Benny's World

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Going Back to School

Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, and Saturday columnist for the WSJ, penned a very thoughtful piece today at that newspaper. The title of it is "Republicans, Let's Play Grown-Up."

The piece is about how the GOP has lowered itself this week with petty attacks on Judge Sotomayor, the nominee for the SCOTUS. As BW Readers know, I have some reservations about a few of her rulings (and the spin out of the WH). However, I do think Newt, Rush, Rove, Freddie the Beetle, and Tancredo (the only elected one of the bunch) have hurt their own party by going on the attack. (Think Progress has a very terse condensed post about the attacks). Ms. Noonan said that one person told her they had to have a fight to energize the base and she questioned the wisdom of that tactic:

Excite the base? How about excite a moderate, or interest an independent? How about gain the attention of people who aren't already on your side?

And then she steps up to point out the fallacy:

The base is plenty excited already, as you know if you've ever read a comment thread on a conservative blog. Comment-thread conservatives, like their mirror-image warriors on the left ("Worst person in the woooorrrlllddd!") are perpetually agitated, permanently enraged. They don't need to be revved, they're already revved.

Ms. Noonan then admonishes Newt:

Newt Gingrich twitters that Judge Sotomayor is a racist. Does anyone believe that? He should rest his dancing thumbs, stop trying to position himself as the choice and voice of the base in 2012, and think.

I wouldn't call that a smackdown at all. But she is politely labeling Newt's behavior as immature.

Noonan is not one to just point out the fallacies though. She offers some grown-up advice:

The choice for Republicans isn't between "attack" and "roll over." It's broader than that, and more interesting. There's a new and fresh opportunity here for Republicans in the Senate to be serious, and, in their seriousness, to be seen and understood in a new light.
And a more positive approach is opined here:

Republicans can be liberated by the fact that they're outnumbered and likely about to lose. They can step back, breathe in, and use the Sotomayor confirmation hearings to perform a public service: Find out what the future justice thinks and why she thinks it, explain what they think and why they think it, look at the two different philosophies, if that's what they are. Don't make it sparring, make it thinking.
Newt Gingrich always prides himself for being a thinker, for one who seeks solutions. The conservative base of the GOP, particularly in Freeperville, always found him to be thoughtful.

But now, his hero's speech writer is taking him and the GOP back to school. Kathleen Parker may be one of the instructors too.

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