Friday, April 05, 2019


Peggy Noonan is urging Joe Biden not to run for president:
Don’t do it, Joe.

Don’t run for president. It won’t work, you won’t get the nomination, your loss will cause pain and not only for you.
She's saying this even though she admires him:
The current Democratic Party is different from the one you entered in the late 1960s, not only in policies but in mood, tone, style. Today’s rising young Democrats see no honor in accommodation, little virtue in collegiality.

In the old party of classic 20th-century Democratic liberalism, they wanted everyone to rise. Those who suffered impediments—minorities, women, working people trying to unionize—would be given a boost. There’s plenty to go around, America’s a rich country, let the government get in and help.

The direction, or at least the aspiration, was upward, for everybody.

The mood of the rising quadrants of the new party is more pinched—more abstractedly aggrieved, more theoretical. Less human. Now there’s a mood not of Everyone Can Rise but of Some Must Be Taken Down. White people in general, and white males in particular, are guilty of intractable privilege. It’s bitter, resentful, divisive.

... Your very strength—that you enjoy talking to both sides, that deep in your heart you see no one as deplorable—will be your weakness. You aren’t enough of a warrior. You’re sweet, you’re weak, you’re half-daffy. You’re meh.

... Why will it be painful to witness all this? Because it will mark the fall of a political figure who was normal. Who knew there was a left over here and a right over there and a big middle. Who went with the flow of cultural leftism but understood the other side’s reservations and signaled that in some way he had some sympathy for them. Who knew politics wasn’t always about absolutes.
Here's what's puzzling: If Noonan respects Biden and his style of politics so much, why isn't she urging him to stay in the race, just to show all those young Cultural Marxist whippersnappers what common decency is? Why isn't she pressing him to get in the arena and speak truth to identity politics?

She says it's because he can't possibly win:
In the past you were never really slimed and reviled by your party; you were mostly teased and patronized. But if you get in the race this time, it will be different. They will show none of the old respect for you, your vice presidency or your past fealty to the cause. And you are in the habit of receiving respect.
(So Biden has been "mostly teased and patronized" for years, but he's also "in the habit of receiving respect"? I'm not clear how both of these things can be true.)
Soon the topic will turn, in depth, to Anita Hill, the Clinton crime bill, your friendliness to big business. You have opposed partial-birth abortion.
So he shouldn't get in the race because his record will be scrutinized? Isn't that what happens to every candidate for president?
Also, the old plagiarism video will come back and be dissected. It was more than 30 years ago, and for a lot of reporters and voters it will be a riveting story, and brand new.
Am I the only pro or amateur politcal commentator in America who thinks most Americans don't care about a thirty-year-old incident in which Biden borrowed words from another politician's speech? Reporters care about plagiarism. It's a firing offense for reporters. Civilians don't.
The press too will have certain biases, and not only because they’re 30 and 40 years younger than you and would like to see their careers associated with the rise of someone their age.
You mean like Matt Taibbi and Bernie? Or Tomi Lahren and Trump?
Their bias is also toward drama, as you well know—toward pathos, and the end of something. They love that almost as much as the beginning of something. They can’t wait to write their Lion in Winter stories. “The Long Goodbye.” “The Last Campaign.” “Biden faltered for just a moment when a white-haired woman put her hand to his face and said, ‘I remember you from ’88, Joe. We all do, and we love you.”
If Biden gets that kind of coverage, he'll rise in the polls.

Here's why I think Peggy Noonan really doesn't want Biden to run: She wants proof that evil liberal fascists drove him out of the race, and she's not sure he really would falter if he ran. He's allegedly out of step with the entire party, but he's leading in the polls. The possibility exists that he'll still be leading in the polls after all this coverage of his interactions with women -- many Democrats are moderates, and some just don't believe his behavior is disqualifying. If Biden holds his own in the primaries, Noonan's belief that the Democratic Party is a collection of Stalinist extremists gets blown out of the water. He can't be allowed a run at the nomination. All of Noonan's stereotypes will be in jeopardy.

I don't know what Biden will do. I still think he'll be a contender if he gets in the race, especially given the massive field of lesser-known candidates. But if that happens, every right-wing caricature of the Democratic Party will be invalidated. The right can't tolerate that.


And now here's an odd passage in Noonan's column. After telling us that Biden is an old-fashioned "normal" politician, Noonan writes:
This in contrast to the up-and-coming manipulators for whom it is second nature to feign warmth and outreach, but whose every hug is backed by the sharp and crooked finger of accusation. Their engine is resentment, their fuel is unearned self-esteem, their secret is lust for power.
And then, addressing Biden, Noonan writes:
You probably think they’re just girls who need a hug.
What's Noonan saying? That all Biden's antagonists are women? Is there any reason to believe that? Is she referring just to the accusers? Does she think they're doing this because they're "up-and-coming"? Does she think accusing a man of sexual offenses fuels ambition? (Ask Kirsten Gillibrand, who's mired at less than 1% in the primary polls.)

Or is Noonan having childhood visions of evil, sadistic nuns attacking poor, innocent Joe Biden (and possibly herself)?

I don't get it.

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