Talk about flip flops! It was exactly one year ago today that Peggy Noonan suffered her infamous "open-mic" disaster at MSNBC during coverage of the GOP convention, in which Noonan, chatting with Mike Murphy and Chuck Todd, referred to the "bullshit" narrative around Sarah Palin after she was picked as Veep candidate.
When Todd asked her if this was the most qualified woman the Republicans could nominate, Noonan responded, "The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives. Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and that's not what they're good at, they blow it."
She also said "it's over," seemingly referring to John McCain's chances but, as she later tried to explain, she only meant that the days of the party dictating to the base were gone.
That was all bad enough, as I note in my book Why Obama Won but especially in contrast to what she had just written in her column at the Wall Street Journal:
Because she jumbles up so many cultural categories, because she is a feminist not in the Yale Gender Studies sense but the How Do I Reload This Thang way, because she is a woman who in style, history, moxie and femininity is exactly like a normal American feminist and not an Abstract Theory feminist; because she wears makeup and heels and eats mooseburgers and is Alaska Tough, as Time magazine put it; because she is conservative, and pro-2nd Amendment and pro-life; and because conservatives can smell this sort of thing -- who is really one of them and who is not -- and will fight to the death for one of their beleaguered own; because of all of this she is a real and present danger to the American left, and to the Obama candidacy.
She could become a transformative political presence.
I'll tell you how powerful Mrs. Palin already is: she reignited the culture wars just by showing up. She scrambled the battle lines, too. The crustiest old Republican men are shouting "Sexism!" when she's slammed. Pro-woman Democrats are saying she must be a bad mother to be all ambitious with kids in the house...
I'm bumping into a lot of critics who do not buy the legitimacy of small town mayorship (Palin had two terms in Wasilla, Alaska, population 9,000 or so) and executive as opposed to legislative experience. But executives, even of small towns, run something. There are 262 cities in this country with a population of 100,000 or more. But there are close to a hundred thousand small towns with ten thousand people or less. "You do the math," the conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway told me. "We are a nation of Wasillas, not Chicagos."
Greg Mitchell's latest book, his ninth, is "Why Obama Won." He is the editor of Editor & Publisher magazine.