Friday, January 4, 2008

Our Lady of the Long Knives

Reading on of Peggy Noonan's missives is kind of like watching a person peeling a big Red Delicious apple. With Peggy, it's a slow and deliberate affair like a loving mother cradling her newborn. Every stroke is done with a kind of studied grace. You get the feeling she admires the apple in a cool technical sort of way but your not quite sure. But you know she IS interested in knowing more and may even care. And when she's done she gently sets down the exquisitely exposed fruit and studies it as a fascinating creation before she cuffs the knife and stabs the apple through the heart.

Such is her skewering of the GOP caucus victor in Iowa, one hapless Mike Huckabee. She starts out with a harmless, even a little positive;
Something new begins on the Republican side, too.

From there she analyzes Mr. Huckabee's appearance on the Jay Leno Show giving a thumbs up on his performance. But then she says the following ;
Mr. Huckabee likes to head-fake people into thinking he's Gomer Pyle, but he's more like the barefoot boy of the green room. He's more James Carville than Jim Nabors.

Get that. He fakes you out that he's stupid but he's really the barefoot boy of the Green Room. Kinda like a liberal pundit from bumfuck Louisiana.
She goes on to the passive/aggressive style of channeling David Brooks of the NYT's.
What we have learned about Mr. Huckabee the past few months is that he's an ace entertainer with a warm, witty and compelling persona. He won with no money and little formal organization, with an evangelical network, with a folksy manner, and with the best guileless pose in modern politics

Nice way of saying he's a boorish buffoon. She then gently removes the last layers of skin by softly scolding Huckabee's evangelical patrons with a combination of "yes, you're right but,but ,but"
They have been bruised and offended by the rigid, almost militant secularism and multiculturalism of the public schools; they reject those schools' squalor, in all senses of the word. They believe in God and family and America. They are populist: They don't admire billionaire CEOs, they admire husbands with two jobs who hold the family together for the sake of the kids; they don't need to see the triumph of supply-side thinking, they want to see that suffering woman down the street get the help she needs

But there are two problems. One is that while the presidency, as an office, can actually make real changes in the areas of economic and foreign policy, the federal government has a limited ability to change the culture of America. That is something conservatives used to know. Second, I'm sorry to say it is my sense that Mr. Huckabee is not so much leading a movement as riding a wave. One senses he brilliantly discerned and pursued an underserved part of the voting demographic, and went for it. Clever fellow. To me, the tipoff was "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?

She's saying yes, you are compasionate people like Jesus was, but your also dumb as a fucking rock, of course soothingly so. Then we get the final plunge of the silvery blade straight into the apples heart.
My sense is that Mr. Huckabee's good supporters deserve a better leader.

With then a final last poetic twist, just to make sure.
. Self inflated dirigibles, especially unmoored ones, can cast shadows on parades.

Bravo Peggy, Bravo!

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