Noonan’s Panic

Mitt Among the Dolphins

Peggy Noonan says Romney needs to convey big ideas, but first he has to have them.

Everyone’s talking about Peggy Noonan’s column today. I do give her points for honesty in her criticisms of Romney’s campaign. At the same time it’s worth bearing in mind that she is sort of the anointed, or maybe self-anointed, voice of the Republican operative and donor class. She is conveying their concerns.

She has some decent ideas and all, but it strikes me that he isn’t very capable of doing what she wants him to do. “When big, serious, thoughtful things must be said then big, serious, thoughtful speeches must be given,” she writes. But what evidence have we ever seen that he’s a big, serious thinker? He’s just not.

He’s had plenty of opportunities to give big speeches. As I’ve written, he should have given a big speech on his religion, and religion generally. That would have shown us a thoughtful person with leadership potential, done right. Or how about a speech about his own political outlook? Not now, it’s too late now. But back in April or May. Phrased the right way, such a speech could have offered certain reassurances to the wingnuts but simultaneously told them, “Please let me go out there and get some swing votes, will ya?”

He doesn’t seem to think that way, and I don’t think he’s going to start thinking that way now. Pretty much the only thing for him to do now is to attack. What I think he needs to do is—no, I’m not saying. I’m not giving the guy any good ideas between now and Election Day. Besides, whatever I’d say, they’d do the opposite. So, uh, yeah, yeah...I think Romney should make sure never, ever to be seen with George W. Bush!

By the way: I should have said this earlier, but it’s nice to see so many of you back from the old Graun days. Warms the heart. I still go over to CIF and read things, of course, and I still see lots of folks who haven’t managed to migrate over here. I think some of them tried at first but may have been discouraged by the imbalance that obtained then between right and left. These days, we’ve got ’em outnumbered! Maybe those of you who are still CIF regulars can help spread the word. I do miss Vicious Misanthrope, but I often feel his spirit still lingers somehow.