Sunday, November 16, 2008

With Frenemies Like This...

Frenemy: Someone who is both friend and enemy, a relationship that is both mutually beneficial or dependent while being competitive, fraught with risk and mistrust.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
-Michael Corleone
Team of Frenemies
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: November 16, 2008

After two good months of having Sarah Palin to kick around, Maureen Dowd is forced to return to her raison d’être, bashing Clintons. Senator Hillary Clinton is being floated as trial balloon for Secretary of State and Maureen is there to insure as much lead gets loaded as needed. Her basic argument comes down to “Why, for God’s sake why?”
There are Obama aides and supporters who are upset that The One who won on change has ushered in déjà vu all over again. The man who vowed to deliver us from 28 years of Bushes and Clintons has been stocking up on Clintonites.
For one thing, she points out that the prolonged primary fight created a lot of ill-will between the camps. And Bill Clinton is one to carry a grudge. In a gold-trimmed briefcase.
As Newsweek reported, last January Bill got so worked up in a phone call with Donna Brazile that he ranted, “If Barack Obama is nominated, it will be the worst denigration of public service.” The magazine also revealed that “the former president had amassed an 81-page list of all the unfair and nasty things the Obama campaign had said, or was alleged to have said, about Hillary Clinton.”
And the Obama camp is being very thorough in vetting their potential nominees to avoid any Lani Guinier episodes right from the get-go. And it’s a list that the Clintons with their baggage probably wouldn’t pass if it weren’t for name recognition.
If Hillary wants to be Madame Secretary, Bill will have to put away the 81-page list and pick up the 63 questions in the Obama vetting questionnaire, an unprecedented deep probe of potential cabinet members and their spouses.
Heh, heh, she said "probe." But I digress.
Even if Bill scurries past the questions on sexual harassment claims, conflicts of interest, civil suits, real estate holdings, federal investigations, diaries, gifts worth more than $50 and Internet aliases, the Clintons will still have to grapple with No. 8: “Briefly describe the most controversial matters you have been involved with during the course of your career.” (It would take books, and it has.)
Their disclosure form would be the first to include a bibliography. But Maureen takes delight in one question in particular.
Not to mention No. 62: “Do you know anyone or any organization ... that might take steps, overtly or covertly, fairly or unfairly, to criticize your nomination, including any news organization?”
Does the phrase “vast right-wing conspiracy” ring any bells? Not to mention that Dowd herself would require her own entry on this list.

Besides, there are other people on the Foggy Bottom short-list who might be miffed at being stepped-over by the carpetbagger from New York.
You can hear the gnashing of teeth from John Kerry — who thought the job was promised to him in return for his endorsement after New Hampshire — and Bill “Judas” Richardson, who met Friday with Obama in Chicago to discuss the job.
The “Judas” nickname is not Maureen’s doing. It was given to Richardson by Clinton spear-carrier James Carville as told by the news side of the Times when Richardson endorsed Obama instead of Clinton.
The reaction of some of Mr. Clinton’s allies suggests that might have been a wise decision. “An act of betrayal,” said James Carville, an adviser to Mrs. Clinton and a friend of Mr. Clinton.

“Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic,” Mr. Carville said, referring to Holy Week.
To telegraph the camps a little more clearly, Maureen goes on to quote Carville’s Corleone-esque advice in the next paragraph.
And Joe Biden would probably like a little less blond ambition at State so he could be the shadow secretary. But as James Carville has said, a campaign is the time to stab your enemies and a transition is the time to stab your friends.
And blond ambition is as close to a Movies With Maureen® as we are going to get, although I suspect she was playing off of the John Dean tell-all rather than the Jessica Simpson stinker.

Since this is essentially a by-the books anti-Clinton screed that Maureen keeps on hand for rainy days, let’s just hit the trademarked telltales:

The Alliteration Alert® (with bonus points for a glass ceiling crack):
And why should the woman who made 18 million cracks go back to being junior to Chuck Schumer, if she could be toasted from Dublin to Dubai?
A Dowdversion®:
On the down side, Hillary would be taking over a big and demoralized government bureaucracy, after proving with her campaign that she does not know how to run a big and demoralized group of people.
The Crossword Clue of the Week®:
How, one may ask, can he put Hillary — who voted to authorize the Iraq war without even reading the intelligence assessment — in charge of patching up a foreign policy and a world riven by that war?
And finally while not a trademarked feature, no mention of Clintons can go without a few potshots at the Big Dog.
If you have a president who’s willing to open up his universe to other smart, strong people, if you have a big dog who shares his food dish, the Bill Clinton era is truly over.

Appointing a Clinton in the cabinet would be so un-Clintonian.
And if that were the case, how would Maureen know how to react?

1 comment:

Grace Nearing said...

Her basic argument comes down to “Why, for God’s sake why?”

One NYT op/ed columnist looks at the political world and asks, "Why, for God's sake why?" I dream of a different political world and ask, "Why not, for God's sake why not?"