really strong, potentially polarizing piece about the lack of leadership in our country at every level …
Normally I don't click political links on sports blogs. I read TBL for snarky sports coverage and amusing pop culture links, no more. But I clicked it anyway and the link took me to.... the Wall Street Journal op-ed page and I certainly don't ever read the WSJ oped page.
My eyes moved to the by-line and I see... Peggy Noonan. That's the trifecta folks. Why in god's name would I read an article written by Peggy Noonan on the oped pages of the WSJ linked from a sports blog? Why!? But alas, I did.
I can understand why a professional writer, especially one who doesn't cover politics for a living, would find it to be a "really strong" piece. It's typical Noonan, lots of flowing poetic touches, assorted rhetorical mush and absolutely zero substance. Peggy Noonan has to be the most shallow major oped writer in America and if she isn't she's close enough to make David Broder sweat. If you opened a dead tree copy of the WSJ, turned to Noonan's column and extended a gentle breath I have to believe that Noonan's column would simply flitter off the page like pedals off of a dandelion.
Let's see what Noonan has to say,
The biggest threat to America right now is not government spending, huge deficits, foreign ownership of our debt, world terrorism, two wars, potential epidemics or nuts with nukes. The biggest long-term threat is that people are becoming and have become disheartened, that this condition is reaching critical mass, and that it afflicts most broadly and deeply those members of the American leadership class who are not in Washington, most especially those in business.
Oh boy, so her thesis is that our business leaders are becoming disheartened and this is our greatest challenge. Never mind the 10+% unemployment I suppose? This is such supercilious nonsense one hardly knows what to say. We are facing grave challenges not seen in generations and Peggy Noonan is worried that the titans of business aren't feeling quite as smug as they were in 2004. Fuck me running.
Noonan continues and introduces us to the hero of her passion play,
I talked this week with a guy from Big Pharma, which we used to call "the drug companies" until we decided that didn't sound menacing enough. He is middle-aged, works in a significant position, and our conversation turned to the last great recession, in the late mid- to late 1970s and early '80s. We talked about how, in terms of numbers, that recession was in some ways worse than the one we're experiencing now. Interest rates were over 20%, and inflation and unemployment hit double digits. America was in what might be called a functional depression, yet there was still a prevalent feeling of hope.
Gosh-golly they had hope! And why did they have hope Peggy?
Here's why. Everyone thought they could figure a way through. We knew we could find a path through the mess. In 1982 there were people saying, "If only we get rid of this guy Reagan, we can make it better!" Others said, "If we follow Reagan, he'll squeeze out inflation and lower taxes and we'll be America again, we'll be acting like Americans again." Everyone had a path through.
Now they don't. The most sophisticated Americans, experienced in how the country works on the ground, can't figure a way out. Have you heard, "If only we follow Obama and the Democrats, it will all get better"? Or, "If only we follow the Republicans, they'll make it all work again"? I bet you haven't, or not much.
On what planet has this woman been living on? Isn't our entire national discourse now and forever comprised of - "if we do X then everything will be great!" Countered by "if we do Y then everything will be great! And X will only lead to fasc/social/communism." This is just delusional nonsense.
Moving on Peggy gets to the crux of things. The real concern right now is a sudden onset of Galt-ism,
I talked with an executive this week with what we still call "the insurance companies" and will no doubt soon be calling Big Insura. (Take it away, Democratic National Committee.) He was thoughtful, reflective about the big picture. He talked about all the new proposed regulations on the industry. Rep. Barney Frank had just said on some cable show that the Democrats of the White House and Congress "are trying on every front to increase the role of government in the regulatory area." The executive said of Washington: "They don't understand that people can just stop, get out. I have friends and colleagues who've said to me 'I'm done.'" He spoke of his own increasing tax burden and said, "They don't understand that if they start to tax me so that I'm paying 60%, 55%, I'll stop."
This is daft. No one is talking about a 60% marginal rate. There was some talk months ago about moving the top marginal rate to Clinton era levels of around 39%. Remember those times? When the economy wasn't in the shitter?
Peggy Noonan wants us to feel sorry for insurance and pharmaceutical executives who's average salary is well into six figures and probably is actually into the millions. While average workers see their wages stagnate and their jobs becoming increasingly fragile Peggy Noonan is here to make sure that no millionaire is left behind and she'll fabricate threats to those millionaires in order to win our sympathy.
Let me just state this very clearly, no one feels sorry for you rich assholes. No one.
I guess I shouldn't expect anything else from the WSJ oped pages or from Peggy Noonan but really this is beyond the pale. That this sham would run just a few days before our country eclipsed 10% unemployment just makes it all the more infuriating.
Noonan then concludes her Tour De Farce with this,
We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists—they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.
Talk about someone with a complete and total lack of self-awareness. She just wrote an entire column appealing to our sympathies for the wealthiest 0.5% of the population and yet she has the nerve to refer to other people as "America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance"? I actually don't think she's all that far off the mark in her description of many politicians, certainly in Washington. But you can't get there from where she started unless you are completely self-involved and unaware or an utter shill for our oligarchy. Or, as in Noonan's case, you're both of those things.
This is utterly shameless and despicable.