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)