NOONAN'S INTERNAL MINISTRY OF TRUTH
Someone, or something, has gone into Peggy Noonan's brain and rewritten all her memories of the presidential administration in which she worked. That's the only conclusion I can draw from this passage in her latest column:
More than ever on the campaign trail, the candidates are dropping their G's. Hardworkin' families are strainin' and tryin'a get ahead. It's not only Sarah Palin but Mr. McCain, too, occasionally Mr. Obama, and, of course, George W. Bush when he darts out like the bird in a cuckoo clock to tell us we are in crisis. All of the candidates say "mom and dad": "our moms and dads who are struggling." This is Mr. Bush's former communications adviser Karen Hughes's contribution to our democratic life, that you cannot speak like an adult in politics now, that's too austere and detached, snobby.
And this passage, about Palin:
Her supporters accuse her critics of snobbery: Maybe she's not a big "egghead" but she has brilliant instincts and inner toughness. But what instincts? "I'm Joe Six-Pack"? She does not speak seriously but attempts to excite sensation -- "palling around with terrorists." If the Ayers case is a serious issue, treat it seriously....
In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics.
Yeah -- politicians don't exhibit gravitas anymore when they speak -- and it's all the fault of Karen Hughes. Not this guy:
And Reagan's words had such dignity, too. Here's are just a few examples from one page of Paul Slansky's brilliant 1989 book on the Reagan era, The Clothes Have No Emperor:
You know, when it comes to this yearly budget process, I keep thinking of that current movie hit, "The Little Shop of Horrors." [Laughter] Now, the budget isn't exactly like the man-eating plant in that movie. It isn't mean, and it isn't green. It doesn't come from outer space. But it does only say one thing: "Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!" [Laughter]
And the way I see it, if our current tax structure were a TV show, it would either be "Foul-ups, Bleeps, and Blunders," or "Gimme a Break." If it were a record album, it would be "Gimme Shelter." If it were a movie, it would be "Revenge of the Nerds" or maybe "Take the Money and Run." And if the IRS, Internal Revenue Service, ever wants a theme song, maybe they'll get Sting to do, "Every breath you take, every move you make, I'll be watching you."
...we were being led by a team with good intentions and bad ideas -- people with all the common sense of Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
You know, when we got to Washington, this country was in the fast lane headed toward economic oblivion. The folks who'd been at the wheel were more reckless than the Dukes of Hazzard....
Yes, how we've fallen from those Ciceronian heights.