Thursday, November 29, 2007

BlogWatch: While Condi Fiddles

BraveNew Films (which I don’t know why is reading MoDo) has a rave review of the latest column:

Another absolutely brilliant column by Maureen Dowd in The New York Times written in her uniquely lucid and eloquent style where she lays bare the truth about the new Middle East peace initiative and other things. I hope Condi picks up The New York Times today. Perhaps she will read it to George.
The best metaphor to come out of the Condoleezza Rice Workout for Peace revelation was this one on The Gist:
Nero fiddled -- Condi does cardio. We've commented many times on the show about Rice's workout routine and the elliptical machine that is sometimes brought to her hotel room when she jets about -- and we have a lot of audio of her discussing her weight, her dieting tips and her exercise routine, which seem to take precedent over diplomacy. But I hadn't realized how much she has literally been ellipticizing while the world burns.
And Americablog reacts with to aerobicizer anecdote with this:
Pretty much sums it up.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Worked Up Over Working Out

Jump on the Peace Train
Published: November 28, 2007

Now I've been crying lately,
thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating,
why can't we live in bliss

Cause out on the edge of darkness,
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country,
come take me home again
-Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam

In a serendipitous bit of luck, New York Times writer, the ever lovely Elizabeth Bumiller has written a bio titled Condoleezza Rice: An American Life which has supplied Dowd with the central metaphor for the Bush Administration’s Middle East peace process.
So it is telling that in Annapolis she is running such a seat-of-the-pants operation, which seems designed to rescue the images of a secretary of state and president who have spent more time working out in the gym than working on the peace process.
In an interview with USA Today, Condi serves up a movie metaphor for the Palestinian problem that Dowd slam dunks.
Nick Burns said — I felt — when he said it, I felt exactly that way, that we would think we had it all pieced together, we would go home, and it's like Groundhog Day; the next day you would come in and it had come apart again.
Condi has compared trying to broker deals in the Middle East to “Groundhog Day.” An Annapolis-inspired breakthrough would be thrilling, but it will be tough for Madame Secretary to turn around her reputation after so many instances of Mideast malpractice.
You see, even though Bill Murray relives the same day over and over again, he eventually learns from his mistakes and triumphs. No such signs of progress are predicted in Annapolis.

When Dowd gets worked up, her alliterative activity goes on overdrive.
The tight-as-a-tick team of W. and Condi have been consistently culturally obtuse on the Middle East, even with a pricey worldwide operation designed to keep them in the loop.

First, Condi missed the scorching significance of the August 2001 presidential daily brief headlined “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” “An explosive title on a nonexplosive piece,” as she later dismissively described it.

Then she and W. failed to fathom that if Iraq went wrong, Iran would benefit.

She enabled Bush’s bellicosity rather than putting a brake on it.

She let Rummy waltz away with the occupation and only got back some control after he’d made a historic hash of it.
Then Dowd returns to the central metaphor of the article, the exercise routine.
As she described it to Bumiller, she went upstairs at 5 a.m. the morning after the Palestinian elections in 2006 to the gym in her Watergate apartment to exercise on her elliptical machine. She saw the news crawl reporting the Hamas victory.

“I thought, ‘Well, that’s not right,’ ” she said. She kept exercising for awhile but finally got off the elliptical trainer and called the State Department. “I said, ‘What happened in the Palestinian elections?’ and they said, ‘Oh, Hamas won.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness! Hamas won?’ ”

When she couldn’t reach the State Department official on the ground in the Palestinian territories, she did what any loyal Bushie would do: She got back on the elliptical.

“I thought, might as well finish exercising,” Rice told Bumiller. “It’s going to be a really long day.” It was one of the few times she was prescient on the Middle East.
You see, just like trying to achieve peace in the Middle East, working out on an elliptical machine takes a lot of effort and gets you all sweaty but you always end up back in the same place you started.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Out Of Fashion

What is amazing about Maureen Dowd is that she instills such strong passion even when she doesn’t have a current column. Lapata in Chapati Mystery takes on the entire New York Times stable of columnists, but singles out Maureen Dowd in particular.

I am willing to cede the point that numerous op-ed writers for that newspaper of record often appear to lack even the most basic skills needed in making a logical argument. In the case of Maureen Dowd, of course, logical argument is not, it is hoped, even a goal. In her column, the formula of pegging every political figure and situation to a corresponding character in a widely viewed prime-time hit television show does not require logical argument, but only a fit of insinuating pique.
What brought on his pique? It seems he is rather smitten with the prose of one Guy Trebay, the NYT fashion columnist.
Guy Trebay would never be invited to write an op-ed column in the Times, nor would his byline grace the columns of the first section of any newspaper. Guy Trebay would never call the world flat, or compare prime ministers of foreign nations fictional mafia dons or devote whole columns to baby names.
Lapata, of course, is calling out Flat Earth Friedman, and the baby names column by David Brooks is pretty silly, but of all the poisoned paragraphs by the Dowdster, what does he pick on? A five-month old item titled “A Tale of Two Tonys, Exiting Tormented”. Let’s have a look:
They’re both going out, not with a bang, but with a bing.

As they go dark, the two Tonys are bitter, paranoid and worn down by their enemies and scheming erstwhile allies. They both live in a bleak universe of half-truths, compromises and betrayals, a world changed utterly by the violence they set in motion. They were both brought low by high-stakes mistakes.

Tony Blair fears the feral beast. Tony Soprano is the feral beast.

The two Tonys found that their skin was never thick enough. And they stumbled into trouble with their Juniors, Junior Bush and Junior Soprano. Before he steps down in two weeks, Tony Blair decided to let loose with one of those self-pitying Tony Soprano-style rants that drove Dr. Melfi to terminate him. Call it No. 10 Downer Street.
It may not be Coward, or even Parker, but it’s fresh, clever, and topical (at least at the time). I would have never come up with the Blair in the Bada Bing Club allusion, but Dowd makes it work. As always, she stretches a metaphor a little further than it should go, like here:
I worry more about the press when it’s reverent rather than irreverent, when it’s a tame lapdog, as it was in the buildup to Iraq, than when it’s a feral beast. And I worry about politicians like W. and Blair being black and white rather than gray, as they were in building their hysterical, phony case against Saddam. We would have been well-served back then if Mr. Blair had explained to the jejune Junior that there’s some good, some bad, and some gray in the world, and that sometimes it’s smarter to squeeze tyrants, rather than Shock-and-Awe them.
It may not have the flowery flourishes of a Guy Trebay who can milk four paragraphs out of leering at supermodels at the tail end of a pout about hirsute hipsters, but I would rather spend an afternoon just staring at a Maureen Dowd column than read purple prose about underfed fashionistas.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Lazio Effect

Some talking points never die. Ann Althouse (who Molly Ivors sees as a Dowd-manque) is resurrecting the kerfuffle over Rick Lazio harassing Hillary in a debate during the Senate campaign. Maureen Dowd briefly alluded to it earlier this month when she said:

If the gender game worked when Rick Lazio muscled into her space, why shouldn’t it work when Obama and Edwards muster some mettle? If she could become a senator by playing the victim after Monica, surely she can become president by playing the victim now.
Althouse claims that Lazio was never anything but a complete gentleman and then unearths a video that she claims proves her point. It actually does the opposite. In the video, Lazio crosses the center of the stage twice and harangues Hillary for over twenty seconds (an eternity in YouTube time) before returning to his podium.

