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Stephen C. Rose

Stephen C. Rose

Posted January 3, 2009 | 06:57 PM (EST)

Peggy Noonan Goes Myopic


Yawn.

This is how I feel about two gratuitous and ill-formed verdicts on Caroline Kennedy from Peggy Noonan, the same one who dissed Palin in private and had to pay for it in public. Noonan is a celebrated wordsmith for Republicans now in the pay of Rupert Murdoch.

Here, regarding Caroline Kennedy, Noonan's exceptionally near-sighted New Year's verdicts:

The difficulty of Caroline Kennedy's hopes for appointment to the U.S. Senate is that she was in, or put herself in, a position demanding of more finesse and sophistication than most political veterans have. To succeed as a candidate for appointment, she needed the talents of an extremely gifted natural, which she's not. She is an intelligent woman who has comported herself with dignity through a quarter-century of private life in Manhattan. She would never steal your money, indulge in dark political dealing, or growl, like Blago, into a tapped line, "I've got this blankin' thing and it's golden," though let's face it, it's a little sad we'll never hear that.

But life is complicated. If you're going to run as the princess of a dynasty, you have to act and be like a princess--something different, rarefied, heightened. Her problem in part has been that she spent a quarter-century trying to blend in and not call attention to herself. She made herself convincingly average--not distinguished. She has her parents' dignity but not their dash. She radiates a certain clueless class. SOURCE

First, not being a natural politician is what this year is about. The less Caroline comes off as a skilled politician, the better.

Second, and this is the bigger zinger of the two, Noonan's "clueless class" slur is a boomerang. It is Noonan, class or not, who is clueless. The clue that Caroline radiates is precisely what she said when she endorsed Barack. She has only felt as inspired in the past as when she was aware of the faith folk put in her dad.

I am among those whose first vote was for JFK. I am not one who felt about JFK as I did about Obama. I was actually for Humphrey and then for JFK. As a student at Union Theological Seminary and editor of the paper there I almost got into trouble for revealing that the students were for Kennedy.

But regardless of this, Caroline's feeliings about Barack have the ring of an authenticity and raison d'etre that turns Noonan's clueless screed into one of the tackiest verdicts of the New Year.

PS: Kennedy will get the nod if most of the current vibes are accurate. The electorate does not think the way Noonan does. Caroline will be a popular choice and will do a bang up job telling the nation why Obama's agenda makes the best sense.

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