Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Narrative 101

The Narrative, as written by former Reagan/Bush 41 speechwriter Peggy Noonan:
Because [Presumptive Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin] 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.
The Narrative, unraveling:
Chuck Todd: I also think the Palin pick is insulting to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, too.

Peggy Noonan: Saw Kay this morning.

CT: Yeah, she's never looked comfortable about this --

Mike Murphy: They're all bummed out.

CT: Yeah, I mean is she really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?

PN: The most qualified? No! I think they went for this -- excuse me-- political bullshit about narratives --

CT: Yeah they went to a narrative.

MM: I totally agree.

PN: Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at, they blow it.

MM: You know what's really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical.

CT: This is cynical, and as you called it, gimmicky.

MM: Yeah.
The Narrative, dissected:
[Presumptive Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin] just has to read it from a TelePrompter. It's not that hard. And the crowd will be lifting her up to the rafters. There will be almost nothing about foreign policy because she has demonstrated a total lack of even interest in it her entire life, and has no knowledge of it whatsoever. There will be plenty about drilling and oil and "reform" and an attempt to dress up what is unavoidably a very short career in a very distant and sparsely populated place into a template for the future of Republicanism.

And there will be a swing, as there often is, in the polls, magnified by a huge, temporary sigh of relief that the nightmare of the last five days have at least been lanced by an actual public appearance that is more than a quick intro. The GOP is an operation these days that creates its own reality. There were WMDs in Iraq. We do not torture. We are fiscal conservatives. We have won the Iraq war. You know the drill by now: just keep saying it again and again and refuse to answer questions and as long as you have God on your side, everything is okay.
Peggy Noonan shouldn't have been a presidential speechwriter: she should have written scripts for John Ford, who understood the place of personages in history. Unable to regard history as the recounting of events, he preferred a elegant, pictorial representation of mythologies, of stories our grandfathers told us about Great Men and Women. It's my fault that I'm not entirely unsympathetic to this approach -- except that she's beholden to a party whose elevation of mythologies to dogma has resulted in outright lies the last eight years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That fish is her caribou.