Notes on a napkin from Harry Hope’s Saloon
As Roy points out, Peggy Noonan who only asks of Hillary Clinton to let her please help, offers to write a speech wherein Hillary gives up her pipe dream of Presidential inevitability and comes clean by "making peace with yourself. So you’ve got to kill them like I did."
As in: "Look, let’s be frank. A lot of politics is spin, for reasons we can all write books about. I’m as guilty as anyone else. But right now I’m in the fight of my life, and right now I’m not winning. I’m up against an opponent who’s classy and accomplished and who has captured the public imagination. I’ve had some trouble doing that. I’m not one of those people you think of when you hear a phrase like ‘the romance of history.’ But I think I bring some things to the table that I haven’t quite managed to explain. I think I’ve got a case to be made that I haven’t quite succeeded in making. And I’m going to ask you for one more try. Will you listen? And if I convince you, will you help me? Because I need your help."
Could Mrs. Clinton do something like this? I doubt it.
You may not realize it but Peggy has always considered herself Hillary Clinton’s guardian angel, full of friendly tips ("Wash that man right out of your hair" , "Spray, stay, walk away", "Always sit near the waitress station at the bar. The olives and limes are like a free salad"). In fact, when Peggy wrote The Case Against Hillary Clinton (written in the loving spirit of sisterhood as exemplified by What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?) she penciled out another little speech for Hillary:
It should come as no surprise, then, that the best sections of this book are scriptlike. In a lively passage set in the Hollywood home of Michael Eisner, Noonan "quotes" the first lady lambasting the assembled heads of the entertainment industry for producing degrading, violent art. Before the likes of Ted Turner, Steven Spielberg, Rupert Murdoch and Gerald Levin, she says, "I’m going to speak my heart — the real one, not the one I show on TV." She rips the executives for undermining our society (wait, I thought that was her job) and demonstrates a canny grasp of contemporary culture.
"How is ‘Sex in the City’ going to be more demeaning," she asks them rhetorically, "are they going to start dating German shepherds next year?" These comments were made a few months after the Columbine massacre, see, and Clinton was imploring these taste-makers to look into their hearts, to try and make America a more decent place.
"Which is just when I awoke," writes Noonan.
Yep, it had all been a dream! Though she roasted Edmund Morris’ acorns for the liberties he took in his biography of Ronald Reagan, Noonan is not above a little "Dutch" courage herself when the occasion calls for it (i.e., when the narrative flags, as it does after the usual flogging of Travelgate, Filegate, Whitewater, etc.). That the Hillary Clinton who stuns the entertainment moguls into silence sounds nothing like the Hillary Clinton we have come to know (or not know) seems to be the point. She’d be a better person, and certainly a better politician, Noonan implies, if she spoke in long, ideological Paddy Chayevksy-like speeches.
Which might explain that Noonan’s latest piece has very little to do with Hillary Clinton’s campaign problems, and more to do with the fact that the writers strike is over and Peggy hasn’t let the time go to waste, although, personally I was anticipating a Lifetime teleplay of The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, but this time with a happy ending where God speaks to Judith and tells her that she will move to Florida and bear his second son, Elian.