Peggy Noonan Longs For Younger, Studlier Presidential Candidates
Christmas! She loved Christmas! The most festive time of the year! Presents! Lights! Trees! Egg nog! Parties!
Also cold. Good Lord was it cold in Manhattan this year, thanks to the blast of Arctic air that Santa had sent as an early gift. Too cold to venture out, thought Peggy Noonan, sister in good standing of the Order of the Ativan Rum Toddy. She could look out the window of her Upper East Side pied-à-terre and see paramedics using spatulas to pry the homeless off the sidewalks. Parents leading children so heavily wrapped in warm clothing that they lumbered like sumo wrestlers approaching the ring.
No, better to stay inside, even if it meant missing the parties. Even if it meant no one to see her festive reindeer antler headband as she wandered from room to room, past the parlor with the liquor cart and her typewriter snuggled close together, past the empty and scorched frame where once her portrait of the rock-ribbed Robert Taft had gazed sternly upon her.
She warmed herself with the thought that this year, the coming of the holidays meant presidential campaign announcements were in sight. The ramping up of the quadrennial derby to spend four years being told “No” by Mitch McConnell was always a source of anticipation. Whose uncouthness would she spend the next two years tut-tutting over? So many candidates!
That was her hope, anyway. At the moment it appeared the nation might well see a rematch of 2020, when the uncouth barbarian Donald Trump and kindly Irish grandpa Joe Biden had faced off, mano a mano, Stallone to Snipes in Judge Dredd. A true battle of the brave and geriatric.
“Girlfriend, I know.” The high-pitched, lilting voice seemed to come from everywhere at once. The inside of her apartment was suddenly incandescent, warmed in the glow of the intense ball of light that had appeared in the middle of the living room. Sparks of electricity ran along its edges, crackling like chestnuts over an open flame.
Then the glow faded some, the shape resolved itself, and out of that otherworldly place stepped … could it be …
“Yes, it’s me, Marianne Williamson!” cried the being of pure energy. She wore a sensible pantsuit, a glittery scarf, and she shimmered like heat rising off the pavement on a hot day.
“Hello, Peggy,” Marianne cried again in that singsong lilt. “Merry Christmas to you and yours! I’m sorry to barge in like this uninvited, but I thought you would want to hear the good news! I am going to challenge Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination!”
“Indeed,” she continued. “I wish to spread the light of love and consciousness to America. I will need some publicity and some anonymous consultants whispering to political reporters who are desperate to generate news in a slow time of year, and then I will be all set. What do you think of that?”
What did she think indeed, Peggy wondered, as she gazed at this twinkly djinn bringing good tidings and the vague smell of Blue Sea Kelp Body Scrub to her home? Or rather, what did she hope?
It is certain that Donald Trump will never again be president. The American people won’t have it… [W]hat was crisp and new becomes frayed and soft. His polls continue their downward drift. He is under intense legal pressures. This week the Jan. 6 committee put more daggers in: Only the willfully blind see him as guiltless in the Capitol riot. He will be 78 in 2024 and is surrounded by naïfs, suck-ups, grifters and operators. That was always true but now they are fourth-rate, not second- or third-rate.
“I hope you’re right,” Marianne Williamson said from the ceiling, up to which she had floated while Peggy was bent to her typewriter. “He certainly seems somewhat diminished after November’s midterms. But still, he’s got that army of fine Americans he has led astray who remain loyal. And let’s be honest, we’ve written his political obituary so many times, only to see him rise again like Glenn Close rising from the tub at the end of Fatal Attraction. The holidays may be a time for optimism, but there are limits.”
On Jan. 6, 2021, [Mitch McConnell] went at Mr. Trump sharply and publicly.
“And then, after January 6?” Marianne Williamson was lower now, floating about parallel with Peggy’s tree-topping ornament of Ronald Reagan on a horse. And did she seem less … glowy?
“I mean, Mitch did still vote to acquit Trump at his second impeachment. If he’d shown more guts and voted to convict, the party wouldn’t be facing the problem of Trump running again this time around. Let’s not give him too much credit, Oprah knows he could have stepped it up.”
As for Joe Biden, all indications are he will run for re-election. He likes being president, thinks he’s good at it, and apparently doesn’t think he’s slipping with age.
“Meow! Awfully harsh for a mere 72-year-old sapling, aren’t we? I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Peggy. That was not very ‘let’s harness love’ of me."
But a great many Democrats believe that if Mr. Trump isn’t the Republican nominee — and they are starting to think he won’t be — then that nominee will go forward without Mr. Trump’s deficits, and may even be a normal Republican, which will mean he or she will squish the eternally underwater Mr. Biden like a peanut.
“Listen, I may have a bunch of crystals where my brain should be,” said Marianne Williamson, who was definitely barely glowing and now hovering only at about mid-Christmas-tree height. “But even I know the definition of ‘normal Republican’ is a fraught one these days. You think of a normal Republican as, at most, the first George Bush. But a normal Republican today is Ron DeSantis, and have you heard that guy? He’s meaner than Edgar Cayce on a juice cleanse.”
He likes being president. He likes the whole thing, the house, the salutes, the state dinners, the centrality to all events, the cynosure of all eyes, being taken seriously after a career of being considered a cornball glad-handing pol, a guy who wasn’t that bright but had a huge ego…
“Yeesh,” Marianne Williamson moaned. Her feet were back on the ground and the glow around her had turned black, making her a human mood ring. “Just, yeeeeeeesh, Peggy. And to think I thought this would be a more fun Christmas gathering than going to David Brooks’s house. At least there I know there’s better hors d'oeuvres than just slices of American cheese. Wallow in it, sister, I’m going to go snag some of whatever deli meats he’s serving.”
With a gust of wind, Marianne Williamson shrank and curled into a ball of darkness, then blinked out like a TV being turned off. Peggy wasn’t complaining. All that talking! Though she did make a note to have the bodega deliver a giant bag of gummi bears, just in case Andrew Yang stopped by.
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