Friday, November 5, 2010


Pundits throw ideas at the wall. Some ideas stick there and are admired as art, or something very like art. Others fall to the floor and are treated like the animal waste they resemble.

A columnist who is highly variable in this way is The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan. A former presidential speech writer, attractive TV talking head, and longtime observer of the nation's politics, Noonan has plenty of both hits and misses.

Her latest column has great examples of each. In the hits category, we have observations like the following:
>The implicit message of two generations of negative ads: Vote conservative, limit the reach of the thieves.
>On Wednesday, President Obama gave a news conference to share his thoughts. Viewers would have found it disappointing if there had been any viewers. The president (was) speaking, in effect, to an empty room.
>In the future the tea party is going to have to ask itself: Is this candidate electable? Will he pass muster with those who may not themselves be deeply political but who hold certain expectations as to the dignity and stature required of those who hold office.
In the misses category, Noonan finishes with this loser:
>Americans don't want, as their representatives, people who seem empty or crazy. They'll vote no on that. It's not just the message, it's the messenger.
That line should read "They should, and often do, vote no on that." Barack Obama was an empty candidate with a feel-good message.