Maureen Dowd who was covering that race closely, predicted that it would be a turning point in the campaign by making the aspiring Senator a sympathetic figure, no small task considering both her baggage and Bill's that she was carrying.

From "Her Brute Strength" on September 17, 2000:
After the Buffalo debate Wednesday night, a woman in the audience came up to Tim Russert, the moderator. She said she had liked Rick Lazio until he stalked Hillary Clinton, pestering her to sign his soft-money pledge.

At that moment, she confided, the Long Island congressman suddenly conjured up the image of her husband, waving a credit card receipt in her face, yelling at her that she had overcharged, his eyes bulging, his veins popping, screaming at her to return everything to the store.

Little Ricky reminds every woman of her husband on a peevish tear about expenses, just like those classic scenes from ''I Love Lucy,'' when Big Ricky's eyes would pop and veins would bulge as he waved a bill at Lucy and ordered her to stop spending the household money on hats.

Hillary got into the New York race because of one badly behaved man. Now she may win it because of another badly behaved man.

One more brute slapping her around and she may be home free.
Three days later in "A Man and a Woman", Dowd further elucidates:
…the Senate race may turn on a wagging finger.

Many of the women who had liked the glowing Long Island congressman recoiled from his glowering performance in Buffalo.

Speaking at a women's lunch on Monday, Mrs. Clinton mocked Mr. Lazio's alpha bits: ''I knew I was going to share a stage. I didn't think I was going to have to share a podium.''

Mr. Lazio Just Doesn't Get It. His race is charged with gender, but his problem at the debate was more a matter of sense and manners.

A man who felt confident of his own masculinity, of course, would never have marched over to bluster at the first lady. It's impossible to imagine Ronald Reagan trying to cow a female opponent with such muscular histrionics.
Upon reviewing the tape, I have to side with Dowd’s assessment of Lazio’s actions. They were meant to intimidate and by behaving calmly and rationally in the face of a ranting bully, Hillary won herself a senatorial stepping stone. If the next president is named Clinton, we may have Little Ricky and his wagging finger to thank or blame as the case may be.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

FlashBack: Mean Girls

Maureen Dowd took Turkey Day off, so let’s look back at a classic column.

Woman of Mass Destruction
By Maureen Dowd
22 October 2005

One of the major reasons used for the invasion of Iraq was the Saddam Hussein's possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Much of the evidence of WMDs was reported by Judith Miller who used now-discredited Iraqi expatriate Ahmad Chalabi as a source.

Any good schoolyard battle between two queen bees always starts with sarcastic declarations of devotion:

I've always liked Judy Miller. I have often wondered what Waugh or Thackeray would have made of the Fourth Estate's Becky Sharp.
Becky Sharp is one of the most famous amoral social climbers in literature. It implies a rise strewn with discarded relationships in a quest for power. An implication Dowd makes more explicit in the very next paragraph:
The traits she has that drive many reporters at The Times crazy - her tropism toward powerful men, her frantic intensity and her peculiar mixture of and hard work and hauteur - never bothered me. I enjoy operatic types.
And it wouldn’t be a cat fight without an argument over cafeteria table assignments.
Once when I was covering the first Bush White House, I was in The Times' seat in the crowded White House press room, listening to an administration official's background briefing. Judy had moved on from her tempestuous tenure as a Washington editor to be a reporter based in New York, but she showed up at this national security affairs briefing.

At first she leaned against the wall near where I was sitting, but I noticed that she seemed agitated about something. Midway through the briefing, she came over and whispered to me, "I think I should be sitting in the Times seat."

It was such an outrageous move, I could only laugh. I got up and stood in the back of the room, while Judy claimed what she felt was her rightful power perch.
Which of course includes an alliterative attack, one of several including “hard work and hauteur” above and these:
This cagey confusion is what makes people wonder whether her stint in the Alexandria jail was in part a career rehabilitation project.
But before turning Judy's case into a First Amendment battle, they should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade.
Other trademark Dowdisms are the silly nickname:
She more than earned her sobriquet "Miss Run Amok."
And the lowbrow pop-culture reference:
It also doesn't seem credible that Judy wouldn't remember a Marvel comics name like "Valerie Flame."
Perhaps it would be too much credit to think Judith Miller was as familiar with The Fantastic Four as Dowd seems to be. But as always, Maureen saves the heaviest salvo for last:
Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country." If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands.
When the paper of record is caught carrying water, even the op/ed page has to turn up its nose at the bias.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

MoDo or FauxDo

Anna Shane at DailyKos wrote a parody of Maureen Dowd's She's No Morgenthau column that someone must have flagged it as copyright infringement. Let's look a little closer to see how close to the bone it cuts

MoDo FauxDo
Most of the time, Barack Obama seems like he’s boxing in the wrong weight class. But Monday in Fort Dodge, Iowa, he delivered an unscripted jab that was a beaut.Barack Obama, who’s seemed way too respectful of the girl running for president, maybe cause she reminds him of his Midwestern moms and apple pie, finally stepped up to the plate, and sent one zinging over right field. In Dodge Stadium, he slammed a clearly and, in my opinion, obviously spontaneous and, unlike you-know-who, unscripted, ‘fly ‘n ball’ that knocked that ‘wife candidate’ on her no longer fire proof fanny.
It took him nine months, but he finally found the perfect pitch to make a trenchant point.It may have taken him a full nine-month pregnancy, but he finally delivered the perfect slap that made his ‘knock-her-down-and-then-laugh-at-her’ point. Rudy took note, and he immediately gave up his dream to elevate Judi to succeed his coming monarchy.
She was a top adviser who had a Nixonian bent for secrecy and a knack for hard-core politicking. But if running a great war room qualified you for president, Carville and Stephanopoulos would be leading the pack.If she’d even been the top adviser she claims she was, she must have had a Nixonian (paranoid, get it?) bent for secrecy and his knack for hard-core porn, I mean, politicking, but Obama rightly points out, ain’t so, the girlie was just a wife, I’m saying wife here, not husband. The real powers behind the throne were Carville and Stephanopoulos, and they would both be leading the pack, if they would both just quit working for the big-bucks media and get back to public service, and both of them are men, get it?
The problem here is that the attempt at parody is too pitch perfect. It's not enough to paraphrase the Dowdster, you have to somehow out-style her. And that is a tough order. Better luck next time.

