Peggy Noonan: "The GOP Should Go Back To Being John Wayne."

Nooners' latest column is, as always, a target-rich environment for mockery, but this passage -- in which she laments all the Republican saber-rattling and warmongering -- wins out.

The GOP used to be derided by Democrats as the John Wayne party: it loved shoot-'em-ups. Actually, John Wayne didn't ride into town itching for a fight, and he didn't ride in shooting off his mouth, either. He was laconic, observant. He rode in hoping for peace, but if something broke out he was ready. He had a gun, it was loaded, and he knew how to use it if he had to.

But he didn't want to have to. Which was part of his character's power. The GOP should go back to being John Wayne.

Nooners has a bit of a crush on John Wayne, because she also wrote this bizarre column arguing America needed his "manly virtues" after 9/11.

I was there in America, as a child, when John Wayne was a hero, and a symbol of American manliness. He was strong, and silent. And I was there in America when they killed John Wayne by a thousand cuts. A lot of people killed him—not only feminists but peaceniks, leftists, intellectuals, others. You could even say it was Woody Allen who did it, through laughter and an endearing admission of his own nervousness and fear. He made nervousness and fearfulness the admired style. He made not being able to deck the shark, but doing the funniest commentary on not decking the shark, seem . . . cool. [...]

This was not progress. It was not improvement.

The problem, of course, is that John Wayne was a drunk, a drug addict, a serial womanizer, an abusive husband -- and most importantly -- a draft-dodging chickenhawk. While other actors of his generation volunteered to fight in World War II, Wayne stayed stateside to make movies and get rich playing dress up soldier. Years later, this same man who chose not to fight in the war against fascism said that those opposed to the Vietnam War should be shot. There may not be a more perfect embodiment of a man who spouts right-wing "virtues" while actually leading a life exactly in opposition to those virtues.

Actually, Nooners has a point. John Wayne is the perfect embodiment of the Republican Party.


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