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Maureen Dowd Is A National Embarrassment

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Maureen Dowd, as not enough people remember, spent the 2000 campaign 1)writing columns that were frequently dishonest and all so dumb they should have been published in the original crayon that 2)aggressively advanced the Gush-Bore narrative of the race. The idea that George W. Bush was a harmless moderate was…profoundly and obviously wrong and the results were awful. Admittedly, she wasn’t the only one on this point — her colleague Frank Rich was just as bad. But he learned. Maureen Dowd, as always, learns nothing. And hence her latest column:

The Republicans have their candidate: It’s Hillary.

Anybody who thinks Hillary Clinton is fundamentally a Republican has absolutely no business getting paid to write about politics by anybody, let alone the most prestigious op-ed page in the country.

They can’t go with Donald Trump. He’s too volatile and unhinged.

The obvious problem with this is that the vast majority of Republicans who matter are, in fact, going with Trump.

The erstwhile Goldwater Girl

Here we have an ironclad indication that a column is not worth reading. For the record, for most of the 1964 campaign Hillary Clinton was 16. Reagan voted for FDR multiple times as an adult, but suggesting that as a presidential candidate he was a standard-issue New Deal Democrat would have been a firable offense. This is even dumber.

Hillary will keep the establishment safe. Who is more of an establishment figure, after all? Her husband was president, and he repealed Glass-Steagall, signed the Defense of Marriage Act and got rid of those pesky welfare queens.

All of these things are certainly worthy of substantial criticism. But leaving aside the fact that Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton are, as best as this blog can determine, different people, there’s the much bigger problem that it ain’t 1996 anymore. The parties, entirely without Dowd noticing, have diverged massively. And norms that even in periods of divided government Congress and the president need to cut deals to get things done have been clubbed to death and thrown into the Potomac. The DOMA reference, in particular, gives away the show. What disabilities, precisely, can Clinton be expected to impose on LBGT people? Aren’t the facts that we have a national right to same-sex marriage because Democratic presidents nominated 4 Supreme Court justices and a Democratic Senate stopped a Republican president from getting his first choice, and Clinton’s justices will affirm this decision and Republican nominees in 2017 almost certainly would not, vastly more relevant than legislation that passed 20 years ago with massive bipartisan majorities?

Unlike Trump, she hasn’t been trashing leading Republicans. You know that her pals John McCain and Lindsey Graham are secretly rooting for her.

LOL at the idea that John McCain and especially Lindsey Graham are “leading Republicans” in 2016. And perhaps we should be asking why this rooting has to be secret. Trump is, in fact, the leading Republican.

The Democratic nominee put out an ad featuring Trump-bashing Michael Hayden, an N.S.A. and C.I.A. chief under W. who was deemed “incongruent” by the Senate when he testified about torture methods. And she earned an endorsement from John Negroponte, a Reagan hand linked to American-trained death squads in Latin America.

It is true that a bunch of neocons have endorsed Clinton. And the reasons for it is obvious: Clinton is not a nut, and people primarily concerned with foreign policy don’t necessarily have the strong commitment to upper-class tax cuts and forcing women to carry pregnancies to term that compels most Republicans to go along with Trump.

There are, of course, entirely legitimate reasons to be concerned about Clinton’s foreign policy, which will almost certainly be worse than Obama’s (although much better than Bush’s.) Politically, she should respond to the endorsement of people like Negroponte with “they endorse me; I don’t endorse them.” But the endorsements themselves don’t really tell you much of anything other than that Trump is unacceptable to many Republicans who don’t care about domestic policy.

Hillary is a safer bet in many ways for conservatives. Trump likes to say he is flexible. What if he returns to his liberal New York positions on gun control and abortion rights?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh my. Dowd is literally as clueless about how politics works as an otherwise unpublishable random Salon dudebro. Even assuming that Trump wanted to be liberal on these issues, how exactly would he do it? Sign the gun control legislation that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell wouldn’t pass? The Federalist Society hacks he nominates would vote to affirm Roe because he appointed them? Help me out here — I’m sure there’s an Aaron Sorkin script that explains how it all works.

Trump is far too incendiary in his manner of speaking, throwing around dangerous and self-destructive taunts about “Second Amendment people” taking out Hillary, or President Obama and Hillary being the founders of ISIS. And he still blindly follows his ego, failing to understand the fundamentals of a campaign. “I don’t know that we need to get out the vote,” he told Fox News Thursday. “I think people that really wanna vote are gonna get out and they’re gonna vote for Trump.”

Despite which, most Republican voters and most Republican politicians of actual influence support Trump. So how is this behavior un-Republican, exactly?

And now, the punchline:

And that’s how Republicans prefer their crazy — not like Trump, but like Cheney.

Clinton and Cheney — not a dime’s worth of difference!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — the fact that these witless and comprehensively ill-informed columns are not only published in the New York Times but used to be showered with awards is about as damning an indictment of America’s overpaid and underachieving elites as you could ask.

UPDATE: LOL:

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  • junker

    This is far from her worse sin, but once, before I knew really anything about politics or the political press other than that I didn’t like Bush, I picked up a book of Dowdy columns at the dollar store on Bush. Boy, does she self-plagiarize like crazy – like seriously it’s entire lines and paragraphs for reuse across multiple columns without an acknowledgment that it’s happening.

    • Scott Lemieux

      She was just as terrible when she postmaturely turned on Bush as when she was working to put him in the White House.

      • DrDick

        The same could be said for her during the first Clinton administration.

      • GoDeep

        Goddamn dude, hyper ventilate much? You act like she’s as big a threat to Democracy as Hitler.

        • i8kraft

          Scott cares about good writing, good arguments, and good public discourse. MoDo is an affront to all three. Stupidity in the service of evil should always be roundly mocked, especially when it has a regular column in the paper of record in the world’s largest democracy.

          • Warren Terra

            Scott cares about good writing, good arguments, and good public discourse.

            Also: a work ethic. MoDo is, according to her own boasts, a Columnist because she was too lazy to do the minimal work required by the easiest, highest profile job in national reporting. She initially became a Columnist because as the New York Times White House Correspondent she refused to do any work, and the paper promoted her to Columnist to gt her the hell out of that job.

            • GoDeep

              You’re right she’s a modern day Goebbels…who apparently refuses to heil Trump and instead heils Clinton…or some such…

              • Warren Terra

                Can we get some troll moderation in here? This is nonresponsive gibberish and insulting to boot.

                • GoDeep

                  Sorry, that’s really meant for i8kraft and Thirtyish: “I would hazard to guess that Maureen Dowd does in fact pose a greater threat to American democracy in 2016 than Adolf Hitler.”

                • But that’s correct right? Hitler is long dead this no threat to American democracy *in 2016*. Dowd is some minor threat.

                • Mark Centz

                  Do not feed the trolls. It’s, like, like, an internet tradition. Something to be aware of….

                  Otherwise, full agreement.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Derpiest. Trigger. Of. Goodwin’s. Law. Ever.

                • GoDeep

                  Oh good you’re alive, I was worried you needed CPR from the out-of-breath nature of the post.

                • ColBatGuano

                  Your worthless contribution is duly noted.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Your burns are all too healthy. (They certainly explain your affection for Dowd — after all, she also specializes in painfully unfunny non-sequiturs. Might want to sprinkle in a few references to Lena Dunham or Hamilton, though.)

          • twbb

            Right; I don’t quite get the LGM obsession with Freddie DeBoer or H.A. Goodman; honestly LGM is the only place I see those names. But Dowd has a huge audience and is influential.

        • (((Hogan)))

          Yeah, proposing to go back in time in order to kill MoDo is a bit of an overreaction. Making fun of her should really be enough.

          • sharonT

            Ooh, but so tempting

            • cpinva

              “Ooh, but so tempting”

              possibly, but consider the consequences. instead of being the laughable hack that she’s always been (I blame the Pulitzer Committee for legitimizing her), she becomes instead a “martyr of journalism”, her life and “work” taught in all the prestiges schools of journalism, and a fought over “seat” at Columbia. this just cannot be allowed.

              • a fought over “seat” at Columbia

                Seriously? Good grief.

                It may be time to suitably rework E. E. Cummings’s couplet:

                A politician is a man
                On which all things have sat except a man.

        • brad

          Seeing as Hitler is dead, I think she’s actually a bigger threat.

        • Thirtyish

          I would hazard to guess that Maureen Dowd does in fact pose a greater threat to American democracy in 2016 than Adolf Hitler. But thanks for supplying us with your high school-level sick burns yet again. Deep indeed.

          • cpinva

            “I would hazard to guess that Maureen Dowd does in fact pose a greater threat to American democracy in 2016 than Adolf Hitler.”

            doubtful. I am going to hazard a guess that not many people in West Sister Fuck, AR (which constitutes 98% of the US) read Ms. Dowd’s “column”, because no one points a gun at their head making them do so. Hitler, long after his death, is still considered a “martyr” for the “cause” of Aryan Supremacy.

        • Alan Tomlinson

          Angus Pudgorny, you’re a stupid man.

          Cheers,

          Alan Tomlinson

    • ThresherK (KadeKo)

      A dollar?

      You overpaid; in a month that woulda been at the 33-cent store.

