Conservative columnist Peggy Noonan (Wall Street Journal) was caught making an “off the air” comment on a live mic last night at the Republican convention. A recording of what she said has very quickly made the rounds on the Internet. In it, she appears to say, quite firmly, that McCain’s campaign is “over”. Of course there has been a lot of chortling that if even the conservatives think McCain’s done, then he really must be.
As usual, it’s amazing what you can make someone say when you only have a snippet out of context. Straight from Peggy Noonan:
In our off-air conversation, I got on the subject of the leaders of the Republican party assuming, now, that whatever the base of the Republican party thinks is what America thinks. I made the case that this is no longer true, that party leaders seem to me stuck in the assumptions of 1988 and 1994, the assumptions that reigned when they were young and coming up. "The first lesson they learned is the one they remember," I said to Todd — and I'm pretty certain that is a direct quote. But, I argued, that's over, those assumptions are yesterday, the party can no longer assume that its base is utterly in line with the thinking of the American people. And when I said, "It's over!" — and I said it more than once — that is what I was referring to…. In the truncated version of the conversation, on the Web, it appears I am saying the McCain campaign is over. I did not say it, and do not think it.