Friday, November 23, 2007

BlogWatch: Foreign Affairs

As I mentioned in my analysis on Maureen Dowd’s most recent Hillary-bashing column (and they are hard to keep up with), her final line is less slam dunk rhetorical than she thinks. Let’s look back at it:

But is living in the White House between the ages of 45 and 53 foreign policy experience?
Steve Soto’s answer at The Left Coaster is:
Yes, you twit. Or do you think being on the inside seeing how the world works at the highest level possible for eight years means nothing?

The major card she has left is experience, and despite the idiotic Obama love letters from the likes of Dowd, Hillary should frame the remaining debate along these lines and let voters make the call.
On the other hand, Pissed On Politics agrees with Dowd's assessment and elaborates:
It appears Hillary's charges that Obama lacks 'experience' is nothing more than a projection of her own campaign insecurities; that if people really take a closer look at her they'll see she is the one who lacks the necessary experience to be President.

What Hillary doesn't lack in experience is cut-throat politicking doused with secrecy. Perhaps what she means is that Obama lacks the cold calculating political experience necessary to manipulate the media and parley that control into an election victory. If that's the kind of experience Hillary is talking about, she can keep it.

Maureen Down says it better than I ever could.
MikeTrap also thinks Dowd has a point:
Great, balanced editorial by Maureen Dowd in the NYTimes. While she expresses reservations about the depth of Obama’s foriegn policy experience, she finally says what only another woman could say about Hillary.
Finally for today, Chris LaRoche wonders what the title of the column has to do with the substance:
The title of the piece — "She's No Morgenthau" — looks to be an on-topic reference to Hans J. Morgenthau, an international relations theorist and University of Chicago professor who immigrated to the U.S. from Poland after living through World War II.

But there are no further references to Morgenthau in the story proper, nor would a candidate's possession of foreign policy experience necessarily make he or she "Morgenthauian."
My guess is that Dowd is just showing off arcane knowledge imprecisely so that folks like us have to run to Wikipedia to figure out what she’s talking about. Maureen, just stick to pop culture like 50s rock songs.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thank God I'm Not MoDo

If you are spending Thanksgiving today with family you don't agree with, be thankful you aren't Maureen Dowd. From November 28, 2004, she describes her tableaux:

People often wonder what our Thanksgiving is like.

It's lovely - if you enjoy hearing about how brilliant Ann Coulter is, how misguided The New York Times's editorial page is, and how valiant the president is as he tries to stop America's slide into paganism.
She says having to sit at the same table with a bunch of Rush Limbaugh fans makes her want to stuff mashed potatoes in people's ears. Here is Maureen Dowd quoting her brother Kevin on what he is thankful for:
We do not live in a secular country. There are all sorts of people of faith that place moral values over personal freedoms. They are not all 'wacky evangelicals.' They are people who don't like Howard Stern piping a hard porn show over the airwaves and wrapping himself in the freedom of the First Amendment. They don't like being told that a young girl does not have to seek her mother's counsel about an abortion. They don't like seeing an eight-month-old fetus having his head punctured and his brains sucked out. They don't like being told the Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silent prayer and the words 'under God' are offensive to an enlightened few so nobody should be allowed to use them. ... My wife and I picked our sons' schools based on three criteria: 1) moral values 2) discipline 3) religious maintenance - in that order. We have spent an obscene amount of money doing this and never regretted a penny. Last week on the news, I heard that the Montgomery County school board voted to include a class with a 10th-grade girl demonstrating how to put a condom on a cucumber and a study of the homosexual lifestyle. The vote was 6-0. I feel better about the money all the time.
Enjoy your turkey.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Undercard

She’s No Morgenthau
Published: November 21, 2007

Hans Joachim Morgenthau was a political scientist that pioneered the use of political realism to determine foreign policy. Not to be confused with Morgan LaFey who was an Arthurian sorceress that vexed the king and wished to usurp the throne.

Today Dowd returns to her boxing metaphor, which I cataloged in my Obambi rundown yesterday. Maureen is happy to see Obama come out swinging like Rocky:

Most of the time, Barack Obama seems like he’s boxing in the wrong weight class. But Monday in Fort Dodge, Iowa, he delivered an unscripted jab that was a beaut.
Dowd quickly spreads credit for the Comeback Kid’s presidential successes to the people that were ringside besides Hillary.
And the part of the Clinton administration that worked best — the economy, stupid — was run by Robert Rubin.

But if running a great war room qualified you for president, Carville and Stephanopoulos would be leading the pack.
James Carville and George Stephanopoulos were featured in a documentary called War Room about the 1992 presidential election. NYT stablemate Frank Rich's review is here.

Dowd then falls for what Dowd Report contributor yellojkt calls Briar Patch Politics by pointing out that Bush is in Clinton's corner.
President Bush is not so enamored of Obama’s foreign policy judgment. He gave a plug to Hillary on ABC News last night, calling her a “formidable candidate,” even under pressure, who “understands the klieg lights.”
Dubya praising the Hillary just highlights who the Republicans would prefer to face in the title fight. In her zeal to deliver a knock-out punch, she instead strikes a low blow:
She brazenly borrowed Republican talking points, even though she accused John Edwards of “throwing mud” that was “right out of the Republican playbook.”

“With all due respect,” she told a crowd in Iowa. “I don’t think living in a foreign country between the ages of 6 and 10 is foreign policy experience.”

But is living in the White House between the ages of 45 and 53 foreign policy experience?
It’s rhetorical question that leaves me down for the count. While Hillary has never been a formal diplomat, you would have to think navigating the white waters of the White House affairs, foreign and domestic, would show that she has had plenty of experience in the ring.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Obambi In The Crosshairs

In my post about Sunday’s column, I noticed that Maureen Dowd called Barack Obama “Obambi” for the umpteenth time. The first instance was back on December 13, 2006 in a column blatantly called Will Hillzilla crush Obambi? The title echoes the classic cartoon parody "Bambi Meets Godzilla" by Marv Newland which can be seen here. Hint: It doesn't end well for Bambi.

But unlike her impertinent challenger, Hillary will have to do a lot of fancy dancing to explain her opinions about the Iraq war. And we know that she’s not a good dancer.

Built on a cult of personality, her campaign will be ruthless in stomping on Obambi, as a Chicago columnist referred to the idealistic pol who was too naïve to steer clear of a sleazy fund-raiser who wanted to buy his favor with a sweetheart real estate deal.
This sweetheart deal is allegedly the same scandal that Robert Novak has been alluding to. And while Dowd credits a "Chicago columnist" (actually John Kass of the Tribune) for inventing the "Obambi" saying, the blogosphere likes to blame Maureen.

