Pop Quiz!

Noonan-in-her-cupsThe morning email thingie had something in it that sets the blood coursing and pulsing like iced gin through the veins of all good Scissorheads:

FIRST LOOK — Peggy Noonan book cover, “The Time of Our Lives,” out Nov. 3, from Twelve: “Her forthcoming book … is the best of Noonan’s writing collected in one indispensable volume for the first time. With a special, original introduction, Noonan chronicles her career in journalism, the Reagan White House, and the political arena.”

–From the intro: “To me writing is a full-body exercise: What you write comes from your brain, heart, spirit, soul and psyche, you hold nothing back, all parts are engaged. You are asking people for five minutes of their time to read you. They’re busy. You have to show them from the top that you’re engaged, that you mean it, that there’s something you think is important that should be said. …

“People ask the difference between column writing, book writing and speechwriting. In one sense they’re not different: You’re writing. You’re laying pipe only the pipes are thoughts, as John Gregory Dunne once said. But the best definition of writing I ever heard came from the great historian David McCullough, who said, in conversation, ‘To write is to think, and to write well is to think well.’ You think about what you want to say, you clarify it, question it, then say it.” See the cover. http://bit.ly/1gZdgSK

We must help Peggington Noonington title her book, certainly something better than “The Time of our Lives,” though that does have the requisite Days of Wine and Roses vibe.

For a full half-point towards your final grade, help Nooner pick a title that sums up her writing, if not indeed her life goals and work. Photoshops earn an extra credit.

If you need further research, you can see the collected Further Adventures of Peggy Noonan here.
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The Further Adventures of Peggy Noonan

Anatomy of a Column

Noonan-in-her-cups

eggy Noonan, Bacardi Lifetime Achievement Winner, closed the curtains in the Aviary 2 (the clever name she gave her new spacious penthouse hight above Manhattan) as the winter storm blasted The City. “It’s colder than Nancy Reagan’s kisses,” she thought to herself as she mixed another warming libation.

Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of the last half of the last century, maybe the greatest president ever, had made her the Nembutal once, long ago on a cold night in D.C. Consisting of warm rum, hot chocolate, and a shot of peppermint schnapps as a chaser, it had that kind of sticky sweet feeling she always associated with her old boss. At any rate, when the barometer started dropping she laid in a supply of ingredients and prepared for her long winter’s nap.

Noonan picked up The Atlantic and scanned the stories, and settled on What ISIS Really Wants, by Graeme Wood. Two Nembies later (light on the hot chocolate, Noonan was rationing after all), she put down the magazine, missing the cocktail table and declared to the cheery fire,

A U.S. invasion and occupation, Mr. Wood argues, would be a propaganda victory for them, because they’ve long said the U.S. has always intended to embark on a modern-day crusade against Islam. And if a U.S. ground invasion launched and failed, it would be a disaster.

She turned to face the cardboard cutout of Ronnie, and continued her theme to her two-dimensional love.

The best of bad options, Mr. Wood believes, is to “slowly bleed” ISIS through air strikes and proxy warfare. The Kurds and the Shiites cannot vanquish them, but they can “keep the Islamic State from fulfilling its duty to expand.” That would make it look less like “the conquering state of the Prophet Muhammed.” As time passed ISIS could “stagnate” and begin to sink. Word of its cruelties would spread; it could become another failed state.

“Well, Mommy, er, Peg,” voice of Reagan replied from the life-size cutout replied, “that sounds a lot like President Obama’s strategy.”

(An Administration Adrift on Denial, by Peggy Noonan)

The Further Adventures of Peggy Noonan

Anatomy of a Column

Noonan-in-her-cups

eggy Noonan’s old black and white Philco always had good reception if the bottle of gin was placed in the exact same spot, near the rabbit ears. She adjusted both the ears and the bottle (by taking a swig), and the fuzzy picture crisped up nicely.

