Peggy Noonan demonstrates every time she types a word on her laptop how completely out of touch and GOPe she is.
She began getting shaky as a conservative when she started dumping on George W. Bush in his second turn. She took up the banner of Obama, getting on the swamp bandwagon and lauding him. In the last election she could never understand the appeal of Trump. Everyday people tried to tell her, but she was deaf to anything but Hillary babble.
Now she has truly covered herself in algae and swamp goo with her latest ooze in the Wall St. Journal. Noonan tried to turn Trump into Sarah Palin – as if they had anything even remotely in common!
The president has been understandably confident in his supporters. They appreciate his efforts, admire his accomplishments (Justice Neil Gorsuch, ISIS’ setbacks), claim bragging rights for possibly related occurrences (the stock market’s rise), and feel sympathy for him as an outsider up against the swamp. They see his roughness as evidence of his authenticity, so he doesn’t freak them out every day. In this they are like Sarah Palin’s supporters, who saw her lack of intellectual polish as proof of sincerity. At her height, in 2008, she had almost the entire Republican Party behind her, and was pushed forward most forcefully by those who went on to lead Never Trump. But in time she lost her place through antic statements, intellectual thinness and general strangeness.
The same may well happen—or be happening—with Donald Trump.
One reason is that there is no hard constituency in America for political incompetence, and that is what he continues to demonstrate.
The first sign of political competence is knowing where you stand with the people. Gallup this week had him at 36% approval, 59% disapproval. Rasmussen has him at 41%, with 57% disapproving. There have been mild ups and downs, but the general picture has been more or less static. Stuart Rothenberg notes that at this point in his presidency Barack Obama had the approval of 48% of independents. Mr. Trump has 33%.
He proceeds each day with the confidence of one who thinks his foundation firm when it’s not—it’s shaky. His job is to build support, win people over through persuasion, and score some legislative victories that will encourage a public sense that he is competent, even talented.
We’ll pause here for some analysis.
Incompetent? That is the last word I would use to describe Trump. He’s reshaping the courts; the local ones as well as the Supreme Court with excellent candidates. You don’t hear much about this, but he is building a conservative stronghold that will last decades.
I guess it’s easy to dismiss the death blow to ISIS. Obama wasn’t able to, nor did George W. vanquish Al Qaeda. Have we had any attacks here? No. France, Britain, Sweden and others have been hit multiple times. That means something to the average American.
Polls? Well we saw how accurate they were last year. Does anyone still believe in them? Should an intelligent person believe in them? No, both from experience and from fact.
The story of this presidency so far is his inability to do this. He thwarts himself daily with his dramas. In the thwarting he does something unusual: He gives his own supporters no cover. They back him at some personal cost, in workplace conversations and at family gatherings. They are in a hard position. He leaves them exposed by indulging whatever desire seizes him—to lash out, to insult, to say bizarre things. If he acted in a peaceful and constructive way, he would give his people cover.
He acts as if he takes them for granted. He does not dance with the ones that brung him.
Really? He insists on getting rid of Obamacare, no matter that the GOP Senate won’t. He insists on a border wall, even as Congress waffles. He knows that Americans value patriotism and stand for the anthem, even if politicians quickly bend to the knee benders. These are the folks that brung him to the dance at DC.
Asked by reporters why he hadn’t issued a statement on the death of four U.S. soldiers in Niger, he either misunderstood or deflected the question by talking about how he writes to and calls the families of the fallen. Other presidents, he said, did not do as much—“some presidents didn’t do anything”—including Mr. Obama. When former Obama staffers pushed back he evoked the death of Chief of Staff John Kelly’s son Robert, a Marine first lieutenant, in Afghanistan: “You could ask Gen. Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?” Mr. Kelly, a private and dignified man, was said to be surprised at the mention of his son.
Soon after, Mr. Trump called Myeshia Johnson, widow of Army sergeant La David T. Johnson, and reached her in the car on the way to receive her husband’s casket. Someone put the call on speakerphone. A Democratic congresswoman in the car later charged that Trump had been disrespectful. In fairness, if the congresswoman quoted him accurately, it is quite possible that “He knew what he was signing up for” meant, in the president’s mind, “He heroically signed up to put his life on the line for his country,” and “But still it must hurt,” meant “I can’t imagine the grief you feel even with your knowledge that every day he put himself in harm’s way.”
And indeed Mr. Kelly, in a remarkable White House briefing Thursday, recounted what Gen. Joseph Dunford, now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had told then-Gen. Kelly in 2010, when Robert died: “He was doing exactly what he wanted to do. . . . He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1%. He knew what the possibilities were, because we were at war.”
Does she think the CinC should tell us of secret plans to thwart our enemies? Had FDR not kept the Manhattan Project secret, would we have been able to do it? Then, also, does she come down on the side of a wacky, sequin cowboy hat wearing congresswoman who bragged about her notoriety and who has accomplished nothing worthwhile in her lifetime?
There’s more of this audacious claptrap and you can read it here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-may-be-following-palins-trajectory-1508454875?shareToken=st7440e256bffe480aa262c8b744171232&reflink=article_email_share.
Noonan, who has always pointed to her admiration for Ronald Reagan, might be surprised that Reagan would be applauding Trump’s actions.
She knows better. No wonder this came out around Halloween. Noonan’s a zombie. She just doesn’t know it yet. That’s what decades dealing with swamp monsters will do to you.