Sunday, August 1, 2010

Noonan for all to see
Tom Smith

Oh Peggy, Peggy.  What is to be done with her?  She writes in the WSJ to distance herself from the Tea Party, those enthusiastic women with large breasts in tight T-shirts and more alarmingly those men with large breasts in tight T-shirts, waving signs that say "Taxed Enuf!" or "We The People!"  America is such a hard place to be an aspiring to be upper class Republican.  If you were really upper class, you would be living off your great grandfather's buttonhook fortune and working on remodeling your barn for your darling Arabians.  But poor Peggy like so many of us was not to the manor born and so has to convince her true audience that she is absolutely nothing like those white people waving signs.  This is not all bad.  The ferocious desire of the upper middle class to be truly upper class is one of the engines of American greatness.  It's just too bad we don't have a Queen who could make her Lady Patricia of Potomac so she could just go away and be quiet and stop troubling us with her confusions.  Peggy, my advice is, just give yourself permission to be a Democrat.  It's OK. We understand.  You think we're grubby, noisy, ill educated and don't know our place, and we think you're a pompous, posing RINO who wishes she were Pamela Harriman and isn't.  So let's just agree to disagree.

And furthermore, as to Lee Harris, the Tea Party does not need new ideas.  The last thing we need is new ideas.  The problem with ideas is, most of them are terrible.  They're like recipes -- how many great, really new recipes do you know of.  The Tea Party, if it works out as one should hope, has some old ideas that have the great advantage of being true.  Ideas like, limited government; fiscal responsibility, even conservatism; strong state and local government; accountability by elected officials to the voters, even those of us who fly coach and buy our clothes at Target (Yes, I draw the line at WalMart.  I guess that makes me a snob.)  There's this meme of disgust lately -- well, aren't we right to feel disgusted?  I mean, Nancy Pelosi really does spend millions of our money flying her private Air Force jet back and forth to San Francisco because first class in a 747 isn't good enough for her.  That's a perfectly fine symbol of a political class that is drinking deep of the life blood the rest of us could be using to send kids to college, give mom a few more days off, get the car fixed, or buy a big screen TV, and why shouldn't we?  The way federal and state governments spend our money is disgusting and would be even if we could afford it, which we manifestly cannot.

Back to Lady Peggy and her assertion that politics should be about love.  I'm sorry but what a bunch of utter cant.  Love?  Ronald Reagan may have been a very nice man and a genuine patriot but there was not a lot of love in the air in the 1980s.  Love may be in there somewhere but far ahead are emotions such as vigilance, fear, jealousy and suspicion.  Any politician who first stirs up love amongst you is trying to steal something from you.  Government is a necessary evil.  Love on the other hand may be necessary but it's not evil or at least need not be.  So Noonan doesn't like the Tea Party because they appear to be inspired not by love but by anger, fear, resentment, and desire not to be fleeced by their government.  They're baaaaaaaaaad sheep!  Why can't they just feel the love of all those cozy sweaters they will make for the Noonan grandchildren as they sit around their spectacularly decorated 18 foot Noble Spruce which gracefully adorns the atrium of an exquisitely decorated manor house in the very best part of Maryland?

WELCOME Instapundit readers.  A correction and a clarification.  Peggy is actually short for Margaret, not Patricia, so presumably it should be Lady Margaret.  Writing in wrath has its disadvantages.  On Target v. Walmart.  Target is closer to where I live, but also, it has clean restrooms, which does make a difference to me.  So I don't think I'm really a snob about this.  It's a matter of respecting the customer.  I also deeply respect a store that sells for 12 bucks or less a polo shirt that is significantly better in quality, as the WSJ recognized a few years back, than a 50 buck RL Polo shirt which is also a good shirt.

HARRIMAN is Pamela not Patricia.  I fixed it above.  I knew that.

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Tom Smith


The more I learn of MizNoonan the more I believe that RR really had her pegged and definitely made her a part of the "no limit to what you can accomplish as long as you don't care who gets the credit" brigade. 30 years later, MizNoonan cashes the little chits she earned riding a better man's coat tails. Go for it babes. You were beautiful once. Make yourself a nice dry martini. Write a cookbook.

