Animated giff and caption from our October 2008 blogpost "Where has Peggy Noonan been?": "Even in this room full of proud Manhattan Democrats, I can't shake that feeling that some people here are pulling for me," quipped a crowd-pleasing John McCain at last night's 63rd annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner/Roast to benefit Catholic charities, pausing for maximum comic effect before turning with a melodramatic show of affection toward Senator Hillary's table to deliver a punchline that left HIllary (above) and assembled A-list guests rolling in the aisles: "I'm delighted to see you here tonight Hillary." McCain's perfect comic timing and razor-sharp material left Obama's lame offering in the dust. Our fave joke of the night: "The press is really an independent-minded, civic-minded, non-partisan group … like Acorn."
In recognition of Peggy Noonan's coming of (old) age today in her WSJ column, "Youth Has Outlived Its Usefulness," we are republishing our prescient and timely blogpost "Where has Peggy Noonan been?" from election season 2008. There is sadness in watching the former Reagan speechwriter's "thousand points of light" go dim, but life goes on, and we can only be grateful for the eloquence of her parting words, a rallying cry for us new media types as we continue disintermediating the powers that be were via the internet:
Son, being an enraged, profane, unmoderated, unmediated, hit-loving, trash-talking rage monkey is no way to go through life.
October 17, 2008. "More than ever on the campaign trail, the candidates are dropping their G's," writes an exasperated Peggy Noonan in the WSJ:
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?
We couldn't agree more re the toe-curling G-dropping, moms-and-dads infantilization of the language that pollutes the public square [Who knew it was all Karen Hughes's doing? … We would have said Oprah!), but political figures as a model for adult behavior? No, Peggy, no. Again the Northeast Corridor Conservative in her starts off on the right foot re Thursday's debate [cf. our own post, "Obama unmasked"]:
[McCain] also scored Mr. Obama on his eloquence, using it against him more effectively than Hillary Clinton ever did. When she said he was "just words," it sounded like a bitter complaint. Mr. McCain made it a change: Young man, you attempt to obscure truth with the mellifluous power of your words.
… but then goes off the track in her conclusions:
From Mrs. Clinton it sounded jealous, but when Mr. McCain said it, you looked at Mr. Obama and wondered if you'd just heard something that was true. For the first time, Mr. Obama's unruffled demeanor didn't really work for him. His cool made him seem hidden.
"For the first time"? Where has Peggy Noonan been? We had Barack Obama's number way back in December of 2006, when the smooth-talkin' hope-and-changester, in the wake of Oprah's ecstatic endorsement, got away with calling us a racist while our fellow Americans from the other side of the aisle and their media enablers were being distracted by "thrills up their legs."
Note: In googling to find this blogpost from the archives, we stumbled upon another Noonan clueless classic, "Palin's Failin.'"