Thursday, June 29, 2006

Noonan the Contrarian

Peggy Noonan pens a (typically) delightful column this morning offering contrarian thoughts on Hillary Clinton, the flag-burning amendment, and the New York Times. I agree with all her positions on these--except perhaps her final couple of lines where she says that the American people are experts at deconstructing spin. Is that true? Or is the reason that we see "spin" every 24 hours a day due to the fact that we tolerate it and it works?

I'd be curious to hear your take.

It may be worth quoting Nooan on Clinton in full. Contrary to popular opinion, and given what Noonan says below, I have a hard time imagining her being elected president. (For the opposite opinion, see Can She Be Stopped? Hillary Clinton Will Be the Next President of the United States Unless . . . -- by John Podhoretz and Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race by Dick Morris).

"Hillary Clinton. Media people keep saying, as Hillary gears up for her presidential bid, that her big challenge in 2008 will be to prove that she is as tough as a man. That she could order troops to war. That she's not girly and soft.

"This is the exact opposite of the truth. Hillary doesn't have to prove her guy chops. She doesn't have to prove she's a man, she has to prove she's a woman. No one in America thinks she's a woman. They think she's a tough little termagant in a pantsuit. They think she's something between an android and a female impersonator. She is not perceived as a big warm mommy trying to resist her constant impulse to sneak you candy. They think she has to resist her constant impulse to hit you with a bat. She lacks a deep (as opposed to quick) warmth, a genuine and almost phenomenological sense of rightness in her own skin. She seems like someone who might calculatedly go to war, or not, based on how she wanted to be perceived and look and do. She does not seem like someone who would anguish and weep over sending men into harm's way.

"And in this, as president, she would be deeply unusual. LBJ felt anguish; there are pictures of him, head in hands, suffering. Bush the Elder wept as he talked, with Paula Zahn, about what it was to send men to war. Bush the Younger would breastfeed the military if he could. Hillary is like someone who would know she should be moved but wouldn't be because she couldn't be because . . . well, why? That is the question. Maybe a lifetime in politics has bled some of the human element out of her. Maybe there wasn't that much to begin with. Maybe she thinks that if she wept, the wires that hold her together would short."