Thursday, June 22, 2006



Count on Peggy Noonan to find the nut, crack it open, hollow out the nutshell, then catch the pea of the thing safe inside.

So reads her assessment in the Journal Online today.

Cliff notes version? Republican leaders think their base is stupid, that they know better on all manner of issues such as immigration and earmark (pork barrel) reform.

The Democrats think their base is stupid, but something more, too, stark barking, raving mad.

That’s her read on party leadership, especially in light of the Senate’s rejection of Democrats’ calls for cut and run by June 2007 (86 to 13), or cut and run (date unspecified, 60-39), or just cut and run (ala Murtha, still fermenting over in the House).

Here are the Democrats, in that nutshell I mentioned:

You can see their problem in their inability to get a slogan. Which, believe me, is how they think of it: a slogan. "Together for a Better Future." "A Future With Better Togetherness." Today for a better tomorrow, tomorrow for a better today.

A party has a hard time saying what it stands for only when it doesn't know what it stands for. It has trouble getting a compelling slogan only when it has no idea what compels its base. Or when it fears what compels it.

And the Republican, shell-encased I fear:

They know the higher wisdom on such issues as immigration. They feel less fealty to the insights of the base. They know more than the base, are more experienced than the base, have a more nuanced sense of reality. And as for conservative social issues groups, the politicians resent those nagging, whining pushers-for-the-impossible who are always threatening to stay home or go elsewhere. (Where?)

Some Washington Republicans have been in leadership so long they've learned--they've learned too well!--that politics is the art of the possible. It is. But this is not an excuse to be weak, or ambivalent, or passive, or superior.

Hard to know which is more offensive. To be thought stupid, or to be thought not so stupid, but only because you’re crazy.

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