Margaret Ellen "Peggy" Noonan (born 7 September 1950) is an author, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and a commentator on broadcast and cable television news shows. She was also a speechwriter for U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
- Resentment isn't a magnetic personal style.
- Wit penetrates; humor envelops. Wit is a function of verbal intelligence; humor is imagination operating on good nature. John Kennedy had wit, and so did Lincoln, who also had abundant humor; Reagan was mostly humor.
- What I Saw at the Revolution : A Political Life in the Reagan Era (1990), p. 179
- Candor is a compliment; it implies equality. It's how true friends talk.
- What I Saw at the Revolution : A Political Life in the Reagan Era (1990), p. 321
- The Democrats had long labeled the impeachment debate a distraction from the urgent business of a great nation. But the Republicans argued that the pursuit of justice is the business of a great nation. In winning this point, they caught the falling flag, producing a triumph for the rule of law, a reassertion of the belief that no man is above it, and a rebuke for an arrogance that had grown imperial.
- Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man. He's normal. He thinks in a sort of common-sense way. He speaks the language of business and sports and politics. You know him. He's not exotic. But if there's a fire on the block, he'll run out and help. He'll help direct the rig to the right house and count the kids coming out and say, "Where's Sally?" He's responsible. He's not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world. And then when the fire comes they say, "I warned Joe about that furnace." And, "Does Joe have children?" And "I saw a fire once. It spreads like syrup. No, it spreads like explosive syrup. No, it's formidable and yet fleeting." When the fire comes they talk. Bush ain't that guy. Republicans love the guy who ain't that guy. Americans love the guy who ain't that guy.
- I do not know what the Democratic Party spent, in toto, on the 2004 election, but what they seem to have gotten for it is Barack Obama. Let us savor.
- Imagine for a moment that angels exist, that they are pure spirits of virtue and light, that they care about us and for us and are among us, unseen, in the airport security line, in the room where we watch TV, at the symposium of great minds. "Raise your hands if you think masturbation should be illegal!" "I'm Bob Dole for Viagra." "Put your feet in the foot marks, lady." We are embarrassing the angels. … Lent began yesterday, and I mean to give up a great deal, as you would too if you were me. One of the things I mean to give up is the habit of thinking it and not saying it. A lady has some rights, and this happens to be one I can assert. "You are embarrassing the angels." This is what I intend to say for the next 40 days whenever I see someone who is hurting the culture, hurting human dignity, denying the stature of a human being.
- At some point, don't voters start to see all of public life as one big polluted river? And if they do, don't they stop saying things like "That's a busted tire floating by" and "That's an old shoe"?
- The most qualified? No. I think they went for this — excuse me — political bullshit about narratives.
- Because she jumbles up so many cultural categories, because she is a feminist not in the Yale Gender Studies sense but the How Do I Reload This Thang way, because she is a woman who in style, history, moxie and femininity is exactly like a normal American feminist and not an Abstract Theory feminist; because she wears makeup and heels and eats mooseburgers and is Alaska Tough, as Time magazine put it; because she is conservative, and pro-2nd Amendment and pro-life; and because conservatives can smell this sort of thing — who is really one of them and who is not — and will fight to the death for one of their beleaguered own; because of all of this she is a real and present danger to the American left, and to the Obama candidacy.
- Some things in life need to be mysterious. Sometimes you need to just keep walking. … It’s hard for me to look at a great nation issuing these documents and sending them out to the world and thinking, oh, much good will come of that.
- Concerning release of information about accusations against George W. Bush, in "Winners & Sinners" in Columbia Journalism Review (19 April 2009)
- I think it's Romney. I think he's stealing in "like a thief with good tools," in Walker Percy's old words. While everyone is looking at the polls and the storm, Romney's slipping into the presidency. He's quietly rising, and he's been rising for a while.
- Who knows what to make of the weighting of the polls and the assumptions as to who will vote? Who knows the depth and breadth of each party's turnout efforts? Among the wisest words spoken this cycle were by John Dickerson of CBS News and Slate, who said, in a conversation the night before the last presidential debate, that he thought maybe the American people were quietly cooking something up, something we don't know about.
I think they are and I think it's this: a Romney win.
- Donald Trump’s hold on history loosened, and may be breaking. In some new way his limitations are being seen and acknowledged, and at a moment when people are worried about the continuance of their country and their own ability to continue within it. He hasn’t been equal to the multiple crises. Good news or bad, he rarely makes any situation better. And everyone kind of knows.
- Judgments on the president’s pandemic leadership have settled in. It was inadequate and did harm. He experienced Covid-19 not as a once-in-a-lifetime medical threat but merely a threat to his re-election argument, a gangbusters economy. He denied the scope and scale of the crisis, sent economic adviser Larry Kudlow out to say we have it “contained” and don’t forget to buy the dip. Mr. Trump essentially admitted he didn’t want more testing because it would result in more positives.
And the virus rages on, having hit blue states first and now tearing through red states in the South and West — Arizona, Florida, the Carolinas, Texas.
The protests and riots of June were poorly, embarrassingly handled. They weren’t the worst Washington had ever seen, they were no 1968, but still he wound up in the White House bunker. Then out of the bunker for an epically pointless and manipulative photo-op in front of a boarded-up church whose basement had been burned. Through it all the angry, blustering tweets issued from the White House like panicked bats fleeing flames in the smokestack.
It was all weak, unserious and avoidant of the big issues. He wasn’t equal to that moment either.
- "The Week It Went South for Trump", The Wall Street Journal (25 June 2020)
- When the Trump experience is over, the Republican Party will have to be rebuilt. It will have to begin with tens of millions of voters who previously supported Mr. Trump. It will have to decide where it stands, its reason for being.
- ...developing AI is biting the apple. Something bad is going to happen. I believe those creating, fueling and funding it want, possibly unconsciously, to be God and on some level think they are God. It will have to begin with tens of millions of voters who previously supported Mr. Trump. It will have to decide where it stands, its reason for being.
- Some Never Trumpers helped create the conditions that created President Trump. What would be helpful from them now is not pyromaniac fantasies but constructive modesty, even humility.
The party’s national leaders and strategists don’t have a lot to be proud of the past few decades. The future of the party will probably bubble up from the states.
But it matters that the past six months Mr. Trump has been very publicly doing himself in, mismanaging his crises — setting himself on fire. As long as that’s clear, his supporters won’t be able to say, if he loses, that he was a champion of the people who was betrayed by the party elites, the Never Trumpers and the deep state: “He didn’t lose, he was the victim of treachery.”
Both parties have weaknesses. Liberals enjoy claiming progress that can somehow never quite be quantified. Conservatives like the theme of betrayal.
It will be unhelpful for Republicans, and bad for the country, if that’s the background music of the party next 10 years.
- "Burn the Republican Party Down?", The Wall Street Journal (30 July 2020)
- Peggy Noonan official site · archives
- Peggy Noonan Biography and Interview on American Academy of Achievement
- Peggy Noonan on Twitter
- Column archive at The Wall Street Journal
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Peggy Noonan on IMDb