Blogs > Liberty and Power > Peggy's Prose Pierced by Pierce

Jun 10, 2004

Peggy's Prose Pierced by Pierce

Once upon a time, when the world was a bit younger and the shoe was on the other foot, Miss Peggy Noonan wrote this:


To: Democrats

From: Paul Wellstone

Date: Oct 30, 2002

My friends, I miss you and send you love.

That memorial rally was . . . something. I watched it from where I am, in the place beyond. It's wonderful here. You'll be amazed at what I think is one of the best parts. Two words: No politics. I love it. Who knew?

But we have to talk. I know what you were trying to do the other night, or what you sort of meant to do. But it was bad. ...

You hurt a lot of people. You didn't mean to, you meant to be Happy Warriors. But you offended and hurt and antagonized more than half the country. And you have to think about why.

Here, I think, is the reason: a dulling of the senses, a kind of despair that has led you to let politics completely take over your lives. That's the reason you treated a reflective and loving occasion as . . . well, as a big vulgar whomp-'em-stomp-'em rally with jeers and cheers and my casket as the stump from which you lambasted the foe.

This is what I feel you have to think about. You can make your life sick and small, you can fill it with poison, when you turn everything into politics. And what makes me sad is not that you used my death to get out the vote. It's not that you were cold. It's that the only way you could show any warmth was through politics.

That memorial was the triumph of politics at the expense of the personal. At the expense of what makes you human.

Hmm. It does make you wonder if Noonan has thought about this column at all this week, as she commutes from show to show, to show, to show, to show, to show...to talk about Reagan...and politics. Who woulda thunk it. You can read an astute analysis of the nature of Noonan's argument about the Wellstone memorial, an argument of a type offered frequently by conservatives, here.

Now, Charles Pierce exacts some well-deserved revenge, wielding Noonan's own arsenal against her:

My friend, I miss you and send you love.

The week has been ... something. I watched it from where I am, in the place beyond. It's wonderful here. I'm working as a lifeguard again, and I love it. It's a little crowded, though, and an awful lot of people seem to want to talk to me, which I'll get to in a minute. But first you and I have to talk. I know what you were trying to do all week, or what you sort of meant to be doing. But, Peg, it's been bad.

Peg. Please, for the love of God -- who's in the next hammock, by the way? -- shut the hell up. ...

Peg, I have to tell you, I know things now that I didn't fully know before. First of all, most of that “family values” stuff is bunk. Really. You'd be amazed at how few people up here actually care that somebody's ass is showing on HBO. And if that judge down in Alabama thinks he's got his ticket punched because he put up a two-ton 10 Commandments where it didn't belong, he's got another think coming, I'll tell you. You should hear Aquinas and St. Augustine laughing at Pat Robertson. They all get together to watch the 700 Club the way kids used to get together to watch the Stooges. Even old Luther cracks a smile, and he's the grimmest guy I've met since Andropov. ...

Tell them to stop, Peg. I mean, really. Tell them to stop. That building in Washington is big and ugly. I don't want to be on the dime, if only because my Dad told me while we were walking along the river last night that it would really bother him if I bumped FDR. And I've gotten to like Hamilton. He took the whole Contra thing in stride, and we go riding together a lot. He likes being on the $10 bill, had me explain to him why it was called a"sawbuck." He really wants to stay there, and that’s just fine. Tell Grover that, OK? I'd tell him myself but… ah, I don't think I'll be seeing him, if you know what I mean.

Aw, just read the whole thing.

You, too, Peg.

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