Posted by: flybynight | Aug 1, 2010 8:19:20 PM

Peggy Noonan is so smart that she swallowed Obama's hopey-changey nonsense hook, line, and sinker. Her vote for Obama told me all I need to know. No self-respecting tea partier would want to be within a hundred miles of this poser. She should trade her faux-intellectualism for some basic common sense. But I won't hold my breath waiting.

Posted by: tek104 | Aug 1, 2010 8:21:01 PM

Next time, hit a moving target. Noonan goes nowhere.

Posted by: Cover Me, Porkins | Aug 1, 2010 8:38:00 PM

Too many now confuse writing well [i.e. good grammar, spelling, style, punctuation, word choice,etc] with thinking well. While Noonan writes well, if she ever thought well she abandoned it years ago. This is just one more of those mistakes perpetuated by the 'educated' "political class."

Similarly, the apparent ability to read blather from a teleprompter without breaking into hysterical laughter has evidently convinced many of the same people that Obama has more than average intelligence. [Who knows about his writing skills? do we have an actual example? And the parts of his first autobiography that I read are pedestrian, at best. OTOH, Reagan's writings in his own hand show a man of substantial thinking abilities, if not genius-level IQ.]

Posted by: JorgXMcKie | Aug 1, 2010 8:44:28 PM

You draw the line at WalMart? Yes, that does make you a snob. And a very bizarre snob if you shop at Target, which has virtually exactly the same demographic as WalMart. So you're not only a snob, but you're an ignorant snob who just doesn't want to be seen at WalMart because, well, it's WalMart.

Otherwise most of your post is spot on, except that based on your WalMart comment, you're essentially following the same principle as Peggy Noonan. As the old joke goes about the woman who'll sleep with a man for a million dollars, well, we know what she is, we're just haggling about the price.

Your price appears to be somewhere between the public image of WalMart and Target. Congratulations, in a few years, if you keep working at it, you could be another Peggy.

Posted by: CosmicConservative | Aug 1, 2010 8:44:52 PM

Thanks for the recipe analogy. It is perfect. She just wants to be loved by her fellow democrats posing as this authority on the man Reagan.

Posted by: chef james | Aug 1, 2010 8:46:08 PM

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for this most wonderful "pimp slap."

Posted by: sunzeneise | Aug 1, 2010 9:01:28 PM

I have come to realize that the key t understanding Peggy Noonan is that to her, appearances are reality. She was a speechwriter, and image maker. She wrote books on the subject. Most of her columns during the Bush years were about how the Bush team looked to the rest of the world, why it was important for them to look better, and how they could do that. And those were important and usually valid points.

But it now becomes clear that to her appearance and image are everything. That's why she fell for Obama. He looks so good. He speaks so well. His image is just so impressive. Her early columns after he took office were about how this or that didn't really look all that presidential, and he should really fix that. Now she's taken aback because he was "supposed to be smart." Really? Why, because he looked and spoke so well? She appeas not to notice he never accomplished anything, ever, and that those wonderful speeches are hollow of content and obviously insincere. And those Tea Partiers. And Sarah Palin. Ughh! They just speak like hicks, and they look so poorly.

It's too bad, Peggy. You used to make good points about principle, about civilized decorum in a coarsening age. Now you just won't own up to your gullibility. And you're pissed the Americans who used to like you see right through your bad judgment and failure to take responsibility for it.

What do about Peggy? Ignore her, unfortunately.

Posted by: Victor Erimita | Aug 1, 2010 9:12:46 PM

Noonan has always struck me as a sort of translator that pitched Reaganism to chicks. She isn't much of a Reaganite herself; she manifestly lacks the guts and intellectual heft of Reagan, who for all his affability was a gutsy, determined fighter for the things he believed in.

If you read her "What I saw at the revolution" you get the impression that she's a lightweight who didn't understand what Reagan was up to, and confused presentation with substance. She was useful as a speechwriter, but needs to be kept far, far away from anything policy-related.

Posted by: Ernst Blofeld | Aug 1, 2010 9:13:21 PM

Thank you, this is the single greatest blog post that I have ever read.

Posted by: Jocon307 | Aug 1, 2010 9:14:31 PM

You are cooking, professor.

Noonan's defects grow exponentially with age. Something got loose in there, or was never firmly attached.

