Peggy Noonan has a real piece of work in the WSJ today. Here is a sampling:
“More than ever on the campaign trail, the candidates are dropping their G’s. Hardworkin’ families are strainin’ and tryin’a get ahead. It’s not only Sarah Palin but Mr. McCain, too, occasionally Mr. Obama, and, of course, George W. Bush when he darts out like the bird in a cuckoo clock to tell us we are in crisis. All of the candidates say “mom and dad”: “our moms and dads who are struggling.” This is Mr. Bush’s former communications adviser Karen Hughes’s contribution to our democratic life, that you cannot speak like an adult in politics now, that’s too austere and detached, snobby. No one can say mothers and fathers, it’s all now the faux down-home, patronizing–and infantilizing–moms and dads. Do politicians ever remember that in a nation obsessed with politics, our children–sorry, our kids–look to political figures for a model as to how adults sound?”
She actually uses the word “infantilizing” twice in the column. Evidently she does not “get” those of us who live outside of the snooty world of cocktail parties and whatever else people like her do with their time. Maybe they spend it laughing off camera at all the redneck rubes in Hicksville, perhaps? She is offended that people in politics now drop their “g’s” and don’t use flowery language to impress the voters anymore.
Excuse me for going all “Redneck Woman” on her, but what the heck is wrong with saying “mom” and “dad”? I guess I am really low rent because I actually call my dad “Daddy” and my mom “Mama.” That is the real down-home way, Peggy, and nothing about it is “faux.” (Or fake, as we say here in Yokel Town.) My guess is that most of those politicians really did call their moms and dads just that. What do they say in Noonan’s world? “Excuse me Mother, may I bother you for another serving of arugula?” I obviously don’t even know what you do with arugula. I probably didn’t even spell it correctly. But that sounds a lot more faux to me than referring to parents as “mom” and “dad.” I sometimes refer to my mom as mother, but almost always use “Dad” or “Daddy” rather than “father.” Maybe it is a southern thing.
Maybe I am just reacting so negatively to Noonan’s column because I am a southern stay-at-home mom with a hick accent and a limited vocabulary. Maybe it is because I am a little too rough around the edges myself. (Heck, I know what moonshine tastes like for goodness sake.) But I really used to admire Peggy Noonan years ago. That was back when I thought she was responsible for Ronald Reagan’s beautiful words. Now I realize they were just words. Beautiful, yes, but just words. What I loved about Reagan was his thoughts and ideas. Those were his, not hers. She just “prettied” them up a bit.
Please read the entire Noonan column for the full picture. Maybe I am being too harsh about the language stuff. She eventually gets around to bashing Palin, because she just can’t figure her out.
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…
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
She doesn’t understand Sarah Palin. What is her motivation and her ambition? What about her philosophy? Maybe I can help explain. Sarah Palin is a woman of action. Noonan talks about her thoughts and her words, but completely ignores her record of achievements in Alaska.
Sarah Palin has done things Peggy Noonan could not dream of doing in her lifetime and I am not talking about shooting guns and looking hot in a bikini. I am talking about taking on her state’s corrupt GOP machine and getting things done in the good ‘ole boys’ world, whether it be negotiating an oil pipeline or returning tax money to the people of her state. Noonan doesn’t even have the stuff it takes to stand up to her MSNBC buddies particularly convincingly. Noonan is a person of words. Big, fancy, impressive words. She just doesn’t understand that actions speak louder than words and Sarah Palin is all about action. Believe it or not, some people can get a heck of a lot done, even when dropping their “g’s.”
Noonan predicts several times in this piece of work that she will be accused of being an out of touch snob. Well, at least she understands that much about the rest the world. She hit that one right on the head.