Two Howlers From Peggy

I tell you what: for all her many faults, no one can quite shake me out of a Friday lethargy like Peggy Noonan. Her latest column, in which she characteristically projects her own “ennui” about the 2012 presidential election onto voters at large, has a couple of real howlers that got my blood running. Here’s one:

Every voter in the country knows we have to get a hold of spending and begin to turn it around. At the same time—really, the same time—we have to get a hold of the tax system and remake it so that at the very least we can remove the sense of agitated grievance that marks our daily economic life, and at most we can encourage growth.

It seems that Peggy is saying every voter in the country thinks just like her. How’s that for some hubris? No “deep down in their hearts” qualifier, no hedging of bets on 100% omniscience about 100% of voters. Amazing.

Then there’s this, on the very day that most other members of the chattering class are hooting in derision at Matt Drudge’s claim that Condi Rice is the “front-runner” for the vice-presidential nomination:

Speaking the other day to a gathering of businesspeople from across the country, I mentioned the subdued nature of the election and my thoughts as to its reasons. I was surprised to get no push-back afterward, even from political enthusiasts, only agreement.

But the news: When conversation turned to the vice presidential nominee, I said we all know the names of those being considered, spoke of a few, and then said Condoleezza Rice might be a brilliant choice.

Here spontaneous applause burst forth….

I should add here the look on the faces of the people who were applauding. They looked surprised by their own passion. Actually they looked relieved, like a campaign was going on and big things might happen and maybe it could get kind of . . . exciting.

I just love the mental image Peggy is creating, as a diverse assembly of “job creators” sits at the feet of the sage, hoping that some of the wisdom she imparted to the saintly Ronald Reagan will be sent their way. And sure enough, she comes up with a “brilliant” idea, and their enthusiasm knows no bounds, despite their previous ennui.

Unbelievable.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.