Peggy Noonan had to cough up her Sarah Palin fur ball sometime, I suppose. We heard it coming, but had hoped that Noonan would suppress it by drinking deeply of that gracious political civility she's selling in her newest book, Patriotic Grace. Instead, her Oct. 17, Wall Street Journal column, "Palin's Failin,'" disgorges Palin with all of the civility and grace one finds in the kitty litter.
On her book's back cover, Noonan echoes some clichéd sound bites from the upper chambers of political punditry such as, "If I am right, we must change not only the substance but the tenor of our political discourse."
Noonan wants to stop the "negative, partisan old school campaign tactics," and "the verbal and personal attacks" that threaten our Republic. It's a wonder that without this book, our nation "on the brink of collapse," survived the "tumultuous," "brutal," and "revolutionary" presidential election of 1800.
If Noonan is seriously promoting civility in American political discourse (which is fine and dandy), and not just book-peddling, how does she explain her superficial and boorish criticism of Palin's candidacy as "the symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics."
Vulgarization? Surely Noonan isn't implying that Palin has campaigned in a coarse, gross, lewd or profane manner.
Unless Noonan's been preoccupied promoting her book on the Space Station, and missed the lefts' "vulgarization" of Palin and her family, which is surely among the worst in political history, why isn't she whacking their knuckles instead of Palin's?
Noonan's subtext isn't subtle: "What is it she stands for? After seven weeks we don't know." Even so, Noonan takes readers gently into Palin's good night.
Noonan begins with bland predictions about the election, and then reminds us of her Republican bonafides by declaring John McCain the winner of the last debate. She moves into her Palin scratch-off quite unobtrusively by taking bi-partisan swipes at McCain and Obama for "infantilizing" the election.
There's a cranky schoolmarm tone as Noonan brings Palin's grammatical gaffes into the mix, while continuing to give bi-partisan demerits to "John McCain" and "occasionally Mr. Obama, and of course, George W. Bush."
The political infants are "dropping their G's" ... No one can say mothers and fathers, it's all now the faux down-home, patronizing-infantilizing-moms and dads." You expect Ms. Noonan's ruler will reach G-less Joe Biden, who flunked a first-grade spelling bee the day before when he told a campaign crowd: "It's about what Barack said, ‘jobs-a three-letter word-j-o-b-s-jobs.'" But Joe escapes without so much as a glare. It's time to get scratchin' on Palin.
Noonan doesn't know "where Palin stands." So when Palin tells us every day for seven weeks that she's for protectin' the unborn; cuttin' taxes and spendin; savin' marriage; drillin' here; winnin' in Iraq; keepin' our military strong; kickin bad boys outta Washington, you betcha, Noonan is clueless.
She needs Palin to tell her if she's for protecting the unborn; cutting taxes and spending; saving marriage; drilling here; winning in Iraq; keeping our military strong; kicking bad boys out of Washington.
"Vulgarization" means that Palin sounds too much like common folks. So we're left concludin' that Noonan really prefers style over substance. "Pallin around with terrorists," and "I'm Joe Six-Pack." What's next, belching beer at a barbecue in Boise?
Noonan says Palin is throwing "tiny 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."
Good grief, somebody call Dr. Phil. Surely Oprah will find room on her couch to share Noonan's pain.
If Noonan's heart needs healing, she should get herself out among the over-flowing crowds of "Joe-Six Pack" common folks who sense some "Reaganite" magic in Palin. The second-hand scrutiny of Palin's impact from a pundit's perch among Manhattan's mainstream media doesn't cut it. In other words, get the heck out of Noonanville.
Noonan "knows" after seven weeks that Palin doesn't "hold open the possibility of magic" we found in the "little man," Harry Truman. "You have to give people time to show what they have," Noonan reminds us. "Of the Marshall Plan, of containment. Little Harry was big." That's some magic "Little Harry" pulled off in seven weeks.
Noonan's book promo says "it is not the threats and challenges we face, but how we face them that defines us as a nation." As late as 2005, Noonan's patriotic grace wasn't sedated enough to exclude a "bench-clearing brawl" over things that matter to the survival of American liberty. When President Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, Noonan was up in arms to defeat the nomination:
The president would have been politically better served by what Pat Buchanan called a bench-clearing brawl. A fractious and sparring base would have come together arm in arm to fight for something all believe in: the beginning of the end of command-and-control liberalism on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Noonan knows about Barack Obama's "community organizing with ACORN; his eight-year record of unabashed liberalism in the Illinois Senate; his three useless years in the U.S. Senate; his 19 months of campaigning on socialist policies, including higher taxes and spending and wealth redistribution; his abortion zeal; his long-list of alliances and financial dealings with unrepentant terrorists, crooks and assorted kooks; and the leftist, "command and control" appointments he intends to make to the Supreme Court.
The question is, why is the "conservative" Noonan hissing the Palin she "doesn't know," instead of the Obama she does know?
The "base" Noonan claims to know still thinks "the threats and challenges we face" matter enough to have another "bench-clearing brawl." We're convinced that keeping Barack Obama out of the White House is it.
We also think Adams and Jefferson would be the first off the bench.
Jan LaRue is an attorney, author and public speaker. She is currently a member of the Board of Advisors of the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.