Peggy Noonan brilliantly deconstructs Hillary Clinton

I almost blush to admit that I am not a Peggy Noonan fan. For a conservative (even a neocon), it seems almost unpatriotic not to find her thoughts deep and her prose perfect, but there you have it — I don’t. Today, however, I am a Peggy Noonan fan, because I think she did a wonderful job of seeing Hillary through the prism of the last debate:

The story is not that Mrs. Clinton signaled, in attitude and demeanor, who she believes is her most dangerous foe, the great impediment between her and an easy glide to the nomination. Yes, that would be Tim Russert.

The story is that she talked about policy. Not talking points, but policy. In talking about it she seemed, for the first time, to be revealing what’s inside.

It was startling. It’s 1993 in there. The year before her fall, and rise.

I spent a day going over the transcripts so I could quote at length, but her exchanges are all over, it’s a real Google-fest. Here, boiled down, is what she said.

Giving illegal immigrants drivers licenses makes sense because it makes sense, but she may not be for it, but undocumented workers should come out of the shadows, and it makes sense. Maybe she will increase the payroll tax on Social Security beyond its current $97,500 limit, to $200,000. Maybe not. Everybody knows what the possibilities are. She may or may not back a 4% federal surcharge on singles making $150,000 a year and couples making $200,000. She suggested she backed it, said she didn’t back it, she then called it a good start, or rather “I support and admire” the person proposing such a tax for his “willingness to take this on.”

She has been accused of doubletalk and she has denied it. And she is right. It was triple talk, quadruple talk, Olympic level nonresponsiveness. And it was, even for her, rather heavy and smug. Her husband would have had the sense to look embarrassed as he bobbed and weaved. It was part of his charm. But he was light on his feet. She turns every dance into the polka. And it is that amazing thing, a grim polka.

But the larger point is that her policy approach revealed all the impulses not of the New Centrism but the Old Leftism. Her statements were redolent of the 1990s phrase “command and control.” They reflect a bias toward the old tax-raising on people who aren’t rich, who aren’t protected, the old “my friends and I know best, and we’ll fill you dullards in on the details later.”


The problem for Mrs. Clinton is not that people sense she will raise taxes. It’s that they don’t think she’ll raise them on the real and truly rich. The rich are her friends. They contribute to her, dine with her, have access to her. They have an army of accountants. They’re protected even from her.

But she can stick it to others, and in the way of modern liberalism for roughly half a century now one suspects she’ll define affluence down. That she would hike taxes on people who make $150,000 a year.


8 Responses

  1. “Well, what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum …”

    She thinks we are so dumb we’ll project our own attitudes into the “vacuum”, and then think she agrees with us.

    Remeber how famous the previous administration was for consulting the polls, before doing anything? Hillary won’t take a stand until she can pretend she is leading public opinion.

  2. Bill Clinton read polls. Hillary Clinton will manipulate the polls – she is the True Believer, an acolyte of Radical Leftist/Anarchist Saul Alinsky. She will do far more damage to this country than her sidekick ever did.

  3. I’m with you in that I generally can’t stand Noonan, but this article definitely nails it.

  4. Hello Bookworm,

    I am generally a fan of Peggy Noonan’s writing even though I disagree with her on many major points. I find her writing insightful and is broadly representative of the liberal-to-moderate segment of the Republican Party. The article you cited here is pretty much the reason i read Miss Noonan.

    Agree or disagree with her, occasionally she produces these gems. Ultimately, like this article, she doesn’t say anything new. She’s putting to words what everyone knows to be true, liberal or conservative or something in between.

    Everyone knows that the Clintons’ are mendacious beyond normal reckoning, including the most ardent Leftist. That’s just what they do.

  5. $150,000 is rich, I now hear.

    Consider that 1982 was 25 years ago. If inflation runs at 3% per year, then $75,000 in 1982 equals $150,000 today.

    Was $75,000 considered rich, in 1982? If not, then $150,000 should not be considered rich today. Assuming 3% inflation per year is roughly analogous to what we’ve seen since the horror of the Dhimmi Carter days.

  6. There’s not a whole lot of Hillary hating going here! Four posts in a day is a rather quiet output.

    The problem is that we hear what we want to hear. Politicians are skilled at saying things that appeal to the most people, but those people are all hearing *different things*. It’s rather amazing.

    Hillary Clinton is a skilled politician, and she is especially vague and clever in many things she says. She’s been this cautious now for years, and she’s therefore been building trust for years.

    She’s clearly a far-left liberal, but most people have no idea what kind of a President she would be. For a liberal, she didn’t do that badly by the New York State conservatives, and they’ve somehow managed to become comfortable with her. But once she achieves her real goal – the Presidency – would a different Hillary emerge? Or would she remain the same “appealing” liberal that she’s been for quite some time?

    I personally could never trust her to remain prudent. But then, I hate socialism with an extreme passion. I’m certainly not part of that vast pragmatic Middle America that might be comfortable with a prudent Hillary. For me, a village could never raise a child; but the individuals in the village are important in the ways the support or harm the parents, as the parents raise the child. It’s the parents, Hillary, NOT the village! It’s the parents!

  7. Noonan is more hawkish and in favor of more lethal policies than her friend Chris Matthews. You are more hawkish than Noonan and far less multilateral centered.

  8. As much as I’d like to see a woman president, I don’t trust Hillary as far as I can throw her.

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