I don't know that Democrats understand how Republicans experience the attacks Democratic leaders make on them. I'm not sure they know how they sound to us.
In America there is a lot of political integration. Democrats and Republicans are friends. Life forces them to be if they need to be forced, which most don't. They know each other from the office, Little League, school meetings, the neighborhood. Actually America is mostly filled with people who say not "I'm a Democrat" and "I'm a Republican," but "I voted for Bush" and "I like McCain" and "I voted for Kerry." They identify by personal action more than political party, at least in my experience.
Leaving aside Noonan's flat-out, fall-over-laughing-and-then-fling-yourself-into-trafficly preposterous contention that the current level of Democratic ire would be shocking or surprising to Republicans (when it's obviously nowhere near the level of vitriolic spew which Democrats have received from Republicans over the last twenty years), what's really funny about Noonan's complaint is that both Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton, who she goes on to criticize for their anti-Republican rhetoric, could have taken their speeches straight out of Newt Gingrich's playbook. Back in 1995, GOPAC, Gingrich's political action committee, circulated a document to freshmen Republican congresspersons which instructed them in the uses of rhetoric, and gave them a list of specific terms to use.
Often we search hard for words to define our opponents. Sometimes we are hesitant to use contrast. Remember that creating a difference helps you. These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals and their party.
decay, failure (fail) collapse(ing) deeper, crisis, urgent(cy), destructive, destroy, sick, pathetic, lie, liberal, they/them, unionized bureaucracy, "compassion" is not enough, betray, consequences, limit(s), shallow, traitors, sensationalists, endanger, coercion, hypocricy, radical, threaten, devour, waste, corruption, incompetent, permissive attitude, destructive, impose, self-serving, greed, ideological, insecure, anti-(issue): flag, family, child, jobs; pessimistic, excuses, intolerant, stagnation, welfare, corrupt, selfish, insensitive, status quo, mandate(s) taxes, spend (ing) shame, disgrace, punish (poor...) bizarre, cynicism, cheat, steal, abuse of power, machine, bosses, obsolete, criminal rights, red tape, patronage.
Did Peg "feel embarrassment" about this? Was she among the (nonexistent, of course) "legions" of Republicans who denounced Gingrich's exhortation to label Democrats "traitors"? Of course not. Why not? Well, to put it in scientific terms, because she's full of crap. I think a better line of attack for Noonan at this point would be to go after Dean and Clinton for not citing Gingrich as inspiration.
Whether it is a good thing for Dean and Clinton to be making speeches in this style is for another post.
As to Noonan's presuming to speak for what "most Americans" think or do, she is representative of that certain species of conservative media elite which, though rarely venturing out of the coastal enclaves which they make so much money insulting, would have us believe that they have their fingers on the pulse of Real America. This particular species, known as Conservitus Americanus Fullofshitae, likes to scold liberals for being "out of touch" with the kind of people "America is mostly filled with." And they know what America is mostly filled with because they see it when they wander off the interstate while travelling between speaking engagements and book signings, or when they stop for gas on their way to their vacation homes (the millions of people who live and work in the cities where Conservitus Americanus Fullofshitae resides apparently don't count as "real Americans"). David Brooks is a prime example of this, as is Bill O'Reilly and probably most of the staff of National Review.
Then there's Peggy Noonan, who made her bones writing speeches for perhaps the greatest fake populist of the twentieth century, Ronald Reagan, and now carries on that legacy by consistently apologizing for yet another Republican administration which has conclusively demonstrated that it could not care less about the problems and needs of working people. This woman is going to lecture us about what "most Americans" think? I think not.