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Ecce Noonan, ergo WTF?


Sometimes I go to Twitter and see a snippet of an article. And I ignore the feeling that I should instead look at the Tweet featuring baby turtles or whatever, and I find the whole article. And I read it. That’s how this happened to my eyes:

Then it struck me.

Not hard enough, apparently.

Sorry, I’ll start again.

If she weren’t here, she’d be in an empty house in Chappaqua, N.Y., the focus of no eyes—not important, not glamorous, no aides or staffers. I thought: She needs to run, it’s this or reruns on Bravo. I thought: This is why you pick up that there is no overarching purpose, theme or mission to her candidacy—because there isn’t. There is only her need—not to be powerless, not to be away from the center. It’s not The America Project, it’s The Hillary Project.

Or perhaps it is the Noonan ProjectION. It’s hard to say, since for every girl or woman who does anything but sit there (without headphones) and wait for someone to notice her, there are at 3.8 squillion people who will accuse her of doing it because she wants attention. (Unless she’s wearing headphones, then she’s obviously doing it to upset men.)

If that’s not Noonanish enough, there are two metaphorish paragraphs about depression and anxiety and some other words that will cause the reader to think meaning is dead and a level crossing really is an electric elk named Simon.

This connects in my mind with 1992. By November of that year I thought the close presidential contest would come down to a battle between depression and anxiety. If you imagined picking up a newspaper the morning after the election and saw “Bush Re-elected,” you might feel blue—same old same old, 12 years of Republican rule turning into 16. If it said “Clinton Wins,” you might feel anxiety—we never even heard of this guy until six months ago, an obscure Arkansas governor! I figured that in America anxiety beats depression because it’s the more awake state.

There may be an aspect of that dynamic in this race. Mrs. Clinton is depression: You know exactly who she is, what trouble she brings—she always brings that sack full of scandal—and she won’t make anything better. Mr. Trump is anxiety: If you back him you know you’re throwing the long ball, a real Hail Mary pass to the casino developer and reality TV star who may or may not know how to catch the ball when catching the ball means everything. But he’s entertaining—he scrambles all categories, makes things chaotic. He has fun with his audience.

Clinton = Depression = Scandalously Dull.

Trump = Anxiety = Entertaining Football.

The clarity, is devastating. But there’s no time to ponder the ambiguity if one wishes to catch the 5:15 to Both Sides Aren’t Reagan.

Last week the pollster Peter Hart did a focus group, for the Annenberg Public Policy Center, of a dozen independent voters in Wisconsin. They saw 2016 as a fear-and-loathing election, loathing Mrs. Clinton (depression) and fearing Mr. Trump (anxiety). They thought Mrs. Clinton would win but described her as a lying and untrustworthy career politician. They saw Mr. Trump as reckless, inexperienced, “a bully and a loudmouth,” in the words of one participant. (Another compared him to the drunk uncle.)

Twelve Angry Badgers! But why does she care?

Asked which political figures they admired in their lifetimes, one said Gerald Ford, one Bill Clinton, and about half said Ronald Reagan. They seemed to miss the idea of character.


Actually there seemed an undertone of fear that we’re not raising Fords and Reagans now, we’re raising Clintons and Trumps and it doesn’t bode well.


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