By Elaine Magliaro
I rarely watch the Sunday morning “nooz” programs these days. One reason is the clueless talking heads that are frequently invited on shows like Meet the Press and Face the Nation to provide Americans with their wisdom and insight. One of those political pundits is Peggy Noonan–or “Our Lady of the Magic Dolphins” as Charles Pierce refers to her. Her cranium appears to be filled with helium–or some gas that is lighter than air. I think the old Pegster would be perfect for the starring role in a movie titled Clueless, The Senior Years.
Long ago in a galaxy far, far away, Noonan was a primary speech writer and Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. “Our Lady of the Magic Dolphins” also worked as a speech writer for Vice President George H. W. Bush. According to Wikipedia, Noonan reportedly coined the phrase “a kinder, gentler nation” and popularized “a thousand points of light,” two memorable catchphrases used by Bush 41. Noonan was also said to have written the speech in which Bush promised: “Read my lips: no new taxes” during his 1988 presidential nomination acceptance speech in New Orleans.
I think Simon Maloy pegged Peggy perfectly in an article he wrote for Salon titled Peggy Noonan’s “wisdom”: Build Keystone XL so American boys will become men last November.
Peggy Noonan has one of the most high-profile jobs in American media. She’s a weekly political columnist for the Wall Street Journal, the country’s largest newspaper by circulation, which also hosts her irregularly updated blog. The Sunday shows seek her out when filling the ranks of their weekly pundit panels. She’s among the more influential commentators in American media, and the fact that she inhabits this perch despite being objectively terrible at her job should obliterate whatever faith you have in the concept of meritocracy.
Noonan’s chief failing is one that afflicts many pundits: She generally has no idea what she’s talking about. Her analysis is powered largely by her own warped perception of politics and policy, which she confidently ascribes to the rest of the country. Peggy Noonan always seems to know exactly what “America” is thinking, and this often results in her being hilariously wrong.
I didn’t have a true understanding of the depth of Noonan’s dipshittery until I heard what she said in a panel discussion about the release of torture memos by the Obama Administration when she appeared on ABC News’ This Week With George Stephanopoulos back in 2009.
Marcus Baram (Huffington Post):
On ABC News’ “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” George Will echoed several Bush officials when he criticized the release of the memos, saying “The problem with transparency is that it’s transparent for the terrorists as well.” Will expressed concern about the cost of letting “the bad guys” know what techniques, such as waterboarding, will be used on them. He went on to add, as noted by HuffPost’s Jason Linkins, that “intelligent people of good will” believe the President of the United States can do whatever he wants to “defend the country.”
Baram said Noonan “went even further, articulating a position that upends George Santayana’s famous quote: ‘Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.'” Noonan opined, “Some things in life need to be mysterious. Sometimes you need to just keep walking.” Then she added, “It’s hard for me to look at a great nation issuing these documents and sending them out to the world and thinking, oh, much good will come of that.”
Right, Peggy, better to keep the Bush Administration’s tales of torture “mysterious.” Who would want to know about such things anyway? Just move along…and forget about what our country did.
Peggy Noonan talks the crazy talk of Washington.
Russ Feingold–who was one of the two Senators from Wisconsin at the time–was appalled by Noonan’s comments. Sam Stein wrote about what Feingold had to say about Noonan remarks on Stephanopoulos’s show.
Later, the Senator took a swipe at some of the rationalizations for avoiding prosecution that have been voiced by Washington lawmakers and pundits.
“If you want to see just how outrageous this is, I refer you to the remarks made by Peggy Noonan this Sunday,” he said, referring to the longtime conservative columnist’s appearance on ABC’s This Week. “I frankly have never heard anything quite as disturbing as her remark that was something to the affect of: ‘well sometimes you just have to move on.'”
More recently, Noonan appeared on on Face the Nation on Sunday. Crooks and Liars had a few words to say about Peggy’s appearance:
Peggy Noonan is once again pulling statistics from the land of her posterior. Here she is on this Sunday’s Face the Nation pretending that these teabaggers, or the House Freedom Caucus, or whatever these extremists are calling themselves these days represent “the thinking of almost half of the country.”
Excerpt from Face the Nation transcript (March 1, 2015)
DICKERSON: Peggy, I want to start with you.
What is worse for the Republicans running the Congress, that they look like they can’t govern or that they disappoint their grassroots, who wants them to take on the president?
PEGGY NOONAN, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”: Ooh, that is a complicated question. That’s why this question keeps continuing for the past few years.
If you take a look at the Republican leaders of the Congress, I think you can probably fault them for not being able to control their own conference and control the situation. But you cannot fault them for failing to control the dynamics behind the whole thing.
The fact is, there are about 50 or 60 Republican members who are very skeptical and really in opposition to what they see as de facto amnesty in the United States. They are a small group of the Republican Conference and yet they represent probably the thinking of almost half the country. (My emphasis.)
And they do not really trust the elites of the parties or the elites of America’s financial community to come through and address their concerns.
So I see this whole split and tension as something that will likely continue and be very difficult for Mr. Boehner.
Yup, Peggy, the cranks in Congress are speaking on behalf of nearly 50% of Americans! OY!
Peggy Noonan So Delusional Even David Gregory Calls Her Out (May 2013)
Pundits Whitewash Torture (Huffington Post)
Peggy Noonan channels America: If she (or Joe Scarborough) believes it, so must the nation
What happens when your Hot Take has no evidence to back it up? Just say it’s what “Americans” believe (Salon)
Noonology (Huffington Post)
Peggy Noonan (Wikipedia)