David Kirkpatrick

October 17, 2008

Sarah Palin, meet Peggy Noonan’s bus

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:20 am

In an about-face from a few weeks ago, Noonan decides Palin isn’t all that after all.

From the WSJ link:

But we have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for? For seven weeks I’ve listened to her, trying to understand if she is Bushian or Reaganite—a spender, to speak briefly, whose political decisions seem untethered to a political philosophy, and whose foreign policy is shaped by a certain emotionalism, or a conservative whose principles are rooted in philosophy, and whose foreign policy leans more toward what might be called romantic realism, and that is speak truth, know America, be America, move diplomatically, respect public opinion, and move within an awareness and appreciation of reality.

But it’s unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn’t think aloud. She just . . . says things.

Her supporters accuse her critics of snobbery: Maybe she’s not a big “egghead” but she has brilliant instincts and inner toughness. But what instincts? “I’m Joe Six-Pack”? She does not speak seriously but attempts to excite sensation—”palling around with terrorists.” If the Ayers case is a serious issue, treat it seriously. She is not as thoughtful or persuasive as Joe the Plumber, who in an extended cable interview Thursday made a better case for the Republican ticket than the Republican ticket has made. In the past two weeks she has spent her time throwing out tinny lines to crowds she doesn’t, really, understand. This is not a leader, this is a follower, and she follows what she imagines is the base, which is in fact a vast and broken-hearted thing whose pain she cannot, actually, imagine. She could reinspire and reinspirit; she chooses merely to excite. She doesn’t seem to understand the implications of her own thoughts.

No news conferences? Interviews now only with friendly journalists? You can’t be president or vice president and govern in that style, as a sequestered figure. This has been Mr. Bush’s style the past few years, and see where it got us. You must address America in its entirety, not as a sliver or a series of slivers but as a full and whole entity, a great nation trying to hold together. When you don’t, when you play only to your little piece, you contribute to its fracturing.

September 6, 2008

Noonan’s advice to Palin

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:44 pm

I wanted to break this into two posts (see the first here) because Noonan was writing pretty raw several days ago, but the first impressions of a someone are always relevant. Peggy Noonan is certainly a someone.

Peggy giving some words of wisdom to Palin:

Final point. Palin’s friends should be less immediately worried about what the Obama campaign will do to her than what the McCain campaign will do. This is a woman who’s tough enough to work her way up and through, and to say yes to a historic opportunity, but she will know little of, or rather have little experience in, the mischief inherent in national Republican politics. She will be mobbed up in the McCain campaign by people who care first about McCain and second about themselves. (Or, let’s be honest, often themselves first and then McCain.) Palin will never be higher than number three in their daily considerations. They won’t have enough interest in protecting her, advancing her, helping her play to her strengths, helping her kick away from danger. And – there is no nice way to say this, even though at this point I shouldn’t worry about nice – some of them are that worst sort of aide, dim and insensitive past or present lobbyists with high self-confidence. She’ll be a thing to them; they’ll see the smile and the chignon and the glasses and think she’s Truvi from Steel Magnolias. They’ll run right over her, not because they’re strong but because they’re stupid. The McCain campaign better get straight on this. He should step in, knock heads, scare his own people and get Palin the help and high-level staff all but the most seasoned vice presidential candidates require.

Noonan on Palin and Obama

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:31 pm

Here’s a snippet from three days ago:

I don’t think the most powerful attack line will be, in the end, inexperience. Our nation appears to be in a cycle in which inexperience seems something of a lure. “He’s fresh, he’s new, he hasn’t appalled me yet!” I don’t think it’s age. While Palin seems to me young, so does Obama. I freely concede this is a drawback of getting older: you keep upping your idea of what “old enough” is. But only because when you’re 50 you know you’re wiser and more seasoned than you were at 40, or should be.

America, even as it ages, loves youth and admires its strength.

I think the left will go hard on this: Fringe. Radical. What goes on in her church? Isn’t she extreme? Does she really think God wants a pipeline? What does Sarah Barracuda really mean? They’re going to try and make her strange, outré, oddball. And not in a good way.

In all this, and in its involvement in this week’s ritual humiliation of a 17-year-old girl, the mainstream press may seriously overplay its hand, and court a backlash that impacts the election. More on that in a moment.


