Changing High Horses Midstream

by John Holbo on October 29, 2006

Glenn Greenwald is complaining about Peggy Noonan and, by extension, a considerable swathe of the punditocracy. I’ve been meaning to write that post myself, give or take. The problem is: it’s a bit hard to complain effectively about such things because you end up just sounding extra bothered about minor stuff from years ago. It seems like there should be some snappy way to make this charge stick and sting a little. Thus do I toss my post title – humble message in a bottle – onto the sea of talking points. Perhaps it can be used by someone to embarrass someone who deserves it.



bi 10.30.06 at 3:02 am

As Edroso puts it: “Don’t we get an apology or a fruit basket or something?”

And I’m pretty sure it’s the same high horse, just with a different saddle.


abb1 10.30.06 at 3:41 am

…I’m pretty sure it’s the same high horse…

Right, I agree. It’s just a new party line. Before they had a case of dizziness from success.


bad Jim 10.30.06 at 3:57 am

For years we’ve been thrashing over the question of Iraq’s purported attempt to buy yellowcake from Niger, when the fact that they already had an ample supply was simply ignored.

That the public is ill-informed, has a short memory and a shorter attention span, is not surprising. That our most prestigious pundits are similarly disadvantaged is dispiriting; that their severest critics are scarcely more knowledgeable is chilling.

Bob Dylan noted Israel’s attack on the Osirak reactor in “Neighborhood Bully”, perhaps not his most memorable tune. It defended Israel. Perhaps no one in the administration ever heard it; certainly no one remembered it.

It’s sweet to hear the advocates of this war repent, but they long ago provided us proof of their cluelessness and can not now be expected to offer us sense.

They’ll prattle on, regardless.


~~~~ 10.30.06 at 5:16 am

Perhaps Nonnan is trying to say that the average, normal, thinking-in-a-common-sense-way, not-exotic American lives in a closed system and is disrespectful of the opinion of mankind?


Uncle Kvetch 10.30.06 at 8:34 am

It seems like there should be some snappy way to make this charge stick and sting a little.

The vernacular already provides us with the perfectly suitable “Rats desert a sinking ship.” It ain’t broke; why fix it?


Steve LaBonne 10.30.06 at 9:47 am

“We’ve gotta protect our phoney-baloney jobs, gentlemen, we must do something about this immediately!”

Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.


sglover 10.30.06 at 10:06 am

The vernacular already provides us with the perfectly suitable “Rats desert a sinking ship.” It ain’t broke; why fix it?

Aunt Peg can do that without fear, because she knows that divinely guided marine mammals will steer the worthy toward Freedom.


Sk 10.30.06 at 11:25 am

The problem with this analysis is that the two Peggy Noonan quotes aren’t really in contradiction, thus Glenn’s argument (and by extension, yours) is empty. Two years ago, Peggy said George Bush was popular with the heartland because he is ‘normal’. Today, she says he’s not doing a good job. Both could be true (very easily-this isn’t even close to a contradiction).

If you want to really get Peggy on inconsistency (and I would guess that its possible), come up with a better quote from two years ago, for God’s sake!



bi 10.30.06 at 1:13 pm

Uncle Kvetch, sglover:

I feel that “rats deserve a sinking ship” has a connotation different from what’s intended. Thing is, it’s right for one to abandon her support for Bush; what’s not right is to abandon Bush, and at the same time give the impression that she was right, she’s still right, and she’ll always be right.


abb1 10.30.06 at 1:37 pm

Sk, in the 2004 piece she said: “He’s responsible.” In 2006: “They [good, wise guys – the Republicans] see Mr. Bush as careless…”

Is ‘careless’ not antonym of ‘responsible’?


Michael Sullivan 10.31.06 at 2:44 pm

The point is that all the things wrong with the Bush administration and the Republican congressional elite were readily apparent to anyone paying attention in 2004. The only thing that has changed is the extent of the damage (they’ve had another 2 years), and how many average americans are paying attention.

There were lots of (less well known) conservative bloggers and pundits who were saying things like this in 2004, along with the requisite apologies for supporting Bush in 2000.

But conservatives as a whole spent more time listening to those folks who cared only about securing Republican power than to those who articulated a clear conservative vision (and who mostly endorsed Kerry as the lesser of evils in 2004).

So yes, Noonan (among others) is a rat deserting a sinking ship. She does not care about what it right for the country, she only cares about power and who gets it. It’s clear from her current tack that what is or is not good for the country or the world is merely a tool to use or an inconvenient fact to ignore or confuse according to the demands of her kingmaking strategy.

I have far more respect for those deluded souls who actually think the current course of this adminstration is a good one, than I do for PN.

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