Peggy Noonan is not sad to see Sarah Palin go. In fact, the Reagan speechwriter and well-respected prose stylist and American public intellectual would like Ms. Palin to continue to go even further, away from politics.
Depending, perhaps, on her painkiller supply, Peggy Noonan veers wildly between hackish defenses of Republican doctrine and actual clear-thinking criticisms of politicians (and sometimes, when she's had a little Chardonnay, she goes to airports, or walks around the Upper East Side looking at buildings). The latter columns tend to trick people into thinking the former columns are something other than a lifelong party faithful carrying water. But we digress! As a Republican, she would like to see Republicans actually win elections, someday, and because she is already on record as hating Sarah Palin it would not damage her brand, too much, to continue the attack.
She throws a few sops to the believers: after the Palin pick "the left and the media immediately overplayed their hand, with attacks on her children" (if we remember correctly, "the left," as represented by Barack Obama, asked that her children be declared off-limits, and "the media" merely reported, belatedly and with obvious disbelief, on her bizarre family life). And there are attacks on unnamed "intellectuals," by which she actually means "the Republican party elite," but she knows quite well that the word she uses is dogwhistle for "liberals."
But maybe we should just enjoy the actually unbridled disdain on display, here.
"The elites hate her." The elites made her. It was the elites of the party, the McCain campaign and the conservative media that picked her and pushed her. The base barely knew who she was. It was the elites, from party operatives to public intellectuals, who advanced her and attacked those who said she lacked heft. She is a complete elite confection. She might as well have been a bonbon.
"She makes the Republican Party look inclusive." She makes the party look stupid, a party of the easily manipulated.
"She shows our ingenuous interest in all classes." She shows your cynicism.
"Now she can prepare herself for higher office by studying up, reading in, boning up on the issues." Mrs. Palin's supporters have been ordering her to spend the next two years reflecting and pondering. But she is a ponder-free zone. She can memorize the names of the presidents of Pakistan, but she is not going to be able to know how to think about Pakistan. Why do her supporters not see this? Maybe they think "not thoughtful" is a working-class trope!
From there, we go on to blaming Palin's fall on "membership in the self-esteem generation," and a repetition of Noonan's post-9/11 mantra: "the world is a dangerous place." She feels that if she repeats it often enough, the Cold War will reignite and Ronald Reagan will rise from the dead, to win it again, for the Gipper, and for the team.
We can't wait to hear what Meg Stapleton has to say about all this!