Peggy Noonan has the Catholic equivalent of a hard-on for Hillary Clinton, who is the subject of Noonan’s book The Case Against Hillary Clinton and, in political season, her every third or fourth column. When Meryl Streep based an evil movie character on Noonan, the former Reagan speechwriter told people Streep was playing Clinton. This is an industrial-grade, diamond-cutting hard-on we’re talking here.
So you can imagine how the speculation that Clinton will be Secretary of State is hitting the poor woman. In her Wall Street Journal column today, Noonan seems to suffer a multiple orgasm of Kubler-Ross grief stages. “Does [Obama] really want to go there?” she gasps. “Hasn’t he been there? How’d that go?” (Answer: he beat her.) Noonan slams “the special patois of the Clinton staff, with the famous dialogue evocative of David Mamet as rewritten by Joe Pesci,” which of course will just remind everybody of this.
After raging about the “dirty deal” (“deep complications, broad variables, proliferating unknowns”), Noonan calms herself somewhat with the notion that maybe Obama is plotting to keep Hillary “in the Senate, dinged, her power undermined again.” But even that humiliation fantasy isn’t good enough, and Noonan still has several column inches to fill. So she gives out one last spasm of passive-aggression: if Obama is serious about bipartisanship, he’ll… retain Bob Gates as Secretary of Defense. After all, Obama launched his Presidential campaign by (not at all) agreeing with the Bush Administration’s war efforts, and pledged to (not at all) keep our troops in Iraq. And look at the endorsements!
“Judgment,” a high U.S. military official told me in conversation. Mr. Gates knows how to read the situation and make a decision. “He is brilliant,” the official said.
Blind quotes like that demand a reversal of everything Obama stands for. Also: Gates said last week, “I have nothing new to share with you on this subject.” Noonan: “That sounds like yes.” We suppose everything sounds like something else when you’re shouting the rosary and feverishly typing nonsense to keep thoughts of a Federally-empowered Hillary Clinton out of your head.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 21, 2008