(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.)
“Bad form to let the servants hear this.”
She’s clearly not upset that it happened; she’s upset that it got out.
Anatomy of a Column
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…”
Honest-to-Thor, there must have been a Captain Morgan two-for-one sale and the pineapple crop came in early or something, because her treatment of a Hillary BioPic is just completely unhinged:
“The dramatic template they’ll use is the life of Eleanor Roosevelt: Ugly duckling suffers much, finds her voice, leads. By the end she has become a thing of beauty, a real presence in the national life, a voice for the forgotten.”
“And Eleanor,” Noonan sniffed dismissively, “was also rumored to have had Sapphic desires.”
“She is an awkward teenager, can’t seem to get right what the other girls get so easily—the right headband, how to flirt. Scene: suburban basement party, 1963. The other girls dance to the Shirelles. Hillary, in a sad little flowered cotton dress, sits on a folding chair to the side. Next to her is a shy boy with a shirt-pocket pen protector. They silently watch, then talk about homework.”
“I wonder how I get across to the viewer that Hillary smelled funny, too?,” Noonan mused.
“She attempts to win her Republican father’s approval, becomes a Goldwater girl. It doesn’t work. He still criticizes her almost-perfect report cards. “Don’t they give A-pluses at your school?””
“And then Hillary practiced her Vince Foster kill shot on her dad.” Noonan poured another Mai Tai from the pitcher and resumed pecking at the keyboard of her trusty typewriter.
“She leaves home, goes to Wellesley, begins to study politics more seriously. Reading great texts, taking notes. Scene: Hillary in flared jeans, book in hand, running breathlessly down a dormitory corridor. She comes upon another student. “Listen to this, listen,” she says. “The working poor, especially those who are members of minority groups, are discriminated during the mortgage loan process at banks—especially women, who can’t even get a loan unless a man co-signs for it.” “
“Wanna go back to my room, sweetie?,” Noonan giggled as the words appeared, as if by magic on the 20-weight paper. “The writing takes care of itself,” Noonan murmured as she watched words, lovely words, fill up the sheet.
“Hillary insists, “We’ve got to do something about it!” and marches on. Another student pokes her head from a room, makes eye contact with towel girl, and they start to laugh. Rodham comes on a little strong.”
“Nuke all the men’s clubs,” Noonan’s typewriter slurred. “…and bayonet the survivors!”
“Moment of triumph: senior class address on graduation day. Hillary challenges the establishment, the entrenched powers. “We need more ecstatic modes of being.” It doesn’t make complete sense, but it’s the ’60s and nothing has to.
“This would be a great place,” Noonan mused, “for a 60s musical medley and perhaps some vintage footage of Ronald Wilson Reagan–the greatest president of the last half of the last century, maybe the greatest president ever–calling out the National Guard at Berkeley back when he was governor.” Noonan took a big swig, smacked her lips, and then wiped them on the sleeve of her Lanz of Salisbury nightgown.
“In the audience, a mortified U.S. senator who’d come to speak at commencement. Hillary sees him squirm. We see on her face this thought: This thing I’m part of has power. The young have more power than we know.”
“I must ensure,” Noonan wrote in the margins with a fluid stroke of her fountain pen, “more hippie punching.”
“Yale Law school, long nights in the library. She meets Bill—charistmatic [sic], friendly, ambitious. This one knows how to dance the mashed potato and the Loco-Motion too.”
Noonan found her feet tapping out rhythms. “The Watusi,” Noonan shrieked, “the Pony!,” Noonan ran to the closet to find her vintage go-go boots, but they did not fit and the zipper hurt when they pinched her ample calves.
“Dates, movies, love. His mother, Virgina [sic] Kelley—antic, Southern white working class—doesn’t like her a bit. “She isn’t good enough, not your type—she doesn’t even wear mascara.” Bill holds firm: She is the partner I need for my journey.”
“Mascara,” Noonan burbled. “More mascara jokes!,” she looped in the margins.
“Marriage. Elections. First lady of Arkansas. Awkward. What is the line between feminist seriousness and movement priggishness? Where is the line between getting power and staying human? She wants to be serious and she wants, as always, to fit in. Intermittent mascara use.”
Noonan squealed, “Mascara!” Self-satisfied, she refreshed her Mai Tai and slurped on the pineapple wedge, so refreshing, so soothing.
