Political Animal


September 19, 2012 11:05 AM More Comic Relief From Peggy Noonan

By Ed Kilgore

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.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Mrbarky on September 19, 2012 11:11 AM:

    Um, big cities have Blah people in them. Doesn't Nooners know this doesn't play well at the Chik-fil-a in Real 'Murika?

  • rea on September 19, 2012 11:13 AM:

    So, her plan is to play for the sympathy vote after Romney is attacked by a mob of angry Brooklynites?

  • Just Guessing on September 19, 2012 11:14 AM:

    The best thing she could do for the rest of us would be to go on vacation until the end of time.

    I'm not one for trying to help Mitt but one thing he shouldn't do it listen to her.

  • Lolly on September 19, 2012 11:15 AM:

    Please, please, please let Willard take her advice. I would so love to see him try to hold a fist-pumping, rockstar rally in NYC. If I believed in prayer, I would be praying for that night and day.

  • Laszlo Panaflex on September 19, 2012 11:16 AM:

    The problem is, it is when Mitt "wades into the crowd" and goes off the written script that gets him in trouble. He is terrible at ad libbing, at connecting with regular folks. He looks uncomfortable, visually appears to be trying to be one of the guys, and inevitably says things that emphasize his Thurston Howell nature.

    And Brooklyn? Yeah, he's sure to get an enthusiastic and respectful crowd there.

  • T2 on September 19, 2012 11:17 AM:

    Noonan is an idiot, yet even she can see the hopelessness of the Romney campaign. It's helpful to remember that Romney was, by FAR, the best of the GOP candidates for president.
    I've read where Ann Romney has played the "taken out of context" card for Mitt's 47% comments......hey Ann, the WHOLE SPEECH is on the internet.....there's no "out of context" involved. Go back to playing with your horse.

  • Snarki, child of Loki on September 19, 2012 11:27 AM:

    "fresh thinking and fresh writing" to sell Americans on 19th century economics and 15th century social policies.

    Yeah, right.

  • LAC on September 19, 2012 11:27 AM:

    Noonan and Jennifer Rubin must be double fisting glasses of chardonnay together because they really do seem to think that Romney wading into crowds to show the real him is a winning strategy and not another source of inspiration for a SNL skit.

  • gregor on September 19, 2012 11:29 AM:

    Ths may actually work. Just gather millions of postmenopausal Republican women (*) in New Yok, New York, and have them shout from the rooftops: MITT DOES NOT DISDAIN THE POOR.

    *My apologies to all post (and pre) menopausal women.

  • Trey on September 19, 2012 11:32 AM:

    LOL! Savor!

  • bkmn on September 19, 2012 11:33 AM:

    Why can't Noonan and similar types of people see that what they have is a sandwich with rotten meat. You can change the bread, the veggies, the mayo or mustard, but in the end the meat is rotten and no amount of change is going to fix that.

  • Josef K on September 19, 2012 11:39 AM:

    Didn't this twit write a WSJ column back in 2001 about how Elian Gozalez was saved from drowning by a school of dolphins(which he hasn't, btw)?

  • danimal on September 19, 2012 11:42 AM:

    "The best thing she could do for Team Mitt would be to go on vacation until November 6.."

    The best thing for Team Mitt to do would be to go on hiatus until November 6. Seriously, every time the man goes on camera, someone new says, "I can't vote for this creep." He's better off being the Unknown Challenger, the 'Not Obama'.

    Luckily for Obama, Mitt will show up for the debates and speak in front of crowds (hopefully in Brooklyn!) and do interviews that are recorded. And that will turn off more and more people as the campaign limps to the finish line.

  • boatboy_srq on September 19, 2012 11:51 AM:

    Wade into the crowd, wade into the fray, hold a hell of a rally in an American city

    An "American city"? Really? How many rallies are being held in Canadian cities?

    Maybe it's just that NYC, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Austin, Tucson or Knoxville (to name a few) don't count anymore.

    Is it me, or is anyone else confused whether Noonan is taking this tack to push the Romney to act like a human - or just lining him up to get shot at one of those rallies so the GOTea can get the Ryan/Rubio ticket they're salivating over?

  • james on September 19, 2012 12:02 PM:

    Peggy's idea is a great one! But not in Brooklyn. How about in Manhattan, at the 911 memorial. Where he can talk about how if he was President, we would have caught and killed Osama bin Laden by now . . . oops, okay, not that.

    And there are other great American cities. How about Philadelphia, in the very shadow of Independence Hall. Where he can talk about how if he was President, he would make it easy for every one to vote . . . oops, okay, not that.

    I know! I know! How about New Orleans, in Jackson Square. Where he can talk about how if he was President, he would open up the Gulf of Mexico to more oil drilling . . . oops, okay, not that.

    Los Angeles. Yes, at the stadium where the Summer Olympics were held twice, where he can talk about how if he had been running the London Olympics, everything would have turned out really well . . . oops, okay, not that.

