Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Noonan’s embrace of bitterness

Peggy Noonan thinks that the bitterness conjured by Rev. Wright is unserious, a kind of entertainment, sort of like contemporary Irish music that rails against the British. Perhaps. But not too long ago some Irish-Americans were giving money to the IRA, which wasn’t using it to start book clubs.

Of course it’s true that our particular identities are bound up with our old grievances. If I have to choose between a particularity that conjures up anger based upon painful memories and a universality that takes nothing other than current enjoyment "seriously," I’ll choose the former. But among the other things we shouldn’t forget are the costs and consequences associated with those grievances, not to mention the reason we’d like to see accompanying them.

Discussions - 21 Comments

Speaking of old grievances, here is one which does not seem to get the attention it deserves.

Chicano and Chicana students of Aztlan must take upon themselves the responsibilities to promote Chicanismo within the community, politicizing our Raza with an emphasis on indigenous consciousness to continue the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlan.


This is the "National Constitution" of Aztlan. You might think that the group in question, dedicated to the overthrow of the United States, is outlawed. In fact, they are bankrolled by American corporations and consulted on "Chicano" isses by our government.

That's an interesting point about the Irish-Americans funding terror. I'm wondering why a Global War on Terror hasn't pursued these people and rounded them up for long-term interrogating and tribunals?

Such is the stupidity of many Americans.

Have there been any significant acts of terrorism in Northern Ireland since well before 9/11?

Reading Noonan's piece I found myself becoming as uneasy with Noonan as she found herself at ease with Rev. Wright et al.


Staring directly at Wright's expression of "hatred," Noonan seems to find much comfort in the notion hatred "plays itself out, has power in the short-term but is nonsustaining in the long." True, but oh the damage hatred can inflict in the short term... to wit 9/11!

Being miffed at this short-term consequence, however, is not the major reason for my unease while reading Noonan's confession.

No, I harbor a deep seated disgust for those who play the "victim card," and who play it well enough to become rich beyond their wildest dreams, as has Rev. Wright, playing the "victim card." My disgust grows even deeper when I watch those who are determined, as Rev. Wright is, to keep their "victims" right where he found them, lest HE lose his position and power should they rise above victimhood.

This is the cause of my anger and disgust at Rev. Wright and his ilk. His America is not mine. Mine sez great opportunity is always knocking at the door, no matter what the odds. Wright tells his people not you can't, because Whitely, or some other perceived power, won't let you.

Screw this man and every hateful, greedy rotten thing he stands for!

Sorry, John, I didn't realize it was a Global War on Terror Occurring On and After 9/11. I'm sure those Irish-Americans who did fund terrorist acts that are just ancient history now are swell guys, anyway.

Noonan doesn't see the pernicious effects among her neighbors and acquaintances. The problem is the people she doesn't know who BELIEVE this stuff, and vote, and filter candidates with it.

It's a little like John Spong preaching sexual liberation in Newark despite the obvious social scourge that ethic created downtown, waving it away by saying that the Episcopalians in his diocese didn't live in the inner city so it didn't matter; suburbanites found it liberating.

A patronizing and complacent article by Peggy Noonan. Will wonders never cease?

Sorry, John, I didn't realize it was a Global War on Terror Occurring On and After 9/11.

So are you proposing that we rename it "The Global War On Terror, To Include All The Terror Which Has Ever Occured In History"?


There are problems with that, other than the mouthful of a name, which I'd think that even a liberal college professor might be able to figure out.


8: "Patronizing and complacent article by Peggy Noonan." Yes, very much so. And I would emphasize "complacent."
I would also add, "clueless." Wright is pure poison, not just some mountebank who hides behind racial immunity. And any analogy to artistic celebration of Irish terrorism fails badly. For one thing, that issue is largely over with. For another, though reprehensible, Irish terrorism is not anti-American; nor does it condemn an entire race, as Wright does. For another, it does not inflame the passions of a considerable number of Americans. Furthermore, it is not advocated by ostensible men of the cloth. And finally, no advocate of Irish terrorism has the kind of relationship to a presidential candidate that Wright has to Obama.
Peggy simply told us about her feelings. Analytically, she hadn't a leg to stand on. About complex issues like this, where real stakes are involved, her feelings should interest no one outside a handful of friends and family. They are not good material for a column.

I doubt many folks in Oklahoma or Lubbock (or "Gate 14") agree with Ms. Noonan about the significance and perniciousness of Jeremiad Wright. The column was well below her normal standard. For once, I mostly learned about Ms. Noonan, rather than something insightful about her subject. Can't *wait* to read Peggy's upcoming column on Al Gore's reaction to the carbon footprint of Jeremiad Wright's new {10,000 ft2} house.

Don't you recall the to-do when Gerry Adams was being refused entry? "He is a respected statesman!" And since we could embrace Yasser Arafat as legitimate, really, why not Gerry Adams? What's the difference?

