Peggy Noonan is one of my favorite political observers and commentators. I also enjoyed her book on Ronald Reagan - When Character Was King - and I gladly recommend it to you, dear reader. Noonan's Wall Street Journal column is a must read of mine, and today's was another stellar piece of journalism.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do succinctly dissects the fissures in the Democratic party and in the Grand Ole Party. The Clinton political machine is in full throttle. In fact, former Presdent Clinton is attempting to throttle anyone - Obama, journalists, anyone - who dares criticize his wife. I waxed nostalgic this week when I read of Mr. Clinton accused Senator Obama of "put[ting] a hit job on me." Didn't he say something similar to Chris Wallace on a Fox News Sunday broadcast? I believe he said, "So you did Fox’s bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me." (click here if you want to read the transcript of that show).
I guess everyone wants to do "a hit job" on the Clintons; conservatives and liberals alike. Or maybe, just maybe, everyone is accurately calling in to question lame policies and/or proposals by the Clintons, and instead of answering the questions in a manner befitting a former President of the United States Mr. Clinton resorts to playground banter.
In her column Noonan quotes William Greider of the liberal magazine The Nation:
The Clintons are "high minded" on the surface but "smarmily duplicitous underneath, meanwhile jabbing hard at the groin area. They are a slippery pair and come as a package. The nation is at fair risk of getting them back in the White House for four years."
That, again, is from one of the premier liberal journals in the United States. It is exactly what conservatives have been saying for a decade. This may mark a certain coming together of the thoughtful on both sides. The Clintons, uniters at last.
What about the GOP? Noonan speaks to the lack of unity within the Grand Ole Party. She rightly labeled Rush Limbaugh's assertion that "if either of these two guys [Mr. McCain or Mike Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever, be the end of it!" as "absurd". (Of course, in my opinion much of Rush's comments are absurd.) She had more stinging, but truthful, comments for conservatives.
Noonan flatly states that
George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on spending, the size of government, war, the ability to prosecute war, immigration and other issues.
I'm afraid that she is right. There is much that I admire about President Bush, and his years of leadership have been some of the most difficult since the second World War. Still, the lack of cohesion in the GOP is due to his Presidency, and it is not surprising that the GOP candidates rarely identify with the sitting President.