I’ll tell you how powerful Mrs. Palin already is: she reignited the culture wars just by showing up. She scrambled the battle lines, too. The crustiest old Republican men are shouting “Sexism!” when she’s slammed. Pro-woman Democrats are saying she must be a bad mother to be all ambitious with kids in the house. Great respect goes to Barack Obama not only for saying criticism of candidates’ children is out of bounds in political campaigns, but for making it personal, and therefore believable. “My mother had me when she was eighteen…” That was the lovely sound of class in American politics.

September 5, 2008

Initial reactions on GOP convention

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:21 am

I’ve been killed with a historic preservation project involving decorative metal (read: I’m slinging a lot of steel around and not doing that much fine art conservation) that I’ll blog more about later. Because of this project I haven’t been doing much analytic blogging other than over the weekends of late.

I want to spend a bit more time to really post an opinion of both conventions and what the rest of this race will likely entail.

My quick take on the GOP convention is Palin gave a good speech, but the real boon for McCain in choosing her is it guaranteed the narrative stayed on the GOP throughout the convention. No Obama news beginning almost immediately after his historic (in sheer numbers of viewers) speech. Palin’s numbers were in the ballpark of Obama’s and she excited the base.

I also think the veep choice coupled with very strong appeal to the religious right will turn some of the fence-sitting independents away from McCain. That will most likely be fatal to his marginal-at-best hopes in this electoral atmosphere.

McCain’s speech was somewhat uninspired, but he did to a great job of differentiating himself from the Bush 43 years and to shore-up his “maverick” bona fides. I’ve heard at least one analysis that the Palin pick is a another move to contrast with Bush/Cheney. I also have heard in a number of places he was basically forced out of his top two veep choices — Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge. The first an Independent/Democrat (and failed veep choice with Gore in 2000), and the second a pro-choice Republican. He supposedly was basically told, “Yeah, you’ll be comfortable with either of those guys but you’ll lose by 10 points.”

In consequence he chose a relatively young, very relatively unknown female governor from a state with a smaller population than twenty some-odd US cities. And a pick with practically no vetting, a process that typically takes many months and involves a great deal of legal drilling down into all aspects of the vetted one’s life. That makes the pick reckless and very unserious, and calls McCain’s executive capabilities into question.

One negative for the GOP with this convention was the tiny crowd. After the Democrats had standing room only every night and a final rally in Mile High Stadium, the GOP couldn’t even fill its hall for McCain’s official coronation. The rabid base might be excited, but the GOP faces a serious look in the mirror about where it stands as a party.

Peggy Noonan had it completely correct when she said, “It’s over.” Liberal bloggers initially thought she was refering to McCain’s chances this November. Her actual intent was even more damning because it applied to the entire party. Noonan meant the days when the majority of country agreed with the GOP base are over, and the base doesn’t realize this sea-change.

May 16, 2008

Peggy Noonan still spot on

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:31 pm

The one-time Reagan speechwriter, longtime GOP supporter and Wall Street Journal columnist has over the years been many things for the Republican Party — apparatchik, cheerleader, gently guiding hand — and now, over a series of columns, she’s been forced to speak truth to power on how the GOP is no longer a “conservative” party. It serves some new god, but certainly it is no longer the party of Lincoln or Reagan. Or Nixon for that matter.

She keeps the pressure on the party she loves with today’s column.

Some excerpts:

The Democrats aren’t the ones falling apart, the Republicans are. The Democrats can see daylight ahead. For all their fractious fighting, they’re finally resolving their central drama. Hillary Clinton will leave, and Barack Obama will deliver a stirring acceptance speech. Then hand-to-hand in the general, where they see their guy triumphing. You see it when you talk to them: They’re busy being born.

The Republicans? Busy dying. The brightest of them see no immediate light. They’re frozen, not like a deer in the headlights but a deer in the darkness, his ears stiff at the sound. Crunch. Twig. Hunting party.


“This was a real wakeup call for us,” someone named Robert M. Duncan, who is chairman of the Republican National Committee, told the New York Times. This was after Mississippi. “We can’t let the Democrats take our issues.” And those issues would be? “We can’t let them pretend to be conservatives,” he continued. Why not? Republicans pretend to be conservative every day.

February 2, 2008

Peggy Noonan on the primaries

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:12 pm

Here’s a good Wall Street Journal piece by one time Reagan speechwriter, and regular WSJ columnist, Peggy Noonan. She takes a look at both fields and gives Ted Kennedy an extended, and insightful treatment.