I'm probably going to attract some friendly fire here, but I gotta say it: Peggy Noonan makes me crazy. I have never understood precisely why she is considered a political sage, and I have never thought her analysis or advice was either valuable or entertaining.
Noonan's only real ticket to a seat at the table is her supposed brilliance as a wordsmith, and even here I have to dissent. She rose to prominence after publishing a memoir of her days as a speechwriter for Reagan and GHW Bush. She specializes in a sort of flowery mystical optimism; her most famous phrase is "a thousand points of light." What the hell is that supposed to mean, anyway, does anyone know? It's just one more empty phrase to be delivered while pretending to gaze over the horizon towards some misty new future. Everything she writes sounds like someone gave William Blake a lobotomy to get rid of the hellish hallucinations and then crossbred him with Madeleine Bassett.
Now Ms. Noonan turns her attention to 28 Gauge-gate, and pronounces Cheney the wounded one. I don't follow.
First, it's not like Cheney is the only "hate magnet" in the Bush administration. If the Kososphere is to be believed, Alberto Gonzales taught Jack Bauer everything he knows about torture and Michael Chertoff's dungeons are full of men who innocently phoned their Croatian great-aunts for the secret family paprikash recipe.
Second, it's not like Cheney did something to earn the title. I have never understood the visceral, subrational hatred the looney left harbors for this man. He's about as frightening as a small-town pharmacist. In fact, he reminds me of many of my high school friends' fathers. Oh, he's more articulate and intelligent, and certainly more powerful, but his small-town laconic regular guy essence is still very, very close to the surface. If he ran a repair shop or a hardware store I'd be his loyal and trusting customer, and I see no reason not to trust him to honorably perform the tasks he ended up doing instead.
Which brings me to third: the people whose hate is attracted by Dick Cheney will construct their own targets, and flushing him will do nothing to encourage a cease-fire.
Dick Cheney has served this country for forty years with uninterrupted dignity and equanimity. In payment he has suffered not just unsubstantiated charges of financial and political impropriety, which are now obligatory. He has endured, silently, the most outrageous attacks on his personal life, from the implication that he impregnated his wife to avoid the draft, to the public appropriation of his daughter's sexuality by his political rivals. If Noonan is by some slim chance correct, and powerful men are whispering his doom this afternoon over lunch at The Palm and Ebbitts Grill, then I say: shame on you, you insufferable maggots. Happily, odds are she's wrong again.