Peggy Noonan. Two words I type and think: is there a smart way to say I like this woman? Kurt Andersen praises her "fair mindedness," Stephanopoulos her "tremendous insight," for which Brian Williams blogs that she deserves a Pulitzer — and probably a Peace Prize for getting none other than The Nation's William Greider to dub an antiabortion former Reagan speechwriter and Republican mystic "terrific." Of course, as my esteemed colleagues have pointed out, she's a fruitcake. She and her "TV-perfect auburn mane" get called to appear on news shows, as her WWD profiler Jacob Bernstein points out, because she's "reliably theatrical and can be counted on to flatter the host." To quoth Peggy herself, she can come off as "silly." And hang on a second, is there a chick other than Peggy quoted in this piece? Oh there, yeah one, a thousand words down, longtime friend and colleague Lisa Schwarzbaum, a liberal who says of Peggy: "Still we love her, because she can be so warm, so silly, so charming, so compassionate." Italics — wait for it — mine.
All of which is a long-winded attempt at seeming even more long-winded at getting to the point that I think the thing about Peggy Noonan is that it's kind of cool that she's silly, and theatrical, and doesn't take herself that seriously, because it means she doesn't take too many other things too seriously, like opinions — hers or Ted Kennedy's:
All parties, all movements, need men and women who will come forward every decade or so to name tendencies within that are abusive or destructive, to throw off the low and grubby.
Or the the latest whatevergate:
Two things are true in the modern media environment, and they collide with each other and may tend to cancel each other out. One is that a scandal makes its way around the world and into the bloodstream right away and with full force, through the Internet and cable. The other is that a lot of scandals have made their way around the world and into the bloodstream in the past 10 years. Immediacy and broad knowledge collide with sheer glut. Everyone has heard so much about so many. At some point, don't voters start to see all of public life as one big polluted river? And if they do, don't they stop saying things like "That's a busted tire floating by" and "That's an old shoe"? If they're familiar with the principle, as Thoreau said, don't they become less attentive to its numerous applications?
There is a sense in Iowa now that faith has been heightened as a determining factor in how to vote, that such things as executive ability, professional history, temperament, character, political philosophy and professed stands are secondary, tertiary. But they are not, and cannot be. They are central. Things seem to be getting out of kilter, with the emphasis shifting too far.
They came from comfort and stability, visited poverty as part of a college program, fashionably disliked their country, and cultivated a bitterness that was wholly unearned. They went on to become investment bankers and politicians and enjoy wealth, power or both.
And you start to think, shit, what is it about this Nicorette addled Pope adoring nonlapsed Catholic half-delusional Conservative that makes me think we'd actually get along?
And um I think it boils down to her being a woman.