Just when we could use a good laugh, along comes Peggy Noonan with a big fat barrel of monkeys in the form of a blog post at WSJ calling for someone–God? The Ghost of Ronnie?–to conduct an “intervention” with the Romney campaign.
I don’t have the appetite or malice to quote from this disaster extensively, but suffice it to say that Noonan trots out the usual complaints about smartass campaign consultants (you know, the one’s she’d be touting as strategic genuises if Romney were doing better) and Romney’s failure to get a mind-meld with some fictional 60-year-old woman in rural Ohio who is somehow the key to the election. Again and again, she demands a dramatic change in the Romney campaign, fresh thinking and fresh writing. There’s the classic Noonan anecdote about herself that captures the essence of The Moment:
Today at a speech in New York with what seemed like many conservatives and Republicans in the audience, I said more or less the above. I wondered if anyone would say, in the Q&A, “I think you’ve got it wrong, you’re too pessimistic.” No one did. A woman asked me to talk about why in a year the Republicans couldn’t lose, the Republican candidate seems to be losing.
I said pre-mortems won’t help, if you want to help the more conservative candidate, it’s a better use of your time to pitch in with ideas. There’s seven weeks to go. This isn’t over, it’s possible to make things better.
Good Lord Almighty.
Here’s Noonan’s closest approximation to her own “ideas” about how Romney can turn it all around:
Wake this election up. Wade into the crowd, wade into the fray, hold a hell of a rally in an American city—don’t they count anymore? A big, dense city with skyscrapers like canyons, crowds and placards, and yelling. All of our campaigning now is in bland suburbs and tired hustings. How about: New York, New York, the city so nice they named it twice? You say the state’s not in play? It’s New York. Our media lives here, they’ll make it big. How about downtown Brooklyn, full of new Americans? Guys—make it look like there’s an election going on. Because there is.
Yep, a big Romney speech in Brooklyn, that’s the ticket. If I didn’t know better, I’d wonder if Noonan made some bet that she could publicly urge Romney to–get this!–focus his campaign on Brooklyn and still keep her column and all her TV gigs.
The best thing she could do for Team Mitt would be to go on vacation until November 6–not because she’s criticizing him or second-guessing his campaign, but because she’s a living and continuing refutation of the bedrock conservative belief that “success in life” must be celebrated and richly rewarded lest we forget what excellence and virtue look like.