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Hullabaloo


Friday, October 03, 2008

 
Betraying Normal

by digby

Has there ever been a person more unctuously hypocritical than Peggy Noonan? Today, she claims that Palin's ignorant vapidity is a triumph of celebrity culture as if that's a good thing, and then has the utter gall to write this:

I find obnoxious the political game in which if you expressed doubts about the vice presidential nominee, or criticized her, you were treated as if you were knocking the real America—small towns, sound values. "It's time that normal Joe Six-Pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency," Mrs. Palin told talk-show host Hugh Hewitt. This left me trying to imagine Abe Lincoln saying he represents "backwoods types," or FDR announcing that the fading New York aristocracy deserves another moment in the sun. I'm not sure the McCain campaign is aware of it—it's possible they are—but this is subtly divisive.That is the authentic sound of the aggression, and phony populism, of the Bush White House. Good move. That ended well.


I'm speechless. So, I'll just let Noonan's own words explain why that's so

I was asked this week why the president seems so attractive to the heartland, to what used to be called Middle America. A big question. I found my mind going to this word: normal.

Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man. He's normal. He thinks in a sort of common-sense way. He speaks the language of business and sports and politics. You know him. He's not exotic. But if there's a fire on the block, he'll run out and help. He'll help direct the rig to the right house and count the kids coming out and say, "Where's Sally?" He's responsible. He's not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world. And then when the fire comes they say, "I warned Joe about that furnace." And, "Does Joe have children?" And "I saw a fire once. It spreads like syrup. No, it spreads like explosive syrup. No, it's formidable and yet fleeting." When the fire comes they talk. Bush ain't that guy. Republicans love the guy who ain't that guy. Americans love the guy who ain't that guy.

Someone said to me: But how can you call him normal when he came from such privilege? Indeed he did. But there's nothing lemonade-on-the-porch-overlooking-the-links-at-the-country-club about Mr. Bush. He isn't smooth. He actually has some of the roughness and the resentments of the self-made man. I think the reason for this is Texas. He grew up in a white T-shirt and jeans playing ball in the street with the other kids in the subdivision. Barbara Bush wasn't exactly fancy. They lived like everyone else. She spoke to me once with great nostalgia of her early days in Texas, when she and her husband and young George slept in the same bed in an apartment in Midland. A prostitute lived in the complex. Barbara Bush just thought she was popular. Then they lived in a series of suburban houses.

George W. Bush didn't grow up at Greenwich Country Day with a car and a driver dropping him off, as his father had. Until he went off to boarding school, he thought he was like everyone else. That's a gift, to think you're just like everyone else in America. It can be the making of you.


Mind boggling. This is the woman who made a fetish out of "Joe Six-pack" to the point where she was nearly drooling in public over Playgirl's annual Fireman's calendar. For years, I expected her to say she was giving up New York and Washington to move to Topeka and marry a wheat farmer. ("They're so very real, so bold, so authentically, turgidly masculine.")

Peggy Noonan and Kathleen Parker and some of the other cosmopolitan conservatives got a snoot full of wingnut rage when they expressed reservations about Palin these last couple of weeks. And they deserved it. They are the people, after all, who wrote garbage like that above for years and nursed the belief in the Republican base that the only thing required for world leadership is being as mediocre as possible. What did they expect?


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