|Peggy Noonan - November 28, 2010|
She was a panelist on NBC's Meet the Press. Others in the discussion were centrist Tom Brokaw with Doris Kearns Goodwin and Bob Woodward leaning liberal. Only Noonan was on the conservative side. Here's what she said (full transcript below*):
"MS. NOONAN: I got to tell you, I'm one of those who thinks Palin will not run, and I happen to think if she runs, it will not work. Her people love her, support her, watch her on TV, read her books, love to cheer her. They especially love to defend her when people like us criticize her. They will not vote.... They won't vote for her for president."First, there's the strange idea that people "love to defend" a major political figure they wouldn't vote for. When's the last time you heard of that? I'm an activist, and I can't remember the last political figure I vigorously defended who I wouldn't vote for. I would defend someone with opposing views, but probably not vigorously enough for a pundit to notice. Certainly not in a manner to be described as loving to defend the political figure. That's just strange analysis.
What's also interesting is the second part of the emphasized text: "when people like us criticize her."
What Noonan meant was "when people like me criticize her." I'd be surprised if Bob Woodward, Doris Kearns Goodwin or Tom Brokaw get much static, let alone vitriol, for criticizing Palin. Certainly not from their base. They more likely get cheers.
But, Peggy Noonan doesn't get cheers from her base when she criticizes Governor Palin. Unfortunately for Noonan, it turned out that she was the only one of the four who implied that Palin was not "[a] credible alternative, a serious man or woman, someone with experience and some weight and heft who can get through Iowa and South Carolina."
Opinions like that get Noonan on liberal-leaning talk shows and give her spikes in page views of her Wall Street Journal columns. Her normal page view volume is a fourth or even an eighth of what her anti-Palin columns draw. To gin up interest, Noonan usually has to say something controversial, but the overall effect of that has been to further cut her off from the conservative base.
Noonan is no longer admired as a woman of gently persuasive opinions. That's what happens when you talk about "patriotic grace" on the one hand and yet call people "nincompoops" on the other. The two don't mesh. So, she no longer gets invited on the major audience conservative shows.
I and many others only read her column when she says something boorish or silly that grabs headlines. Poor Peggy Noonan. How the mighty have fallen, and it hurts enough that she can't help thinking that even the liberal panelists must feel the pain of criticizing Sarah Palin.
But they don't. Instead they lure Peggy into doing the criticism (notice Bob Woodward's leading below). Even if they did criticize Palin themselves, their natural base agrees with them. Brokaw, Goodwin and Woodward are spared the ire of conservatives. But, Peggy Noonan is not.
Now if Noonan had David Brooks and George Will with her, they could all feel the pain. But who would watch them? Well, maybe Kathleen Parker. (I wonder if any of them watch Parker's show?)
Update: Post edited for clarity by extending initial quotation.
*MS. NOONAN: Gosh, what do the, the Republicans need to beat Obama? A credible alternative, a serious man or woman, someone with experience and some weight and heft who can get through Iowa and South Carolina.
MR. WOODWARD: And so, not Sarah Palin, you're saying, is that right?
MS. NOONAN: Thank you, Bob, so much...
MR. WOODWARD: Yeah, yeah.
MS. NOONAN: ...for clarifying that.
MR. WOODWARD: Yes.
MS. NOONAN: I got to tell you, I'm one of those who thinks Palin will not run, and I happen to think if she runs, it will not work. Her people love her, support her, watch her on TV, read her books, love to cheer her. They especially love to defend her when people like us criticize her. They will not vote...
MR. GREGORY: But it almost, as a matter of fact, I mean, she...
MS. NOONAN: I'm telling you, they will vote for her.
MR. GREGORY: ...she could run without running. She could be a factor without running.
MS. NOONAN: They won't vote for her for president.
MR. GREGORY: Yeah.
MS. NOONAN: What I think she'll do is sit back. She's a realist, she'll know she's not going to--this isn't going to work. And so she will sacrifice herself and support somebody else...