  • Nobdy

    Hey, after this blog accused her of only as being as bad as Matthew Dowd she had to take action.

    Even if you don’t like anything else about Maureen Dowd you have to admit that she is tenacious about defending her turf as America’s worst pundit who is not an openly partisan Republican hack (She’ll never touch Hannity, for example. Never.)

    • I think in a sense she is worse because she pretends to be some form of liberal. She’s a double agent — albeit not very good at it.

      • Anna in PDX

        Yes this is what makes her way worse than a Fox hack. She appeals to the “fair-minded” NPR listeners who admit cheerfully that a given column is terrible but insist that she is “funny,” and that she is by and large a good opinion writer. It drives me crazy, I feel like they are all under a spell of some kind and I am the only sane one (which is why I never get tired of the front pagers here validating my view on her).

        • GoDeep

          I don’t always agree with her–I don’t always agree with anyone–but I find her entertaining and I like the fact that she takes shots at everyone, like the late Tim Russert. I figure if you’re unwilling to criticize your own side then you’re more partisan than principled, and that’s a mortal sin in my book.

          • brad

            I have to admit, this is quality trolling. No one would actually claim to have enjoyed Russert in truth and good faith, but it’s an infuriating lie to drop.

            • Thirtyish

              What it is is deep.

            • GoDeep

              No one liked Russet? Are you mad, man? He was the highest rated Sunday anchor, and he gave the hardest interview in all journalism. How could you not love Russert? Only a partisan hack could dislike the man.

              • ColBatGuano

                he gave the hardest interview in all journalism.

                That is some high quality trolling. You have earned your money today.

              • brad

                And his son is a truly worthy heir.

          • (((Hogan)))

            What’s MoDo’s “side”?

            • calling all toasters

              Her side is that Democratic men are weakling metrosexuals and Democratic women are bitches.

          • calling all toasters

            OMG, GoDerp is MATTHEW Dowd.

          • Alan Tomlinson

            Oh Christ, he’s got a book.

            Cheers,

            Alan Tomlinson

          • cpinva

            “I don’t always agree with her–I don’t always agree with anyone–but I find her entertaining and I like the fact that she takes shots at everyone, like the late Tim Russert. I figure if you’re unwilling to criticize your own side then you’re more partisan than principled, and that’s a mortal sin in my book.”

            spoken by the most uninteresting man on the planet.

          • Dalai Rasta

            Taking shots at everyone isn’t actually laudable; it’s just indiscriminate. And if you’re criticizing your own side solely to look nonpartisan, you’re doing it wrong.

        • royko

          The other thing that makes her awful is that she, more than anybody else, turns politics into high school gossip. Not even real gossip, which would be something, but made up bullshit gossip, where politicians of the day are grafted onto her weird Sweet Valley High dramas. She’s basically writing the world’s worst political fan fiction.

          Which would just be sorta sad, except there are a scary number of people who believe it, and who seem to believe that politics should really be viewed through a lens of whether Dowd thinks someone is masculine or feminine, cool or nerd, jock or weakling. That’s messed up.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        Pretends is a good word. To the extent Dowd embraces liberalism, it’s always in a half-embarrassed fashion. She’s apparently not a liberal out of any compassion, altruism or experience; it’s just what one *does* in her position.

        • Anna in PDX

          Her gender attitudes are the opposite of liberal and far from being humorous they are creepy and depressing.

          • The press around her book on gender, and the excerpts that were published, were on the squicky side.

          • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

            Yes – there’s a weird liberalism in the media world that’s liberal on many things, votes D down the line…but tolerates systematic oppression of half of humanity, with this sort of blasé “oh what’s the fuss, boys will be boys” hand wave. And you’re right that Dowd fits squarely into it.

          • cpinva

            “Her gender attitudes are the opposite of liberal and far from being humorous they are creepy and depressing.”

            that, and I understand she once dated Bill Maher. I feel certain that, at some point during that date, some part of their bodies touched (probably as they both reached for the glass of wine they both needed at that point). for that reason alone, she (well, both of them really) should be shunned from decent society.

            • Judas Peckerwood

              Thanks for the nightmares.

      • Nobdy

        Here’s the thing about what you said. Maureen Dowd is NOT a good double-agent (to the extent she proclaims herself liberal which is not very much.)

        Hannity and Fox news have been extremely effective propagandists who have inflicted enormous amounts of pain and damage on the country.

        Just being dishonest about who you are isn’t nearly as bad as hurting people to the extent that Sean Hannity and his ilk have hurt people.

        • LosGatosCA

          As pointed out above Dowd, Rich, Ceci Connolly, others in the establishment media made it their mission to validate Bush in 2000 and feminize Gore at the same time.

          They reinforced the Faux News themes and enabled Bush/Cheney to an even greater extent because Times and Post readers are not generally listening to voting and policy recommendations from Hannity / O’Reilly.

          • GoDeep

            GWB was a pretty moderate governor of Texas who enjoyed broad support during his tenure. He pushed the Republicans to circumvent the 5th CCA’s infamous Hopwood decision ending affirmative action. He also reached out to Latinos. He was far more conservative as president that he was as governor.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              and if you paid any attention to what the people around his Presidential run were saying it was obvious he was *going* to be a lot more conservative as President than he had been a governor

            • brewmn

              That still doesn’t justify their treatment of Gore.

            • Scott Lemieux

              GWB was a pretty moderate governor of Texas who enjoyed broad support during his tenure.

              This is complete bullshit. He was a right-winger whose reputation for “moderation” was based on the fact that there were still a lot nominal Democrats in the state legislature who voted like conservative Republicans. “Bipartisan” in the context of late-2oth-century Texas doesn’t mean “moderate.” And his platform was in fact an excellent predictor for how he would govern.

              • Dalai Rasta

                As Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose explained in their 2003 book, Bushwhacked, “If y’all had’ve read the first book, we wouldn’t’ve had to write this one.”

              • ColBatGuano

                Don’t confuse Go Derp with your silly facts.

              • GoDeep

                What the fuck would you know abt his governance? Did you actually live there at the time? Did you have the perspective to compare it to what had come before in Texas politics?

                I was there so let me give you a goddamn clue. His immediate predecessor as GOP nominee for Governor said, “Rape is like the weather you just got to lay back and enjoy it.” You had a Democratic predecessor as Governor who bragged about how many people he had executed, as if he had been the hangman. It was so outrageous SNL did two skits on it.

                Here’s how the LA Times described the Democratic gubernatorial in 1990:

                Meanwhile, both White and Mattox seem to be in a competition mainly for rural voters, in which each is trying to appear tougher than the other, particularly when it comes to crime. First, Mattox aired a commercial in which he boasted that 32 executions have been carried out during his tenure as attorney general.

                Then White, the former governor, indignantly protested that “the governor has a lot more to do with the business of executions than the attorney general does.” To dramatize that point, his campaign aired an ad showing White walking down a corridor lined with photos of executed criminals, with White saying: “As governor, I made sure they received the ultimate penalty–death. And Texas is a safer place for it.”

                So, yeah, GWB was a moderate. Get your facts straight before you shoot from the hip.

                • Dalai Rasta

                  So far, all you’ve done is reiterate Scott’s point: “‘Bipartisan’ in the context of late-20th-century Texas doesn’t mean ‘moderate.'”

                • Scott Lemieux

                  You had a Democratic predecessor as Governor who bragged about how many people he had executed, as if he had been the hangman

                  As opposed to Bush, who made fun of some of the many people he executed. VERY COMPELLING ANALYSIS.

                  In conclusion, a “moderate” by the standards of Texas politics is a “drooling reactionary” by the standards of national politics. Bush’s presidency was utterly unsurprising.

                • GoDeep

                  GWB may not have been moderate by the standards of 2016 Massachusetts but he was plenty moderate by the standards of 1990s Texas. Next, Scott will argue that Abraham Lincoln was a radical conservative because he opposed interracial marriage and gay rights.

              • GoDeep

                And I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you didn’t actually know anyone personally affected by the Hopwood decision, and couldn’t personally appreciate what it meant for Bush to engineer a work around.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  didn’t the Lt Governor do all the heavy lifting during Bush’s term?

            • The “were you there” whine is interesting given that if you look at your original comment GoDeep, it’s clear that you must equivocate to make it all makes sense, to wit:

              GWB was a pretty moderate [by the standards of Texas] governor of Texas who enjoyed broad support [by the generally more conservative than the rest of the nation Texan elites] during his tenure. He pushed the Republicans to circumvent the 5th CCA’s infamous Hopwood decision ending affirmative action. He also reached out to Latinos. He was far more conservative [relative to other presidents] as president that he was [relative to other Texas governers] as governor.

              It’s interesting that other than the Hopwood decision (I presume you mean the 10% plan? How instrumental was he?) you pick things with exact parallels (below, surely any bragging about executions from prior governors is match by his mockery of Tucker; similarly he reached out to Muslim’s as president) that show continuity rather than difference.

              This isn’t a reasonable case.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        What’s her actual audience at this point? I don’t know any general defenders of MoDo anymore (though back when I did, it was during the Bush years and they tended to be run-of-the-mill NYT-reading liberals). Occasionally someone I know on fb will apologetically praise an individual column despite the fact it’s written by her. And they’re still always wrong to do so. She’s worse than a stopped clock. She’s _always_ wrong.