On February 21st of this year, Dowd goes all Oscar metaphor with Obama’s Big Screen Test.
Who can pay attention to the Oscar battle between “The Queen” and “Dreamgirls” when you’ve got a political battle between a Queen and a Dreamboy?
Can you guess who is who? But then she goes right back to the Disney classic.
Did Mr. Spielberg get in trouble with the Clintons for helping Senator Obama? “Yes,” Mr. Geffen replies, slyly. Can Obambi stand up to Clinton Inc.? “I hope so,” he says, “because that machine is going to be very unpleasant and unattractive and effective.”
Her boxing metaphor (which will serve her well in the next several months), used in Where's His Right Hook? also goes back to the monster versus woodland creature image.
The Democrats lost the last two excruciatingly close elections because Al Gore and John Kerry did not fight fiercely and cleverly enough.

After David Geffen made critical comments about Hillary, she seized the chance to play Godzilla stomping on Obambi.
Ever the pop culture maven, In Can He Unleash the Force? Dowd invokes comic book heroes to get Barack to man-up.
In mythic tales from “Superman” to “Star Wars” to “Spider-Man,” there comes a moment when the young superhero has to learn to harness his powers. That’s the challenge Barack Obama faces now.

But often he reverts to Obambi, tentative about commanding the stage and consistently channeling the excitement he engenders.
Clearly Maureen hasn’t been watching her movies to the end. In Bambi, our young buck grows some antlers and becomes a powerful stag that goes on to lead the herd.

Monday, November 19, 2007

BlogWatch: Whips and Chains

With Maureen Dowd talking dirty, it’s fair to wonder how far her BDSM metaphor can stretch. Nearly everybody picked up on her very unsubtly calling Obama a wuss, but Molly Ivors of Whiskey Fire put it best:

Dood, MoDo says, you are so whipped!

In MoDo's world, where strong women must be balanced out by weak men, the idea of a mutually strong relationship is unthinkable (which may be why Hill and Bill confuse her so much).
Dohiyi Mir thinks that maybe there is even a subtext below the sexual one:
The debate dominatrix knows how to rattle Obambi.

Brilliant opening frame! Sexualize Hillary, but in a way that's sure to intimidate a lot of men, plus it gives you a chance to bring up whips and use the title "Mistress" when talking about a NEGRO!

See, the Democrats' House Negro feels a need for obeisance in front of The Bitch. Rudy, being a strong man, a real man, a WHITE man (we'll ignore the fact that he's a WOP), would never be dominated by a lady. At least not one without a tiara.
Dependable Renagade puts it even more bluntly (if that's possible):
Maureen. Get off the plantation already. The racist Mandingo fantasies belong on your nightstand, not in an internationally distributed "newspaper of record".
On the other hand, Lady Chatterley who writes The Feminist Surrenders thinks that all the bondage talk reveals a part of Maureen we haven’t seen.
Dowd seems pretty obsessed with this stuff. If I were to do to Dowd what she does to everyone else, I would guess she's pretty obsessed with the BDSM stuff, but hasn't acted on it and still keeps it at the 'eww' factor in order to avoid coming to terms with her own desires.
She goes on to be offended by Maureen using the dominance and submission metaphor incorrectly.
It is part of the marginalization of kinky folk and has a voyeuristic, tittering, smirking quality. Maybe most of the "of course, I'm not into that" are really wishing to submit to whatever their desires are. "Can you believe, oh my God! No one should do that." It enforces social norms by shame and humiliation.
So even the leather corset set can find common ground with the wider world in their disgust with Maureen Dowd’s shallow stereotypes.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dowd Domination

Shake, Rattle and Roll
Published: November 18, 2007

Get out from that kitchen and rattle those pots and pans
Get out from that kitchen and rattle those pots and pans
Well, roll my breakfast 'cause I'm a hungry man

I said Shake, rattle and roll
I said Shake, rattle and roll
I said Shake, rattle and roll
I said Shake, rattle and roll
Well, you never do nothin' to save your doggone soul

Wearin' those dresses, your hair done up so nice
Wearin' those dresses, your hair done up so nice
You look so warm, but your heart is cold as ice

On a meta-level, the lyrics to the Jesse Stone penned bluesy rock classic that has been recorded by Bill Haley and Elvis Presley is more appropriate than can be imagined. We got kitchens, souls, dresses, and ice-cold hearts, all staples of the Dowd patois when discussing Clinton.

And speaking of rolls, Maureen is on one, right from the opening line:

The debate dominatrix knows how to rattle Obambi.
We first met Obambi nearly a year ago in Dowd’s December 13, 2006 column back when he was battling Hillzilla. Debate dominatrix was a throw away line I first noticed as a allusive alliteration in the French fiasco. This week, Dowd takes the bondage metaphor and runs it in a blender beyond recognition.
Mistress Hillary started disciplining her fellow senator last winter, after he began exploring a presidential bid.

She has continued to flick the whip in debates.

With so much at stake, she had to do it again in Vegas, this time using her voice, gaze and body language to such punishing effect that Obama looked as if he had been brought to heel.
If you don’t need a cold shower after all that dirty BDSM talk, check your pulse. And Dowd can’t mention Obambi with calling out how pussy-whipped he is.
Michelle said she let her husband run for president only when he agreed to give up smoking, and she’s a master at the art of the loving conjugal put-down.
And now for a Dowdified mash-up:
She owned him … after a tortured exchange… from that devastating… position… that could have dragged her to defeat.
All this hot talk has Maureen so worked up that she can’t wait for the main event because:
Rudy will not be so easy to spank.
I’ll want to get the pay-per-view for that X-rated confrontation especially if we can get Dowd as the ring announcer.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

BlogWatch: Dating Tips For Dowd

The reaction to Maureen Dowd discussing the disturbing strategy of men and women dating keep rolling in.

Amanda Marcotte chimes in:

Generalizing what men want from what men-who-speed-date want is a bad idea, it seems to me. There’s an urgency and shopper’s mentality to speed dating that seems like it would only be attractive to a subset of people, and it’s quite possible that subset is especially likely to have a checklist of attributes that would include, “Smart, but not too smart.”*

*I don’t know why Dowd’s whining, anyway, since that description seems to fit her to a T. If this study is right, she should be raking ‘em in left and right.
Zing! Good one, Amanda.

Tracy Clark-Flory left a video response on Broadsheet that you can find here. The Broadsheet readers left three pages of comments on Dowd and dating. Their verdict:
Equal opportunity sexism is alive and kicking!
Christine Whelan shows up again, this time on National Review Online. She delivers some bad news:
Maureen Dowd is full of bad news for smart, successful women looking for love.