    Wow. I'm running out of ideas. Just like the Romney campaign.

  • thewarthatkilledachilles on September 19, 2012 12:03 PM:

    Dear Mr. Kilgore
    If this policy that you have from the bottom of something (your heart ?) , given , to the Romney campaign wins the office for them ...

    I shall scream , for the safety of my virtue ...

    I shall make you wish your name had nothing to do with viscera or phoenixian imagery .

    I shall scream scream scream

    Ordinarily I would feel far more restrained , but there is no medicine that performs as well as betrayal , unless it is an "Arch betrayal" .

    Real or imagined , my heart stops at the thought of the endless waste and destruction ripening and blooming in those fetid Booschie Cheinie years .

    Asinine symetrys cloaked in heroic humidities ,
    Composed in the damp moldy closets of
    Never woulda worked anyway .

    You have been warned ...
    Scream ...

  • Peter C on September 19, 2012 12:04 PM:

    Actually, a huge Brooklyn rally is something I'd like to see Obama do. He could pull it off.

  • c u n d gulag on September 19, 2012 12:06 PM:

    Has this old twit ever even BEEN in feckin' Brooklyn?

    Outside of some people in the Heights, and the hyper-Conservative Russkies in Brighton Beach, and some Cubans, Brooklyn is full of the 47%ers Mitt just insulted.
    Oh, and a lot of "blah" people, too.

    Yeah, DO have a rally in Brooklyn, Mitt.
    Just better hope it doesn't turn into a riot!


  • Mitch on September 19, 2012 12:12 PM:

    There are certain Conservative voices that I read because they do have honest intellectual arguments, even if I may never agree with them. I am always open to listening to new ideas, regardless of the source.

    There are others (*cough* Limbaugh *cough*) who I pay attention to because, while they may be vile, they are still very influential, and important to keep up with to help me understand the thought processes of the Right.

    Noonan fits in neither one of those categories. At best, she's good for a few laughs. So thanks for the giggles, Ed. That's pretty much all that Noonan deserves deserves.

  • Mitch on September 19, 2012 12:15 PM:

    How the hell did I type 'deserve' twice? lol

  • Mikey on September 19, 2012 12:44 PM:

    Dear Peggy, We New Yorkers can smell bullsh*t a mile away,
    we leave the 3 card monte games to the ones that just fell off the turnip truck, in other words, likely Romney voters.
    So, no, I don't think your brilliant idea would work.

  • Diane Rodriguez on September 19, 2012 1:02 PM:

    The booze fueled sentimentality has reached its expiration date. Reagan's 100th Birthday ( can U celebrate when U R dead?) should have been the signal to retreat. Her relevancy evaporated long ago.

  • Bo on September 19, 2012 1:16 PM:

    "fresh thinking and fresh writing" . . . come on, Peggy. You should know better than that!

    After all, you're the one who became disenchanted with GDumbya after his first term and you're the one who was so critical of Queen Esther of the Tundra after she "went rogue".

    Surely, you realize that the problem with The MittWit is not a lack of turd-polishing (as you so aptly did for Ronnie RayGun). It's the complete and utter lack of raw material to work with. At least Ronnie was a passable B-movie actor who could read his lines and stay on script. The MittWit is totally incompetent!

  • Gov't Mule on September 19, 2012 1:36 PM:

    Peggie Noonan has been coasting for 24 years on her Thousand Points of Light speech. She still thinks it's 1988.

  • DGarr on September 19, 2012 2:10 PM:

    Mark McKinnon, Republican strategist and Bush campaign aide, wrote the following today:

    "I loved Michelle Obama’s line in her speech: 'A presidency reveals who you are.' So do campaigns. And mark me down as one Republican not happy with what is being revealed about Mitt Romney.

  • Kathryn on September 19, 2012 3:39 PM:

    Don't have time to read all the comments, so someone may have mentioned this. Dear Peggy,
    To you and the woman in the audience, the reason you're not winning this election is because Romney is an ill informed boob, as were all of the others who vied for the crown in the primaries. Also, your ideas don't work and have never worked and, it appears, the voters are finally catching on to that fact. Please retire.

  • David in NY on September 19, 2012 4:39 PM:

    I'm sitting in downtown Brooklyn. Love to have Mitt here. Heh.

  • freudian slip on September 19, 2012 5:25 PM:

    Noonan always has this glazed-over, I-speak-with-melodic and-fabulously-important pronouncement...such a superior manner...a solioquy of monumental importance. I agree--time to retire. It happens to everyone, Peggy.

  • smartalek on September 20, 2012 8:20 AM:

    @ Mitch 9/19 12:12pm

    There was an early-ish episode of The Simpsons (3rd or 4th year, mebbe), in which Lisa walks by a movie theater with "Yahoo Serious Film Festival" on the marquee.
    Lisa's response: "I know all those words, but the sign makes no sense."
    I have exactly the same response to your reference to "the thought processes of the Right."
    What in the world could you be talking about?