Anatomy of a Column
eggy Noonan woke up startled, gasping for air, her flannel nightgown clammy and cold (and mysteriously on backwards). She had had the dream. Again.
It always started off pleasant enough: She was in the oval office of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of the last half of the last century, maybe the greatest president ever. She was working on a speech for him going over point by point the pauses, the nuances, the emphasis moments, and like the pro he was, he would get it right on the first try.
And then his chair would spin and there was Mitt Romney. Screaming ensued and gasping for air in a soaked nightgown (Franz of Lansbury, so soft, so feminine, so heavy when wet).
“You have to look at the landscape and see the shape of the land,” Noonan muttered to herself. These dreams were alarming, and unnecessary. “If I am going to dream of Ronnie,” Noonan thought with a smile, “then let me dream of Ronnie.”
Noonan rolled over and tried to recapture the dream. She was sure Ronnie was trying to tell her something from beyond this mortal veil. Zzzz… “The pendulum has swung toward Obama.” Zzzz…. Mitt Romney has “a damaged political persona.” Zzzz… “the economy is still weak and the jobs report on October 5th will be pivotal. A strong one may ensure an Obama victory. On the other hand, a poor one on the heels of a Romney debate win could re-align this race.”
Peggy Noonan was in Ronald Wilson Reagan’s oval office, the great man was facing her, and not Mitt Romney. A tingling wave of pleasure spilled over her.
“Ronnie,” Peggy began, “Dear Ronnie, tell me what I need to do to get that unpleasant and undeserving man, that Barack Obama fellow out from behind your desk.” Noonan took a dreamy sip from a Mai Tai she dreamt up, so cool, so refreshing.
“The president is reversing the decline that began with his “You didn’t build that” comment. For three weeks he’s been on a roll. The wind’s at his back.How did we get here? What can turn it around?,” she pleaded with the dream Reagan.
Ronnie looked at Peggy and smiled and handed her a pearl necklace that she put on. His strong hands reached for the phone, pressed a button, and his familiar voice, so kind and gentle, so paternal and soothing, so masculine said to Kathleen Osborne his personal secretary, “Send in James Baker. Peggy needs him.”
Noonan woke up screaming, in a soaked nightgown when a drooling 82-year old James Baker hobbled into the office, holding hands with George W. Bush and a butterfly ballot from Florida.
Romney Needs a New CEO
How to save a listing campaign, the Baker Way — by Peggy Noonan