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Peggy Noonan Shreds Trump — With 1950s Masculinity Norms

The left has been publishing deeply personal Trump takedowns since before he secured the GOP’s presidential nomination. It didn’t help much, as we can see, but at least it assured us that half the country saw through his schtick and held a united sense of his casual monstrosity. Now that right-wing hatchet jobs against the president are becoming more common, it’s clear that conservatives have a whole different view of his failings.

Author and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan offered up proof in a Wall Street Journal column yesterday that condemns Trump not for his policies, but for not being a real man.


There’s absolutely no ambiguity about this — just read the opening paragraph:

The president’s primary problem as a leader is not that he is impetuous, brash or naive. It’s not that he is inexperienced, crude, an outsider. It is that he is weak and sniveling. It is that he undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity.

Not political norms. The norms of American masculinity. And that’s only a warm-up:

He’s not strong and self-controlled, not cool and tough, not low-key and determined; he’s whiny, weepy and self-pitying. He throws himself, sobbing, on the body politic. He’s a drama queen. It was once said, sarcastically, of George H.W. Bush that he reminded everyone of her first husband. Trump must remind people of their first wife. Actually his wife, Melania, is tougher than he is with her stoicism and grace, her self-discipline and desire to show the world respect by presenting herself with dignity.

It’s wild seeing Twitter liberals link to this piece with glee (clearly they enjoy seeing Trump flanked from the right) when it simply reinforces the same retrograde gender concepts that Trump himself holds dear — even if he can’t live up to them. Nowhere does Noonan bash his absurd policy proposals, from the promise to build a solar border wall with holes so that people don’t get crushed by falling bags of drugs to his unenforceable out-of-nowhere ban on transgender people serving in the military. Perhaps she’d be fine with all that if Trump was more like the alpha male he claimed to be?

“It’s so easy to act presidential but that’s not gonna get it done,” Mr. Trump said the other night at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio. That is the opposite of the truth. The truth, six months in, is that he is not presidential and is not getting it done. His mad, blubbery petulance isn’t working for him but against him. If he were presidential he’d be getting it done — building momentum, gaining support. He’d be over 50%, not under 40%. He’d have health care, and more.

Whoop, there it is! If the president were manly, he’d be popular. He’d be able to throw millions of people off the health insurance rolls. He’d be ready for reelection! And perhaps most importantly, nations around the globe would respect his police powers.

Meanwhile the whole world is watching, a world that contains predators. How could they not be seeing this weakness, confusion and chaos and thinking it’s a good time to cause some trouble?

Ugh. I’ll give Noonan props for an angle of attack that’s likely to deliver an entertaining Trump tantrum, but A) those meltdowns are exactly what she’s criticizing, and B) Trump’s general ineffectiveness is arguably the one good thing about him. If she wants him to be a strong and symbolically masculine leader with all his immoral indifference intact, she can fuck right off.