She’s not the only one who predicts grim love prospects smart women: published an article titled “Don't Marry a Career Woman,” warning that women who make more than $30,000 per year, work 35 hours a week or more outside the home or have a university-level (or higher) education are less likely to ever marry more likely to get divorced.
But, surprise! Reading her book will help you out.
I created an acronym for these smart, single young women: SWANS: Strong Women Achievers, No Spouse. SWANS are powerful, driven professionals who flock to urban areas and high-status jobs.

All my research led to a recent book, Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women, and because of my research, I became increasingly confident in my good fortune as one of the SWANS.
She then talks about meeting the dream of her life, which leads to her triumph:
This very smart man and I were married on June 16, just a few weeks shy of my 30th birthday. I’m living proof of my good-news message: Smart men do marry smart women, a little bit later in life. And gentlemen do prefer brains.
So there, Maureen. Just go back in time to your late twenties, read Whelan's book, and snag a man.

Friday, November 16, 2007

HuffPo Huffing and Puffing

Not one, but two Huffington Post bloggers took on Maureen Dowd's dating lament.

Christine Whelan observes:

Single women are quaking in their trendy boots today -- all because of yet another screed by Maureen Dowd. According to today's New York Times column, men are intimidated by smart women. To win the American male vote, Hillary Clinton should dumb herself down. Oh, and successful women won't ever find love.
Her advice:
Stop reading Maureen Dowd's column. Smart young women must reject the myth that men are intimidated by them. There's a high cost to this conventional wisdom -- and it could be a self-fulfilling prophecy for you if you have a bad attitude toward dating.
Of course, it helps that she has a book to plug that you should read instead.

Melissa Kirsch doesn't so much disagree with the content of the column as with the delivery:
I've been complaining about Maureen for a long time because she has a powerful pulpit whose potential impact she often squanders. She asks to be taken seriously as a feminist (Or does she? I can never tell) and then publishes some infuriated screed in which she complains that young women have squandered the wages of feminism, tarring all women of my generation with the same (unfair) brush. Then she retreats into her cutesy pun-laden columns whose point is typically obscured by the need to hit a nonsensical punchline at the kicker.

Her usual slapsticky style detracts from the moments (like today) when her columns are actually interesting and insightful. She doesn't need to incarnate some distaff version Krugman or Kristof, but regardless of gender, she should strive for relevance over performance.
And here is where we at Dowd Report have to agree to disagree. The bad puns, silly nicknames and non-sequitor punchlines are the best part of a Dowd column. Without them, she would just be another bitter post-feminist that goes on tiresome tirades, and who would want to read that?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

BlogWatch: Sex And The Single Cynic

The combination of Dowd and dating is irresistible to the blogosphere and her column that could be called Why I Can’t Get A Date, Part 42 was like yellow jackets to a open soda can. Everybody had to swarm around and get a taste.

The key is to figure out what the column was really about. Half Sigma stumbles on the “dog bites man” part of the breathtaking revelations in the column.

Maureen Dowd’s is complaining about something, but I can’t figure out quite what.

Makes me kind of wish that the NY Times never made her column free.

We also found that women got more dates when they won high marks for looks.

Stop the presses! Scientists discover that men prefer women who are good looking!
Molly Ivors of Whiskey Fire (and coiner of the phrase Ariel, the Idiot Princess™) has a great personal anecdote about Cynthia Nixon, the actress that plays Miranda the Stewardess Impersonating Speed Dater. She then questions the validity of the dating metaphor for the campaign.
MoDo accepts, on its face, speed dating as a metaphor for the political process. I do not. If it has been reduced to sound bites and images, that's her problem. If there's any benefit at all to the Never-Ending Campaign, it's the long time frame. Some of us actually take the time to read the candidates' positions on the issues and think about what effect they might have on us, our families, our nation, our planet. But if campaigning is speed-dating, then for MoDo the notion that Hillary comes off as "too smart" is a genuine problem.

Men who are confident and smart don't need women to pretend to be stewardesses or mommies or naughty nurses. What the Althouses and the Dowds and the Flanagans of the world don't see, for whatever reason, is that people liked Bill Clinton because he had a smart wife, because he gave her a policy-making role, because he was not intimidated by her intellect. This isn't about evolution, it's about being a fucking adult.
Echidnae Of The Snakes digs down to the core of the column:
It is such an odd column in many ways. On one level it's all about the impossibility of a woman ever being happy if she is smart and earns too much. On another level it's all about what horrible creatures men are, but women can't do anything but go along with that.

Sometimes I think she writes to herself. A lot of her arguments appear to center on her own experiences. If I wrote a similar column on my own experiences in the dating scene I'd argue that my smartness always served me very well, and I'd probably dig in the available studies for those which support that opinion.
And d at Lawyers Guns and Money suggests a follow-up:
MoDo's next column, waiting to be written: how so-called feminist op-ed columnists reinforce the crap they purport to critique.
I think we’ll be waiting a long time for that column.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Why Am I Single?"

Should Hillary Pretend to Be a Flight Attendant?
Published: November 14, 2007

Maureen Dowd is single. This may come as a shock to you. After all, she is smart, beautiful and powerful. Who wouldn’t fall for this triple threat? Dowd asks herself that a lot. She turned the topic into a book, Are Men Necessary? In today’s column she comes up with a full set of answers. And then, through the power of her rolodex, Google and the Times archives, she finds an expert to rationalize each excuse.

I’m Too Smart
Expert: Ray Fisman, PhD – Columbia University, Dating Data: Economic Theory and the Search for a Mate

With two psychologists and another economist, he ran a speed-dating experiment at a local bar near the Columbia campus.

The results surprised him and made him a little sad because he found that even in the 21st century, many men are still straitjacketed in stereotypes.

Dr Fisman is also familiar with Episode 42 of that seminal scholarly work on inter-gender relationships, Sex and The City.
“I guess I had hoped that they had evolved beyond this,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s like that ‘Sex and the City’ episode where Miranda went speed-dating. When she says she’s a lawyer, guys lose interest. Then she tells them she’s a flight attendant and that plays into their deepest fantasies.”
She then quotes an article in Slate about the study:
“When women were the ones choosing, the more intelligence and ambition the men had, the better. So, yes, the stereotypes appear to be true: We males are a gender of fragile egos in search of a pretty face and are threatened by brains or success that exceeds our own.”
I’m Not Hot Enough
Experts: Steven Gaulin of the University of California at Santa Barbara and William Lassek of the University of Pittsburgh, members of Human Behavior and Evolution Society
Perhaps smart women can take hope — as long as they’re built like Marilyn Monroe. Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Pittsburgh have released a zany study on the zaftig, positing that men are drawn to hourglass figures not only because they look alluring, but because hips plumped up by omega-3 fatty acids could mean smarter women bearing smarter kids.
I’m Too Old and Make Too Much Money
Expert: Andrew Beveridge, a sociology professor at Queens College as reported by Alex Williams of the New York Times
The new income superiority of many young women in big cities is causing them to encounter “forms of hostility they weren’t prepared to meet,” leaving them “trying to figure out how to balance pride in their accomplishments against their perceived need to bolster the egos of the men they date.”

