Barack Obama is deeply overexposed and often boring. He never seems to be saying what he's thinking. His speech Thursday was weirdly anticlimactic. There's too much buildup, the crowd was tired, it all felt flat. He was somber, and his message was essentially banal: We've done better than you think. Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?
There were many straw men. There were phrases like "the shadow of a shuttered steel mill," which he considers writerly. But they sound empty and practiced now, like something you've heard in a commercial or an advertising campaign.
It was stale and empty. He's out of juice.
You ever notice that when Barack Obama is effective in a speech, he's considered Angry Black Man by the assholes on the right. But when he really hits one out of the park, he's a bloodless, boring intellectual. But Obama wasn't alone in receiving scorn and derision from Noonan's schizoid episode here. Being a Republican wingnut woman, she reserves special rancor for the symbol of all things wrong with Those Awful Liberal Hussies, Sandra Fluke.
The sheer strangeness of all the talk about abortion, abortion, contraception, contraception. I am old enough to know a wedge issue when I see one, but I've never seen a great party build its entire public persona around one. Big speeches from the heads of Planned Parenthood and NARAL, HHS Secretary and abortion enthusiast Kathleen Sebelius and, of course, Sandra Fluke.
"Republicans shut me out of a hearing on contraception," Ms. Fluke said. But why would anyone have included a Georgetown law student who never worked her way onto the national stage until she was plucked, by the left, as a personable victim?
What a fabulously confident and ingenuous-seeming political narcissist Ms. Fluke is. She really does think—and her party apparently thinks—that in a spending crisis with trillions in debt and many in need, in a nation in existential doubt as to its standing and purpose, in a time when parents struggle to buy the good sneakers for the kids so they're not embarrassed at school . . . that in that nation the great issue of the day, and the appropriate focus of our concern, is making other people pay for her birth-control pills. That's not a stand, it's a non sequitur. She is not, as Rush Limbaugh oafishly, bullyingly said, a slut. She is a ninny, a narcissist and a fool.
And she was one of the great faces of the party in Charlotte. That is extreme. Childish, too.
Peggy Noonan really is one of the great projectors of our time. She not only completely repeats the right wing lies about the President health care plan that she's paid to parrot out of her empty head, she uses them as the basis of her attacks on anyone who dares to tell the truth around her. The truth about regulating birth control for insurance companies simply means that being a woman can no longer be considered a pre-existing condition, and that insurance plans need to offer coverage.
This does not mean that government is paying for birth control. Noonan doesn't care about the truth, but she sure loves to go personally after a Georgetown Law student who made the mistake of speaking up for women from my generation. (Mark Steyn too is greatly offended that Sandra Fluke is allowed to speak, apparently she should know her place and shut it because the menfolk like Mark are talking about the national debt which will kill all of us any second now.)
That's the awful dimension Nooners lives in. Careful, don't fall in.