        • karlb

          Judging from the comments to her columns, her audience is mostly hate-readers. I confess, after having given up on her years ago, I have gone to her column a few times recently (prompted by LGM or others) just to read the comments. They are overwhelmingly critical.

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          I guarantee you that every Sandernista and Stein supporter out there will be reposting this column for the next week on Facebook, without the slightest hint of apology. It’s perfectly designed for them. “Hillary is really a Republican” is a line they’ve been pushing for a full year now.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks

            Most actual Bernie Sanders supporters, like Bernie Sanders, are voting for Clinton. And Sanders never promoted this line. You won. We endorse you. Get over it.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Sanders supporters != Stein supporters.

              • Incontinentia Buttocks

                Exactly.

            • (((Hogan)))

              I think “Sandernista” is supposed to indicate a particular subset of Sanders supporters.

              • Bill Murray

                or a certain subset of poor thinker

              • Manju

                …who call themselves the magnificent seven.

              • Yes but it’s worth not giving the goofballs a title that implicates the vast majority of Bernie supporters. After all, they probably weren’t meaningfully Bernie supporters in the first place. Plus, it gives hem too much. The NeverClinton types aren’t a significant fraction of Bernie supporters nor are they the ones that drove his amazing run.

                • los

                  I interpreted the name “BerniBros” as = NeverHill (“even Republican Trump administration and court nominees Scalia II would be better!”), and interpreted “Sandernistas/Sandersistas” as true reformers.
                  But these appellations are just internet slang…

            • Redwood Rhiadra

              Yes, “most” of those who voted for Sanders are supporting Clinton for the general.

              But there’s still a fairly large minority (~30%) who are refusing to do so. A few of them have migrated to Stein, many are still planning to write in Sanders, and some are going to leave the top of the ballot blank.

              I don’t think they’re as insignificant as some here.

              • Warren Terra

                I think it would be very surprising if four million Bernie voters decide it’s not important to cast a meaningful vote against Donald Trump.

                Bernie inspired a lot of progressives, and also seems to have become the focal point for a small number of very vocal, very stupid narcissists. They’re eyecatching, and they’re good copy, but if there’s 50,000 of them in the country I’d be surprised.

              • Manny Kant

                There are ~30% who have not yet committed to voting for Clinton, not ~30% who aren’t going to vote for her. It is perhaps true that “a few of them have migrated to Stein, many are still planning to write in Sanders, and some are going to leave the top of the ballot blank,” but most of them are going to vote for Clinton in the end, as polls show when pollsters push them to make a choice instead of letting them remain uncommitted.

                • los

                  polls show when pollsters push them to make a choice instead of letting them remain uncommitted
                  and as election date comes closer, the “polarization” factor nudges.

                  a few weeks ago, a poll showed 90% Sanders primary voters intended to vote Clinton…
                  and… a search finds many July 26 and later
                  90% of Sanders Supporters Back Clinton: Pew Research – Daily Kos
                  and dailydot, cnbc, vox… reporting Pew poll…
                  July 25, 2016 – In Clinton’s March to Nomination, Many Democrats Changed Their Minds – 90% of ‘consistent’ Sanders supporters favor Clinton over Trump

                  some disagreement in comments, including significant factor of survey date: “.
                  plantjoyseeds Jul 26 · 11:05:39 PM
                  I’d like to point out that these results were from polling done in April. Long before the FBI statements, the … democratic platform meetings (and still no ban on fracking or TPP, etc.),
                  ..”

                • Redwood Rhiadra

                  los, it’s been pointed out that every one of those “90% now support Clinton” polls didn’t allow any responses except for “Trump” or “Clinton”. Any third-party/write-in/won’t vote responses simply aren’t counted. When allowing a broader spectrum of responses, only 65-70% of Sanders supporters are willing to vote for Clinton – and there’s been very little shift since Clinton locked down the nomination, or since the convention.

                • los

                  90% now support Clinton” polls didn’t allow any responses except for “Trump” or “Clinton”…
                  The pew poll did that. (Also, Pew seemed to be looking at consistent (as Pew defines) support for either Democratic candidate.)

                  … allowing a broader spectrum of responses, only 65-70% of Sanders supporters are willing to vote for Clinton

                  Roughly estimating (and soon ignoring):
                  1/2 voters are D
                  1/2 D are Sanders
                  worst, 35% Sanders primary voters became BernieOrBust who will never vote Clinton.
                  so, BernieOrBust are 9% of all voters.

                  However, that 9% appears already “built into” the RCP averages.
                  (next…)

                • los

                  Stein and/or Johnson are “stealing” 0.4% from Clinton, when compare 4-way:
                  Date     Clinton Trump Johnson Stein Spread
                  8/1 – 8/10 44.0   37.6   8.3     3.0  Clinton +6.4%
                  to:
                  Date     Clinton Trump Spread
                  8/1 – 8/12 47.8   41.0   Clinton +6.8%

                • los

                  Electoral (ignore 4-way because minor party pres candidates win 0 electorals).
                  electoral count (updated) Clinton/Kaine v Trump/Pence Maps Race Changes 2016 RealClearPolitics
                  256 Clinton/Kaine
                  128 Toss Ups
                  154 Trump/Pence
                  electoral, if ‘no tossups’ (updated) Clinton/Kaine v Trump/Pence Maps Race Changes 2016 RCP (but how does RCP allocate states that now are tossups?)
                  362 Clinton/Kaine
                  176 Trump/Pence

        • (((Hogan)))

          I don’t know any general defenders of MoDo anymore

          Sure you do.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks

            I stand sadly corrected.

            • Incontinentia Buttocks

              And, sure enough, he show up downthread with another non-defense defense of MoDo, amusingly beginning with the apocryphal Kael quote about Nixon (and, no, Kael never said it) and concluding with the claim that there’s no such thing as bad writing, only readers with different tastes.

              • sharculese

                He always starts by bringing up Pauline Kael.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  “I know you don’t like it, but it’s as irrelevant to the arguments people are actually making as ever!”

          • I guess I must now pass over the torch (or binoculars?) of “stalking” over to you Hogan!!!

            Alas, I doubt that he’ll ever let me yield my crown.

            • N__B

              It’s an eyeball of stalking, no?

        • Scott Lemieux

          Doug Henwood is a fan. (Which wouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve read his Harper’s Clinton essay.)

        • I was surprised when some very intelligent, devoted to good writing, perfectly liberal elderly relatives waxed rhapsodic about a Dowd column. These folks have gotten the NYT every day of their adult lives and have a decades long subscription to the New Yorker.

          Intellectual capture is a thing.

        • AMK

          Ever read the Styles section? That’s her audience–affluent older women in the New York area who don’t really follow politics, but like the highbrow politics-as-high-school drivel that Dowd puts out because it’s far easier to grasp than actually following politics, and it makes them feel a cut above women who only get their news from The View. Much like the Styles section talks about trending “style” for women who can’t actually be bothered to read books on art, architecture, design, etc, but need some topical soundbites to regurgitate at dinner parties to show that they don’t shop at Walmart.

          The biggest criticism of Dowd from an audience perspective is that the NYT in 2016 is no longer the newspaper of New York-area subscribers; it’s the national news website of record for liberals and left-leaners….so they need an op-ed page that better reflects that audience.

          • twbb

            I commented on a previous story that I didn’t know her audience was, and I think you have filled in that gap in my knowledge. That definitely sounds on point.

        • Donna Gratehouse

          I most often see her favorably cited these days by conservatives as “even the liberal MoDo says…” to lend credence to opinions they already hold about librul demons like Obama or Clinton.

        • Bruce B.

          There really is a population of middle- to upper-class low-information liberals who say things like “Well, yes, but she’s got a point here” and “I thought Thomas Friedman made a great deal of sense this morning”. They listen to NPR and think they’re getting alternative viewpoints, and they know literally nothing in most cases about actual liberal or left-wing resources online.

          We don’t see them much anywhere online because curing their ignorance is quicker than Martinizing their tires, but some are glad of it and some prefer to retreat to the safety of what they already know. Almost nobody honestly stays with those views once they see alternatives, and anyone who hangs around professing them still is a troll. But out in the parts of the world where “online” means a bit of Facebook and a bit of e-mail, the audience is there.

    • Warren Terra

      She’ll never touch Hannity, for example. Never.

      Someone writes a syndicated column and publishes it under Hannity’s name? !

  • IF the GOP implodes and we get a new political alignment, and IF a lot of sane R’s move into the Democratic Party to one degree or another, by painting HRC as an R, it seems reasonable to deduce that the resulting D party will have to be controlled by its rightmost elements, the new former R’s. Admitting HRC is not a Republican leaves open the possibility that R’s will have to see themselves as defeated, rather than victorious.

    • Scott Lemieux

      IF the GOP implodes

      It won’t.


      we get a new political alignment,

      we won’t.

      IF a lot of sane R’s move

      Assumes people who don’t exist.

      it seems reasonable to deduce that the resulting D party will have to be controlled by its rightmost elements,

      Even if all of your erroneous premises were true, I still don’t see how this follows.

      • I should probably finish my coffee before answering this, but if H is an R, then that realignment (if it happened) would result in an alliance, within the D’s, of “centrists who are really R’s from both sides of the aisle.”

