Fantasy and reality

There’s Peggy Noonan’s theory about Barack Obama. And there’s the man in action. They don’t jibe.

It’s hard to sum up the mendacity and the obscurantism of today’s GOP in a single column. But the real pros are up for the hard tasks.

Peggy Noonan, who taught Ronald Reagan the fine art of political lying, has her pants on fire (again). She starts out  with a pround proclamation of ignorance: “Nobody knows anything.”  But she doesn’t mean it; what she means is that she knows everything, based on nothing in particular, while those who study datam are mere menials, beneath her notice. Then she explains how she knows that Mitt Romney will defeat Barack Obama: she can read it in Obama’s body language:

This is not a man who feels himself on the verge of a grand victory. His campaign doesn’t seem president-sized. It is small and sad and lost, driven by formidable will and zero joy. I suspect both Romney and Obama have a sense of what’s coming, and it’s part of why Romney looks so peaceful and Obama so roiled.

Keep that in mind as you watch what Obama describes as “the last political rally I’ll ever do – for me.”

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“Small and sad and lost”? In Peggy Noonan’s dreams.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

10 thoughts on “Fantasy and reality”

  1. Peggy Noonan is too easy a target in terms of “the mendacity and the obscurantism of today’s GOP”. Everyone knows she’s a hack, and she doesn’t attempt to convince moderates.

    I was more impressed with the monumental hackery of David Brooks’s column last Thursday, to wit:

    Washington dysfunction now looks worse than ever.
    Sure, House Republicans have been intransigent, but Obama could have isolated them, building a governing center-left majority with an unorthodox agenda.

    In case you’re not believing your eyes: Brooks admits that the Republican House majority committed itself to blocking anything Obama might attempt to do – and then blames Obama for not having nonetheless assembled “a governing center-left majority” that would somehow pass legislation in the face of dedicated opposition from a unanimously acting majority of the House Of Representatives. Now that is hackery.

    1. Consider it a public service dedicated to future generations. Pointing out the vapidity and sheer uselessness of Noiner’s chosen career might help steer young wanna-be opinion journalists in a more honorable direction.

      We mock because we care. It is probably too late to try to save McMegan, but won’t somebody think of the next generation?

  2. Watching BBC news for the last few nights, with reports from both camps.

    The reports were prety much exactly the reverse of Noonan’s take on it. Obama camp “quietly confident”, Romney “slightly worried”.

  3. More republican projection. Nooners is an idiot and should have been pastured long, long ago.

    Have to compliment you, Mark, on a very compelling series of posts regarding the national elections, for the last two months or so particularly. You are on fire and it shows in the incisive observations you’ve made. Good reading.

    1. We may have a once-in-a-lifetime test of integrity brewing here. Should Gov. Romney go on to win, Mark Kleiman and quite a few other people will find themselves in a very interesting intellectual position. (That’s a conditional statement; it makes no assumptions about how likely or not likely that is, nor about how it came about) Either way, we’ll see whether “incisive” is a synonym for “correct”, “fact-based”, etc. Or not.

  4. Lot of scalps on the table today:

    G. Will…
    Morris (the scalp of his scalp of his scalp of his…)

    I’ll say it again:

    Democracy civilizes us and prevents us from the outright murdering of our opponents.
    Instead we take our pleasure in merely making their lives miserable for another four years.

  5. Peggy Noonan: “There is no denying the Republicans have the passion now, the enthusiasm. The Democrats do not. Independents are breaking for Romney. And there’s the thing about the yard signs. In Florida a few weeks ago I saw Romney signs, not Obama ones. From Ohio I hear the same. From tony Northwest Washington, D.C., I hear the same.”

    Peggy sees yard signs on tony suburban lawns and she feels the Republican passion. Peggy sees folks that sure seem to be Democrats waiting in line for up to seven hours to vote and she sees no passion.

    This woman is a fool.

  6. I think she is just perceiving things differently. I know that when I watched the first debate, I thought Romney seemed like he was flailing, and I found it difficult to watch. Others felt differently.

    I don’t think this counts as lying.

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