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence-it is force--
It is a fundamental error in politics to think that society can be ruled by discussion. The tremendous impelling power in all societies is force--
It is hate that unites people, whereas love is always individual, not collective--
In politics shared hatreds are almost always the basis for friendships--
Politics is the systematic organization of hatreds--
Henry Adams
Man is the only animal who laughs and has a state legislature--
Samuel Butler

The Tea Partiers understand.

Posted by: james wilson | Aug 1, 2010 9:28:01 PM

I think Miss Noonan would prefer her Tea Party protesters act and dress like country club members from Bel Aire, Georgetown, Scarsdale, Fairfield County, Newport, Cape Cod and Kennebunkport...You know, the kind of people who attend ACTUAL tea parties. If any blacks attend it would probably be best if they dress in smart separates for the women and tasteful dark suits for the men. You know, like the Obamas. The way the Tea Partiers dress now is No Fanfare for the Common Man for the uncommonly tasteful Miss Noonan!

Posted by: Brian John Murphy | Aug 1, 2010 9:37:11 PM

The existence of a big federal government that takes in a lot of taxes, throws a lot of money around and bosses around the private sector with regulations is critical to increasing property values for all of the "journolists" reporting form the DC metro area.

Posted by: Buck Smith | Aug 1, 2010 10:02:46 PM

Thank you for this. There's nothing further that needs to be said after "Give yourself permission to be a Democrat. We understand."

Yes we do, we poorly dressed middle class Tea Partiers. We understand more than you think, Ms. Noonan.

Posted by: (Another) Barbara | Aug 1, 2010 10:05:56 PM

This is an unfair criticism of Peggy's latest op-ed...and she's 100% right about Chris Christie as the model for republican candidates in 2012.

Posted by: poprocks | Aug 1, 2010 10:06:07 PM

...and let me follow that comment up with this. You obviously missed the point of her piece.

Follow the rage and fear and you end up with Sharron Angles. Take the legitimate concern and fear that the tea parties highlight and channel it into positive solutions (for which Noonan says Chris Christie is laying down the republican blueprint right now).

Posted by: poprocks | Aug 1, 2010 10:11:31 PM

I do feel this is a strong offering. Even if I think both, Ms. Noonan and the fine Mr. Smith above, fall too far into the IMAGE game. I like to feel Mr. Smith is playing cynical satire in this game about the so-called Elites vs. the rest of us Common Folk. The thing is, all Conservatives want everyone to succeed and have no prejudice about any who are well off, poor, middle class, etc. So much I see developing out of a lot of frustration is this game of "populism" within Conservative Punditry.

No doubt, Mrs. Noonan is far from a genuine Conservative. She has played in the biased MSM Partisan game of the Democratic Sophistry far too long - genuinely embracing a blinding Beltway bias. She bailed on GW Bush in the face of overt Partisan bias, stereotyping, fashion, slant, etc. It even seemed as if she grew more jealous in a professional manner after the Bush Administration's success in being Re-Elected overwhelmingly in 2004.

I think Mr. Smith is SPOT ON about the disgusting Democratic Partisans, and wisely, boldly, thankfully focuses on the PRIMARY thing Peggy Noonan seems to miss - a healthy dose of context with the DNC DISASTER. Ms. Noonan simply isn't honest about the Democrats horrid malfeasance, incompetence, dishonesty swindling the USA. If she had more distance from the MESS, she might grasp the Democratic Partisan Folly has been vivid since CARTER, and was again a blatant JOKE during the Clinton Era. We expected this nightmare with Pelosi, Reid, Obama, Boxer, Schumer, etc.

This Democratic Partisan Insanity is obvious, and the games of Ms. Noonan makes one suspect. How could someone so intelligent offer such denial? It is actually insulting in many ways when you think of it, or if the insight is innocent, than they really should think of retiring from offering some form of Opinion - because they simply have no clue.

Either way, I do hope, we who wisely oppose the historic failures of collectivism and those unethical Fools pushing it now in the USA, can become a little more united and constructive in Our future. I know class warfare is not a healthy venture, and we need to stick to the basis, facts, reason, objectivity. WFB had it right.

Posted by: Brooklyn | Aug 2, 2010 12:03:05 AM

Good piece. It was all downhill for me when she went for Obama--how could anyone not see a facade, an emperor without clothes? How was the outcome we are seeing now not obvious in October 2008?

I have to reply on the WalMart vs. Target kefuffle. I also am a Target shopper, simply because I hate shopping and know where to find what I need in the least possible amount of time and get through the checkout quickly with the least amount of anxiety (I really, really don't like shopping). If that makes me a snob, so be it.

