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April 24, 2013

Walter Russell Mead: Maureen Dowd is a Gentry-Liberal Biithering Idiot

I know no one reads Maureen Dowd anymore -- including, apparently, her own editors -- and yet there was a time, from approximately March 1996 to December 1998, in which she was actually considered a leading light of liberal opinion.

Perhaps there's no point in brutalizing her any further; just as everyone knows the Tsarnaev's motivation without having to say so, everyone knows that Maureen Dowd is a failure and a bore.

Still, if you were annoyed by this gum-cracking, spitball-shooting aged juvenile becoming prominent for a couple of years, you might enjoy her grisly remains being pulled behind the chariot one last time, Hector-style.

The whole column is worth reading (and it's not very long), but for those who want a pull-quote:

Column writing is dangerous work and long success in the game can lead to the stifling of that Editor Within who keeps you from looking too stupid in print. A rich self esteem, fortifed by decades of op-ed tenure and dinner party table talk dominance, has apparently given Ms. Dowd the confidence to believe that she is a maestro of political infighting, a Clausewitz of strategic insight and a Machiavelli of political cunning rolled up into one stylish and elegant piece of work. From the heights of insight on which she dwells, it is easy to see what that poor schmuck Barry Obama can’t: those 60 votes on gun control were his for the taking, if he was only as shrewd a politician as Maureen Dowd.

The President needs to get his hands dirty, our genteel and accomplished op-ed writer advises the ex-community organizer and Chicago pol. He needs to get real, get down in the dirt, muck around with the senators and exercise raw power. Don’t make empty gestures and don’t give up, she advises him: fight! fight! fight!

Perhaps because she fears that the President is too stupid to understand what she means, or simply out of her benevolent desire to show her readers just what brilliant political insight looks like, she vouchsafes us some examples. Here’s how she sees the President twisting the arm of North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp:

Sometimes you must leave the high road and fetch your brass knuckles. Obama should have called Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota over to the Oval Office and put on the squeeze: “Heidi, you’re brand new and you’re going to have a long career. You work with us, we’ll work with you. Public opinion is moving fast on this issue. The reason you get a six-year term is so you can have the guts to make tough votes. This is a totally defensible bill back home. It’s about background checks, nothing to do with access to guns. Heidi, you’re a mother. Think of those little kids dying in schoolrooms.”

If only Lyndon Johnson had understood the art of political pressure as well as Maureen Dowd. “You work with us, we’ll work with you.” It’s… brilliant! Reminding her about her six year term… if that doesn’t swing her around, nothing will. “You’re a mother…” This is a set of brass knuckles no one could resist. The NRA must be thanking its lucky stars that a bumbling amateur like Barack Obama is in the White House instead of the arch-politician Maureen Dowd; Heidi Heitkamp would have been putty in her elegantly manicured hands.

This is a politician getting down to what the New York Times editorial page seems to think is a particularly fetching set of brass knuckles: reciting liberal talking points one after another in rapid fire sequence. That’s hardball, that’s brass tacks at least in the mind of Maureen Dowd, a woman who on the evidence of this column could and would teach her own grandmother to suck eggs.

...

The Times apparently thinks it has readers who find columns like this either useful or diverting, so we say nothing about whether this is the caliber of political thought that ought to appear at the Newspaper of Record. But the paper may want to recalibrate its intellectual void detectors just a bit; it is hard to read anything this vapid without questioning the judgment of everyone involved.

I've not quoted the part where Read explains what real hardball would look like (hint: it's dirty political deals, such as were used to pass ObamaCare), which Dowd doesn't want to discuss because she wants to say "fight dirty" while actually maintaining her status as a bien pensant.


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posted by Ace at 12:36 PM

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