Sunday, January 27, 2008

Meet The Clinton Bashers

Maureen Dowd on Sunday joined the panel of Bash The Clintons Meet The Press where she was asked about the Caroline Kennedy endorsement of Barack Obama in the New York Times. Presumably she was the most qualified to answer the question because a) she’s a New York Times employee, and b) she got Caroline’s autograph on a bunch of Christmas presents.

MR. RUSSERT: Another event overnight, Maureen Dowd, in your paper, Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the 35th president, John Kennedy, wrote an op/ed piece in The Times endorsing Barack Obama. And this is what she said: "I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president--not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans." Barack Obama. Are we going to see Caroline Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey, town hall? How significant is this?

MS. MAUREEN DOWD: Well, I think this is huge. The Hillary people were obviously trying to get Caroline Kennedy's endorsement, and the fact that she gave it to Obama is very much like the moment that Bill Clinton pushed when he shook JFK's hand at Boy's Nation. Now, JFK probably didn't remember that at all, but the Clinton campaign made that the Arthurian moment, where Galahad took the sword out of the stone. And now Caroline has done that for Obama. But it's a real moment because she is saying, "You are like my father," after decades of politicians pretending to be like, like JFK, and Gary Hart chopping his hand, and, you know, Dan Quayle trying to act like he was JFK. She is giving him the imprimatur, and it's--I think it's huge.
Her next turn at bat let her cut loose with a greatest hits compilation of Billary bashing. She got in the Big Dog allusion and even mentioned an Onion article as a reference on Bill’s behavior.
MS. DOWD: Well, it was an astonishing spectacle of seeing a so-called first black president trying to destroy a would-be first black president. I mean, we've never seen anything like this, and it was very personal between Obama and Clinton. And I think that, in the end, Hillary gave up a good narrative for her, which is that she had carved out her own identity and that it wasn't going to be the Bickersons back in the White House, and you just saw the Clintons. And, and Mitt Romney was right, you, you visualized her in the Oval, him in the East Wing rambling around looking for mischief. And it was, you know, it was a very seamy--Phil Gaily, who's the editorial page editor of the St. Petersburg Times, said watching Clinton in South Carolina is like watching a mad dog slobber. It was about him. And, you know, as The Onion said, you know, The Onion headline was, "Screw It, I'm Running for President by Bill Clinton."
Since she was taking it easy on Bill, Tim lobbed her another softball so she could get in more digs:
MR. RUSSERT: Maureen, you wrote on Wednesday, "It's odd that the first woman with a shot at becoming president is so openly dependent on her husband to drag her over the finish line."

MS. DOWD: I know. We're seeing all these astonishing things in this race, and it worked in Nevada and New Hampshire for--I think Bill Clinton helped her there. But, in this case, I just think it raised the deja vu of the Clintons will drag anyone down to their own level and trash anyone to make up for what is missing in them or what they have done wrong. During impeachment, you know, they were trashing the founding fathers. Bill Clinton's lawyers actually filed a brief saying, "Well, Alexander Hamilton had a tawdry affair, and he wasn't kicked out of office." So it's a very debilitating dynamic, you know, to drag everyone down to their level, especially when you have this alternative of optimism and hope. And they were willing to put a dagger in the heart of hope. I mean, Obama should just beat them over the head every day with the idea that Bill Clinton said he represented false hope. Because the only way they can beat him is to beat down hope and inspiration and bringing young voters and expanding the party, and they want to kill all that. And that is not a good, you know, situation for them.
After giving Obama campaign advice, she goes on to burnish his reputation as a historic watershed figure:
MS. DOWD: Tim, one of the most striking images of South Carolina--Jeff Zeleny wrote about today--was the Confederate flag flying near the capital and Obama workers holding up Obama placards. And it's, you know, an amazing historic image.
Russert also sets up a straw man in the name of Rudy for Maureen to take a few swings at. She mostly rehashes her column for the day:

MR. RUSSERT: Maureen Dowd, the indictment of Bernard Kerik, his former police commissioner, who he proposed to be secretary of Homeland Security, stories about his New York City police detail being used to guard his then-girlfriend, now-wife Judith Nathan, did those issues just take a toll on Rudy Giuliani?

MS. DOWD: Oh, of course, you know. And, you know, he's got to stop talking about 9/11 and call 911 because he's in real trouble there. And I was expecting more of a--from a man who loves opera, more of an operatic finale, one way or the other, to save himself or to self-immolate. I mean, some Maria Callas death scene. But he's so mundane. And actually yesterday he switched his message to hope. So that's not going to work for Rudy Giuliani.

MS. DOWD: And he was able to jump on the headlines of the day and say something provocative, and he just seems to be sleepwalking.

MR. RUSSERT: Is he recognizing that he's not going to win and sort of protecting his next career?

MS. DOWD: I think so, and saving, and saving, you know, protecting Giuliani Partners.
Moving on to McCain, Chuck Todd and Dowd exchange a little inside baseball concerning the chumminess of fellow senators McCain and Hillary.
MS. DOWD: Well, I asked McCain about that in the green room, doing reporting, and he was saying not to think--I know he really does like Hillary Clinton--I've talked to him about that--and thinks she's really fun to travel with. But he said to expect fireworks. He's not going to lay off of her. He's already talking about how she's waving the white flag of surrender on Iraq.

MR. TODD: They enjoy the vodka shots, right?

MS. DOWD: Oh, yeah, they did in Estonia, yes.
The Indiana Jones style vodka shooter contest happened back in 2006 according the Times.
In her final say of the day, Maureen manages to put Obama on an even higher pedestal than her earlier sloppy wet-kisses:
MS. DOWD: Well, I think, you know, it's very interesting to me because I think that in, in Iowa, Obama learned how to connect with his electricity. Usually you have someone being the daddy figure, and he's like the blessed child, you know, he's learning as he goes. And we're watching him learn and get personally upset in real time, which we, we saw with McCain in South Carolina in 2000, now we're seeing with Obama. And the question is, did this give him his spine? You know, he's been struggling. Is he on the pedestal like Adlai Stevenson, or is he JFK and RFK, who knows how to fight back? And I think he's got a false choice. He doesn't have to be Tonya Harding to fight back; he could be like Reagan and just flick them away and use wit. But he's learning on the job, and he, you know, he--his speech, his victory speech last night was angry. You know, he is angry at the Clintons for what he sees as underhanded tactics, and they were underhanded. So it, it depends, is he going to get back on the pedestal or is he going to figure out some way that he's comfortable with not to do cage fight, fighting.
She had declared Obama “The Golden Child” back in December and now she want to see him double axel his way to the nomination.

1 comment:

Grace Nearing said...

...that Bill Clinton pushed when he shook JFK's hand at Boy's Nation. Now, JFK probably didn't remember that at all...

Oh MoDo! High-school junior Bill Clinton was one of dozens who shook JFK's hand on July 24,1963. JFK would be dead four months later. In the short time he had left on the planet, I doubt JFK often found himself thinking about that funny looking and funny sounding Boys Nation delegate who had shaken his hand.

I'm guessing MoDo will no longer be calling Barack "Obambi" in her columns anymore.