Comic scene: Virginia gives her makeup lessons. Hillary walks out looking like a whore. But she’s learned something from their recently begun conversations: it’s a mistake to think you have nothing to learn from the Virginia Kelleys of the world. They know things they don’t teach in the Ivy League.”
“Note to self,” Noonan wrote in the margins, her handwriting getting cramped and tired, “Mascara jokes are golden.”
“Thrown out of office, back in office, baby Chelsea, inexorable rise. Rumors about Bill and women, works through it. Growing friendships with Democratic activists, movers and shakers, moneymen, pollsters. A new interest in children’s issues. Lucrative board memberships. She will fight the power from the inside. The shoulders of her power suit get bigger.”
Noonan ran back to her closet and pulled out a Reagan-era business suit with shoulder pads like linebackers. The chintz skirt, so flowing and feminine was not fitting right, needed to be let out just a smidgen, and the jacket was fitted with a peplum, very Alexis Carrington. She couldn’t breath.
“Bumps along the way in the primary: a woman, a tape. Hillary: I’m trying to be serious about policy here, I don’t bake cookies! The blows keep coming. She toughs it out. Her husband’s enemies are worse than he is. She loves him, and she didn’t come this far to let some personal nonsense take them out.”
“I wonder,” Noonan mused, “could cookies be the new mascara?” Noonan’s marginalia was starting to look a little shaky.
“Defeat, retreat, mascara. Triangulation: Is this good? Does it mean we’ve become what we hated? Or does it mean we’ve become practical? The point is power. Preserve it at all costs. Lincoln bedroom good place to park donors. You have to compromise to win.”
Noonan approved, “Reintroduce mascara,” she thought. “Power, that’s the new mascara…” the words were harder to write now, the typewriter was slower.
“Triumph. Economy good. Rope-a-dope Newt and the Contract With America nuts. Good legislation. Finally, everything good. The future all sunrise.”
“Meep, derp, mgnig,” Noonan sobbed into her typewriter.
“Then: Monica. Tears, “How could you ruin what we’ve built?” Scandal, horror, rage, slap.”
“Tear,” Noonan paused, “but no running mascara. Genius!”
“Repair. Reading. Eleanor Roosevelt biographies. Scene: Hillary is alone, looking out the window of the residence. In the background, Bill’s televised deposition. She stares at the tourists at the fence. They want in. She wants out. They’re freer than she is, locked up in this cage, locked in by her choices.”
“Note to self,” by now even Noonan’s handwriting was slurring, “reintroduce Sapphic regret.”
“She’s with girlfriends late at night in the residence. They’re telling stories, commiserating, drinking wine. “When Joe and I had our hard time we decided to stay in it, work it through. We had a life, a commitment, kids, a reasonable amount of love and a big sloppy dog. Looking back we did all right.” Another, a tough talking New Yorker: “Look, fall in love with a guy who can dance the Shirelles, ya gotta expect he’ll dance with a few shirelles!” Hillary laughs, hugs her.”
“Wine, soft lights, some lady friends…” Noonan spine shivered. “Need to talk to Lynn Cheney about Sapphic keywords,” Noonan scrawled.
“U.S. Senator. On her own. Major book contract, bestselling memoir. Rich. A house so big it has a name: Whitehaven. Only she appreciates the resonance.”
Noonan typed, “Vast spaces for entertaining,” but then X’ed it out.
“She runs for president and is done in by her staff, who make poor decisions. They let her down as much as Bill did. But there was that one moment in New Hampshire—”I’ve found my voice”—and there was at least that victory, before the end.”
Noonan took a thoughtful sip of her Mai Tai. “There must be more I can say about how Bill let her down.”
“Obama is president. Future? Phone call. Secretary of State? Yes.”
“Hillary is still dependent upon men,” Noonan sneered. “Where did I leave Lynn’s cell phone number?”
“Scene: A walk-on by a glamorous, willowy, exotic aid. At night, on the plane: “What do you really want, Huma?” “All I want is to be just like you.”
“Maybe I don’t need Lynn after all,” Noonan chuckled and blushed. “Another woman let down by another man obsessed with his willy,” Noonan started sketching out a love scene, but then got back on track. Noonan took a satisfying sip.
“Scene: a meeting with old campaign aides, veterans of previous political wars. One brings a surprise: a poll. “You’ll not just win if you run, you’re going to be elected by a group that’s made a journey very much like your own. You’re going to be elected by Republican women.”
