PEGGY NOONAN'S STRANGE IDEA OF WHAT CONSTITUTES MATURITY AND "DIGNITY"
From her latest column:
I watched with great interest much of Teddy Kennedy's wake and funeral, and saw in a clearer way than I had in the past a big cultural difference between the elites of the two parties, or rather the Democratic and Republican establishments. Pretty much the entire Democratic establishment was at the Kennedy services, and the level of shown affection among those in the pews and the audience was striking -- laughing, hugging, telling stories, admitting weaknesses, weeping. It was Irish, and old-time. If it had been a gathering of the Republican political and journalistic establishment it would have been less emotive, with little shown affection. Polite laughter, cordial handshakes, a lot of staring ahead. A guy with his head down and you think he's mourning but he's BlackBerrying. They don't especially like each other, they compete against each other, and they don't feel the need to fake liking each other. They have the old dignity of the old grown-ups. And I suppose their style reflects some of their philosophy: Politics isn't about emotions but thoughts.
So wait -- they'd be at a funeral and they'd be BlackBerrying? That's a mark of dignity, of being a "grown-up"?
Not to mention: the party of "pit bull with lipstick" and "Mission Accomplished" is the party of thoughts rather than emotions?
I will say that I trust Noonan's assessment of the behavior of Republican elitists, given that she's rubbed elbows with them for so long. But I have a different explanation for why Democrats were emotional and convivial at Ted Kennedy's funeral, and Republicans wouldn't be: Republicans have no souls.
Seriously -- why did most Democrats get into politics? However venal and corrupt and sold out many of them have become, most of them seem to have been inspired by the example of FDR or MLK or the Kennedy brothers (meaning, in addition to Ted, the John and Bobby of their most inspirational moments) or the leaders of movements for social change. They at least started out wanting to do something for people.
Who were the role models for most of today's Republicans? Ayn Rand? Ann Coulter? Jesse Helms? Ronald Reagan grinning as he verbally smacked liberals around?
Theirs is a politics of bitterness and vengeance. If that's what inspired them in their life's work, it's no wonder they don't act like normal human beings with souls when they're around one another.