I just want you all to know that I gagged my way through the first half of Peggy Noonan’s column today to get to the only two paragraphs still alive and breathing and to rescue them. Here’s the first one:
This thought occurs that Hillary Clinton’s entire campaign is, and always was, a Potemkin village, a giant head fake, a haughty facade hollow at the core. That she is disorganized on the ground in Iowa, taken aback by a challenge to her invincibility, that she doesn’t actually have an A team, that her advisers have always been chosen more for proven loyalty than talent, that her supporters don’t feel deep affection for her. That she’s scrambling chaotically to catch up, with surrogates saying scuzzy things about Barack Obama and drug use, and her following up with apologies that will, as always, keep the story alive. That her guru-pollster, the almost universally disliked Mark Penn, has, according to Newsday, become the focus of charges that he has “mistakenly run Clinton as a de facto incumbent” and that the top officials on the campaign have never had a real understanding of Iowa.
Peggy’s not exactly right about anything there, but her Potemkin village analogy at least places the Clinton operation with the correct regime. By the Clintons, the Democratic Party’s rank and file are treated like the Red Army, with the Clinton operation playing the rear-guard role of the NKVD, i.e., shooting those attempting to retreat in the head.
And to the Clintons, “loyalty” from their team is the premium, but it’s a one-way street with a dead end. Once you are on the Clinton bus, it’s not likely you are ever going to be let off of it. As far as “talent” goes, your “loyalty” is your talent, and you next need to be a thug, which needs no quotation marks around it. Of course, at the lower rungs of the operation, you need be but a “squirrel,” as the glassy-eyed busyworkers were called way back in the halcyon days of the Arkansas kingworks. And as is well known, the status of high squirrel can be attained through the power of fellatio. The Big He does job placement for high squirrels.
And has any Clinton campaign ever been anything but a “giant head fake” and “hollow at the core?” Come on, Peggy, that didn’t get started this time out, in Iowa.
And if Peggy thinks that “scuzzy things about Barack Obama and drug use” are the limit to what the Clintons will do to Obama, then wait and see what they’ll do to him if they think his surge in the polls is real. They’ll lay him out on the canvas like a member of Joe Louis’s bum-of-the-month club and leave not a single fingerprint at the scene. Then they will point to their dismissal of aides who made suggestive comments about Obama as proof that they didn’t throw the punch. And then they’ll blame the usual suspects of the vast right-wing conspiracy, i.e., Republicans. And in case you’re thinking that we’re talking about something that Republicans would do, like the push-polling attack on John McCain in 2000, think again. That’s just garden variety dirty tricks. What the Clinton machine will do to Obama will have Oprah herself walking away from him. And watch if she doesn’t have to pay a price, too, for the temerity of her hearty Obama endorsement.
In fact, if Oprah’s sooner rather than later fall from grace is not already a major outsourced project, I would be surprised. Why, if she can be an insurrectionist before the election, what sort of trouble can be expected from her after Hillary’s eyes begin to bulge with power from behind the desk in the Oval Office? A lesson needs to be made of her.
As for the Clintons not having a “real understanding” of Iowa, what makes Peggy think that the Clintons want or need a “real understanding” of anything? The Clintons are postmodernists in the extreme. They provide the understanding; they don’t seek it out. How does Peggy think that after eight full years of displaying their naked wares on the world’s center stage that the Clintons could even conceive of returning there without the capacity to shape “real understanding” to their specifications?
Then there’s the second surviving paragraph of Peggy’s column:
This is true of Mrs. Clinton and her Iowa campaign: They thought it was a queenly procession, not a brawl. Now they’re reduced to spinning the idea that expectations are on Mr. Obama, that he’d better win big or it’s a loss. They’ve been reduced too to worrying about the weather. If there’s a blizzard on caucus day, her supporters, who skew old, may not turn out. The defining picture of the caucuses may be a 78-year-old woman being dragged from her home by young volunteers in a tinted-window SUV.
Well, that last sentence kinda hints at what lies on the other side of the Clinton looking-glass. But if Peggy thinks that the Clintons are “reduced to spinning,” then she doesn’t understand, or has forgotten, just how far advanced the Clinton reduction is.