        David Brooks (sorry, I know) has predicted this: that there will only be the Dems, and they will be led by his buddies. It also fits John Quiggin’s typology at Crooked Timber of “tribal, neoliberal, left,” pushing both extremes out of the picture (and also narrowing what I think he means by neoliberal, but).

        It might also be assumed by some (like those on the left who believe D’s in power are indistinguishable from R’s) that it would force progressives out of the D’s and strengthen a left third party. If the resulting D party in 2017 is better able to push through regulation or progressive policies, on the other hand, people who want a third party don’t have that going for them.

        • Nobdy

          David Brooks is an idiot who is living in the past.

          The future of the Democratic party does not live with pasty white conservatives. It is with minorities (especially if you include women in that group.) When the country was 80% white in Brooks’ youth then the realignment might have gone that way, but the country is changing and the Dems more than anyone. Hillary Clinton is part of the old guard, and so she obscures, to some degree, what’s happening with the electorate, but even she could only get the nomination by forming a strong coalition with the more liberal minority membership of the party, and she’s relying on them to win.

          A small influx of moderately conservative whites will not be able to take control of the party. At best they can influence it, but they just don’t have the numbers as voters to rule from the center right.

          • Ask Me Gently

            Any R’s that “join” the Dems will be temporary passengers only; gone once the specter of the Unhinged Orangutan has passed.

            • catbirdman

              I do appreciate the texture and, um, aroma that comes from a Brooksian prediction in a post about Dowd. Can I get a Tom Friedman cabby quote for the win?!?

            • cpinva

              “Any R’s that “join” the Dems will be temporary passengers only; gone once the specter of the Unhinged Orangutan has passed.”

              this. though I would dispute “join”, more like “align”. these people prefer their racism/misogyny/homophobia/xenophobia on the quiet side. Trump is their id, shouted from the rooftops.

              “David Brooks is an idiot who is living in the past.”

              a past that never actually existed, except perhaps for a small portion of white America. I expect he watched Father Knows Best/Leave It To Beaver/The Donna Reed Show religiously as a child (and probably still, on cable), and from those gleaned his personal vision of life in the US, circa late 50’s-early 60’s. then, those grubby hippies ruined it all!

              I understand that Mr. Brooks is married, yet I don’t recall him ever mentioning Mrs. Brooks in any of his “columns”. I’ve always figured she’s either:

              a. as much of an idiot as he, so they deserve each other.

              b. a reasonably attractive, reasonably intelligent, reasonably nice person who was convinced from an early age that she was none of these, and that she’d better marry him, because he was the best she was ever going to do.

              oh, she also apparently comes from a very wealthy family. if “a”, I have no sympathy for her, they both should rot. if “b”, whoever convinced her she should marry Brooks should rot, as he/she has condemned her to a life of living with Brooks, a fate no decent person deserves.

          • Warren Terra

            David Brooks has an excellent grasp of American politics as viewed from the standpoint of a privileged kid in 1970s Canada. His ability either to comprehend or to affect modern American politics is rather more limited. That is, it’s rather more limited than his ability either to comprehend or to affect 1970s Canada.

            • sharculese

              David Brooks has an excellent grasp of American politics as viewed from the standpoint of a privileged kid in 1970s Canada.

              Oh, this is beautiful.

            • Manny Kant

              This is great, but unfortunately Brooks isn’t actually Canadian. He was born in Canada, but grew up in New York. Though, from some experience, privileged kids growing up in Manhattan are generally at least as far removed from any real understanding of the actual state of the country as Canadians.

              • Warren Terra

                Spoilsport.

        • Anna in PDX

          That’s why these idiotic centrists on the NYT op ed page are so damned dangerous, they feed into the leftist persecution narrative, as well as their own stupid both sidesism. I wonder how many Nader voters were swayed by this kind of thing back in 2000? The stakes are high, the narrative is either false or so overstated as to be functionally false, and they are damaging the country with their writing.

          I like to read Crooked Timber and appreciate (not to mention agree with) left critiques of Hillary. But taking a Dowd column as validation of anything is a mistake.

          • I think it’s possible to appreciate criticisms of HRC, and other “centrist” Democrats, from the left without saying they’re essentially a Republican. Reminding them they’re supposed to act like Democrats is a good thing.

            • Anna in PDX

              Absolutely! But it’s not an argument al all to say “Maureen Dowd agrees with me! She called Hillary a Goldwater Girl again!” In other words I think we’re on the same page here…

              • Yeah, I meant to be agreeing with you.

              • Absolutely! But it’s not an argument al all to say “Maureen Dowd agrees with me! She called Hillary a Goldwater Girl again!” In other words I think we’re on the same page here…

                For some reason, I follow Doug Henwood on Facebook, and he was making exactly that argument yesterday.

                • Ruviana

                  Whenever anyone points out that Hillary was a Goldwater Girl, I have three words for them: Nancy Ling Perry. You can google it.

              • GoDeep

                From an economic standpoint how is Hillary Clinton any different than Bush 1 or Reagan? Does her proposed increase in upper class taxes result in a rate any higher than Reagan’s?

                • solidcitizen

                  Congrats! This may be the worst political argument I have ever read.

                • djw

                  In 1986, under Reagan, the top marginal tax rate went down, from 50% to 38.5. It is currently 39.6; Clinton’s plan would increase it to 43.6 (albeit at a much higher income level).

                  If you get your news from Maureen Dowd, though, I can see how there’s no distinction worth making between Reagan and Clinton.

                • ColBatGuano

                  Does her proposed increase in upper class taxes result in a rate any higher than Reagan’s?

                  You are killing it in the clueless department here.

                • N__B

                  You are killing it in the clueless department here.

                  “Eight floor: cluelessness, trolls, men’s accessories. Ninth floor next: MRAs, trumpenproletariat, betrayers of trust. Watch the closing doors.”

        • djw

          It might also be assumed by some (like those on the left who believe D’s in power are indistinguishable from R’s) that it would force progressives out of the D’s and strengthen a left third party.

          Narrowly construed, this statement could be true. But why should we pay attention to political prognostication from people who haven’t bothered to update their political views based on events occurring in the 21st century?

          If the resulting D party in 2017 is better able to push through regulation or progressive policies, on the other hand, people who want a third party don’t have that going for them.

          The most likely outcome is that they won’t be able to pursue noteworthy new progressive policies, because Republicans will still control congress. The kind of people you mention above will take this as evidence of “no difference” it’s either they don’t understand American politics, or because that’s something they very badly want to believe for identitarian reasons.

      • Mayur

        Scott: substitute “Rs who can somewhat disguise the inherent hatefulness of their platform (e.g. Kasich)” for “sane Rs” and I think the point stands.

        • wjts

          “Sane Rs” in elected office at the national level (and I suspect any state-wide level) are extinct at this point. This is not necessarily true of the electorate at large, though I think even there the crazies outnumber the sane.

          • N__B

            “Sane Rs” these days are called “Independents.” Something something about not wanting to go through life with an albatross hanging around their necks.

            • (((Hogan)))

              “I’m Not with Stupid.”

            • Warren Terra

              You mean politicians or voters? Because one of the significant and frequently misreported factors in recent American political life is how the “Republican” label has become toxic without in the slightest affecting voting preferences. The result was Republican party identification by voters was slipping while Republican politicians remained successful, now because they were winning over “independents” who were actually Republicans unwilling to label themselves as such. The media of course misreported this as Republicans succeeding in winning over independent voters who were neither Republicans nor Democrats.

              • N__B

                I meant voters. I know people who are sane and would like the 1950s R party back. They call themselves Independent.

                I don’t agree with them but I can respect them a lot more than I do any R out there.

            • Donna Gratehouse

              While not wanting to associate with Dems because hippies/minorities.

          • Ask Me Gently

            Though I think even there the crazies outnumber the sane.

            Considering Trump won the primary, and Cruz, Kasich and Rubio were the runners-up, if sane Repubs even exist, they are very few in number and keeping their heads down.

            • Pat

              In a primary with 4 or more people and winner-take-all sequential state contests, the first person to consolidate 30% of the vote is the winner.

              That was Trump with the white supremacists. If Cruz had consolidated the evangelical vote in time, it would be him instead.

              • Ask Me Gently

                No candidate would have consolidated 30% by courting the sane. None of them even tried, which tells us something.

                • (((Hogan)))

                  I thought that was Kasich’s schtick. He managed to consolidate about 3%.

                • N__B

                  “That’s not growth. That’s a mild swelling.”

                • Manny Kant

                  Kasich in fact got about 14% of the Republican primary vote.

              • Warren Terra

                I think you’re missing the point. Trump was the winner, sure, but Cruz is an ideological nightmare who falls somewhere in the Uncanny Valley, and Carson is a gibbering zealot. The only remotely successful candidates who weren’t running on a platform of “we’re crazier than you thought” were Jeb? and Rubio – perfectly bland, rather dim mannequins into which generically Republican bad ideas could be stuffed. Between the two of them they struggled to get, what, 20%? 25%?

                • Manny Kant

                  Kasich did better than Jeb by any standard. But he got 14% of the primary vote. So, yeah.

