The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan has a column that runs every Friday. This week, however, she has a 2,000-word piece that ran yesterday, apparently because the former Reagan speechwriter didn't think this could wait until the end of the week.
It's time to admit the Romney campaign is an incompetent one. It's not big, it's not brave, it's not thoughtfully tackling great issues. It's always been too small for the moment.
On the "47 percent" line in particular, Noonan added, "This is not how big leaders talk, it's how shallow campaign operatives talk: They slice and dice the electorate like that, they see everything as determined by this interest or that. They're usually young enough and dumb enough that nobody holds it against them, but they don't know anything. They don't know much about America."
She went on to say Romney's strategy "isn't working," and parts of it are based on logic that's "slightly crazy."
I should note that the columnist and GOP pundit offers some odd advice to her preferred candidate, including urging Romney to "hold a hell of a rally in ... downtown Brooklyn." To be sure, I'm not a Republican strategist, but the suggestion does not strike me as wise.
But putting that aside, the larger takeaway here is that Peggy Noonan (like David Brooks) seems to have completely lost confidence in Romney -- not just as a candidate, but as a man who now seems manifestly unprepared to lead early next year.
What Noonan seems to want is some kind of do-over in late September. She calls for an "intervention," but her column reads more like a plea for a "reinvention" -- a better candidate with a better understanding of America, a better message, a better team, and a better strategy.
If this helps reflect the anxieties of the Republican establishment even a little, it's no wonder there's a whiff of irrational conservative dread in the air.