Monday, March 2, 2009

Just say Noah

It's amazing how swift the conservative movement is to jettison those individuals that they no longer see as useful to their cause, such as the once infallible and now untouchable George Bush. (Look out, Michael Steele, you're on the wrong side of Rush as of today). Still, I was a little shocked to see wingnut Doug Giles' gratuitously harsh piece on former wunderkind Noah McCulloch, reprinted below without comment.

pic from MSNBC

He's older now, thirteen going on fourteen, and he's seen more of the world in the past four years than you can shake a stick at.

"Shake a stick at," muses Noah McCulloch. "Do you know where that phrase came from? It originates with Andrew Jackson, our seventh president. Most people, all they know about him is that his face is on the twenty dollar bill, so in a way, he's one of our most popular presidents. You would think that Benjamin Franklin would be more popular, and in a monetary sense he is, but he was never president, so it's a moot point."

We are here at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, where Noah is signing his second book, 'First Kids: The True Stories of All Presidents'. Or rather, where he would be signing his book if there was anyone around seeking his signature. But young Noah is undisturbed by the absence of buyers. All he wants to do is talk about Andrew Jackson, and the crowd of me seems to suffice as an audience.

"Back to that stick," he says, unwilling to continue our discussion of monetary policy. "As I'm sure you know, Andrew Jackson received the nickname of 'Old Hickory' during the War of 1812. The troops in his command used to say that he was as tough as old hickory wood, which appealed to his considerable vanity. To compliment his new moniker, he began carrying a hickory stick with him, which he would use to beat soldiers that he suspected of cowardice. Well, as you can imagine, before long all he had to do was shake his stick in their direction to ensure amazing feats of valor."

Fascinating as this was, Andrew Jackson anecdotes were not the reason for my visit. I was there to discuss the cruel passage of time, and the havoc it can visit upon a young boy's career. Four years ago, Noah was at the top of his game. He was the most celebrated conservative child in all of America, traveling the country with George Bush in the failed effort to privatize Social Security, and championed by Rush Limbaugh as the leader of the next generation of the Republican Party. Leno, Letterman, and Oprah all coveted him as a guest. Scant months later, with Bush's Social Security reforms dead in the water, Noah's brief rise to fame sunk as quickly as the initiative he had championed.

"Noah," I said gently, lest I scare the lad off too quickly, "back in 2005, you announced that you planned to run for president in 2032..."

"I still do," he said bravely. "It says so on my website, and right there on my blog."

"That's so cute," I continued, "although you might want to update the blog once in a while. Rod Blagojevich is so over. Anyway, I know that you used to say that Social Security had to be fixed because you didn't want to have to deal with it on your first day in office. Simply adorable. But I guess, now that you're older, you've had time to ponder the fact that there probably isn't going to be any Social Security for you. Maybe not for your mommy or daddy either."

"That's a problem and a blessing," Noah replied, a frown passing briefly over his little face. "If it goes bust, it will at least demonstrate the folly of fostering dependence on the government to protect one's standard of living. Anyway... my parents shouldn't have to worry. This is my second book and..."

"And how's that working out for you," I pressed. "I couldn't help but notice that your latest missive is, oh, let's see, number 307,029 in sales rank at Amazon. But let's round that up to 300,000, because I'm sure you're going to sell a couple copies today. Maybe..."

"It's a children's book and there aren't any children here today!" Noah said sharply, the color rising in his sweet little cheeks. "I wrote it a long time ago, back when I was twelve. I'm almost fourteen now, and my next book is going to be..."

"What? A big boy's book?" I volleyed. "No pictures? Say... I was just curious as to whether you had met Jonathan Krohn yet. He has a new book also. You know, he's only thirteen, just like you, but he was at CPAC this weekend - didn't see you there, by the way - and he really wowed the crowd, had 'em on their feet shouting. Of course, he didn't have any cute stories about presidential kids, nah, he was talking about the abandonment of core conservative philosophy as the downfall of the Republican Party. Probably sounds pretty boring to an almost fourteen year old like you, but Joe the Plumber said Krohn was so sharp that he sounded like a thirty year old."

"Joe the Plumber is a frigging idiot," squealed Noah, revealing the immature lack of control lurking right beneath the surface.

"Maybe so, Master McCulloch," I retorted, "but Joe the Plumber's book is ranked 72,750 at Amazon. That's about a quarter million slots above 'First Kids'. And he does still get invited to..."

Noah bolted to the 'big boys room', leaving me stranded in mid-sentence. Perhaps he had to wee-wee. There is now way that I could know for sure without following him. Too bad, because I was getting ready to ask him if he had met any cute little thirteen year old girls during his increasingly less frequent travels, although considering the downward trajectory of his career, I suspected I already knew the answer.


  1. It's all a matter of timing, Mark. Noah obviously peaked too soon.

    Love the new graphic, but the title is a bit hard to read, even for one of your oldest fans.

  2. Fearguth, I suspect the graphic will change frequently. Sometimes, instead of being hard to read, it will be impossible.