Sunday, July 12, 2009

Doctor Zero vs. Peggy Noonan

A long-form dissection of Noonan's anti-Palinism:
Palin doesn’t "read anything," you see. She's probably not even literate. The moment Noonan is fretting over came when Katie Couric asked Palin which newspapers and magazines she reads regularly, and she couldn’t name one. Given the cratering circulation of print media, Palin is clearly in good company. I suspect the sin that truly damns her in Noonan's eyes is her failure to read Peggy Noonan columns. At least America was spared the horror of a Vice President who doesn't spend much time reading newspapers. Instead, we got a Vice President who should have left his debate with Palin in a straitjacket, and shows no sign of coherent thought at all. . . .
You can read the whole thing. Palin inevitably confronts a problem affecting nearly all busy people in the Information Age: With so much job-related communication to process, there is very little time for non-job-related reading.

People in the news business (e.g., Katie Couric) might consider it proof of erudition that someone regularly reads the New York Times or Newsweek, but many people simply don't have the leisure. It's merely the self-regarding snobbery of the chattering classes that hold that against Palin. The idea that the governor of Alaska needs to read the New York Times every day is silly.
I think Palin suffers in Peggy Noonan's estimation by comparison to Ronald Reagan. When he first emerged as a national political figure with his 1964 "Time for Choosing" speech, Reagan was 53 years old and had spent years traveling the country as a spokesman for General Electric. He was a man of some wealth and, prior to 1966, when he ran for governor of California, also a man of much leisure.

California was a large, rich state, so that the governor had an extensive staff to which he could delegate work, leaving him more leisure than Palin would have as governor of Alaska. And between leaving the governorship in 1975 and becoming president in 1981, Reagan had another period of relative leisure, which he devoted to writing a newspaper column and doing daily radio broadcasts. He was therefore in the news business himself.

So if Noonan compares Palin to the Reagan she knew -- a man in his 70s who had been studying and discussing national political issues for more than two decades -- obviously Palin comes up short, through no real fault of Palin's. The real mystery is exactly why Obama stands so comparatively high in Noonan's esteem, even when it is increasingly clear that Obama's reputation for erudition has been inflated by, among other things, a ghostwritten memoir.


  1. I have defended Palin since she came on the national scene and went to a few of her rally's during the election cycle of 2008.

    Today the Washington Times has an "exclusive" that Palin will campaign for anyone who shares her Conservative values, Republican, Independent or Democrat. This was related to the fiscal side of Conservatism with nothing mentioning the social side.

    I'm a little troubled by the awkwardness of Palin's decision making and impromptu statements about her past, present and future. Is there no real planning?

    How she reconciles her Conservative credentials with so-called "bi-partisan" campaigning will be interesting to watch.

    As far as Noonan, she is a raving Moonbat, indeed!

  2. Nice post; I am considering canceling my WSJ subscription over Noonan's column, which has to be the snobbiest hit-piece by a RINO that I've seen in a long time. She has traded on that "thousand points of light ..." speech long enough it seems to me. Also, I don't believe Obama has read a thing--oh wait, American and world history according to Leftists have probably gotten some time from him

  3. Stacy,

    I have an amateur psych-eval type reason for why Noonan supported Obama: his lofty speaking was a complement to Noonan's need for equally lofty writing.

    I mean, how are you going to write loftily about your crazy cousin John?

  4. Noonan-Powell-Buckley (not William)-and as listed in Human Events before the election...I considered betrayers to the US. I still do...

  5. It does bother me that she could not mention a newspaper or magazine. How about the Washington Times online version? How about the American Thinker, American Spectator, NR and NRO, the thousands of conservative blogs, including this one?

    RR had no problem mentioning that Human Events was being read in the White House.

    I believe this woman is reflexively conservative and is definitely good for the party, but a more astute and philosophically grounded conservative -- one that can wipe Obama in a televised debated-- would have said.." I don't waste time with liberal newspapers and journals, but I keep up with the [local paper}, the drudge report, and [insert above mentioned]"

  6. If Couric had done her research, she would have found that she had an Op Ed in the Times, back in March, and letters to the San Francisco Chronicle, Most of what's in any local paper is domestic dreck from the AP and foreign one from Reuters, and if one is extremely 'fortunate', AFP.

  7. Noonan is a disgrace.