One of the most refreshingly honest moments of the 2008 campaign came when Peggy Noonan, a columnist and former Republican speechwriter, was caught on a live mike calling the choice of Sarah Palin to run on the Republican ticket “political bullshit.” She smoothed over her harsh remarks in a subsequent column, saying she liked Palin even if she wasn’t sure the selection would be successful. But now that Palin has announced her plan to resign as Alaska Governor, Noonan apparently feels free to speak openly.
In television interviews she was out of her depth in a shallow pool. She was limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions, and sometimes in knowing them. She couldn’t say what she read because she didn’t read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity. She experienced criticism as both partisan and cruel because she could see no truth in any of it. She wasn’t thoughtful enough to know she wasn’t thoughtful enough. Her presentation up to the end has been scattered, illogical, manipulative and self-referential to the point of self-reverence. “I’m not wired that way,” “I’m not a quitter,” “I’m standing up for our values.” I’m, I’m, I’m.
In another age it might not have been terrible, but here and now it was actually rather horrifying.
Noonan goes on to refute the most popular conservative arguments in Palin’s favor, from her supposed working-class credentials to the idea that she upsets the mainstream media.