Sunday, May 25, 2008

Eve Of Destruction


Funny business, a woman's career, the things you drop on the way up the ladder so you can move faster. You forget you'll need them again when you get back to being a woman.
-All About Eve

All About Eve
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: May 25, 2008

Maureen Dowd's synopsis of the latest campaign gaffe (using the Michael Kinsley definition of a gaffe as being a politician accidentally telling the truth) goes as follows:
In an interview with The Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, Hillary disagreed that she’s hurting party unity: “My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.”

She was talking about the timeline for June, not wishing physical harm upon her rival. But many Democrats were upset. Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina called her words “beyond the pale.”
Maureen's reasonably rational explanation is that like any dedicated athlete, Hillary knows that a contest isn't over until fat lady sings. A true competitor never quits while there is still hope, even if the only hope is the opponent self-destructing.
Maybe a tired, stressed Hillary was giving an unfiltered version of a blunt conversation that she’s had with her husband and advisers about staying in the race, using R.F.K. as an anything-can-happen example, in the same way she fantasizes about Sean Hannity breaking a story that would demolish Obama.
I'm not quite sure what Mount Rushmore and Deadwood have to do with it, but the mention of this week's Movie With Maureen® (and column title), All About Eve implies that perhaps Hillary wouldn't mind giving this hypothetical Obama immolation a little push.
Maybe it was the proximity of Mount Rushmore and Deadwood, but something caused Hillary’s inner Eve Harrington to leap out in South Dakota.
And while many of Dowd's rhetorical flourishes lately have been a little over-the-top and too clever by half, she hits just the right note with this paragraph:
But coming right after the anniversary of the King assassination, right before the anniversary of the Bobby Kennedy assassination, right in the midst of the wrenching news about Teddy Kennedy’s brain tumor, and right in the middle of Billary’s hostile takeover attempt on the vice president’s mansion, the image was jarring.
The confluence with the Kennedys brings back a Dowd's magical metaphor:
Barack Obama has fused two of the most powerful narratives in American history — those of Martin Luther King Jr. and Camelot — and that makes him both magical and vulnerable.
But Hillary is waiting in the wings, the understudy that feels she should have the starring role. In those cases, Dowd suggests that it is best not letting those types of ambitious actors backstage in the first place.
Obama now has the perfect excuse not to pick Hillary as his running mate. She has been too unseemly in her desire to be on the scene if he trips, or gets hit with a devastating story. She may want to take a cue from the Miss America contest: make a graceful, magnanimous exit and wait in the wings.
By now it's nearly reflexive, but there is just a little tinge of the Royalty Metaphor® coupled with an emasculating aside in the final paragraph where Maureen compares Barack with defrocked beauty queen Vanessa Williams.
That’s where the runners-up can be found, prettily lurking, in case it turns out the girl with the crown has some naked pictures in her past.
And while an actual nude picture of Obama may do even more for his support among women than his famous Venus-from-the-sea bathing suit shot, you have to wonder what are the skeletons in the skinny guy's closest that still give Hillary hope.

1 comment:

Grace Nearing said...

Not just a Miss America with nude photos in her past but the first black Miss America.

Funny thing though -- more than 20 years later, Vanessa Williams is still a working actress and singer. But who can name the first runner-up who filled in for the last few weeks of the reign (without checking Google)?

And what about All About Eve? Another funny thing -- everybody pretty much gets what they really want in the end. Eve goes on to become an award-winning actress. Addison DeWitt finds a worthy object of his manipulation and sexual coercion. Lloyd the playwright finally gets the much-younger actress he feels is more appropriate for his play. Margo and Bill the director at long last get married, and maybe even have some kids. And Karen -- who at first seems to be the most innocent of the group but who turns out to be a petty manipulator as well -- gets her husband Lloyd back from Eve.

I do agree with Addison DeWitt: They are all improbable people. And that includes MoDo.