            • Manny Kant

              Kasich seems perfectly sane to me. He’s an asshole, and awful on choice and I imagine, various other things, but he seems to actually care about governing his state. I don’t understand the idea that it makes sense to paint Kasich (sane, many terrible policies, some somewhat less terrible policies); Rubio (sane, but entirely venal and self-interested and advocating really awful policies based almost entirely on movement conservative insanity); Cruz (true believer in movement conservative insanity, possibly also suffering some sort of personality disorder); and Trump (megalomaniacal narcissistic sociopath willing to push policies beloved by the worst aspects of the Conservative id in order to win acclaim) with each other.

              Do we really want to pretend that Kasich wouldn’t be a less offensive president than the other three? Do we really want to pretend that Trump is somehow just an extension of the vacuous movement politics of Rubio and Cruz? We can agree that they’d all be bad presidents, and that Cruz, Trump, and Rubio in particular would be really, really, really terrible presidents, without also insisting that there’s nothing new or different about Trump.

          • There is one — Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts. But he’s awfully lonely,

            • Rugosa

              Republicans in Massachusetts are a little more domesticated then most. Baker can’t go too far with crazy ideas if he wants to stay in office, but he is otherwise a standard Republican. No money for the T, although it is chronically underfunded and badly managed. He did find money to create an oversight board that promptly blamed unions for the T’s problems. I know this is OT but I can’t stand hearing Baker praised as if he’s really a Democrat underneath a thin Republican shell.

              • I didn’t say that. I said he’s not insane.

                • Dalai Rasta

                  The rest of the inmates may be throwing feces at the walls, but don’t ignore the one sitting quietly in the corner. He’s the one who’s actually plotting your death.

                • Manny Kant

                  Right. “Not interested in funding public transportation” is a characteristic I disagree with in a politician, but it’s not a sign of insanity.

            • Manny Kant

              Larry Hogan, too?

      • Solar System Wolf

        My ex-in-laws are voting for Hillary this year. I never thought I’d see the day, because they are pro-life, anti-gay marriage, family values, fiscal responsibility types. But they can’t stand Trump, and they don’t want to vote third-party because they don’t want to throw away their votes.

        This isn’t the sign of a political change for them, though. They are natural Kasich/Romney supporters and if Kasich had won, they’d be behind him all the way. They are in Ohio, so that’s a bonus. If Trump can’t get the slice of the Republicans who are educated, old white people, then he’s cooked. I take it as a good sign.

        • wjts

          My dad’s pretty similar. He’s a conservative-leaning nominal “independent” who voted for Sanders in the primary because 1) he recognized the comprehensive batshittery of the Republican field (though he did say he would have voted for Kasich if he thought he had a chance) and 2) he’s hated the Clintons for nearly a quarter of a century. He won’t vote for Trump, whom he realizes is the least-qualified, most dangerous major party nominee in history, but I doubt he’ll actually vote for Clinton, either.

          • Pat

            I have a right-wing Mormon in-law (Texas) who I hope will stay home this year as well.

  • Lit3Bolt

    Maureen Dowd is kinda like the chicken and the egg: is she so bad because our populace is so woefully uneducated about politics and their political system, or our populace so woefully ignorant that Maureen Dowd columns can pass for political “analysis?”

    However, if you are aware of who John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan are, and what party they belong to, and which districts they represent, you’ve already passed 90% of the populace in political awareness by that point. If you know that much, you likely also know Maureen’s column is unsourced, wine-fume bullshit.

    • Crusty

      I don’t get the obsession dumping on Maureen Dowd or the obsession with duping on any particular columnist. She is in the entertainment business. Perhaps the amusement business. I don’t understand the outrage- does she occupy an important space in shaping the national dialogue and setting the national agenda? On paper, a columnist in the NY Times might do that. Actually, no, not at all. A columnist in the NY Times reaches a small, narrow group of people. They write stuff, you can read it and either nod your head and say yes, yes, very sharp, or you can kind of contort your face a little and go what’s she talking about, or you can even go what an idiot. Then you finish your coffee and move on to whatever’s next on your agenda.

      Of course, anyone can blog about whatever they want, but why someone repeatedly blogs about a columnist they don’t like is to me, a more interesting question than whether Maureen Dowd’s columns are worthwhile or not.

      She had a patch during the Clinton years when she was very popular because she was able to seem and/or actually be witty while writing about stuff going on in the second Clinton term. She’s been coasting on that ever since, much the way the Who has been doing a greatest hits tour since about 1974 and George Lucas has gotten to make some movies after Star Wars. Big deal.

      • Nobdy

        NY Times columnists might be read by only a few people but they are extremely influential people. They absorb what they read and disseminate it through the media and other mechanisms to the country. Back when I was in college I knew somebody who interned at CNN and she said that every news director there started their day by reading the Times, and would often pick ‘hard’ news stories to cover based on Times coverage.

        Now the Times’ influence has eroded with the market for hard journalism, but it’s still enormous. And the Times op-ed page is still a very important place for punditry, only reduced in power because of the slugbrains who now occupy that real-estate. Paul Krugman is arguably the most important liberal pundit out there today (perhaps usurped by the younger web-based crowd like Yglesias, but that’s an argument, and Yglesias isn’t as smart or clear as Krugman.) David Brooks and Ross Douthat are among the standard bearers for ‘centrist conservatism’ and it’s definitely not because of the quality of their writing.

        Maybe the Times Op-Ed page isn’t as important as it once was but it’s still important, and people who fill that page with lazy and uninformed sludge deserve criticism.

        • Crusty

          But hasn’t it always been the case that the Times Op-Ed page was occupied by people who did their best work 20 years ago?

          • Nobdy

            To some degree, but not like it is now.

            Also I’m not sure I’d agree with that re: Krugman. I think he’s still as good as he ever was.

            Bob Herbert did a good job while he was on the page.

            And even if most of the writers are less than spectacular that doesn’t mean the worst of them don’t deserve criticism, especially when what they write is utter trash.

            • Crusty

              Re Krugman, and I suppose all the others, we don’t know when they hit their peak, we just know they’ll stay on long after they do. Its possible that Krugman’s peak was when he was exposing a lot of Bush’s policies on the economy and everything else too as phony claptrap while everyone else was saying hmmm, let’s see where this goes. That gives him another ten years, give or take.

              • CrunchyFrog

                He was very strong during 2009-10 as well. Unfortunately, at that time he was analyzing and critiquing the policies of the Democrats in power so a lot of his fans from 2000-4 disowned him.

                • Manny Kant

                  His writing on the Obamacare process was actually pretty terrible – he’s good on economics and policy, but has no grasp of politics.

              • Pat

                Given that Krugman is a Nobel prize-winning economist, it is likely that he will continue to have useful things to say about the economy for many years to come.

                • Warren Terra

                  … which will frequently continue to have less real-world impact than the bloviations of random old white billionaires named “Steve”, as we all saw when Krugman railed to minimal effect against the Austerians and against Inflation Doomsayers.

                • brad

                  Much as I love the guy, it’s not a Nobel Prize. There is none for economics, but rather a related award.
                  Just to say it before GD or some other troll goes batshit about it.

                • Crusty

                  Sure, but his column seemed to take off when he abandoned the “let me tell you what an econ prof might think about this” approach and just started writing whatever he wanted.

                • Thom

                  I’m not sure what makes this “not a Nobel.”

          • CD

            I remember the mid-70s page as relatively high value. Tome Wicker e.g. was at the height of his powers. The format was still a hybrid of opinion and reporting, and so you could usually learn something no matter what (e.g. William Safire was an unprincipled hack, but well-connected and interesting). It’s really only in recent decades that you get these columns of pure blather.

      • sparks

        If the target was Freddy DeBoer, I’d kinda/sorta agree with you about the outsize reactions posted here (I’m always reminded of the Python skit about killing a mosquito), but as long as MoDo has clout and is such a poor writer she’s a fair target.

        • Crusty

          How about HA Goodman?

          • Anna in PDX

            That was during the primary and I believe they’ve ignored him ever since (or maybe he just stopped writing…don’t know don’t care)

            • N__B

              The AI at Twitter tried togged me to follow HAHA. That level of understanding on the part of a bot makes me feel better about a Skynet-free future.

              • N__B

                “to get” + tiredness + autocorrect = “togged”

              • Warren Terra

                I looked at his tweets one day and saw page after page of him issuing the same absurd propaganda slogan a half-dozen times in a row, each time addressed at a different person he hoped would retweet or reply or something, then slightly rephrasing the slogan and sending another half-dozen tweets, each aimed at someone new. Rinse and repeat.

                It was rather pathetic; also, it meant no-one could follow him: even if for some sick reason they adored his message, they couldn’t really stomach getting 30 tweets a day making the exact same claim in 5 slightly different forms.

          • sparks

            There’s a difference between a mosquito and a water flea.

        • nemdam

          Maybe I’m weird, but I enjoy my fix of Freddie bashing. I hope Scott does another one soon.

      • That she’s neither entertaining nor amusing is perhaps relevant.

        The oped page of a major newspaper is rather like the comics page: there are very few slots and the vast majority are occupied by strips that were barely funny long ago if ever but degenerated into the laziest of lazinesses.