Professional women in their 20s are growing deft at subterfuges to protect the egos of dates who make less money, the story said, such as not leaving their shopping bags around and not mentioning their business achievements. Or they simply date older men who might not be as threatened.
I’m Too Powerful
Expert: Ilene H. Lang, the president of Catalyst as quoted by Lisa Belkin, also of the Times
Catalyst, an organization that studies women in the workplace, found that women who behave in ways that cleave to gender stereotypes — focusing on collegiality and relationships — are seen as less competent. But if they act too macho, they are seen as “too tough” and “unfeminine.”

Ms. Belkin said that another study shows that men — and female secretaries — are not considered less competent if they dress sexy at work, but female executives are.
Women still tend to be timid about negotiating salaries and raises. Men ask for more money at eight times the rate of women.
Something tells me it might be contract renegotiation time at the Gray Lady.

I’m Too Angry
Expert: Victoria Brescoll, Ph.D., a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University
Victoria Brescoll, a Yale researcher, found that men who get angry at the office gain stature and clout, even as women who get angry lose stature because they are seen as out of control.
I Can’t Cook
Expert: Hillary Clinton, Presidential Candidate
That may be why Obama is trying to get “fired up,” in the words of his fall slogan, while Hillary calmly observes that she can take the heat and stereotypically adds that she likes the kitchen.
There you have it, the master checklist of MoDo’s dating excuses. If only she would date younger, less affluent, married bloggers, she could solve her loneliness issues.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This Is Rich

On Sundays Maureen Dowd shares the Opinion Page of the New York Times with former theater critic Frank Rich. Frank is unabashedly liberal in that near stereotype of a mainstream media left-wing shill way. Sometimes he and Dowd are on the same page metaphorically as well.

Since Rich only writes one extra-windy column a week, sometimes there is a lag between current events and his column. It also helps if Maureen has done some of the footwork for him first. Let’s see what I mean:

Dowd 11/7/2007Rich 11/11/2007
President Bush came to the steps of the Capitol yesterday for a Second Inaugural do-over.

Dowd’s column was a full-on parody of Bush’s Second Inaugural speech down to the phrase. See this post for a fuller breakdown.
Mr. Bush repeated the word “freedom” 27 times in roughly 20 minutes at his 2005 inauguration, and even presided over a “Celebration of Freedom” concert on the Ellipse hosted by Ryan Seacrest.

Gee, what reminded him of that particular speech? We won’t even go into the familiarity with the oeuvre of Ryan Seacrest.
We’ll give you billions of dollars and lots of big-ticket stuff, like F-16s — no strings attached. And we’ll take you at your word that you have no intention of using them against India.Now The Los Angeles Times reports that much of America’s $10 billion-plus in aid to Pakistan has gone to buy conventional weaponry more suitable for striking India than capturing terrorists.
But I looked into Mushy’s eyes and saw a master, a man committed to helping us fight terror.When the Pakistani strongman “looks me in the eye” and says “there won’t be a Taliban and won’t be Al Qaeda,” the president said, “I believe him.”
Vice says Constitutions are for sissies. He doesn’t see anything wrong with Mushy’s press blackout. He thinks we can learn a few lessons from him.Rather than set a democratic example, our president has instead served as a model of unconstitutional behavior, eagerly emulated by his Pakistani acolyte.

At least in the last item, Rich switches around who is learning from whom.

Rich then goes on to make a labored point by point comparison between Pakistan and the Bush Administration. And I went on to make a labored comparison between Rich and Dowd. And my verdict is that people should keep their eyes on their own paper, not just on the same page.

Monday, November 12, 2007

BlogWatch: Seth Rocks

I was perhaps a little too harsh on Seth Meyers in my last post. Gothamist highlights what they think was the funniest part of the column.

The NY Times op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd asked Seth Meyers (who we spoke to on Tuesday) to give her a weekend update about the strike: "As a comedy writer, I am more than willing to admit that I need a world with producers, but do they need us? The answer is yes, for two reasons. First, without writers whom will the studios blame for their failures? Second, seriously, whom?"
We won't pick on Seth for the who/whom usage. Anytime I hear about tv and movie writers, I am reminded about the joke where a starlet is so dumb that to get a part she sleeps with the writer.

The writer of Lazerow claims to know Seth personally and vouches for his talent.
In addition to being one of the funniest people I know, Seth is one of the smartest. So it should come as no surprise that Seth's comments, as reported by Dowd today, are both hilarious and strikingly true (excuse the pun).
Seth explains that he doesn't hate the studio heads:
"I am a fan of studios and what I like most about them is this: They know how to make money. That’s why studios and writers are such a perfect fit. Without studios we’d be back where comedy writers were 100 years ago — in some backwoods farmhouse shouting jokes at each other in a makeshift ring, while drunken audiences throw nickels at our feet."
And finally, snoskred used this Maureen Dowd quote as her thought of the day:
The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.
I don’t know when or in what context MoDo said it, but it sure seems to totally sum up the issues at stake between the writers and the producers.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dorothy Parker Dowd

A Bite of the Bagel
Published: November 11, 2007

Hollywood Money isn’t money. It’s congealed snow, melts in your hands and there you are.
-Dorothy Parker

Maureen Dowd makes a confession.

I keep up on the news by listening to late-night comedians. I read a lot of stuff too, and talk to people. But I’m a satirical news junkie.
That Dowd is a fan of late night satirical news shows should come as no surprise. After all, she let Stephen Colbert write her most popular column in recent memory.

To prove how bad television needs more funny writers, Dowd interviews Seth Meyers about the issues at stake.
Mr. Meyers took issue with the Times article characterizing the New York picket line of Tina Fey, himself and other NBC writers in front of Rockefeller Center as “a glamour strike,” with Writers Guild members in “arty glasses and fancy scarves” rather than “hard hats and work boots.”
The Times article can be found here. Tina Fey was the headwriter of Saturday Night Live who left SNL to star, write, and produce a sitcom about a female headwriter at an NBC sketch comedy show. Who says there are no new ideas? Seth Meyers replaced Fey on the faux news segment Weekend Update. To show how badly writers are needed, he used this example:
“Even my technologically challenged mother watches television on a computer — and she thinks an iPod is some kind of antelope,” Mr. Meyers said.
Jokes like that make one yearn for the Jimmy Fallon era. Almost.

