The Further Adventures of Peggy Noonan

Anatomy of a Column


eggy Noonan had just finished her karaoke set at the Chelsea Pier (her new favorite watering hole) and on ample calves waddled back to the bar where a round of Mai Tai awaited her. It was a Pundits Night Out she had arranged with some pals, and she could hardly wait to see their reaction to her vocal stylings.

“Peggy,” growled Maureen Dowd, “how clever and outre of you to select that hoary old chestnut, Both Sides Now for your finale. How do you come up with these obvious pop culture references, sly dog” she said frigidly, aware that her own oeuvre was being breached.

“Try To See It My Way,” Peggy sang back at her, “I’m not stealing your schtick, Mo.” Noonan paused to contemplate her beverage, so cold, so sweet; Hawaii in a cup, and me in mine.

Iced to the eyebrows, Noonan continued that she was thinking about today’s political climate,

On the Republican side it revolves around Mr. Trump. Party leaders, officeholders, operatives and donors despise what he represents: the deterioration of everything. They say so in private, not public. They don’t try to persuade anyone, or say, “Try to see it my way”; they hunker down and hope it will pass. Mr. Trump has a hold on about a third of the party: You win or lose with that third. The Republican Party as an entity, and a solid portion of its own voters, is utterly divided.

On the Democratic side, what can’t be discussed is what the progressive movement is doing to the party and its prospects… Early on the pollster sounds the alarm on what the administration is getting wrong, from illegal immigration to crime. No one pays him mind. They don’t want to upset party progressives, who are a small but significant part of the base.

“So you’re saying what I’ve long said” Nicole Wallace interjected smiling, “that both sides are the same?”

Noonan sighed as she finished a Mai Tai, and continued, “No what I’m saying is

The Republicans are afraid of the Trumpers. The Democrats are afraid of the progressives. Both parties fear large parts of their base. So they lie to them—”I’m with you!”—or mislead. This is self-corrupting and leaves a frozen field in which not enough gets done. Why compromise with Republicans if you’re trying to assure progressives you hate them? Why compromise with Democrats if it opens you to suspicion with the Trumpist part of the base?

Both parties would benefit in the long term from facing the issues they’re dodging. They must stop fearing their supporters and saying nothing. They should start trying to persuade.

Noonan thoughtfully quaffed from another awaiting pineapple, and warming to her thesis continued.

I suggest the ridiculous, a series of Lincoln-Douglas-type debates that are tied not to an upcoming election but to the idea of the meaning of things.

In the shimmering periphery of her vision, Noonan saw an apparition: Newt Gingrich nodding his head with enthusiastic approval, as she slid from both sides of the barstool to the cool comfort of the floor.

(New Readers: The Further Adventures of Peggy Noonan is a sometimes feature of lo! many, many 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 really knows the words to Both Sides Now, 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.)

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6 Responses to The Further Adventures of Peggy Noonan

  1. They really really fear the Progressive base, don’t they? So desperate to say how radical, how tiny, and never quite get around to mentioning how fucking popular their stances are.

    Deliberate, because if people realized that if they just got off their asses and voted, they COULD get those things they claim they want; and that would be the end of the Republicans forever.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. roket says:

    Both parties would benefit in the long term from facing the issues they’re dodging. They must stop fearing their supporters and saying nothing. They should start trying to persuade.

    WTF. After you remove republicans with a giant elephant in the room from the equation, I ask you, just exactly who is afraid of their supporters?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “the idea of the meaning of things”? Did Peggers get into Dowd’s pot chocolates again?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. RWW says:

    In her previous column, the Upper East Side village drunk opined that the Democrats could solve all their problems by turning the clock back to 1970. “Both Sides, Now” wasn’t even a new song then. And, she obviously didn’t get the memo from Ronna Romney McDaniels – Republican candidates are no longer even allowed to debate. Peggy haz lost all her fucking marbles at this point.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Stony Pillow says:

    Often imitated, never duplicated. And Mai Tais are SOOO refreshing on a humid summer day.

    Liked by 1 person

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