Dear Peggy Noonan

While taking a tiny break from having fun with my family, I ran across your article in the Wall Street Journal entitled Palin’s Failin’. It so happens that I have always admired you, your beauty, your mind, and eloquence. I have to tell you in this very public way how disappointed I am with your recent conclusions.

More than ever on the campaign trail, the candidates are dropping their G’s. Hardworkin’ families are strainin’ and tryin’a get ahead.

Now what are you tryin’ to say? Seriously, Peggy, (can I call you Peggy?) Are you saying that Sarah Palin’s honest-to-goodness regular American way of speaking is somehow dumbing down politics? Because if that is the proper interpretation of your mentioning this in your piece, it is ridiculous. I mean, please, Joe Biden is dumbing down the political discussion, and Barack is as uh, uh, um, uh, ah, stupid as they come.

All of the candidates say “mom and dad”: “our moms and dads who are struggling.” This is Mr. Bush’s former communications adviser Karen Hughes’s contribution to our democratic life, that you cannot speak like an adult in politics now, that’s too austere and detached, snobby. No one can say mothers and fathers, it’s all now the faux down-home, patronizing—and infantilizing—moms and dads. Do politicians ever remember that in a nation obsessed with politics, our children—sorry, our kids—look to political figures for a model as to how adults sound?

Look, Peggy, I have a mom and dad my kids do too. I would never think of making fun of people who do not call their mother and father ‘mom and dad’ yet you seem to think that people who say these things don’t have the capacity to be conservative or even read the Wall Street Journal. Beyond that, the part of this quote that really got me going was your use of these particular words, “faux, down-home, patronizing and infantilizing.” That will be about enough from you. If you can’t understand how many people in this great nation have moms and dads and learn the American way of life from them, you are out of your mind. It seems like you would rather keep politics to the elite, highly “educated” (I put quotes on educated because there is more than one way to get an education.) But you can’t have it your way. Do you want conservatism to prosper? I thought you’ve been trying to do that all these years and it is, just not in your circles. The fact is, Peggy, that you need our help. If you don’t want our help, keep writing crap like this, and we’ll take over.

Now, let’s talk about how our kids look up to political figures.  Do you not see the positive effect a woman like Sarah Palin will have on our daughters?  How the personal responsibility has deteriorated surrounding the Clinton Presidency?  How sexual promiscuity has increased amongst our children, not to mention the ‘get used’ mentality that Hillary Clinton has championed?  How our sons will have to opportunity to understand how to be a manly man and still care for your family by knowing Todd Palin? Your focus on how she speaks is at best, narrow-minded.

In the past two weeks she has spent her time throwing out tinny lines to crowds she doesn’t, really, understand.

Not like you, right? Do you even know how stupid that statement is? Have you seen her crowds? Have you heard their cheers? Have you seen the ball caps and jeans and t-shirts?

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.

This line has such poetic beauty, “…a vast and broken-hearted thing…” Here’s my question, who has broken the republican base? You may point to George Bush for his lack of leadership and in many cases, lack of conservatism. That does make a bit of sense. A few months ago, I agreed with you. But, right now, this minute, it is people like you. You come off as someone who hasn’t time to get to know her housekeeper, when it could be your housekeeper who lives life day by day as a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. Her natural God-given talent for noticing tiny details when polishing silver carries over to her love of keeping on top of politics. Perhaps in her spare time she reads books about the founding of our nation, about foreign policy, about political theory.  Then you threw in “she cannot actually imagine.” Well sure, people who drop their G’s and have moms and dads lack imagination.

She could reinspire and reinspirit; she chooses merely to excite. She doesn’t seem to understand the implications of her own thoughts.

Yup, they lack imagination and when they do manage to think, they don’t often understand what they are thinking. Are you serious?

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.

Hey, tell that to Obama.

This has been Mr. Bush’s style the past few years, and see where it got us.

That’s President Bush, Miss Noonan.

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.

Again, tell that to Obama.

In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It’s no good, not for conservatism and not for the country. And yes, it is a mark against John McCain, against his judgment and idealism.

Your intolerance of everyday American people is what’s vulgar, Peggy.

At any rate, come and get me, copper.

Look, Peggy, like I said, I have always admired you, that’s the truth. I am a Republican because it is the home of conservatism. John McCain is not a conservative. Sarah Palin is a conservative. I am only voting for McCain because he has picked Governor Palin. I know there are many people in this nation like me. But hey, if you don’t want my help in your quest of defining conservatism, so be it. But let me say this, if you intend to keep bashing fellow conservatives you will lose your credibility.

But what do I know, I’m just a seamstress.


October 19, 2008 - Posted by | common sense, Peggy Noonan, Sarah Palin


  1. peggy’s column was all about peggy. Poor dear.

    Comment by nuke | October 19, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thank you so much. You have expressed my own sentiments (and I believe of many others) so well.

    Perhaps Kathryn Lopez and Rich Lowry of NRO would like to point to your response to Peggy (from now on, I’m calling her ‘Peggy’) as the sentiment of the vast majority of the greatly under appreciated conservative base of this country (if not of the blueblood Republican’s like Peggy).

    Comment by James Smith | October 20, 2008 | Reply

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