Dowd then puts the issues into perspective.
Some industry analysts say that the writers may be engaged in a futile act, because they have no real power, can’t shut down networks that can turn to more reality TV, and may not be able to stop the conglomerates from squashing them — a scenario straight out of Paddy Chayefsky.
The movie Network is about a ratings obsessed network that uses the rantings of an insane newsman to gain an audience. It is sometimes confused as a documentary about Fox News.

And to sum up, Dowd quotes her favorite jade:
Dorothy Parker, once an unhappy writer in Hollywood, had an image of the town’s power structure as “a block-long limo with a gloved, jeweled hand sticking out the rear window holding a bagel with one bite taken out of it.”
The writers are running alongside the limo just trying to get their own bite. And maybe a schmear.
Dorothy Parker was a member of the famed Algonquin Roundtable, a group of writers known for their ferocious wit, biting satire, and bitter bon mots. According to this site, Frank Crowinshield, the managing editor of Vanity Fair, recalled that she had "the quickest tongue imaginable, and I need not to say the keenest sense of mockery."

Dowd was just born a few decades too late.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dowd Didn't Defeat Al Gore

Whenever the name Maureen Dowd gets invoked on any political blog, but especially on any with a liberal twist, there is an immediate chorus of lament that Dowd lost the election for Gore. News flash: George Walker Bush defeated Al Gore, not Maureen Dowd. Nobody at Free Republic is crediting her with the assist. I know, I've checked. Let’s review the facts:

Ralph Nader got over 97,000 votes in Florida. If only one percent of these mostly left wing voters had voted for Gore instead of registering their protest, Gore would have won the state. And do you know how much publicity Maureen Dowd gave Nader? None. In the year running up to the election, Dowd did not mention Ralph Nader in her column once. Naderites didn't vote for Gore because of Dowd's nattering that Al was too liberal. Gore failed to carry his base, a problem his opponent didn't have.

Three thousand butterfly ballots were cast for Buchanan in Palm Beach County. The not-so-unusual butterfly ballot (I saw a couple during my three years in PBC back in the nineties. It wasn't all that uncommon.) confused voters. Buchanan got nearly six times the support he should have. Even more amazingly, 5,330 rejected votes were cast for both Buchanan and Gore as opposed to 1,631 for both Bush and Buchanan. Again, if only three hundred of these people had been bright enough to vote correctly, Gore would have been in the White House on 9/11. Indirectly, these myopic Magoo voters are why we invaded Iraq.

Al Gore lost by five electoral votes. He didn’t need Florida to win the election. He needed any other state whatsoever. He didn’t carry his home state of Tennessee, or Arkansas, the home state of the incumbent President, both of which Clinton carried in 1996. Other states that Gore lost that Clinton carried in 1996 include New Hampshire, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, Arizona, and Nevada. Any one of these states would have indisputably swung the election to Gore making Florida moot.

Maureen Dowd was not on Gore’s legal team. The Supreme Court decision upholding the Katherine Harris certified vote tally was 5-4 from a court where most of the Justices had been nominated by Republican presidents. I doubt any of the justices were swayed by Maureen Dowd’s silly columns ridiculing Gore clothing choices.

It wasn’t Dowd’s job to get Gore elected. As an employee of the New York Times, she is not allowed to endorse political candidates. To say that Dowd should have been a team player and been less critical of Gore is to play into the right wing myth of the mainstream liberal media being a de facto arm of the Democratic Party. If your election hinges on the unvarnished support of the New York Times Op-Ed page, you as a candidate are not doing a good enough job of getting the right message to the voters.

Al Gore ran an error-prone misguided campaign. He was an uncharismatic speaker that failed to proactively respond to the attacks of his opponents. Many armchair quarterbacks cite the policy of distancing himself from Clinton and the attendant scandals as weakening support among crucial groups Gore should have carried. If Dowd’s columns pointed that out, it is no more her fault than it is the fault of the little boy in the crowd that the naked emperor let his advisors sell him invisible clothes. Don’t shoot the messenger, listen to the warnings and pay heed. Look at your candidate and realize that his flaws put him into an untenable position where the deck was stacked against him.

Crybaby sports teams blame the officiating. I never have sympathy for these athletes because if they had played a better game, the score wouldn’t have been so close that they need the support of the folk in black and white to make the decisions go their way.

After Al Gore won his consolation prize Oscar, Maureen Dowd wondered in her February 28, 2007 column if seven years of hindsight vindication have caused him to wonder the woulda, coulda, shouldas.

When he’s finished Web surfing, tweaking his PowerPoint and BlackBerrying, what goes through his head? Does he blame himself? Does he blame the voting machines? Ralph Nader? Robert Shrum? Naomi Wolf? How about Bush Inc. and Clinton Inc.?
Anyone on that list bears some of the burden for the Gore defeat. It's comforting to have a scapegoat, but Maureen Dowd is just up in the booth calling the game. It’s up to the players on the field to win.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

BlogWatch: Hillary and The Harpy

The echoes from Maureen Dowd’s double barrel blast at Hillary Clinton (see this post and this one) are still ringing through the blogosphere. One common refrain is that Dowd is a bitter shrewish childless spinster who has no right to criticize any woman who has stood by her man. The most over-the-top example is from Phoenix Woman at Firedoglake who paints this picture:

The Harpy stared at the bottles lined up in front of her like a glass menagerie. They were cold comfort, to be sure, but they were the only company she had now that she'd driven away everyone else in her life: The men, with her shrewishness and backstabbing; the women, with her Queen-Bee-ism and backstabbing.

She looked at the bottles, and then she looked at her face in the mirror — in her near-complete lack of self-awareness, she blamed her advancing age and not her nasty untrustworthiness for her lonely state.
See, Maureen Dowd attacks Democrats because she is an old lonely hag.

Katha Pollitt writing in The Nation sees no reason for Dowd to be so obsessed over Hillary Clinton.
Is Maureen Dowd obsessed with Hillary Clinton or what? Last week, she complained that Hillary spoke "girlfriend to girlfriend" to women voters while refusing to share the pain of being married to a sexually exploitative monster who had made her violate all her beliefs and principles, as Caitlin Flanagan opined in the Atlantic. This week, Dowd accused Hillary of "playing the woman-as-victim card" because her campaign put out a humorous video portraying the last debate as a masculine pile-on.

As for playing the woman-as-victim card, can this be the same Maureen Dowd who wrote in her last book, Are Men Necessary?, that men don't ask her out because she's too smart and successful and will never see 35 again? How's that for painting yourself as a victim of sexism-- which, I hasten to add, Dowd probably is! You don't need to be Simone de Beauvoir to recognize that lots of middle-aged men would find Dowd too challenging and too old -- i.e., their own age.
Pollitt doesn't quite use the word Harpy, but she doesn't have to. Clearly Dowd's obsession is a dowager's jealousy.

