Sick of Meddling in Iraq? Vote Against Big Government!

It’s been a while since I’ve written about one of the weekly meanderings from Peggy Noonan with which the Wall Street Journal chooses to afflict us each Friday. But today Peggy performs one of those triple-back-flips for which she is famous, arguing that because both Republican and Democratic administrations have (apparently equally) betrayed the American people in Iraq (note the consistency with Rand Paul’s take in the same newspaper this morning), the only solution is to take up the arms against Big Government:

In the long term, the U.S. experience in Iraq will probably contribute to the resentment, the sheer ungodly distance and lack of trust and faith between the people who are governed in America and those who govern them, between the continent and the city called Washington. Also between the people and the two great political parties, both of which blundered.

Pundits and pollsters have been talking about a quickening of the populist spirit, and the possibility of a populist rise, for at least a quarter-century. But they’re doing it more often now.

There is a growing disconnect between the American people and their government, a freshened resentment. We are not only talking about Iraq when we talk about Iraq, we are also talking about ourselves. We are not only talking about the past, we are talking about the future.

Yes, and the future lies ahead.

Put aside the fact that when Noonan talks about “both parties” blundering in Iraq, she’s not talking about those Democrats who voted for the war, but about those Democrats (including the president) who decided to get out of the war. If getting in and getting out were equally flawed, it’s hard to know what the right position would be. Invading Iraq in 2009? Beats me.

And you can also discount Noonan’s amazing inconsistency. Maybe I missed it when she formally apologized for this sort of utterance, made by her in 2003 (h/t Media Matters):

Iraq’s liberation will be the biggest good thing to happen since 9/11…The American president has, meanwhile, demonstrated to the entire world that he is neither a bombastic naïf nor a reckless cowboy but, in fact, another kind of American stereotype: the steely-eyed rocket man.

Ah, what a classic that was!

But put all that aside, and it seems Noonan is arguing that any mistake by any governmental official in either party means The People (with whom she hilariously identifies as “we” in much of this column) need to fight against Washington’s power. I’m reasonably sure by that that she means voting Republican, preferably very conservative Republican. You know, so we can avoid great disasters like the IRS “scandal” and the invasion of (or withdrawal from) Iraq.

The mind reels.

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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.