Posted by: Tommy Shanks | Aug 2, 2010 12:58:45 AM

Today I have been reading another article written by a castrated conservative. David Klinghoffer III, a self-described conservative decided to share his disgust of the modern day conservative movement - and he evidently found a grateful audience among the readers of ultra-left wing Los Angeles Times. According to David III, once the conservative movement was led by such "urbane visionaries and builders of institutions" as William F. Buckley Jr. - but now conservatives are following unsophisticated, vulgar "crazy-cons". Among the most disgusting characters in the conservative movement, David fingered Andrew Breitbart, the "potty-mouthed Internet entrepreneur". Not satisfied with attacking Breibart, he also mentioned "the figures on TV, radio and the Internet who make their money by stirring fears and resentments." These unnamed conservative figures are busy "baiting blacks, Mexicans and Muslims". Moreover these yet unidentified "crazy-cons" accommodate "conspiracy theories, and an increasing nastiness and vulgarity". In short, David III, the castrated conservative, decries the shift of conservative movement from the Golden Age of the 1960ies into the "demagoguery and hucksterism."

My first impulse after reading David's dribble was to give him same treatment William F. Buckley had given to Gore Vidal: "Listen you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi, or I'll sock you in the goddamn face and you'll stay plastered." But on a second thought I decided that this treatment would have been too rough for David Klinghoffer. After all, poor Dave is not a tough guy who is ready to stand behind his beliefs. In real life, he is a pathetic creature hopelessly seeking to find a meaning to his own existence. David is not a conservative by conviction or logic - he is a "conservative", because it gives him "a profound vision granting transcendent significance to public life and hope in private life." Or, to put it another way, for Dave, conservative ideology is about "finding meaning in private life and public service". He also openly states that he would be hard pressed to even define conservatism - but he expresses conviction that conservatism that he believes in is superior to all other ideologies.

Truth be told though, David Klinghoffer is emotionally and intellectually a liberal - not a conservative. A true conservative believes his ideas are correct because they are validated by empirical evidence. A true liberal believes his ideas are correct because these ideas make him feel good about himself. David Klinghoffer does not believe in conservatism because small limited government, individual liberty and human rights are just and effective. As he confessed in the article - he needs conservatism in order to find meaning in his life. In short - he is a man who essentially uses conservatism as Psychotherapy - as wikipedia explains - in order to increase the sense well-being. How can an adult man fall so low as to use conservatism as a personal cane? Just ask David Klinghoffer, he knows.

Posted by: Hyphenated American | Aug 2, 2010 1:02:04 AM

It's strange. I see comments like Poprocks and again notice just how much power the MSM has. Before Christie was elected we got the same nonsense we see about Angle, all rage and fear. When I get a chance to actually read what Angle is saying, the rage is only about what these chuckleheads are doing to the future of our country.

As to Noonan, she writes well. When she had Reagan to tell her what to say, she was majestic. She was also wonderful in the first days after 9/11. Unfortunately she no longer has Regan to tell her what to use her superb writing talent for. Can any sane person deny that Reagan was a Tea Party type at heart? Did he not lead a mass against entrenched government?

Posted by: Peter | Aug 2, 2010 1:09:52 AM

It hadn't occurred to me that "Peggy" could be short for "Patricia".

Posted by: dearieme | Aug 2, 2010 1:57:01 AM

Yeah. Peggy, for various phonetic reasons connected to Irish Gaelic and "Meg", is a nickname for Margaret. And indeed, it appears that Margaret is her legal and baptismal name.

Posted by: Maureen | Aug 2, 2010 3:31:27 AM

"It hadn't occurred to me that 'Peggy' could be short for 'Patricia'"

That's probably because it is short for Margaret and has nothing at all to do with Patricia.

Posted by: liamascorcaigh | Aug 2, 2010 3:34:23 AM

Did you mean, Pamela Harriman?

Posted by: Saul Relative | Aug 2, 2010 4:00:21 AM

It was an excellent piece other than the gratuitous slam at Wal-Mart (which added nothing) and the condescending stereotype of the Tea Partiers as large-breasted illiterates (which only branded you as a wannabe member of the ruling class).

Posted by: John Cooper | Aug 2, 2010 4:08:18 AM