You might think Peggy Noonan has so thoroughly self-discredited by now that her only remaining role in public discourse is to memorialize the simpleton biases and transparent lie-gospels of the anachronistic, bubble-dwelling conservative “elites” who are the Wall Street Journal’s core readership. You know, like she does in this, her latest lazy, hazy word-thing in which she pretends not to have heard that conservatives weren’t actually targeted in the “IRS targeted conservatives” “scandal” and that the whole thing was actually just made up by an ex-car thief and alleged arsonist who was let into Congress for some reason. But lest Peggy Noonan’s badly diminished relevance lull you into complacency, please take a moment to think of the children.
Think of the young pet shop clerk tragically exposed to Noonan’s vibrations while re-lining a parrot’s cage, or the fish-monger’s son who accidentally reads a Noonan lede as he wraps a haddock, or the girl who just wants to fold up a beribboned bonnet — is nothing sacred? Of course not, but we should still make sure nobody ever takes Peggy Noonan seriously ever again. Shouldn’t be too hard!
Oh, here’s a stupid thing:
“All of it has produced the biggest IRS scandal since Watergate.”
What is she even talking about here? Is she using “Watergate” as a metonym for “Stuff Nixon did?” Because yes, Nixon certainly did ask the IRS to target his political enemies, but that’s not what people mean when they talk about “Watergate.”
“In May 2003, just under a third of respondents said they had little or no faith in the IRS … In May 2013, that number had jumped to 57%.”
Wow, you don’t say! Hey everyone, it turns out that when you and all your influential media friends and congressfuckers start screaming THE IRS MURDERED MY TEADOM! THE IRS IS OBAMA’S NIXON’S WATERGATE TIMES VINCE FOSTER! INPEACH! IMNECTARINE! HEEENGH!, the public perception of the IRS will decline. How strange! We wonder if America was too busy watching Iraq get annihilated in May 2003 to give much of a shit about the IRS.
“It is strange. The long-term project of liberalism involves encouraging the idea of faith in government as a bringer or guarantor of greater justice. But who needs more government if government works so very badly, and is in its operations unjust?”
Three things: 1) Really good redundant use of the word “bringer,” Peggy; really adds to the “I’m a bad writer” motif you’re working here. 2) What the IRS was actually doing in this “scandal” was trying to make sure political action groups didn’t get improperly awarded nonprofit, tax-free status. They did this by flagging political “keywords” in the groups’ names — not conservative keywords, or liberal keywords, but POLITICAL keywords. In other words, they were doing exactly what they should be doing, albeit heuristically. Peggy Noonan knows this. She doesn’t care. She hates you. 3) Can Peggy Noonan please stop pretending that she wants the government to work properly?
“And if the story goes into the fall, and continues through the winter, perhaps even the spring, it will become an active drama within the 2014 election cycle… Which would make the administration’s recent [slow-walking] moves not only governmentally lacking, but politically maladroit.”
Did the vibrations tell you that, Peggy? Did they say “Forget what your eyes, ears, and your last vestige of common sense tell you, the IRS scandal is HUGE, Issa’s gonna come through, it will be the Dread Usurper’s downfall, it’s not actually a liability for Republicans to be pushing a thoroughly discredited made-up partisan attack as their main line against Democrats in the midterms. Also, everyone’s going to love it when the GOP shuts down the government over Obamacare. Yes, yes, it’s all falling into place. Go, my pretties! Fetch me a whippit and a rasher of bacon! RAW!”
Of course this column is titled “Fortress IRS,” you know, like Hitler’s Fortress Europe. Because… it’s… uh… y’see… Nazis.
Peggy Noonan is a millionaire, probably.