Anatomy of a Column
eggy Noonan opened a bleary eye and gasped. “They’ve found me again,” she murmured to the cardboard cutout of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of the last half of the last century, maybe the greatest president ever, which was keeping guard over the head of her bed. Her hand, small and bird-like fluttered up to the ever-present pearl necklace, a gift from the great man himself.
There, spray painted in gold on the wall of her bedroom, there was the vandals tag: Political Piggy xlv. She gasped at the brazen vulgarity of it all. She had moved to the Upper West Side to get away from the rif-raf in the Upper East Side, after all. “In my own home,” Noonan thought.
She called the doorman to find out if he had let anyone in last night, anyone crazy. “Did it happen again, Miss Noonan,” the doorman inquired. “Filthy hippies,” he added remembering Noonan’s generous Christmas tip.
“Near the end of the campaign I wrote a column called Imagine a Sane Donald Trump, lamenting that I believed he was crazy, and too bad,” she said to the doorman, who told her Trump did not visit last night. “I would have remembered that, Miss Noonan,” he assured her.
“Too bad because his broad policy assertions, or impulses, suggested he understood that 2008 and the years just after (the crash and the weak recovery) had changed everything in America,” she pontificated to the doorman, “and that the country was going to choose, in coming decades, one of two paths—a moderate populism or socialism—and that the former was vastly to be preferred, for reasons of the nation’s health.”
The doorman sighed and turned down the game on his radio. It was going to be a long call.
“A gifted politician could make his party the leader toward that path, which includes being supportive and encouraging of business but willing to harness government to alleviate the distress of the abandoned working class and the anxious middle class; strong on defense but neither aggressive nor dreamy in world affairs;” Noonas had found her second wind and continued with gusto, “realistic and nonradical on social issues while unmistakably committed to protecting the freedoms of the greatest cohering force in America, its churches; and aware that our nation’s immigration reality was a scandal created by both parties, and must be redressed.”
“Filthy immigrant hippies,” the doorman interjected, hoping that Noonan didn’t hear his slight whoop as a terrific triple play was announced on the radio.
“You could discern, listening to his interviews and speeches, that this was more or less where Donald Trump stood,” Noonan muttered darkly to the doorman, who agreed to arrange for a locksmith to change her locks (second time this month, and to have the painters in to restore the cheerful Tequila Sunrise pink-orange walls to their, well, sunshine best. “Yes,” the doorman said to the painters who were now on his speed dial, “her home has been vandalized weekly since the election.”
The painters were finishing up the job, and asked Noonan how this keeps happening to her, but she was deep in thought, and took a long sip from her refreshment, and replied, “It amazes me that in his dealings with the health-care bill Mr. Trump revealed that he has no deep knowledge of who his base is, who his people are. I’ve never seen that in politics.”
The painters nodded their heads as she tipped them generously for their fine, fast work. They departed and told her that they hoped no one would vandalize her penthouse again. Noonan clicked the newly installed locks and sighed deeply. Her house, her home, her inner sanctum, she felt so violated, she stared at Ronnie with his warm sunny smile, and picked up the spray paint can and paper bag and took a big huff.
(Mistakes, He’s Made A Few Too Many, by Peggy Noonan)
(New Readers: The Further Adventures of Peggy Noonan is a sometimes feature (of the past 10 years!) where we parody the much-quoted Reagan hagiographer Peggy Noonan to try to understand the genesis of her Declarations column in the WSJ. We do not know if Noonan’s boudoir is really sunrise-colored, but to paraphrase the Great Writer herself, “Is it irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to.” – Bacardi Lifetime Achievement Winner, Peggy Noonan, Wall St. Journal, April 2000.)
Update: the great Edroso wrote one, too!