Dear Peggy, what took you so long?
Peggy Noonan has suddenly, suddenly, noticed the coarseness of current political discourse? As if it hasn’t been awful for years, especially on the Right. As if Rush and O’Reilly and Coulter and the rest haven’t engaged in slime-pit politics for years. As if Newt never outlined divisive politics that scorned bi-partisanship and cooperation, politics so divisive that the Republican Party is now divided against itself.
The full column here, if you care to read it in its entirety:
An excerpt below, comments in parentheses are mine:
“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.
(Bushian or Reaganite? There are no other choices? Reagan’s consevatism is the only “right” choice? )
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…..”
“…..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.”
Dear Peggy, what took you so long? 7 weeks ago you called McCain’s choice of Palin “political bullshit” but even before that didn’t you notice the direction McCain’s campaign was taking? Didn’t you notice the execrable Steve Schmidt (yes, that guy who smeared McCain in North Carolina in the 2000 primaries) standing there just behind him, guiding him, managing him, controlling him, and ultimately, destroying him.
And now you announce that Sarah Palin is the expression of a new vulgarization of politics without pointing out that it is your party, and mine, that has been guilty of the worst of this for too many years. It’s not new; you just chose not to notice.
Of course Palin “just says things”. She has lived her entire life without what appears to be any introspection, almost carelessly, and it enables her to say that God has ordered these things.
And two more things:
- “Reinspirit” is not a real word
- Joe the Plumber is a fraud.