Tuesday, October 28, 2008

THE BIG-LEAGUER AND THE BUSH-LEAGUER. The conservative heretic hunt proceeds apace. Witchfinder General The Anchoress thinks that Peggy Noonan, of all people, is angling for a job as Obama's Press Secretary:
Some of us have rather suspected that Peggy Noonan -- over the past few months -- has been playing pretty for a seat at the Obama table. Hey, a girl wants to be relevant, right?...

Hey, if Noonan manages -- like a few others from the right -- to successfully anchor herself within the coming regime, more power to her, I guess.
She's talking about the same Noonan who said that Obama represents the awful "New America," for whom "Politics is life," who sue smokers, and for whom "love of country is a decision... What you breathe in is skepticism" and "Tradition is a challenge, a barrier, or a lovely antique." She also asked, "Are the Obamas, at bottom, snobs? Do they understand America? Are they of it?" Hell of a way to curry favor, I'd say.

But Noonan said some bad words about Sarah Palin, which to The Anchoress is proof of treason. In a way you can't blame The Anchoress. She doesn't understand that Noonan's loyalty is not to a set of principles but to a brand. Brand Peggy is a comfort brand for conservatives and seeks to ease their minds; if something went wrong with some Republican campaign, it was not the conservatism, but some bad choice. She isn't going to work for Democrats, as her most recent column (about "flinty elderly Republicans from New England, home-schooling mothers in Ohio, libertarianish Republicans in Colorado, suburban patriots outside the big cities... the beating heart of conservatism") amply proves, any more than Tony Bennett is going to start covering the Vivian Girls.

But she is going to protect herself, and she wants to leave the impression that she has been true to the cause while others deceived themselves. Republican candidates come and go, but Peggy will be at the hearth with a blanket on her lap for years to come, talking to a large audience about the good old days.

As a crazed dead-ender, The Anchoress can't grasp this: for her every battle is Armageddon. But she works a small market. Noonan is playing in the bigs, and though she may sometimes descend among the people for effect, she will always return to the skybox when the paychecks are being distributed. Whatever she tells the rubes, she knows where the "beating heart of conservatism" is really at.

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