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Maureen Dowd, Shrewd Judge of Human Character

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As Atrios always says, leaving aside the merits of the theater critic approach to political punditry (which have always struck me as scant), most of its practitioners are really terrible even on their own terms. Maureen Dowd, of course, has a ratio of theater criticism:actual politics that approaches 100:0, and yet is notably inept the former.  for example:

Having seen Donald Trump as a braggadocious but benign celebrity in New York for decades, I did not regard him as the apotheosis of evil.

In fact, throughout this period Trump was systematically bilking people out of their money with an endless parade of scams. Why, it’s almost as if forming a vague first impression based on some superficial characteristic and never thinking to revise it doesn’t really work.

As for the rest of the column, I think I’ll just outsource:

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  • tsam

    Is it not OK to call it benign if you weren’t one of the victims? Asking for a friend…

    • JustRuss

      Are you a Republican? Are none of your acquaintances among the victims? Then sure.

  • LeeEsq

    I want this gig. I have plenty of references that I can write inane stuff that sounds deep and profane to me while getting mocked mercilessly across the political spectrum. Why can’t I get hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for it?

    • wjts

      I have plenty of references that I can write inane stuff that sounds deep and profane to me while getting mocked mercilessly across the political spectrum.

      Case in point.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      I can write inane stuff that sounds deep and profane to me

      I think the NYT has a strict “no swearing” policy with regard to op-ed columns.

      • JustRuss

        Wait, they have standards? Since when?

    • I am available to write the anti-fane pieces required for balance.

      • Ahuitzotl

        sure but you’ll just feign it

    • Fighting Words

      Yeah, but there is a downside. Based on information and belief, its standard New York Times practice that you can’t criticize the other New York Times Columnists. I don’t know if I could write editorials if I can’t criticize Dowd, Friedman, Douthat, and Brooks.

      • petesh

        Ask Krugman for tips on how to get around that

      • carolannie

        You forgot Kristof

      • Ahuitzotl

        theres all those WaPo columnists you could work on …

  • Alex.S

    His obnoxious use of ethnicity only exposed the fact that Republicans had been using bigotry against minorities and gays to whip up voters for decades.

    Oh. Well, in that case…

    I’m not even sure what the point of the column is. Is it that Dowd was so conned by Trump’s promise of eventually being a good Presidential candidate that she is only now, sadly, forced to admit that he is a bad candidate?

    What does that say for her political analysis?

    • NeonTrotsky

      If it took her this long to figure that out, she clearly has no business analyzing politics

    • “As god is my witness, I honestly believed that Trump would only cheat and lie to people who deserved it.”

    • calling all toasters

      Her political analysis is limited to which politicians get her aroused and which don’t. Trump does.

      • JustRuss

        Sadly, yes.

    • ColBatGuano

      Since Trump’s parties were well catered, Dowd had no reason to doubt he’d be a good candidate.

  • Bitter Scribe

    I dunno…I read the column and most of it seems fairly reasonable, if not particularly insightful, like “The G.O.P. would love to drop Trump now because it prefers a candidate in the party’s more subtle racist traditions.”

    The only thing that really irritated me was “Trump realized the Iraq war was misbegotten long before much of the media cognoscenti in New York.” Yeah, that’s what he says now. Maybe it’s true, if by “the media cognoscenti” you mean Jonah Goldberg.

    • Scott Lemieux

      So the parts of the column that aren’t wrong are banal? I mean, OK…

  • Malaclypse

    His obnoxious use of ethnicity only exposed the fact that Republicans had been using bigotry against minorities and gays to whip up voters for decades.

    I wonder why she never mentioned this until now?

  • Can we go back to posts about Freddie?

    • sonamib

      We’re owed a 30% quota, or so I hear.

      • Warren Terra

        No: we’re already meeting a 30% quota. So FdB and his pal says, and who would gainsay them? It can however take a little reading between the lines to realize why they’re right: sometimes the post being about Freddie is subtext.

        This post is about a moron, as is the next one. Close enough, they’re part of the 30% about Freddie.

    • N__B

      Dowd:Freddie::Individually-wrapped-American-cheese-slices:Walmartbrie.

      • Dowd:Freddie::Individually-wrapped-American-cheese-slices:Walmartbrie

        Replace those colons with slashes, and you can have a Kinsey gaffe of your own!!!

        • Schadenboner

          Replace those colons with slashes

          I knew a guy who did that once. He’s doing 25-to-life upstate.

  • Hogan

    Ronald Reagan, a former TV star

    Yes, that certainly sums up Reagan’s career as of 1980. If I want Trump-level political analysis, I have Trump for free 24/7. What do I need Dowd for?

  • Roger Ailes

    You know what’s benign?

    Pot edibles, if you’re not a fucking moron.

    • DAS

      +420

  • Brautigan

    Good gawd, how I loathe that phrase “the pivot”.

    Serious question to all the political journamalists out there: How ’bout, instead of winking and nodding along with the bullshit, you actually hold candidates to account, and, when they attempt “the pivot”, you ask them to which group of voters they are lying?

    Too much to ask, I know.

    P.S. Does anybody other than Georgette Mosbacher still read Dowd?

    • Davis X. Machina

      P.S. Does anybody other than Georgette Mosbacher still read Dowd?

      Any 2 Sulzbergers is all Dowd needs.

      • How many did she have to sleep with to get/keep her job?

        • Hogan

          Can we not go there?

          • Woodrowfan

            too late. Couric’s rule, “it’s out there.”

            • calling all toasters

              COKIE’S rule. Couric apparently isn’t quite stupid enough to be an elite political reporter.

              • witlesschum

                I always remember fondly in 2008 when the Republicans suddenly had to pivot to shouting that their vice presidential nominee was subject to such hard and unfair questioning from notorious hard ass interviewer Katie Couric. That’s me, but before Trump is done, I think they will, too.

              • Woodrowfan

                sorry, they all seem to be the same person to me…

          • Warren Terra

            Can we not go there?

            Seconded.

          • I’m just asking questions.

        • Woodrowfan

          “all of them Katie”

  • witlesschum

    The idea that Trump was ever particularly benign, of course, requires one to forget various things, for instance that time he bought giant newspaper ads screaming for the blood of black and Puerto Rican teens accused of a rape, which naturally they turned out to be innocent of. But who remembers things like that? And it’s been what five years since he became the head wanker of the birthers?

    A Kingsleyian gaffe indeed.

    • Warren Terra

      A Kingsleyan gaffe being when you say something you didn’t intend to, and thereby reveal you’re secretly a charismatic psychopath?

      • witlesschum

        Such a great movie.

  • DAS

    OK … WordPress is toking or something. I meant to reply to a comment above

    • petesh

      No prob, dude. So did I.

  • BartletForGallifrey
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