One of the things that is so irritating about Peggy Noonan is how sometimes she seems extremely perceptive and full of insight and I am very interested in what she has to say, and other times she just seems like the dumbest person in print. I truly do not understand it. At any rate, watching her on MTP this morning, I was stunned to hear this from Noonan as she discussed Sarah Palin’s debate performance:
NOONAN: I, I will tell you, I, I feel increased concern about her, I think, what she thinks of populism, as her populist approach. There are two ways—you know, her stuff about “I’m Main Street, you’re not, you’re the elite. I’m not the East Coast, I’m Joe Six-Pack.” She actually says, “I’m the Joe Six-Pack candidate.” This left me thinking, “Gosh, would Lincoln say, ‘I represent the backwoods types?’ Would FDR say, ‘Yeah, the New York aristocracy deserves another moment in the sun. Vote for me.’” It—there’s something weird about it. But there’s also something, for me, concerning populism as a tactic is justified often in politics. “I need this program, the people want it.” Populism as a strategy, “We’re the good guys, you’re the bad guys,” is not good, and, and if that’s the road they’re going, that’s not a good road to be on. It’s not helpful to the country.
Where has Peggy Noonan been for the past thirty years? For goodness sakes, someone send her a copy of Nixonland. Did she miss the last eight years of “you’re either with us or against us?” Did she miss the the last decade of accusing every Democratic candidate for every office of being either a traitor, treasonous, or a terrorist coddler? Does she have no concept of what it means to sneer at “elitists” and the “ivory towers” and “east and west coast elites?” Has she not noticed as the Republicans and this administration have done everything they could to delegitimize and attack anyone who actually know something. Send her a copy of The Republican War on Science, too. Christ on a crutch, if Noonan thinks Palin is going down the wrong road with her populism schtick, she is going to faint if someone explains why Phillis Schlafley and the rest of the cro-magnon right have been running around sneering at “San Francisco Liberals” for several decades.
It’s even more striking when you look at some of the internals. The economists rated Obama’s plan to deal with the housing and economic crisis 1.1 points higher than McCain’s, on a five point scale; economists who describe themselves as not affiliated with either party rated it .6 higher. Economists as a whole rated Obama’s tax plan nearly 1.1 points higher than McCain’s; unaffiliated economists rated it nearly .7 points higher. On fiscal discipline, economists as a whole rate Obama a full point higher; unaffiliated economists rate him .55 points higher.
Predictably, Obama dominates on topics like reducing income inequality and reducing the number of people without health insurance. But he also crushes McCain on reforming financial regulations: economists as a whole rank him 1.3 points higher than McCain, while he leads among unaffiliated economists by nearly a full point (and is almost tied with McCain among Republicans.)
I love Hilzoy, but it is almost as if she doesn’t get it either. The Republicans and the McCain campaign and Bible Spice don’t care about this stuff. These are academics. Who can trust them? I doubt many of them can shotgun a six pack while lighting their farts on fire during the NASCAR race. Get back to me when you have some compelling biographical info about an economist gutting a moose while riding a snowmobile.
Then I will know you have a real American we can trust.