Monday, May 26, 2008

Meet The Press: It's Poppycock

Rather than have boring guests full of talking points, this week's Meet The Press had a double-stacked panel. Maureen Dowd was one of the six guests along with David Brody, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ruth Marcus, Jon Meacham & Gwen Ifill. Gwen seems to be filling in the black woman chair for Michele Norris who was a pre-announced guest but didn't appear.

A lot of television punditry is a little canned and if you follow a columnist you are very likely to hear lines from current or future columns. George Will is notoriously famous for recycling his on air bon mots. Maureen Dowd is no different. Here is her take on Hillary's RFK gaffe which liberally paraphrases the best paragraph form her latest column:

Well, I think her timing was excruciatingly bad. I mean, right after the anniversary of King's death, right before the anniversary of Bobby's death, right when we learn the tragic news about Teddy Kennedy, and right when she and Bill seem engaged in kind of a hostile takeover of Obama's vice presidential mansion. So, beyond that, I think it gave delegates and a lot of Democrats the creeps, because basically the only reason she is still is in the race is that something bad will happen. Of course she doesn't wish him bodily harm, but she does want--she does wish him ill in the sense that they want a big horrible story that would debilitate him to break
Russert later asks Dowd about the Clintons blaming 'misogyny' and 'gender bias' as the reason for Hillary's campaign hitting the rocks. Her "it's poppycock" line is already gaining attention in the blogosphere.
I think it's poppycock, really. I mean, Hillary Clinton has allowed women to visualize a woman as president for the first time, in the way Colin Powell allowed people to visualize an African-American. And she dominated the debates, she, she proved that a woman can have as much tenacity and gall as any man on earth. We, we can visualize her facing down Ahmadinejad. But the thing is, Hillary hurts feminism when she uses it as opportunism. And she has a history of covering up her own mistakes behind sexism. She did it with health care right after health care didn't pass. She didn't admit that she was abrasive or mismanaged it or blew off good advice or was too secretive. She said that she was a Rorschach test for gender and that many men thought of a female boss they didn't like when they looked at her. And now she's doing the same thing, and it's very--you know, in a way it's the moral equivalent of Sharptonism. It's this victimhood and angry and turning women against men and saying that the men are trying to take it away from us, in the same way she's turning Florida and Michigan and riling up and comparing them to suffragettes and slaves. And it's very damaging to feminism.
She returns to that same topic just a little bit later:
It's inexplicable, because Harold Ickes, who works for Hillary, helped write these rules, right, about the caucuses. So I, you know, the--there's--Michelle Cottle has a piece in The New Republic quoting different people anonymously inside the Clinton campaign about saying what went wrong, and one of them said that the mismanagement of money borders on fraud, because this was someone who had raised a quarter of a billion dollars and still now has had to give 20 million of her own money because of mismanagement and still didn't have a campaign in half the states she needed.
On the other side of the spectrum, John McCain had to distance himself from Reverend Hagee who saw Hitler's persecution of the Jews as a mixed blessing.
I think it's always better not to riff on Hitler. And here's a guy who thinks we're in a nice little cult called the Catholic Church, and McCain stuck with him after that. But then when he got in trouble with the Jews, that was one too many, you know, ethnic groups that McCain couldn't offend, so he dropped him. But it makes you miss the McCain who, you know, stood up against the agents of tolerance rather than pander to them.
McCain also tried to make some jokes about the rather thin resume of Barack Obama, only it didn't come off as that funny. At least not to Maureen:
I think we learn something very interesting from this exchange. For one thing, McCain really doesn't like Obama. And, you know, he thinks he's the punk who hasn't bled, as McCain people like to say, and doesn't deserve to be in this arena. And we also learn that Obama is not as intimidated by John McCain as he was by Hillary Clinton. He is much freer when he goes on the attack, much more confident. And McCain has another problem. He doesn't sound as fun and genial as he does when he's--as Reagan did when he said those lines. And also he tends to take any policy criticism as an attack on his integrity, and then attack back on the other person's integrity, and it sounds nasty.

And finally, the illness of Teddy Kennedy is starting the first round of eulogizing. And for Irish-Catholic Dowd, it's the first step towards beatification.
I think, in families like ours, working-class Irish families, we had the Kennedys' pictures mixed in with our family pictures. We grew up feeling that they were almost part of our family. And my brothers were Capitol Hill pages for JFK, Prescott Bush and Richard Nixon. And Teddy Kennedy would ask my brother Martin to play touch football with him, and he was always scared because he thought it would be like that scene in the "Wedding Crashers," part touch football, part pro-wrestling. But, I mean, they just seem like part of our family. And as Bob Schieffer said, it's like--he's like a Washington monument, you can't imagine the town without him.
The full episode can be seen below:

It's worth watching not just for Maureen Dowd, but for Ruth Marcus as well. I also noted that Jon Meacham also invoked the Kinsley Gaffe Definition. This is Dowd's second television appearance this month. Perhaps we will be seeing more of the normally reclusive redhead.

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