Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Noonan Takes Aim

Peggy Noonan is always brilliant, insightful, and trenchant. Her editorial in today's Wall Street Journal is a case in point. In it, she offers vital counsel to John McCain and Sarah Palen on the eve of the most important speeches either of them has ever made. I sure hope and pray they reads it.

At one point, Noonan writes:

"I do not understand the absence of humor, that powerful weapon, that rhetorical cannon, in this year's campaign. There are a lot of things to say here but let me tell you the first I think of. America is a huge and lonely country. We are vast, stretch coast to coast, live in self-sufficient pods; modern culture tends us toward the atomic, the fractured and broken up. When two people meet, as they come to know each other as neighbors or colleagues, one of the great easers, one of the great ways of making a simple small human connection is: shared laughter. We are a political nation. We talk politics. So fill that area with humor: sly humor, teasing humor, humor that speaks a great truth or makes a sharp point."

And then, this:

"Because Sarah Palin jumbles up so many cultural categories, because she is a feminist not in the Yale-Gender-Studies sense but the How-Do-I-Reload-This-Thang way, because she is a woman who in style, history, moxie and femininity is exactly like a normal American feminist and not an Abstract-Theory feminist; because she wears makeup and heels and eats mooseburgers and is Alaska Tough, as Time magazine put it; because she is conservative, and pro-2nd Amendment and pro-life; and because conservatives can smell this sort of thing--who is really one of them and who is not--and will fight to the death for one of their beleaguered own; because of all of this she is a real and present danger to the American left, and to the Obama candidacy. She could become a transformative political presence. So they are going to have to kill her, and kill her quick. And it's going to be brutal. It's already getting there. There are only two questions. 1. Can she take it? Will she be rattled? Can she sail through high seas? Can she roll with most punches and deliver some jabs herself? 2. And while she's taking it, rolling with it and sailing through, can she put herself forward convincingly as serious enough, grounded enough, weighty enough that the American people can imagine her as vice president of the United States? I suppose every candidate for vice president faces these questions to some degree, but because Palin is new, unknown, and a woman, it's all much more so."

Amen and amen. Hear and heed, McCain and Palen.