Noonan looked approvingly as The West Wing came into focus, and not just because she had been hired at some point in her fabled past to be an advisor on it, but because she liked it. Noonan’s jaw dropped in disbelief at a scene in which the press secretary confronts the president and tells him off about some issue. Then she turned her back and walked out.

Noonan grabbed her yellow lined note pad and wrote a note to Aaron Sorkin, saying, “Aaron, press secretaries don’t upbraid presidents in this way, and they don’t punctuate their point by turning their backs and storming out.”

Noonan then folded up the note and tried to stick it in the floppy drive of her Windows ME machine. “I hope Aaron gets that note before the next scene,” she murmured to herself as she headed into the kitchen to prepare her late night repast.

Noonan glided into the kitchen, swan-like and glanced at the NYTimes article by Jason Horowitz. She addressed the hollow pineapple shell thusly:

“Assuming the article is factually correct, and it certainly appears to be well reported, the president of the United States phoned the majority leader of the U.S. Senate during a legislative crisis to complain that one of the senator’s staffers is a leaker. Unbeknown to the president, the staffer was listening in on the call and broke in to rebut the president’s accusation.”

A certain amount of bile began to billow, so to speak! This was unthinkable! Unheard of! Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of the last half of the last century, maybe the greatest president of all, would never do such a thing! Addressing Captain Morgan, Noonan declared, “Presidents don’t call senators to complain that someone in their office got them mad. That is below a president.”

Noonan glanced at the life-sized cut-out of Ronnie, her beloved Ronnie that was standing near the bar, and saluted him. “You wouldn’t do that, would you, Dutch?” Her eyelids may have fluttered.

“I’ve had it up to my keister with these leaks!” Remember when the NYTimes reported that I said that in 1983, and then had to explain what a keister is? Good times, Nooner!” the cardboard president replied. “I still believe that David Gergen was a prime leaker, though. That man couldn’t hold his tongue still.”

Noonan blinked. “If persistent leaks get under a president’s skin, he has one of the tough guys around him make that call.”

“Oh,” replied Ronnie, “you mean like that time Mommy leaked the stuff about Don Regan? That traitorous rat-bastard, why it worked and he resigned, you know.”

Noonan took a refreshing sip of her Mai Tai and returned to the Philco.

(Standards, Fallen, by Peggy Noonan, on her blog)

The Further Adventures of Peggy Noonan

Anatomy of a Column

Noonan-in-her-cups

eggy Noonan woke up on election day clutching a tear-stained voting stub from 1980 and an hollow pineapple shell. Looking around, she recognized that she was still in The Aviary (the clever nickname she gave her Penthouse), thank God!

Stumbling out of bed with her Lanz of Salisbury nightgown on backwards (“one wonders how and why this keeps happening?”) she made her way into the spacious kitchen where the faithful Conseula had put out the morning repast, complete with a fresh lime. Quaffing deeply, Noonan mused over what she saw as the coming debacle.

“You can get quite a conversation going in any room in Manhattan now by comparing Barack Obama to Jimmy Carter, with everyone defending Carter,” Noonan mumbled to herself. Noonan saluted the ever-present Ronal Wilson Reagan portrait over the wet bar. He was after all, the greatest president of the last half of the last century, maybe the greatest president ever.

“If the president’s party loses big on Tuesday, as appears likely,” Noonan added another splash of rum into her glass, “much of the loss will be due to 3 C’s—competence, coherence and credibility. It’s a terrible thing when a president loses his credibility.” She glanced up at Ronnie, blushed, and looked away.

Noonan recalled how Bill Clinton handled his midterm drubbing. In a news conference the next day he accepted responsibility and suggested the political meaning of the election was that the public was more conservative than he was. “That took some guts and humility,” she said to Ronnie, as she mixed some more refreshment. “Cleverness, too,” she continued. “By convincing those on his left that they had to face reality, he opened the door for his historic compromises with the Contract Congress.”

Noonan grimaced as she thought about Dubya’s press conference following his famous shellacking in which the Republicans lost 30 House seats, six Senate seats, and control of both chambers.