        It’s not clear that they are read for entertainment per se. Or, at least, the form of entertainment is an odd one (since they are so repetitive that I don’t understand why they ever create a new strip).

        Given this, one might ask why a prestige slot in a newspaper with pretentions to a role in “the national debate” is a sincere for never hopers.

        Plus, it’s clearly not harmless. Dowd was not insignificant against Gore. Krugman (who’s pretty good) was not insignificant against Bush.

        • Crusty

          I’ll offer a slight variation-

          The oped page of a major newspaper is rather like the comics page: Maybe it gives you a chuckle, maybe it doesn’t, but mostly, nobody cares and some people wonder why it still exists and/or are surprised to find out that it does still exist.

          • The Times has no comics page, so the Op-Ed page has to fill both niches at once!

          • Hmmm.

            Except oped pages do seem to have some influence. How much, I don’t know.

            The phenomenon is still interesting. It seems like break out comic strips, ie those which have significant merit, are not nurtured by the syndication and yet there’s little churn. There’s some sort of local maxima they hit, but those maxima are pretty low.

            ETA: And why not aim for quality? Surely they can get better folks for less than Dowd. If she doesn’t help sell papers, why pay her?

            If she sells papers…why? There’s something about the prestige of the label and the unsurprisingness of the wine that’s makes it stable.

            • Pat

              I think MoDo is a great example of what happens when people aren’t subject to constant competition in order to maintain their place in their field.

              • I think it’s true of some people. Other people strive against and ideal or to uphold a standard.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          And she’s never been entertaining or amusing (or incisive). And she won a Pulitzer for writing columns every bit as bad as the ones she writes today.

        • CrunchyFrog

          My Maureen Down theory is that she’s kept on to balance the utter stupidity of your typical right wing columnist. I mean, if your entire stable of left-wing columnists were smart enough to win Nobel prizes and excellent writers to boot, well, that would give the game away, wouldn’t it? You’re not going to get invited to the best cocktail parties if you don’t pretend that both sides have a point, and when its time to get serious the only party you can trust is the GOP.

      • Srsly Dad Y

        My spouse shares your view.

        I happen to think that due to the NYT effect, Dowd’s takes are bandied about at the right dinner parties and in the Hamptons, and thereby seep into the frame of mainstream media coverage to a frightening and maddening extent. And it’s not even so much that Dowd affects current news coverage, although i think she does. Even more frustrating is when you read or hear NPR-type journalists recounting past events as if what was significant was what Dowd wrote about back then — Al Gore wore earth tones, Edwards was effeminate, HRC was more of a man than WJC, W was a compassionate conservative who got hijacked by Cheney …. because the NYT said so. It’s as if she writes dumb jokey novels that people later misremember as history.

        ETA She’s a journalistic earworm,

        • sharonT

          She also reflects the views of the political press about the Clinton’s honesty. The New York Times penned a pretty damning but false narrative about the Clintonc and it’s been the default story-line about them for 25 years.

          • Srsly Dad Y

            Right, because she and Alessandra “Oops” Stanley and a few others are the ultimate cool kids within the Times and therefore in the media in general.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Comments of this genre are always useless, of course, but I find this one particularly amusing. On the one hand, it’s pointless punching down to criticize a widely-read columnist for the nation’s most influential newspaper, whose made-up narratives about Al Gore remain widely repeated to this day. On the other hand, it’s very productive behavior to leave innumerable comments, often lengthy ones, arguing that mid-tier political bloggers should not write about certain subjects (most importantly, subjects on which the commenter disagrees but prefers not to defend the disagreement on the merits) even when it’s abundantly clear that such comments will not have an effect. I find…substantial tension here.

        • Crusty

          Maybe I just want to know if there’s something that I’m missing? You have a thing for Maureen Dowd (and some others too). I don’t get it, but I like to be informed, so I’m wondering if maybe I’m forgetting about the time she endorsed Trump or ran over a guy with her car after a night of drinking.

          I don’t have an opinion on the merits as there is no merits argument here. You don’t like Maureen Dowd’s columns. That’s all. Why you choose to announce it to the world is beyond me and what I’m asking about.

          Moreover, comments like yours of the “why do you comment, it doesn’t matter variety” are even more pointless. You write a blog. You invite comments. You are not writing in a private journal, having a conversation with your close friends or family or talking to a class that you teach. Why you choose a particular topic or a position on that topic is part of the discussion that you invite. Again, I don’t understand why anyone would write a blog post entitled “____ is a national disgrace” where _____ is a columnist and whether the title is literal, hyperbole, sarcasm or just art. What am I missing? Others here have endeavored to explain that the NY Times op-ed page is important. You just turn the question around on me and ask what is my point without offering anything on yours. You also do this cute little thing where you self-deprecatingly refer to yourself as a mid-tier political blogger. I’m not going to touch that.

          • Warren Terra

            She has a weekly column in the nation’s paper of record – and in the Sunday edition, the most-read issue. She uses that space to debase the notion of Truth and to deride the work of Reporting. She not only fails to offer new information or deep insight, if you consume her work you actually become less informed, and because of the snarky tone less interested in being informed. Surely that’s worth a little vituperation?

          • Scott Lemieux

            “why do you comment, it doesn’t matter variety”

            No, my comment was of the “many types of blog comments are interesting but comments telling bloggers what to blog about never are” variety.

            At any rate, the answers to your question are obvious. I blog a lot about bad political arguments. Maureen Dowd makes bad arguments that have more currency than they should from a large platform. I blog about them and explain why they’re wrong. In this case even include links demonstrating the columnist in question’s real and pernicious influence on American politics. The end.

          • ColBatGuano

            I am always stunned at the number of folks who fail to realize the outsize effect the NY Times has on political discourse in this country. The Clinton Foundation/e-mail controversy would be no more than a Hannity Fast and Furious-like standby without their front page trumpeting.

            • Scott Lemieux

              The Whitewater pseudo-scandal, which led directly to Clinton’s impeachment, was a 100% NYT operation.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    yeah, the Hillary Clinton who in 1994 was putting on bulletproof vests before going out and speaking about health care reform is the candidate of the 2016 Republicans

    http://www.newsweek.com/health-care-protest-deja-vu-welcome-1994-211482

    doesn’t matter if you know history or not it repeats

    • Anna in PDX

      It drives me crazy that people do not recognize the bile these people have been spewing over her for decades, and yet she is secretly on the same side? I think they really don’t think she’s human at all. I am constantly bringing this up when BoBs start their spiel about Citizens United and campaign finance reform.

  • Taters

    But how does Lena Dunham figure into all this?
    Dowd’s losing her “edge”!

  • DrDick

    Maureen Dowd cemented her reputation as one of the most puerile and worthless opinion writers in the 90s and has been plummeting downhill since.

    • ColBatGuano

      Yeah, her 2007 realization that W was a disaster has let far too many D.C. liberals continue to believe she still has relevance.

  • JonH

    “Even assuming that Trump wanted to be liberal on these issues, how exactly would he do it?”

    Well, he could veto right-wing bills on those matters that reach his desk.

    • Nobdy

      Ok. Here’s another one.

      If you are right wing and worried that Trump won’t support your views on abortion and gun control how do you resolve that by voting for HILLARY CLINTON?

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        To be fair, if you think Trump can’t be trusted to be conservative on various issues, that should make a conservative more likely to vote for Hillary.

        Not because you expect her to be conservative, but because you have less reason to believe Trump’s negatives will be outweighed by something “positive.”

        Of course, you have to start with the premise that Trump would be extremely dangerous as CiC.

        • Nobdy

          That might be a reasonable perspective but is not Dowd’s claim, which is that Hillary is the Republican candidate.

          Your claim is that Trump is too dangerous to elect, which is fair but totally different.

      • Anna in PDX

        I guess if Dems can make the “heighten the contradictions” / “at least we will know what we’re up against” argument, equally clueless Republicans could decide to vote for Hillary on the same logic? It’s idiotic but that does not necessarily stop people. Of course, it’d be insane to bank on their doing that.

        • Nobdy

          Once again you are committing the critical but easy to do mistake of giving too much credit to Maureen Dowd. This isn’t what she was arguing. From context it seems like she bought way too far into the premise of what she was writing and just assumed Hillary had right wing positions, when in fact Hillary is pretty far to the left on abortion and better than Trump ever was on gun control.

          • Anna in PDX

            Well I was responding to Scott’s question with my own exercise in speculation, not Dowd’s. Mine is at least not as easy to disprove…

          • Ask Me Gently

            This isn’t what she was arguing.

            Arguing? More like applying some vague jocular attention to the presidential race to meet the minimum requirements of her position as a featured NYT op-ed writer, then giving it her trademark apathetic contrarian spin.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I think he’d be more likely to give up the combover

      • I hope that’s a new kind of pretzel-based snack.

      • N__B

        Rudy gave up his. And if Rudy jumped out a window shot a scary brown person, I think Trump would too.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Well, he could veto right-wing bills on those matters that reach his desk.

      So he could veto all of the gun control bills a Republican Congress would send him? OK.

      I would also estimate the chances that he would veto any abortion bill passed by Congress at 0%.

