Like those annoying pop-up ads on the Internet do, a mental image matching the reading material kept intruding into my thoughts, as I slogged through the Peggy Noonan column everyone is discussing.
The image: An oversized, acromegalic baby, jaws slapping, going, “Ga, ga, ga.”
The column is “Time for an Intervention.” To better jibe with Noonan’s infantile prose and purpose, the thing should have been titled, “Noonan To Mitt: ‘You Naughty Little Boy.’”
Its subject: Mitt Romney’s so-called mic malfunction. In a stream-of-consciousness ramble, Peggy registers her displeasure with Romney’s unvarnished assessment of a large portion of the Democratic Party’s constituency.
The operative word in Peggy’s baby-talk: Big. Baby wants lots of big things. And now.
While liberty requires a leader small and insignificant – one who lets the individual live free – Peggy wants a “big and wise” presence in her life. And in everyone else’s.
Subconsciously, no doubt, Peggy presses her points by galvanizing the style of the black Southern preacher – except that the preacher, as opposed to the D.C. courtesan, does not mistake the Republican anointed one with a Higher Power.
Romney’s realism is not how “big leaders talk” to “a big nation,” whimpers Peggy, who suggests that we discuss a “big issue” – one that has long since been settled, if I am not mistaken.
As proof that the matter in Big Government v. Small Government has been decided, I offer exhibit No. 1: 16 trillion gigabucks worth of debt. While it might have dipped at some distant point in the past, the national debt has been rising steadily for decades, under both Democratic and Republican faction.
Peggy commands a “cultural conversation” about a $10-million-a-minute habit. But “good and big and right and serious” stock phrases from stock characters like herself will not halt this debt’s momentum, or the reality it portends.
The U.S. welfare state one analyst likened “not [to] a principality, but [to] a vast empire bigger than the entire budgets of almost every other country in the world.” Its warfare machine is even more “impressive.”
Fine, Ms. Petulance. Romney has failed your “big and brave” test. But the fact remains that, although it pays payroll taxes – Social Security and Medicare – the low-income cohort over which Romney was overly “deterministic” receives tax-credit reimbursements generally in excess of what it pays in.
Big baby should try to total the indexed “Earned Income Credit,” the “Credit for the Elderly and Disabled,” the “Retirement Savings Credit,” the “Child Credit,” the “Child and Dependent Care Credit,” the “Credit for Adoption Expenses,” the “Lifetime Learning Credit,” the “First Time Homebuyers credit.” On and on.
Obama has not cut taxes; he has cut welfare checks for workers, many of whom, again, receive more in reimbursements from the government than they pay in taxes. Moreover, with a flick of his forked tongue, the president has recast tax credits as tax cuts. A tax credit is social tinkering or engineering such that certain politically desirable constituents benefit to the detriment of others. A tax cut is a reduction in tax rates. It means letting a poor sod (or serf) keep more of his rightful earnings.
Now there’s a big idea for compassionate fascists.
But no, Baby repeats and bleats about wanting “big public events,” “big, serious, thoughtful things said,” “big, serious, thoughtful speeches made.” And again, “speeches [that] have to be big,” in a “big, dense city,” where “our media lives.”
Yes, [look at me, Mitt, I'm Peggy,] one of “the most persuasive, interesting and articulate members of [your] party.” “Surround yourself with my ilk” is Peggy’s ultimate pitch.
Romney’s campaign is coughing blood. Noonan’s generic prescription is to “make it big.”
All this bull in what is considered one of the country’s best business newspapers. Now, what a big joke that is.
Then again, what did you expect?
Peggy Noonan should be known to posterity for writing that all-time paean to Emperor George Bush’s “big” genitals: “He’s Got Two of ‘Em.”