Noonan couldn’t recall the name of the reporter who asked President Bush—callow youth!—the question: “With all due respect, Nancy Pelosi has called you incompetent, a liar, the emperor with no clothes and, as recently as yesterday, dangerous. How will you work with someone who has such little respect for your leadership and who is third in line to the presidency?”

Ronnie looked down on Noonan from high above the Bacardi, “CNN reporter, Suzanne Malvaeux, Peggy. Pretty much ended her career.”

Noonan turned on the garbage disposal to drown out the noise and started washing the hurricane glasses.

(How to Lose, and Win, Graciously, by Peggy Noonan)

UPDATE: Welcome Hullabaloo readers. Nice to meet you!

Peggy Noonan Goes to Wyoming and Rides a Horse

horse7

Good lord, she’s parodying herself now.

Tenderfoot doesn’t really like to be in a place where there aren’t a lot of . . . witnesses. She’s from the city and knows the canyons of downtown, the watering holes of the theater district. She knows her Brooklyn, her Long Island, her Jersey, is a walker in the city and a lost rube in the country. She is here because she loves her friends and will go far to see them. She does have a relationship with the American West and does in fact love it, but it is the West as mediated by John Ford, Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry. She doesn’t really know the real one.

She refers to herself in the third person as Tenderfoot throughout. You’ll need a drink to read the entire article.

(Hat tip: Scissorhead and MPS unindicted co-conspirator AxelGrease for the illustration)

Tengrain Presents…

Dear Diary 1

Dear Diary 2

Dear Diary 3

Dear Diary 4

Dear Diary 5

Dear Diary 6

(Peggy Noonan’s Blog)

(UPDATE: I’m putting this on the front page because it was mentioned on The Professional Left Podcast and people are looking for it. Fresher posts below. Thank you to Bluegal and Driftglass for the hat tip.)

The Further Adventures of Peggy Noonan

Anatomy of a Column

Noonan-in-her-cups

eggy Noonan placed the now-empty Mai Tai glass on the top row of the pyramid of glasses in front of her, precariously perched on her stool as precariously as the glasses were on the bar. A fresh Mai Tai magically appeared before her and her appreciative audience at her new favorite watering hole, The Chelsea Pier, applauded her skill and accuracy. She quaffed deeply, smacked her lips, and gave a gimlet eye to the task before her.

Noonan looked up at the wall-mounted TV to see Chris Christie was still the subject of discussion on all the talking head shows. To no one in particular, she murmured,

“Chris Christie’s problem isn’t that he’s a bully, it’s that he’s selfish,”

She took a thoughtful sip of her drink and declared:

“Barack Obama isn’t stupid and therefore the maker of mayhem, he’s selfish.”

“Take that back, Pegs!” screeched her competitor, the 6-foot tall Nancy Reagan female impersonator (complete with 5 o’clock shadow, “just like the real one,” Noonan once snickered). It was troubling to Noonan that even an ersatz Nancy Reagan would defend the imposter sitting in the same chair as Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of the last half of the last century, maybe the greatest president ever. Her little bird-like hand fluttered up to the pearl necklace she always wore, a gift from the great man himself.

“OK,” Noonan sighed, “he is stupid.” and she put another empty glass on the pyramid. There was a sharp inhalation of air from the gathered crowd.

“But the odd thing, the destabilizing thing as you think about it,”…

the glasses wobbled for a second,

“is that we’re in a crisis. We’ve been in it since at least 2008 and the crash, and the wars.”

Noonan was pleased with herself for the “at least” part. It was her escape clause when challenged that these unpleasant events transpired under a Republican president, the unthinkably simple Dubya. “Not Babs best work,” she said to herself.

Noonan was warmed up to her subject and sipping on the next Mai Tai (“only for the pyramid,” Noonan chuckled about the original challenge of the egyptian tombs. “I thirst for knowledge.”).

