You'll no doubt recall how Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan yesterday inadvertently told MSNBC that Sarah Palin's nomination as the Republican vice presidential candidate was "political bullshit." What you may not appreciate is that poor Noonan was "mugged by the nature of modern media," just like Jesse Jackson when he appeared on Journal corporate sibling Fox News. To clear the air, Noonan told a story about how the selection of Palin this year is a lot like the selection of Dan Quayle to the ticket in 1988. That should settle everyone down! Take it away, Peggy:
It was just after the 1988 Republican convention ended. I was on the plane, as a speechwriter, that took Republican presidential nominee George H.W. Bush, and the new vice presidential nominee, Dan Quayle, from New Orleans, the site of the convention, to Indiana. Sitting next to Mr. Quayle was the other senator from that state, Richard Lugar. As we chatted, I thought, "Why him and not him?" Why Mr. Quayle as the choice, and not the more experienced Mr. Lugar? I came to think, in following years, that some of the reason came down to what is now called The Narrative. The story the campaign wishes to tell about itself, and communicate to others. I don't like the idea of The Narrative. I think it is ... a barnyard epithet. And, oddly enough, it is something that Republicans are not very good at, because it's not where they live, it's not what they're about, it's too fancy. To the extent the McCain campaign was thinking in these terms, I don't like that either. I do like Mrs. Palin, because I like the things she espouses. And because, frankly, I met her once and liked her. I suspect, as I say further in here, that her candidacy will be either dramatically successful or a dramatically not; it won't be something in between.
But, bottom line, I am certainly sorry I blurted my barnyard ephithet...
There are more inexplicable wrinkles to the story in Noonan's full telling (link below), but the point is: Yes, she thinks Palin is a bullshit pick, and she doesn't mind doing a little bullshit rhetorical dance to try and placate her conservative benefactors without actually backing off her statement.