“Where the hell did that come from,” Noonan wondered as she stared at the words on the page. “Fingers, do not betray me.” Noonan stood up to stretch and saw herself in the mirror: go-go boots, chintz skirt, ’80s power suit jacket, and mascara all over her face, and bits of pineapple pulp stuck to everything. “I don’t understand how these things happen to me.”
(Peggy Noonan’s Blog, Hillary: The Docudrama)
“Can I say one of the problems is that the establishment, if you will, of the Republican Party, including, say, its consulting class nationally and its presidential candidates, what they’re trying to do is hit the target of what they imagine in their imaginations is the feelings and impulses of the base. They’re not good at that anymore. They’re not in touch with — with the ground in America anymore in a way that they used to be. And that’s part of the problem. They’re not aiming at a specific target, they’re aiming at a target they can’t fully see.”
I wonder what Peggington imagines in her imagination when she’s in touch with the ground–At peace with the floor–usually around closing time. Is she aiming at a target she cannot fully see, or a target that only she can see (or sees double)?
(Image: Axel Grease)
We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate.
Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad, or in Noonan’s case, wee tipsy or just forgetful that during the month of May, in 1987, the Iran-Contra Hearings began, you know, when Ronald Wilson Reagan (“the greatest president of the last half of the last century, maybe ever”) broke the law and sold weapons to our enemies the Iranians and then gave the proceeds to right-wing death squads, the Nicaraguan Contras.
I love it when Serendipity bitch-slaps Reagan-era leftovers on the gin-blossomed snout.
UPDATE: Dame Peggington Noonington of the Brooklynshire Nooningtons will appear on Dancin’ with the Gregory on Sunday, where she will expand upon her theme and no one will challenge her. Two pickled onions and a twist.
eggy Noonan was enjoying a refreshing Julep or two and talking with her Regan-era friend, Bill Bennet about the way to bet on a horse, “Not that Bill would know anything about gambling,” she muttered to herself.”But still, a man’s perspective is valuable when you want to place a wager.
Bennet, hiding behind some over-sized Aviator-framed glasses and under a straw hat of some design had advised her that the best thing to do is to actually spend some time with the horses and to interview the Jockey’s, and with a few phone calls arrangements were made, Noonan was poured into and out of various planes and taxies and found herself face to face with an actual race horse.
“I have never spent much time with the noble steeds, except of course in Central Park,” Noonan muttered as a very large beast ambled over to her. Noonan sipped thoughtfully on her Julep. “I suppose I look at his gums, first?,” she said to no one there.
The horse looked Noonan over, “Peggy, is that you?”
Noonan’s nerves were shattered, she almost dropped her drink. “It is I, but who are you?” she replied.
“It’s me, Ronnie,” the horse whispered to Noonan. “I’ve comeback as a horse. They’re calling me Godspeed for some reason.”
Noonan gave him the gimlet eye, felt his flanks, and murmured, “Ronnie, I’ve waited all these years.” The old friends caught up on inside the beltway gossip and Noonan tossed back a few more gimlets as the laughed over good times.
“Lookit, Peggy, you’ve got to get me out of here. If I don’t win the race tomorrow, it’s off to the glue factory for me. Will you buy me from the breeder, please? I’ll make it up to you,” he gave her a wink that sent shivers up and down her spine.
As much as Noonan loved Ronald Wilson Reagan, the best president of the last half of the last century, possibly the best president ever, she knew she could recover any princely sum she paid because the Speaker Fees alone for having Ronnie talk to the True Believers would more than make up the cost. “Just his reminiscences of working with Tip O’Neill alone would bring back a fortune!
Noonan glided over to the office and demanded to speak to the breeder, and made him a very generous offer.
“Lady, you can’t believe anything that horse says. Last week he was telling someone he was Augusto Pinochet. He’s a liar, and not for sale.”
(Hat tip: all photoshops courtesy of Axel Grease)
Anatomy of a Column
eggy Noonan swanned into the Bush Library Opening Gala, an elegant woman languidly riding a crest of self-confidence and self-entitlement, a woman in her prime. Sphinx-like she looked about the ballroom to see all the familiar faces, all the right faces, the cognoscenti of the conservative world.
A passing cater waiter delivered a Mai Tai. “Courtesy of Barbara Bush,” he declared, as a thirsty Noonan gratefully accepted the frosty libation. “Mrs. Bush told us to welcome you with Texas hospitality.”
“And where is Babs?,” Noonan inquired. “I would like to congratulate her on this momentous occasion.” Just then Laura Bush glided past as if on roller skates, and staring into space. “I hate the way she does that,” Noonan murmured.
