Maureen Dowd: Irritating

I’m not sure whether Maureen Dowd’s popularity reflects something about her readers or her own cunning. Probably both, but this tripe is growing tired.

In the end, “The Bullet,” or “Sarge,” as McCain calls his replacement campaign manager Steve Schmidt, was the one who did the shackling, turning the vibrant and respected McCain into a shell of his former self.

Give me a break. Does anyone really believe this crap anymore? I mean, look, it was easy for John McCain to bring the straight talk when he was a Senator, and for the most part, had absolutely no personal responsibility. The press played along, enamored with McCain’s candor, and McCain grew popular as an iconoclast. It was, as Dowd dubs — with little apparent recognition of what the word means — McCain’s “brand.” But iconoclasts can’t make serious runs at the presidency and McCain had to change his tune. He’s a politician, it’s what politicians do. Much of the media were deluded into thinking McCain was not a politician, and I think somewhat reasonably, had some trouble coming to terms with the fact that they were duped. But two days before the election we’re still talking about how the real John McCain has been kidnapped? McCain hired Schmidt and has final say on all decisions; he’s doing what he thinks would be necessary to win. Get over it.

Weekly Comment on MoDo

If you haven’t read Maureen Dowd’s column yet, don’t.

Reenergizing Modo

There are so many things that were overlooked about the Sarah Palin pick it’s getting difficult to keep track, but clearly one of them was how perfect this story is for Maurdeen Dowd. In most circumstances, I think MoDo’s focus on parsing/over-analyzing campaign minutae almost nefariously dumbs down political discourse, but since this Sarah Palin pick was itself a result of parsing/over-analyzing campaign minutae, MoDo is perhaps the most uniquely qualified to disect its glibness.

So imagine my delight, my absolute astonishment, when the hokey chick flick came out on the trail, a Cinderella story so preposterous it’s hard to believe it’s not premiering on Lifetime…

…This chick flick, naturally, features a wild stroke of fate, when the two-year governor of an oversized igloo becomes commander in chief after the president-elect chokes on a pretzel on day one.

Read the whole thing.

Maureen Dowd Back At It

Maureen Dowd, whose scheduled column didn’t allow her to get the “Hillary Tension” bug out quickly enough, writes today about the allegedly metastasizing malcontent in the Democratic party. As it would make sense to do when writing about the mood of the Democratic party, she asked John McCain’s friend and former campaign adviser, who is obviously totally unbiased and has absolutely no reason to be misleading whatsoever.

But this Democratic convention has a vibe so weird and jittery, so at odds with the early thrilling, fairy dust feel of the Obama revolution, that I had to consult Mike Murphy, the peppery Republican strategist and former McCain guru.

“What is that feeling in the air?” I asked him.

“Submerged hate,” he promptly replied.

I understand that asking Mike Murphy isn’t quite like asking Steve Schmidt, but shit, was Cindy unavailable? Naturally, she spends the rest of the column egging on hand-wringing and imbuing quotes with hidden significance and otherwise making evidence free assertions.

At a press conference with New York reporters on Monday, Hillary looked as if she were straining at the bit to announce her 2012 exploratory committee.

“Remember, 18 million people voted for me, 18 million people, give or take, voted for Barack,” she said, while making a faux pro-Obama point. She keeps acting as if her delegates are out of her control, when she’s been privately egging on people to keep her dream alive as long as possible, no matter what the cost to Obama.

Nevermind that quote was pulled from a three paragraph response while explaining that voter turnout was going to be a big issue. And then, there’s this bit of storytelling…

Hillary also said she was happy about the choice of Joe Biden because he added “intensity” to the ticket. Ouch.

To suggest this sentence is based on speculation alone would actually bolster the claim MoDo makes. She doesn’t even cite her own speculative evidence to suggest Clinton was insincere at this moment. Isn’t there someone responsible for making sure claims made, even in editorials, aren’t wildly speculative? And then of course, a signature MoDo move.

At a meeting of the Democratic women’s caucus Tuesday, 74-year-old Carol Anderson of Vancouver, Wash., a former Hillary volunteer, stood in the back of the room in a Hillary T-shirt and hat signed by Hillary and “Nobama” button and booed every time any of the women speakers mentioned Obama’s name.

Holy shit! Well if 74-year-old Carol Anderson of Vancouver, Wash., a former Hillary volunteer, is a whack-job, and if John McCain’s friend and former campaign adviser says it must be true, then it must be a real crisis, and not just something the media has run away with.

MoDo’s Back

Maureen Dowd, who I think lately has tended to make too much of the silliness around the presidential campaigns, finally delivered something that isn’t merely a too-clever anlaysis of peripheral issues. Writing about playing the P.O.W. card:

So it’s hard to believe that John McCain is now in danger of exceeding his credit limit on the equivalent of an American Express black card. His campaign is cheapening his greatest strength — and making a mockery of his already dubious claim that he’s reticent to talk about his P.O.W. experience — by flashing the P.O.W. card to rebut any criticism, no matter how unrelated. The captivity is already amply displayed in posters and TV advertisements.

Jesus, yes, thank you! It’s about time someone in the mainstream press called McCain on his “reticence” to discuss his P.O.W. experience. But as MoDo, points out, this isn’t just some ancillary point:

While McCain’s experience was heroic, did it create a worldview incapable of anticipating the limits to U.S. military power in Iraq? Did he fail to absorb the lessons of Vietnam, so that he is doomed to always want to refight it? Did his captivity inform a search-and-destroy, shoot-first-ask-questions-later, “We are all Georgians,” mentality?

This seems right. For McCain to lose the advantage of relying on the P.O.W. card is one thing, but for Obama to press this line of thinking — and hopefully this is something Biden can help with — might help make this considerably more neutral. Certainly a cautious approach is in order, but when the GOP Swiftboated Kerry in 2004, military service became less sacred ground.