Peggy Noonan, whose uniquely airy style of kindergarten-reading-level prose works upon the political chattering classes (but no one else) like a snake charmer's flute works on a cobra, wrote one of the most vapid, scoff-worthy, fact-free columns of the pre-election news cycle, in which she predicted that Mitt Romney would win because she'd been seeing a lot of his yard signs around, lately. Well, now comes the post-election follow-up: Peggy Noonan is resigning from her job as a WSJ columnist, in acknowledgement of the unavoidable fact that she is an embarrassment to her profession.
After acknowledging that, yes, her voodoo feeling was incorrect, Peggy meditates gloomily on America's rejection of her beloved Party of Reagan, A Man I Loved. Aha! Peggy hath dredged up a memory from the time that she was allowed to observe average Americans in their natural habitat:
People are anxious, not as hopeful as they were. Two memories. One was a late-summer focus group of mothers who shop at Wal-Mart. One asked, paraphrasing, "If we pick Romney, does that mean we have to start over again?" Meaning, we've had all this drama since 2008, will that mean we're back at the beginning of the crash and have to dig out all over again? The other is a young working mother in Brooklyn, a member of an evangelical church, who told me 10 days ago her friends had just started going for Mr. Obama. Why? "People are afraid of change right now."
Mmmm. You know I bet these two completely random statements by two completely random individuals really get to the heart of this whole national campaign that Peggy Noonan observed largely as a flickering projection on the wall of her own imagination. It's never too early for Peggy to make some concrete, specific, and strategic recommendations for her party's future:
The Democrats stayed hungry and keenly alive to the facts on the ground. The Republicans worked hard but were less clear-eyed in their survey of the field. America has changed and is changing, culturally, ethnically-we all know this. Republican candidates and professionals will have to put aside their pride, lose their assumptions, and in the future work harder, better, go broader and deeper.
Things are changing. We must work harder. We must be better. We must go broader. We must go deeper. Someone, please, fetch an urchin to scratch down these wise and priceless words upon a tablet, with a chunk of coal.