Genius in the Bottle
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: June 27, 2009
Maureen Dowd is practically cackling with Schadenfreude as she dissects the Mark Sanford scandal with both an Alliteration Alert™ and a Crossword Clue© combined.
In a weepy, gothic unraveling, the South Carolina governor gave a press conference illustrating how smitten he was, not only with his Argentine amante, but with his own tenderness, his own pathos and his own feminine side.Her use of 'amante' for 'lover' also foreshadows her comparisons to come.
She also wastes no time getting right to her Movies With Maureen® Moment, a romcom from 2006, proving that Dowd has been to the theater since Audrey Hepburn died. (She does manage to namecheck Roman Holiday before the end of the column.)
He wanted to get his girlfriend a DVD of the movie “The Holiday,” presumably the Cameron Diaz-Kate Winslet chick flick about two women, one from L.A. and one from England, who trade homes and lives.And Maureen is often called emasculating but it rarely gets as obvious as this:
He got into trouble as a man and tried to get out as a woman.That rhetorical flourish is her patented Dowdversion® where she directly compares and contrasts two things using similar phrasing. The entire rest of the column is one long Dowdversion as she contrasts Sanford's parsimonious public political image with his Latin lover (or at least Latin-loving) alter ego who she dubs Marco.
|penny-pinching millionaire Mark, who used to sleep on a futon in his Congressional office and once treated two congressmen to movie refreshments by bringing back a Coke and three straws.||Marco, international man of mystery and suave god of sex and tango.|
|Mark was the self-righteous, Bible-thumping prig who pressed for Bill Clinton’s impeachment||Marco was the un-self-conscious Lothario, canoodling with Maria in Buenos Aires|
|Mark is a conservative railing against sinners;||Marco sins liberally.|
|Mark opposes gay marriage as a threat to traditional marriage.||Marco thinks nothing of risking his own traditional marriage, and celebrates transgressive relationships.|
|Mark is so frugal for the taxpayers that he made his staffers use both sides of Post-it notes and index cards...||Marco is a sly scamp who found a sneaky way to make South Carolina taxpayers pay for a south-of-the-border romp with his mistress.|
|Mark is so selfish he tried to enhance his presidential chances by resisting South Carolina’s share of President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package, callously giving the back of his hand to the suffering state’s most vulnerable — the jobless and poor and black students.||Marco is generous, promising to send a memento of affection that Maria wants to keep by her bed.|
|Mark hates lying. As he said of Bill’s dalliance with Monica, “If you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything.”||Marco lies with brio, misleading his family, his lieutenant governor, his staff and his state about his whereabouts, even packing camping equipment to throw off the scent from South America.|
|Mark, who disdains rascals, agreed that he wouldn’t [skip off to the other woman].||Marco, who is a rascal, skipped off.|
Sanford can be truly humble only if he stops dictating to others, who also have desires and weaknesses, how to behave in their private lives.Until then pundits will continue to play the Marco Polo game of catching hypocrites trying to weave and dodge when their transgressions are unmasked.
The Republican Party will never revive itself until its sanctimonious pantheon — Sanford, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Palin, Ensign, Vitter and hypocrites yet to be exposed — stop being two-faced.