Anatomy of a Column
eggy Noonan put the handset back in the cradle of her pink princess phone in the boudoir of the Aviary 2 (the upper east-side Penthouse she bought for nearly $2M in the spring, so spacious, so chic). She paused for a moment before reaching for her Mai Tai and sipping thoughtfully, wondered where she was going to meet some ordinary Americans.
Mr. Murdoch’s instructions had been undeniably clear: Noonan was to write about how out of touch the President is with something he called real Americans, as if this creature existed. “Fuck it, Peggy, I’m an Australian billionaire, what the fuck do I know about your fucking little people? Obama went to goddam Indiana, so find some goddam Indians that want to talk about how much they fucking hate him.”
Noonan had tried to explain the dynamics to the Boss: “When you’re president and you go to Indiana, you take the bubble with you. Your bubble meets Indiana; your bubble witnesses Indianans. But you don’t get out of the bubble in Indiana.”
“Do I have to fucking do everything here?” was the reply before he slammed the phone on her. It was now a few Mai Tais later, and Noonan had a plan. “If you can’t take Mohammed to the Mountain, you can take some Mai Tai to Mohammed,” she noted. She was going to go to middle america and find out what they think of the President, as the boss suggested.
If you can’t take Mohammed to the Mountain, you can take some Mai Tai to Mohammed.
Calling her building’s concierge, Noonan arranged to have her driver meet her out in front of her fancy address. Noonan put on some comfortable clothes, nothing too fancy, just a sweater set from Bergdorf’s and a plain Chanel skirt. Because she was in a hurry, she didn’t bother switching bags, and picked up the Hermes, even though it did not match the Prada boots she was wearing. “A fashion don’t,” she giggled to herself.
She rolled down the glass partition. “Take me to middle America, James, and don’t spare the horses,” Noonan chirped pleasantly to the driver.
“Alfonso. My name is Alfonso. Where’s middle America, Ms. Noonan?”
Noonan paused, slurped some refreshment (so soothing, so sweet) from her “First Aid Kit” (the clever name she had given her Christofle flask, so smart, so cunning) and said she thought it was somewhere around Midtown. She locked her door just thinking about it.
Noonan paused to consider The Bubble that the President–that unlikable man, that man sitting in her beloved Ronnie’s chair, his cheap Florsheim shoes on the Great Desk itself–finds himself in. “You cannot shake the bubble. Wherever you go, there it is,” Noonan murmured to herself in the back of the Town Car. Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest President of the last half of the last century, maybe the greatest President ever, was a man of the people, “at least until the people tried to kill him, and then he was trapped in the Bubble,” she grimaced, her little bird-like hands fluttered up to the ever-present pearl necklace, a gift from the great man himself.
You cannot shake the bubble. Wherever you go, there it is.
“And the worst part is that the army of staff, security and aides that exists to be a barrier between a president and danger, or a president and inconvenience, winds up being a barrier between a president and reality.” Noonan noted to herself as she watched some bums picking through the garbage near the Park.
“James, stop the car! We found a real American!” She rolled down the window, waived a Benjamin at one of the men and asked him for his name. She didn’t understand his reply, so she called him Willie, which seemed like the name a man of his class might have.
“I think we all agree Mr. Obama badly needs, is an assistant whose sole job it is to explain and interpret the American people to him. Someone to translate the views of the people, and explain how they think. An advocate for the average, a representative for the normal, to the extent America does normal.”
The man starred at Noonan, and started walking towards the Benjamin. Noonan tried to engage him again.
“Do you think the anti-TSA uprising was genuine, Willie? Are you worried about getting groped when you fly?” The man made a rude gesture to Noonan, who screamed at Alfonso to gun it.
“The Special Assistant for Reality
Obama needs to hear a voice from outside the presidential bubble,” by Peggy Noonan
Our intrepid photojournalist, DCap, caught Noonan trying to infiltrate the workings of the common person, which was her Plan B after Plan A failed.