  • Ahenobarbus

    So the competing theories are:

    1. Trump is such an extremist and clown that some Republicans are throwing their lot in with HRC
    2. Republicans support HRC because she is one of them, and maybe Trump’s a liberal anyway

    Dowd goes with #2

  • LosGatosCA

    Maureen Dowd is a hack with no clue on anything, except how to spend the NYTimes money directly deposited to her bank account.

    She thought/thinks Michael Kelly was a good person.

    Also, too, Andrew Sullivan is still a pretentious, racist dick.

    Extra also too, I thank FSM I have not seen Lanny Davis on my teevee yet this year. Of course, as long as I stick to sports and movies the odds are greatly in my favor. But I know I must be vigilant because I have certainly spent less than 1 hour cumulatively this year watching MSNBC – over half of that time this past Thursday – and I still saw Bob Shrum trying to bring his bad karma to the Clinton campaign.

    Finally, I watched Bill Maher with flag lapel pin asswipe Kingston from Georgia and had to turn the freaking machine off, completely.

    Mass media, printed, broadcast, cable is really a hazard to one’s mental health.

  • veleda_k

    This would depress me less if Dowd and hacks like her were the only ones who bought the, “HRC is essentially a Republican” idea.

    • Pat

      Look, how else are they going to support Republicans this year?

      “HRC is essentially a Republican” is a meme. The BoB-guys love it. Republican hacks repeat it. Right now, HRC has seized the high ground in this campaign, running on competence, reality, optimism and the American way. How can Republican hacks drive a wedge between HRC and the Democrats? They’re trying the hug of doom; what else do they have?

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Back when people still paid attention to Ann Coulter, such that one almost couldn’t avoid reading her work, I found it helped tremendously to imagine it in a different voice – specifically Mr. Burns’.

    Ever since, I will from time to time read a writer and flash on a celebrity voice that makes reading their work much better. Nikki Finke? Born to be read by Judy Davis in Volcanic Meltdown Mode (no one will ever do it better) I’m sure Fd[BONERS] will hit me at some point as well.

    Anyway, TIL Maureen Dowd sounds much better in the voice of Sloshed Lucille Bluth.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      Donald Trump in the voice of Zapp Brannigan works very well.

      • N__B

        Erick Son of Erick in the voice of Daffy Duck.

      • Tehanu

        Jonah the Pantload in the voice of the DMV sloth in Zootopia.

        • N__B

          Really? I was thinking of Alvin the Chipmunk for him.

    • brad

      I always imagined Freddie as the Simpsons comic book store guy, myself.

  • howard

    it would be interesting to see the numbers and know whether sulzberger thinks dowd and the other embarrassments on the op-ed page pay their way or whether he continues with them as a legacy element: based on my limited observations, today’s 60-something power elite do still tend to look at the hard-copy times and respect the op-ed page.

  • today’s 60-something power elite do still tend to look at the hard-copy times and respect the op-ed page.

    Fair enough; after all, today’s 60-something power elite is also a national embarrassment.

    • howard

      exactly my point!

    • N__B

      The 70s-something Killer Elite scarred me for life.

  • NewishLawyer

    I gotta say that I find it somewhat amusing and intriguing when I see a post here criticizing Dowd, Brooks, and/or Thomas Freidman and then I go to social media and see one of my friends praising said column. Or my mom calls and asks if I read said column.

    My mom is not and will never be Republican but she did admit that she went from being the most liberal among her friends on Long Island to being kind of conservative in the Bay Area (but still Democratic). She loves Dowd, Brooks, Freidman. Is it a generational thing? My mom was born in 1946 and is prime Boomer. My mom loves Obama and HRC. She even likes Bernie.

    My friends are pretty much mainly on the left with a few libertarians thrown in. Very few Republicans. Even split between early HRC supporters to some people who stayed with Bernie until the convention. I’d guess that my friends who praise the hated three were always on the HRC side.

    So what explains the difference? Socio-economic status is a possibility but some of the hardcore haters of the holy three I know are among my most well-to-do friends (as in I-can-work-in-the-arts-and-still-afford-to-buy-property-in-NYC wealthy.)

    • Anna in PDX

      This is a factor in my really strong negative attitude about the NYT writers. When I lived in Egypt from 98 to 06 my mom clipped and sent me Friedman articles about the Middle East until once I totally lost it at her. She never did that again thank heavens but she still gives these writers way more benefit of the doubt than they deserve. It must be a generational thing.

    • Solar System Wolf

      I think it may be generational. My dad reads Dowd and he’s a lifelong Democrat. He thinks she’s funny. I don’t get it.

      • sharculese

        I think I’ve finally shamed my dad out of reading Dowd.

      • efgoldman

        My dad reads Dowd and he’s a lifelong Democrat.

        I’m 71 and a lifelong Democrat, and also (because I’m my grandfather’s grandson and my father’s son) an inveterate daily paper reader (although I do it on line now), and I wouldn’t use most national op-ed columnists’ work to line a bird cage or train a puppy. At best, they’re lazy, at worst, mendacious.

        • Solar System Wolf

          You need to talk some sense to my Dad, then. He’s 73 and he’s been taking the NYT in print form his whole life.

    • No Longer Middle Aged Man

      It’s not generational. I’m born 1949 and occasionally find Brooks interesting. Friedman has long since been unreadable — I couldn’t tell you when the last time he surprised a reader with an unexpected thought or insight since I haven’t been able to stomach reading one of his columns in ~10 years. Dowd is a failure even as an amateurish self-parody. I suspect that virtually everyone who reads this blog regards her columns as every bit as idiotic and ignorable as Boners’. She used to quote her right wing idiot brother Kevin in columns –I can’t forget the one where he described Rubio as whip smart with deep foreign policy knowledge. She’s now at the stage where those constitute her better columns.

    • ThresherK (KadeKo)

      I have som FB Bernsters who are determined to keg-stand the last dregs out of MoDo’s “Hillary is your new Republican” shit.

      It’s telling that Bernsters will front the link with their own comments like “I don’t often agree with Dowd, but…”

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        As a Bernie supporter in the primaries who is still, actually, following Bernie (i.e.voting for Clinton in the fall…tho’ tbh not because Bernie says so), I’d really like it if we could come up with another name for the anyone-but-Clinton crowd on the left. Many of these folks did support Bernie in the primaries, but they were always a minority of Sanders supporters. And with Sanders — and most of his supporters — now backing Clinton, it’s really time to move past the always false implication that Sanders was somehow responsible for their attitude and views.

        • sharonT

          Thanks for this comment.

        • (((Hogan)))

          We can always bring back ABC (Anybody But (Bill) Clinton and, before that, Anyone But Carter).

        • Matt McIrvin

          I just call them Busters. They might or might not have been Bernie-or-Busters, but now that Bernie is out, their true love of Bust is shining forth.

          • Warren Terra

            I like “Bernouts”. It describes them accurately, and describes how they got there. Though maybe it ascribes to Bernie too much responsibility for their nature and behavior.

    • Brooks especially, but also the other two, plays it down the middle and does the “on the one hand on the other hand” thing in a way that seems truthy to a large enough segment of the population (that reads and respects the Times) that can’t imagine those points not being agreed to by anyone sensible.

    • Dilan Esper

      It really is the Pauline Kael quote about voting for Nixon (and I know, I know, you guys hate that quote– but whether or not it is true of Kael, it describes an actual phenomenon).

      Maureen Dowd has tons of readers. She has tons of fans among actual journalists (which is why she won the Pulitzer). Every time I say this, Scott accuses me of citing unnamed industry sources, and while it is true I have a bit (and only a bit) of insider information about how many people read Dowd, someone with no inside information at all can easily figure this out just from her comments threads, the extent to which the Times promotes her columns, the Pulitzer, etc.

      It happens, however, that the LGM readership is generally not among those readers and fans. So a lot of people come on here and do the Pauline Kael act– “I don’t know anyone who reads her!”.

      I don’t know if it is generational, but it is at least good to see some LGM’ers come on and say they know people who like Dowd’s columns. This sort of gets at the issue.

      Writing is not much different than other art forms. I bet a lot of people here (myself included) aren’t gigantic fans of certain kinds of mindless generic Hollywood action movies. But that doesn’t mean nobody goes to them, or there aren’t lots of people who ARE fans. Music is the same way. There’s a lot of personal taste bound up in the judgment of what you find good or bad. And writing is the same way too.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        people don’t say that they don’t know who reads Dowd so much as they say she’s lazy dishonest and really more of a cheap-shot artist than anything else. In a lot of ways she *should* be popular

        • sharculese

          This.

          I know people read Maureen Dowd. Most people consume the news at the same shallow level she does and are primed to be taken in by her puerile nonsense. That’s still not a reason not to bemoan the fact that puerile nonsense is given such a prominent place in the national discourse.

          Dowd fails as a pundit on every level. She frequently traffics in rumor and outright lies, her analysis is non-existent, her writing is aesthetic garbage, and her sense of humor never evolved beyond “boys have a penis, girls have a vagina.”

          I’ve never been sure why Dilan seems to find the fact that she’s popular to be a defense. I consider it an indictment.

          • The interesting part about Dowdesque phenomena is that it demonstrates how challenging it is to have an “educated” populace as a check on elites. Cognitively, we are very primed to reason based on ancillary phenomena (eg where something is published). Being critical against the familiar frame is very difficult even for thighs we care deeply about. If there is no forced reality checking, forget about it.

