Peggy Noonan Does Not Care For This Impertinent Cossack Vladimir Putin
In all the Friday excitement of birthing our new sister site [Malware at Happy; Link blocked for now] into the world and then throwing a tantrum because Mama no longer pays us any attention, we did not get a chance to check out whatever revelatory insights Peggy Noonan found this week at the bottom of a bottle of Bombay Sapphire. Now it is Yom Kippur and we are neither fasting nor attending synagogue. Perhaps G-d will consider our readingthe latest flotsam from the pen of Our Lady of the Cocktail Olive as suitable repentance for a year of sinning.
What do you guys think the chances are that Our Lady read Vladimir Putin’s New York Times op-ed and was most displeased?
As a public posture, grace and patience would have brought him a lot further, impressing people and allowing them to feel some confidence in the idea that he's seriously trying to offer an actual path out of the Syrian mess.
Our Lady is very big on grace and patience, and has been known to excoriate President Obama for his supposed lack of such. To be fair, she would excoriate Obama for doing anything besides putting on a dinner jacket and white gloves and refilling her drink glass every time she daintily rings the little silver bell she keeps nearby at all times.
Mr. Putin's challenge to the idea to American exceptionalism was ignorant and tone-deaf. The president had thrown in a reference to it at the end of his speech. Mr. Putin, in his essay, responded: "It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation." After all, he said, God made us all equal.
My goodness, that argument won't get you very far in America, and it's a little worrying that Mr. Putin either wouldn't know this or wouldn't care.
How dare that Communist apparatchik, himself the leader of one of the largest nations on the planet, not recognize and kowtow to the exceptional nation of America? Does he not remember how America, under the unparalleled leadership of Saint Ronald of Reagan, beat the Soviet Union’s ass so bad it had to eat its meals standing up for a week? We’re the kings of this schoolyard, Vladimir, and don’t you forget it.
By the way, we’re eight paragraphs into this thing and Our Lady has yet to utter the name Reagan. Perhaps she was not feeling like herself during its composition?
America is not exceptional because it has long attempted to be a force for good in the world, it attempts to be a force for good because it is exceptional.
Scratch that, she was feeling fine.
It is a nation formed not by brute, grunting tribes come together over the fire to consolidate their power and expand their land base, but by people who came from many places. They coalesced around not blood lines but ideals, and they defined, delineated and won their political rights in accordance with ground-breaking Western and Enlightenment thought. That was something new in history, and quite exceptional. We fought a war to win our freedom, won it against the early odds, understood we owed much to God, and moved forward as a people attempting to be worthy of what he'd given us.
Yeah, the early Americans weren’t a bunch of uncivilized cavemen like those animals in Europe. And bloodlines have never been a factor in who gets to lead our exceptional nation, says the woman who we’re sure voted for George W. Bush twice.
I don't know why the idea of American exceptionalism seems to grate so on Mr. Putin.
We'll take a stab at that one. How about, “Because people like Peggy Noonan never ever shut the fuck up about it.” Also, we’re wondering if Our Lady is aware that the term “American exceptionalism” was made popular by Josef Stalin back in the 1920s, when he used it derisively while arguing to the American Communist Party that America’s natural resources, industry, and alleged lack of rigid class distinctions (no really, they argued this) exempted it from traditional Marxist rules of history.
Oh, Peggy’s reaching for her martini shaker again.
Maybe it grates on him that in his time some of the stupider Americans have crowed about American exceptionalism a bit too much—and those crowing loudest understood it least.
You don’t say.
The irony of course is that Mr. Putin used the exceptionalism argument against Mr. Obama, who himself barely believes in the idea and no doubt threw it into his speech the way he often throws things like that in at the end: He thinks Americans like it, that the nationalist ego of the clingers demands it. But he doesn't mean it.
That’s because he’s a Kenyan Socialist, Peggy. We thought everyone knew that. Is there a more tiresome argument than the one that claims the president does not love America sufficiently? One would think the president has not taken America out for a nice dinner or surprised her with flowers in ages, that he takes America for granted, which he should not do, because one day he’ll turn around and America will have found someone else to appreciate her and treat her right and OH GOD HELEN COME BACK WE CAN CHANGE!
Ugh, this might have been worse than fasting. We’re thinking we’ve not only atoned for this year, but we’re now several years ahead. Hooray, sinning!