10.01.2008 0

Say Goodnight, Peggy

  • On: 10/23/2008 17:13:42
  • In: Republican in Name Only (RINO)
  • By Carter Clews

    “In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics.” – Peggy Noonan, former speechwriter for Dan Rather

    Well, the Hard Left has once again trotted out that antiquated icon of pedestrian prose, Peggy Noonan, to stab yet another courageous conservative squarely in the back. This time Ms. Noonan shoved her shiv squarely between well-turned shoulders of Sarah Palin, apparently for being everything Peggy is not.

    Peggy, as the Hard Left media is overly fond of reminding us, was a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan. Amongst her adoring elite, she is most clamorously lauded for having “written” the line, “they slipped the surly bonds of earth and touched the face of God.” Ronald Reagan said it of the Challenger 7. Most Noonan apologists are unaware (or, perhaps, don’t care) that this, her finest prose, was actually lifted from a beautiful valediction by one John Gillespie Magee, Jr., a fighter pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force who penned it shortly before his combat death in December of 1941.

    Ms. Noonan, meet Mr. Magee. On second thought, don’t bother; he was one of those “vulgar” Sarah Palin types, born to hard-pressed missionary parents and committed to putting principle above position.

    Much else that Peggy wrote during her White House years was mundane drivel, brought to life through the flawless delivery of the inimitable Ronald Reagan. It was once said of Jack Benny that he could make one laugh just by reading the phone book. Reagan achieved similar stature in bringing a nation to its feet while reading the lifeless prose of Peggy Noonan.

    Not that Peggy ever gave Reagan the full recognition he deserved for such an achievement. Peggy, you see, thinks she invented Ronald Reagan, not the other way around. Sure, he had “character,” she concedes in her self-absorbed tome on the same subject. But, what’s character when you’re a senile old geek who, she reported, “doesn’t really hear very much, and his appearance of constant good humor is connected to his deafness. He misses much of what is not said directly to him, but he assumes it is good”? Her words, not mine. Thank goodness Ron had Peggy there to keep him from making too vulgar a fool of himself.

    And so, she disdains Sarah Palin. One gets the idea, in fact, that it’s actually because Sarah does hear too much, and doesn’t buy all of what the liberal intelligentsia (peopled by Peggy’s Manhattan cocktail crowd) have to say.

    Peggy says that Sarah Palin’s “political decisions seem untethered to a political philosophy.” Unlike, let’s say, Peggy’s – a woman who, for example, was a speechwriter for Dan Rather (yes, that Dan Rather, friend of Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega who got canned for falsifying documents in order to elect an arch liberal presidential candidate.) A woman who wrote for the trendy leftist “West Wing.” A woman who had her own show on the taxpayer-financed Public Broadcasting System. A woman who began her career as a fiction writer for CBS News.

    No, Peggy is definitely not untethered. In fact, the only time she slipped her leash (for fame and fortune) was when she feigned being conservative long enough to dash off highly edited speeches for George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

    Oh, you didn’t realize that she also wrote for George the First? Why yes, she smugly credits herself with penning such lines as “a thousand points of light” and “a kinder, gentler nation.” There’s nothing wrong, of course, with “a thousand points of light,” though it’s not really all that original. I heard my minister father say something very similar in the early Eighties at my grandfather’s funeral, referencing the latter’s youthful days as a lamplighter. As to “a kinder, gentler nation,” let’s keep it in context: it was meant as a criticism of what Peggy apparently considered the nasty – and, yes, vulgar – Reagan years.

    Peggy says that Sarah Palin “does not speak seriously” … and “it is unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite.” Hmmm, let’s see now … Sarah Palin has spoken seriously enough to out-poll two former Alaska governors and get elected to that state’s highest office. She has spoken seriously enough to take on a smarmy career politician with 30 years in the U.S. Senate and fight him to a standstill (at the very least). And she has spoken seriously enough to resonate with countless millions of Americans who know they are overtaxed and underrepresented in Washington, D.C. (In homage to the elite Ms. Noonan and her ilk, let’s just call them the “vulgarians.)

    Here’s an example of not speaking seriously – it’s from the glowing biography Ms. Noonan wrote for herself on her own website: “She holds honorary doctorates from Adelphi University, St. John Fisher College, Miami University, and her alma mater, Fairleigh Dickinson University.” Well, let’s see now, that puts her in the distinguished company of Iron Mike Tyson, who received his honorary doctorate from Central Ohio State University; Robert Mugabe, who received his honorary doctorates (yes, Peggy, more than one) from Edinburgh University, the University of Massachusetts, and Michigan State University; and Kermit the Frog, who received his from Southampton College at Long Island University.

    Come on, Peggy, get serious, and stop vulgarizing legitimately earned doctoral degrees .
    As to it being “unclear whether she [Sarah Palin] is Bushian or Reaganite,” maybe the truth is that she is neither. (And, unlike the untethered Ms. Noonan, she certainly could not pretend to be both.) Maybe, just maybe, Sarah Palin is a “Palinist.” Maybe as a strong, independent woman, she is cutting her own swath. And maybe, that, above all, is what Peggy Noonan objects to most.

    You see, Sarah Palin never had to spend her early adult years grabbing men’s coattails in order to be dragged along to the top. She got there on her own two, well-formed feet. And Sarah didn’t have to bother making a living writing words for others to say. Sarah says what’s on her own mind – and says it with a clarity, verve, and distinctive style that Peggy Noonan couldn’t emulate no matter how many times she appropriated fallen heroes like John Magee, Jr.

    Here’s a thought for Peggy Noonan, one she should take to heart, so she’ll finally stop foisting herself on all around her as what she quite clearly is not — a conservative spokesperson: Years ago, the poet A.E. Housman wrote of boorish hangers-on: “He was a runner whom renown outran/ And the name died before the man.” One would think that such a bold admonition would carry considerable weight with someone who clearly considers herself one of the leading literary lights of the modern era. But, then, perhaps such a celebrated poet to the masses as Mr. Housman is far too vulgar for Ms. Noonan’s refined tastes.

    The fact is, Ms. Noonan has had her 15 seconds of borrowed fame, and it is now time for her to exit – stage left, no doubt, where she clearly feels most comfortable. As she does, I would commend to her the likes of Judson Welliver, French Strother, Raymond Morely, Frank Kelly, Malcolm Moos, Peter Benchley, Ray Price, Don Penny, and Terry Edmonds – White House speechwriters one and all dating back to Warren Harding, who never wrote books to blow their own horns. Unlike Peggy, they had the grace to say goodbye, instead of hanging on to spew venom for printer’s ink, face time, and, yes, filthy lucre.

    Ms. Noonan, to borrow from the man you gained such fame for borrowing from yourself, “You have slipped the gentile bonds of decency/to touch the face of your leftwing paymasters.” And now, in the name of God, will you at last give way to a better woman?

    Carter Clews is the Executive Editor of ALG News Bureau.

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