Also in The Nation, Eric Altman in a rambling riff on misleading obituaries and Tom Stoppard plays all of a sudden finds a case study in Dowd of lies that go unchallenged.
Though official lies will always be with us, our political life has recently been poisoned by an even more insidious phenomenon: the "unrebuttable lie."
In Maureen Dowd's bizarre October 31 New York Times column, she lies about Hillary Clinton: "Her husband's sexual behavior, quite apart from the private pain that it has caused her, has also sullied her deepest--and most womanly--ideals and convictions, for the Clintons' political partnership has demanded that she defend actions she knows to be indefensible."
In fact, Dowd's lie is at least partially rebuttable. Senator Clinton has never defended her husband's sexual behavior. Dowd is simply making that up. More interesting are her claims regarding what the senator "knows to be indefensible." How the hell does Maureen Dowd know what Hillary is thinking or how and why she values her marriage? All marriages are mysterious to those outside them, but Dowd--who has never been married and has no children--gives chutzpah a bad name with her unrebuttable lies about Hillary's thoughts and feelings as a wife and mother.
Are Bill’s actions indefensible? They may be forgivable, but they are certainly irrefutable. The smoking gun was found on a blue dress. Joseph Palermo summarizes:
The strongest evidence indicating that President Clinton had been untruthful about the nature of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky came from DNA tests. This aspect of the investigation is summarized here (verbatim) from the Starr Report:

"Physical evidence exclusively establishes that the President and Ms. Lewinsky had a sexual relationship. After reaching an immunity and cooperation agreement with the Office of the Independent Counsel on July 28, 1998, Ms. Lewinsky turned over a navy blue dress that she said she had worn during a sexual encounter with the President on February 28, 1997. According to Ms. Lewinsky, she noticed stains on the garment the next time she took it from her closet. From the location, she surmised that the stains were the President's semen.”
His point leads to this Dowd related dig:
Maureen Dowd even won a Pulitzer Prize for her sassy, prurient commentary in the New York Times on the Clinton-Starr showdown. Dowd's pieces on the subject sound a like a Catholic schoolgirl who just discovered that boys like sex. It was stunning that she won a Pulitzer for offering zero "analysis" of the impeachment except that Clinton had been reckless and Starr was a prude, and they both were equally to blame.
So now she is a naïve ingénue, not a bitter barren harpy. Guys (and gals) if you are going to smear Ms. Dowd, at least get your stories straight.

Mushy and Bushy In Pictures

With the side by side Dubya vs. Dowd post yesterday, I didn't have time or space to explicate the many other inside jabs and jokes Maureen Dowd put in her Mushy: Handsome In A Uniform column. Rather than just run through those we have a special illustrated bonus post.

Once I thought my daddy was a wimp for cuddlin’ up real close with dictators, tradin’ stability for freedom.

Bush 1 greeting Prince Abdullah. Conspiracy theories about the closeness of the Bush and Saud royal families are endless.
Sometimes when the soul of a nation speaks, we must listen. But if that soul is housed in a bunch of trial lawyers wearing identical dark suits and calling my man Mushy a “dog,” I say, bring on the batons. Police tear-gassing lawyers is really just a foreign version of tort reform, which I support.

Lawyers took to the street to protest the suspending of the Pakistan constitution.
I think Mushy should put Benazir Bhutto under house arrest in Karachi. They call her “a kleptocrat in an Hermès scarf.” I call her a chaos magnet.

The kleptocrat line was coined by Jemima Khan who has nearly as good a way with the epithet as MoDo herself. Can't tell the label on the hajib in that picture, but Bibi is fond of white.
She’s slippery. One minute she’s overlooking Mushy’s flaws, the next she’s appalled by them. I’m not even sure what nickname to use. Her friends called her Pinky at Harvard and Bibi later. I think I like Pinky.

Dubya and Pinkie just missed each other at Harvard. She was class of '71 and he got his MBA in 1973. The even make the same page on the famous alumni website.
But I looked into Mushy’s eyes and saw a master, a man committed to helping us fight terror. And sometimes we must fight terror with tyranny. He promised me he’d be a more low-key autocrat, stop wearing that scary uniform — at least when he’s playing tennis.

Dubya famously looked into Putin's eyes and saw a man he could trust. That's turned out well. Dowd is saying that Mushy might be no better.

After suspending declaring martial law, Mushy dismissed rumors of a counter-coup by saying he was going to go play tennis.
We’ll give you billions of dollars and lots of big-ticket stuff, like F-16s — no strings attached.

Last year the US sold Pakistan 18 new F-16 fighters after cutting off sales in 1990 as punishment for their detonation of a nuclear bomb. Obviously some nukes are less dangerous than others.
I’m gonna have to sweet-talk Laura on coming around on Burma. I might even have to kiss her hand, like Sarko.

Laura Bush recently concluded a diplomatic mission to put the pressure on the Burma coup leaders. And she gets romanced by the latest French president at a recent "not State Dinner" honoring fellow right winger Nicolas Sarkovy.

And I think we have set a new record for number of nicknames for foreign leaders used in a single column, thanks to Mushy, Bibi, Sarko, with a very special cameo by Vice.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Inauguration Inversion

Mushy: Handsome in Uniform
Published: November 7, 2007

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency and suspended the constitution on Saturday. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said "President Musharraf said that he would take off his uniform and that would be an important step"

Today’s column is a Bizarro World inversion of George Walker Bush’s Second Inaugural Address delivered on January 20, 2005.

Dubya’s InaugurationDowd’s Inversion
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.We are led, by recent events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the repression of liberty in other lands.
In America's ideal of freedom, the exercise of rights is ennobled by service, and mercy, and a heart for the weak.In America’s ideal of freedom, we are ennobled by a heart for the weak. But we must also have a heart for the strongmen.
So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.From now on, it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of tyrannical movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending democracy in our world so liberty can thrive.
We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.We will persistently clarify the moral choice before every ruler and nation: Choose oppression, which can work, as we see with our Arab allies, or freedom, which — O.K., I admit it this once — we can’t make work in Iraq.
America's influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America's influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom's cause.America’s influence is not unlimited. And unfortunately for the oppressed, Mushy’s open defiance is helping to further undermine America’s influence. But we will use what influence we have left to pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains and that human beings aspire to live at the mercy of bullies.
The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to mistrust them. Stop your journey of progress and justice, and America will not only walk at your side, we’ll give you billions of dollars and lots of big-ticket stuff, like F-16s — no strings attached.
From the viewpoint of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?Three years ago, I believed that the most important question history would ask us was: Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? But now I am older and wiser. I know that the most important question history will ask us is: What’s a little martial law between friends?

Will history judge us by our words or by our actions?