The passions of the protesters, on the other hand, are not a surprise. They hired a man to represent them in Washington. They give him a big office, a huge staff and the power to tell people what to do. They give him a car and a driver, sometimes a security detail, and a special pin showing he’s a congressman. And all they ask in return is that he see to their interests and not terrify them too much. Really, that’s all people ask. Expectations are very low. What the protesters are saying is, “You are terrifying us.”Obama is terrifying them? What about the Republicans on the floor of Congress railing about the old people who are going to be killed by health care reform? What about Sarah Palin's screed about "Obama's 'death panel'" that would kill little Trig? What about Rush Limbaugh calling Obama a Nazi and Glenn Beck calling him a racist and fascist? What about the Republicans' uninterrupted fear-based campaigns of the last forty years? What unadulterated crap!
Noonan has the gall to accuse the Democrats of being "crude and aggressive" and of damaging "political civility." She says they are being "unnecessarily and unhelpfully divisive and provocative." Glenn Beck makes jokes about poisoning Nancy Pelosi, but it is the Democrats who are "mocking and menacing concerned citizens." Noonan says the Democrats "should be attempting to persuade," but that can be difficult when organized wingnuts are shouting them down.
Noonan correctly asserts that "[f]or normal people, it's not all about Barack Obama," but many, although not all, of the protesters are not normal people. They are not the people who "hired" Obama to represent them in Washington. They are the birthers who still believe that Obama is a Muslim who pals around with terrorists. They are that wing of the Republican party that is dominated by the southerners who abandoned the Democrats after the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. They are the ones who according to Kathleen Parker "have seceded from sanity."
Last fall, Noonan was sufficiently (and justifiably) terrified by the prospect of Sarah Palin wallowing in her ignorance within a heartbeat of the Oval Office that she decried the nastiness of the Republican presidential campaign. Now that that danger has passed, she is happy to play on the fears of the most backward elements of her party in order to defeat a policy that she does not favor. Like her hero Ronald Reagan, she does so under the guise of promoting civility, but it is nonetheless the same politics of resentment that the Republicans have relied on for four decades.