“We are in unprecedented trouble. Citizens know this. It’s why they buy guns. They see unfixable America around them, they think it’s all going to fall apart.”

One of the highball glasses Nancy Reagan placed looked to be sliding for a moment and then steadied itself on the top row. The false Nancy Reagan exhaled.

“In Washington (and New York) they huff and puff their disapproval: Those Americans with their guns, they’re causing a lot of trouble. But Americans think they’re in trouble because their leaders are too selfish to face challenges that will do us in.”

Looking around the bar at her audience, Noonan suddenly declared,

“There’s an increasing sense in our political life that in both parties politicians call themselves public servants but act like bosses who think the voters work for them…”

Noonan noted with satisfaction that at least some of the heads in her audience with shaking with approval. She continued.

“Politicians who jerk around doctors, nurses and health systems call themselves servants, when of course they look more like little kings and queens instructing the grudging peasants in how to arrange their affairs.”

Just then there was a large crash, as the pyramid of Nancy Reagan’s highball classes crashed off of the bar, having been nudged by a shifting shoulder pad.

“It was political selfishness that blew up the American health-care system,”

Peggy Noonan exalted triumphantly, as she placed the last Mai Tai glass on the point of her pyramid.

Our Selfish ‘Public Servants’ – From the White House to the schoolhouse to the George Washington Bridge, by Peggy Noonan

The Further Adventures of Peggy Noonan

Anatomy of a Column

Noonan-in-her-cups

eggy Noonan looked quizzically at the instructions of assembly for the new bicycle she was gifting herself for Christmas, her goal being to become fit for the new year, and took a deep quaff of her libation for both strength and courage in these trying times.

“One needs a better translation from the Chinese to understand these things,” she muttered darkly as she looked for something called a Hex wrench in the piles of metal thingies scattered about the Aviary 2, her new, grand penthouse, so spacious and chic. “But at least it wasn’t translated by the strange sign-language impostor at the Mandela memorial,” she giggled to herself.

Turning to her life-sized cut out of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of the last half of the last century, she muttered his name…

“My worries came home with a certain freshness after the Mandela memorial, where the United States Secret Service allowed the president of the United States to stand for 19 minutes next to the famous sign-language interpreter who, it was quickly revealed, was not only a fraud but a schizophrenic con man who is now said to have been involved in two deaths.”

She took a sip of refreshment and stared deep into Dutch’s eyes. He blinked back at her, or so it seemed. Her birdlike hand flew up to her ever-present pearl necklace, a gift from the great man himself.

Ronnie’s voice filled the vast spaces of the penthouse, or at least her head. “Well, Mommie, er, Peggy, you know that virtually every head of government from the world was there, so it’s not exactly that you can blame his White House for this.”

Her stare broke and she looked downward at his cordovans, and whispered:

“In fairness, the event was in another country and the Secret Service wasn’t strictly in charge.”

Noonan perked up, and took a sip of her Mai Tai and said sprightly to the cardboard cut out,

“That said, it still looks like very basic negligence, as if no one is keeping enough of an eye on the Secret Service, no one’s checking the quality of the advance or sending emails asking: “Hey, what do we know about the sign language guy — any chance he’s a mentally ill criminal?”

Noonan clambered up from the floor, steadied herself, and marched into the kitchen to replenish her refreshment, and noticed that the bacon-wrapped cocktail weenies she nuked an hour ago were still in the machine. She re-nuked them, and called out to Ronnie,

“I’m worried, finally, that lines of traditionally assumed competence are being dropped. The past few weeks I can’t shake from my head this picture: The man with the football — the military aide who carries the U.S. nuclear codes, and who travels with the president — is carrying the wrong code. He’s carrying last month’s code, or the one from December 2012.

Ronnie seemed to groan, but Noonan soldiered on. “Hear me out, Chief, she said,

“And there’s a crisis — a series of dots on a radar screen traveling toward the continental U.S. — and the president is alerted. He’s in the holding room at a fundraiser out west.”

