tactic. Just the ‘entire media is liberal’ tactic. Palin couldn’t account of which magazines or newspapers she reads, because the freaks on the far right think all mainstream magazines are liberal propaganda. Ironic that she didn’t mention the National Review, or Republican Congressional Position Papers from Washington. But that would’ve required actual reading from a governor that simply doesn’t read at all - never mind “not being well read”.

Popular Posts