And wasn't there some bother when Sen. Ted Kennedy was detained for having the same name as some Sinn Fein thug on the terror watch list? Dealing with Irish names and identities on that list must be a nightmare.


Yes, the article was about Noonan's feelings on the topic, but isn't there a political point in that? How much outrage can we feel about Wright's repeated lies when as Americans such speech is and ought to be protected? Ugly and pernicious, yes, but I would rather see those lies protected as free speech than have pornography protected as free speech. While on a road trip the other day, my radio scan stumbled on the Glenn Beck program playing the most notorious Wright sermon. It was farcical. You couldn't parody the thing, because it was already over the top. His congregation saying "Uh-huh!" and "Amen!" almost had me weeping, till the laughter broke through. What was the difference between those silly things and the "Bush Lied!" bumper stickers I saw? This is America and maybe laughing over such stuff is the only response possible.

This Noonan article was actually much more thoughtfull than the one that criticized president Bush and airport security. In the case of airport security abtract models/logs created by the bright folks at MIT won out.

In this article Noonan is quite reasonably suggesting that there is nothing to get excited over. Wright is a passionate intemperate and loud black preacher...but nothing he said was news because it had been out on youtube for quite a while. From the perspective of a democrat there would be little reason to not vote for Obama if one felt he was a better candidate than Clinton. Noonan was pointing out that the news cycle always demands analysis that attempts to measure significance in terms of electibility, and that furthermore such reasoning is often times abstract in nature. In telling us how she feels and explaining the slightly different reasoning process of an Irish gent on the street, I believe she comes much closer to the truth of answering the question of what this means in terms of electibility than a predictable republican denunciation of Wright that overdramatizes the situation. The actual truth is that Hillary Clinton is not going to get as much from this as you folks might immagine. The Obama vote is pretty darn stable, short of the Pope denouncing him as the anti-christ his numbers aren't going to move much...and even if the Pope did denounce him as the anti-christ it wouldn't matter because Hillary Clinton gets the catholic vote anyways. So if Pundits are to answer the question of what this means, then they should take care to ask some folks who support Obama what they personally think...and lo and behold when I tried this people that supported Obama still support him...but they are worried about the abstract other whom they think will vote for Hillary instead on these grounds, but as it turns out the Hillary folks I talk to are disapointed that the Obama folk aren't buying the electibility argument. If there is a pattern here it seems to be that both camps are entrenched.

What Noonan really is saying is not all that different from the observation that Earthquakes are localized...Republicans feel the ground moving...Clinton voters are hopefull that it is not too late to feel the ground moving and Obama supporters think it is a dirty ploy on the part of the media to scare the less enlightened Clinton voters.

Noonan does suffer from an inclination towards self-indulgence, complacency. And her writing is pockmarked with the occasional piece where she's clearly trying to ingratiate herself with the msm and the liberal establishment.

I like her writing, ------------- sometimes.

She too desires to see Obama as a fresh face and a refreshing presence in our body politic. That desire has compromised her analytical skills.

14: Precisely. Mega-dittoes.


Fred Siegel had a very good take on Obama: "The friend of race-baiters who thinks Don Imus should have been fired." Obama is a hypocritical punk who offers absolutely nothing of substance that is new. He is sheer presumption and fraudulence.

I am late to this thread (and Noonan's piece) . . . so sorry for ignoring all the preceding. I only want to say that Noonan's piece was excellent. What's more, it is manly (to use an over-used word on this blog). But I think this word really describes her thinking in this instance. It is manly to say that Wright cannot hurt her heart. That's right. This is not to say that he can't do great mischief. But there's no need for girlish panic about it. We can deal with it and we have dealt with worse. He can't hurt my heart or America's heart either--unless we let him. He's not good enough. He may hurt Barack Obama's heart . . . but that's a different story.


Noonan's column is girlish. It's all about her feelings, which are not interesting. It doesn't matter whether Wright hurts her feelings, or mine. He doesn't hurt mine either. He does generate righteous anger, in me and in any clear-thinking person, on behalf of a country that Wright detests. And against a potential president of that country who doesn't understand the evil Wright represents.

Pointing out evil and danger is not "panic." To accuse people of panic is a favorite device of the complacent.

Noonan tried to minimize and trivialize Wright's role in Obama's existence. That's her trying to ingratiate herself with the msm, and make sure she gets continued invitations to appear on MSNBC. That's a column where she's taking care of business, and that business is making sure she gets continued face time.

It's real difficult for me not to pronounce that column a piece of bad faith. She worked for Reagan, she wrote some of his best speeches. I think she wrote his 2d inaugural speech, {but don't hold me to that}.

She knows, SHE KNOWS that Wright's behavior extends way beyond feelings. She knows that such comments breed bitterness, and divide a nation. And yet she trivialized it, all in the attempt to maintain a halo around the fraud, Barack Hussein Obama.

She's written some disappointing columns; this column was right up there in her pantheon of poorly conceived columns.


You may be right. The column is so ludicrous that it may well have been written for such reasons.

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