The waiter pointed into another room, and Noonan was off.
Swimming into view was Condi Rice, Dubya’s National Security Advisor-Secretary of State.
“George W. Bush is back, for the unveiling of his presidential library. His numbers are dramatically up. You know why? Because he’s the farthest thing from Barack Obama,” Noonan declared, accepting a refreshing beverage from a waiter. “Obama fatigue has opened the way to Bush affection.”
“Peggy, Dubya will always be one of the most beloved of all presidents,” Dr. Rice replied, frostily. “Some of us never stopped loving him.”
Noonan gave Rice a sideways glance, and her hand instinctively reached up to her ever-present pearl necklace, a gift from Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of the last half of the last century, maybe the greatest president ever. “Of course, Condi dear. Of course.”
Noonan moved on, determined to find Barbara Bush, to thank her for the invitation to the gala. Another waiter pointed Noonan vaguely to where Barbara was holding court, and Noonan swam into the crowd like little Elian being nudged along by angelic dolphins.
“Saracen Pig,” Noonan exclaimed to Dick Cheney who quickly replied, “Spartan Dog!” and then the two old friends both broke into peals of laughter.
“How the hell are you, Peg?” Cheney asked as he munched on some Dancing Shrimp.
“Dry as a bone,” she laughed as another Mai Tai magically appeared. “I missed the speech, how was it?”
“Blah, blah, blah,” Cheney replied. “Tears.” He tore into another wiggling shrimp
“So, at the end Mr. Bush wept, and not only because the Bush men are weepers but because he means every word of what he says, and because he loves his country, and was moved?” she asked.
“Well, he didn’t announce that he was invading Syria. Now that would have been a speech, Peg.” Cheney replied. “Say, you don’t suppose that they could make these things with something larger, do you?” Cheney pointed to the shrimp.
“You mean something the size of a kitten?” The two old friend laughed and laughed again. Cheney pointed Noonan to where Barbara was. “She’s promising to have some entertainment,” he said raising his eyebrows.
“Oh, Christ, she’s not going to bring out the pickle jar again, is she?!” Noonan exclaimed. There was a crashing noise behind her as some French doors shattered and the former first daughters, the Bush Twins, covered in mud wrestled into the room, hoots and hollers and taking bets in dollars. “Hi Peggy,” Jenna called out. “Are you gonna work the pole with us later?” Noonan moved on.
The party was a mad swirl of noise and Bushes everywhere! Jeb was there and Noonan could swear she saw Columba lifting a silver service into her oversized bag; Noonan dared not to think of what mischief his children might be up to, but then saw the daughter, Nicole, sitting with Laura Bush on some steps, their gowns hiked up, both of them looking glazed and dazed, vague Mona Lisa smiles and unfocused eyes. “Family bonding,” she concluded.
At last, Noonan went around the corner and spotted The Matriarch and headed to her as Babs was concluding a virtuoso performance of the Star Spangled Banner on her armpit. “Oh, Barbara, you must be so proud,” Noonan gushed.
“Hella Proud,” Babs yelled back, “It took 67 years but we finally got Chimpy into a library!”
UPDATE: our own photojournalist Axel Grease was there, and took these exclusive photographs that you won’t find anywhere else!
Death of the Media
…on the Sunday Talkies, I always get the impression that she just woke up from a three-day Mai Tai binge and just starts rambling to the pink elephant:
Now, when it is so obvious that she is contradicting herself within minutes that freakin’ Chuck Todd notices it, how can it be that she will have a dinner invite with all the other pontificating poltroons before the week is out?
It just boggles the mind.
(Also/too: what the hell is up with her hair?)
“The Republicans let Ronnie down, but the Dirty F***ing Hippies are still wrong on everything.”
Dame Peggington Noonington of the Brooklynshire Nooningtons, royal scribe of Lord Rupert, doth say that the Iraq clusterf*** haven given offense to thine Republican sensibilities, and that the pooch be-ith screwed royally.
It’s another mea culpa saying she got it wrong, but she had misgivings about it –sensed it dontcha know–yadda-yadda-yadda, but she never says who got it right, and she never will.
Drink-up, Bitchez, it’s a long retrospective and navel gaze, and she’s at least a pitcher of Mai Tai ahead of all of us.
Can the Republican Party Recover From Iraq? — The war almost killed the GOP. Whether it can come back is an open question –
by Peggy Noonan