“Fundraising is a big part of the job, Peggy,” Ronnie grinned at her.

“The man with the football is called in and he fumbles around in his briefcase and gets the code but wait, the date on the code is wrong. He scrambles, remembers there’s a file on his phone, but the phone ran out on the plane and he thought he could recharge in the holding room but there’s no electrical outlet. All eyes turn to him.

“I remember this movie!,” Reagan gleamed happily at her. “It was a rip-snorter, wasn’t it? I don’t remember my leading lady in it. Was it Nancy?”

Noonan shuddered upon hearing her idol mention her rival’s name so fondly. She continued on,

“Wait — wait. No — uh — I don’t think that’s the code we use to launch against incoming from North Korea, I think that one takes out Paris!”

“But… but, Peggy, the nuclear launch codes have been the same since Truman was in office, all zeros. Even that drunk Bush kid could remember that one…”

Incompetence, by Peggy Noonan

It’s Write Like A Noonan Day

Well, just look in the archives for inspiration, kids.

The Further Adventures of Peggy Noonan

Anatomy of a Column

Noonan-in-her-cups

eggy Noonan opened a bleary eye onto a new, cold, crisp New York day, with a dull throb in the back of her head. Instinctively her small, bird-like hand de-clutched the pearls given to her by Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of the last half of the last century, perhaps the greatest president ever, and reached on the Louis XV bedside stand for her First Aid Kit (the amusing name she gave her Christofle silver flask), only to discover—oh, horrors!—that it was empty.

“Half my kingdom for a horse,” she muttered to herself, “or at least an eye-opener.” She stumbled into the kitchen of the Aviary 2, the name she gave her new penthouse, so grand, so chic, and assembled her pitcher of breakfast (complete with a fresh wedge of pineapple, so juicy, so sweet), and the soothing relief it brought. “The good Captain never lets me down,” she nodded approvingly at her self-medication, a cup that indeed runneth-over onto the counter and momentarily on the floor. “Consuela will mop that up,” Noonan thought as relief dulled the throb in the back of her head.

Noonan thanked God for the miracle of modern science and that she did not have to go to the Park Avenue doctor for her remarkable headache, now that Obamacare was the rule of the land. “I’m not even sure if I’m insured any longer,” she thought. She considered the need for insurance, as healthcare is important to all of the rapidly aging Pundits in her cocktail circuit. “Well, I’m sure that Rupert has me covered,” she sniffed. “But what about others?,” the little people out in the heartland, which she was certain that existed on the other side of a bridge or tunnel somewhere. She had read about middle America once.

“People have seen their prices go up, their choices narrow. They have lost coverage. They have lost the comfort of keeping the doctor who knows them and knows they tend to downplay problems and not complain of pain, and so doing more tests might be in order, or tend to be hypochondriacal and probably don’t need an echocardiogram, or at least not a third one this year.”

Noonan took a thoughtful sip of her breakfast, and continued musing.

“Everyone understands in their own rough way that ObamaCare is a big mess. And that it’s not the website, it’s the law itself. They have seen systems crash. In the past 20 years they’ve seen their own computers crash. “

Noonan looked at her garage door opener as if for confirmation. She never got it to make a phone call, or listen to her music or her collection of Reagan speeches.

“They understand this new program was so big and complex and had so many moving parts and was built on so many assumptions that may or may not hold true, and that deals with so many people with so many policies—and they know they themselves have not read their own policies, for who would when the policies, like the law that now controls the policies, are written in a way that is deliberately obscure so as to give maximum flexibility to administrators in offices far away. And that’s just your policy. What about 200 million other policies? The government can’t handle that. The government can barely put up road signs.”

Noonan thought back fondly on her old insurance policies from years gone by, and the many hours she amused herself reading the small print, as she finished her breakfast. “So clear, so well-stated,” she smacked her lips as she slid off the kitchen barstool and made peace with the floor.

(Low-Information Leadership, By Peggy Noonan)