            Hence the profound difficulty of persuasion.

            (I have no idea why Dilan pushes the popular entials she’s good…but is it any wackier than his other sillinesses eg about Douglas?)

            • Being critical against the familiar frame is very difficult even for thighs we care deeply about.

              Well!!!

              • Ah iPad. You live to humiliate me esp when I’m winging it.

                • junker

                  You really need to keep a breast of these things.

          • Dilan Esper

            I’ve never been sure why Dilan seems to find the fact that she’s popular to be a defense. I consider it an indictment.

            The fact that she is popular does not prove anything about the quality of her ideas or the soundness of her arguments.

            But it DOES say something about whether she is a “good writer”. There aren’t any objective truths as to who is a good writer. There are only opinions. And in this respect, it’s like saying, for instance, that Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer weren’t good filmmakers. Granted, they weren’t good filmmakers in the way that Merchant and Ivory, or Francis Ford Coppola, are good filmmakers. But calling something “bad” that is really popular is (1) a matter of pure taste and (2) ignores that if someone’s work pleases a lot of people, it’s not really right to say that your opinion counts and all the other people’s opinions don’t.

            I think Dowd is a good columnist and a very good journalist. But even if I thought she was a bad columnist, I would never be so presumptuous as to say that the New York Times shouldn’t run the work of a person whose columns are very popular, any more than I would have told a studio head in the 1980’s not to distribute Simpson-Bruckheimer movies.

            Her job isn’t to please people who don’t like her work. Her job is to please the readers who enjoy her work and look forward to it every week. If it’s not your cup of tea, don’t read it, just like you don’t have to go to the Simpson-Bruckheimer movie. But no, something that is popular and a matter of taste really can’t be “bad” in a purely objective matter.

            • sharculese

              a matter of pure taste

              No, it isn’t. There’s taste, but there’s also craft.

              You’re right that I can’t call Jerry Bruckheimer a bad filmaker, but that’s because Jerry Bruckheimer is a very talented filmmaker who makes a type of movie I don’t want to see.

              Dowd isn’t a talented writer making work I don’t want to read. She’s an awful craftsman with a tin ear and a complete ignorance of basic prose techniques. As I said below, her writing would fail a high school class. The proper comparison isn’t Bruckheimer, it’s the Farelly Brothers or whoever it is that directs movies based on Nicholas Sparks novels.

            • Scott Lemieux

              But it DOES say something about whether she is a “good writer”.

              This is ridiculous. There are plenty of novelists who write awful prose who sell millions of copies. There are plenty of novelists who write beautifully and sell nothing. Contemporary bestseller lists are a very poor predictor of what books will endure.

              • There are plenty of writers one can enjoy in spite of being a bad writer (for many dimensions of writing) or even because of the badness.

            • sibusisodan

              ‘Good’ is an inherently normative concept. It’s difficult to define, and even more difficult to work out if a work meets that standard…but it doesn’t make the standard non-existent.

              I think Dowd is a good columnist and a very good journalist.

              Why? Because you enjoy her work?

              Can’t you see how circular that is? By claiming something is ‘good’, you’re implicitly appealing to a shared standard of reference. So…back it up. Why is she good, as a columnist? As a journalist?

          • Denverite

            “boys have a penis, girls have a vagina.”

            Dude, warning next time so I don’t have to clean coffee beer vodka off my computer screen.

            • N__B

              I read that line in the spirit of Robert Bloch. When asked by an interviewer how to reconcile the tenor of his horror writing with the fact that Bloch was known as a great guy among the pulp-writer crowd, who would always lend money to help another writer, Bloch responded “I have the heart of a child. It’s over there, on the shelf…would you like to see it?”

      • brad

        Just because Michael Bay’s work is equally bad doesn’t give them equal import or influence.

      • sharculese

        It’s not that Dowd’s writing is just stylistically bad, though. She is, but the deeper issue is that a mechanical and technical level her writing fucking sucks. Her sentences are frequently awkwardly constructed, and she tries to straddle a line between forced chattiness and faux-seriousness that she’s not skilled enough to pull off.

        She’s just slightly above being the prose equivalent of a ten-year-old banging random keys on a piano, but definitely below the level of pretty much any high school student I’ve ever worked with who’s taken AP lang.

        • Dilan Esper

          I am all for writing standards in schools (certainly in my profession I strive to write at a level that would be acceptable to a reasonably strict English teacher), but those standards really don’t govern what constitutes “good” writing for a popular audience.

          I mean, this point has been made all sorts of ways. E.g., the syntactical “rules” taught by English teachers, such as not splitting infinitives, not ending sentences with a preposition, not using “they” in the singular, etc., famously do not apply to writing for a popular audience. But it boils down to the fact that the job of an English teacher is to teach a fairly rigid, standard form of the language as a way to correct errors and focus students on writing better. The goal of Maureen Dowd is to entertain her readers, not necessarily to follow such rules.

          • sharculese

            Dude, I’m not talking about grammar. If I had meant grammar I would have said grammar. I’m talking about the mechanics of making a well written sentence, one that’s communicates meaning, compels the reader, and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. A sentence that has peaks and valleys, one whose rhythm you feel as you read it.*

            Dowd sucks at that stuff. Her prose is leaden and bloated, while simultaneously being insubstantial. She vacillates between the faux-folksy tone of people who are trying to hard to be clever and the tedious stentorianism of someone straining to feel important.

            She is shockingly bad at communicating in the English language for someone who has been paid to do it for so long. You’d think at some point she’d have picked up the basics through trial-and-error, but no.

            *Yes, I threw in a sentence fragment just to tweak you for missing the point.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Nobody denies that Dowd has fans, or that industry hacks like her. She’s just excellent evidence that industry hacks tend to have horrible taste and judgement, as anyone who remembers the run-up to the Iraq War will know. I mean, you’re going to argue from the authority of industry insiders? Have you seen Fred Hiatt’s op-ed page? How can you delude yourself?

        • Dilan Esper

          I don’t have numbers with me, but I suspect that even the most widely read Washington Post editorial in the last 25 years (whatever that is) did not even have the readership of an AVERAGE Dowd column.

          And do industry hacks really like Hiatt or the WaPo Editorial Board? I haven’t heard anything of the sort. Have they won awards?

          • Scott Lemieux

            did not even have the readership of an AVERAGE Dowd column.

            1)The question is completely irrelevant to her quality, and 2)do you really think Dowd would have a huge readership if she wrote for, I dunno, the Daily Beast?

            Have they won awards?

            7 Pulitzers just for commentary since 1985.

      • (((Hogan)))

        A 17-year-old Pulitzer (“For her fresh and insightful columns on the impact of President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky”) is certainly a thing. It might explain why she keeps rewriting those columns over and over.

        • Warren Terra

          Cargo cult column composition!

      • Pseudonym

        Whether or not Dowd is a good writer (spoiler alert: she’s not) is arguably a matter of personal taste. Whether or not she is an intelligent political analyst (spoiler alert: she’s not) really isn’t.

  • Roger Ailes

    “Reagan voted for FDR multiple times as an adult, but suggesting that as a presidential candidate he was a standard-issue New Deal Democrat would have been a firable offense.”

    This is the line the dullards Scarborough and Brzezinski push ceaselessly: Dump’s a Democrat.

    • N__B

      I only see them when I’m in my dentist’s waiting room, so I have to ask: how do people that dumb reconcile that Jefferson was a “Democratic Republican”?

      • LosGatosCA

        Jefferson embodies the both sides do it meme – he had a Strom Thurmond-like relationship with a slave and he wrote the pseudo-commie Declaration of Independence.

  • Joe_JP

    The sort of “Republican” that people like her or Tom Friedman pine for maybe.

    Hillary Clinton is putting forth a liberal policy and will appoint liberal leaning judges. So, unless you are a liberal Republican from the 1970s or something, she really isn’t your woman. On foreign policy, I can see Republicans (not concerned about their own election/part of the decades long personal vendetta against the Clintons) actually thinking her okay. [Many here worry about her foreign policy just for that reason.]

    And, given the opposition, some Republicans (again if they were honest and didn’t have to deal with their base etc.) very well might accept she is the sane choice. Plus, moderate enough that they can live with her, especially if they retain the Senate.* But, this somewhat less than LGM’s favorite NYT female columnist is saying, in her usual charming way, I gather.

    * Joe Consanson had an op-ed recently discussing how her Republican colleagues in the Senate were very impressed with her skills and on a personal level felt her a great colleague. But, now these people have to be b.s. artists and advance the lie that she’s so dangerous that Trump is a legitimate option.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      I think this is making Dowd’s position more coherent — and more about actual policy — than it actually is. Afaict from her usually incoherent columns, Dowd seems most concerned about policing gender roles, which practically everything those in power do, especially Democrats, do seems to her to threaten. But sometimes she’s just trying — and failing — to be funny and contrarian.

  • Donald

    This part seems about right–

    “And if you want to do something incredibly damaging to the country, like enabling George W. Bush to make the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history, don’t shout inflammatory and fabricated taunts from a microphone.

    You must walk up to the microphone calmly, as Hillary did on the Senate floor the day of the Iraq war vote, and accuse Saddam of giving “aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda,” repeating the Bush administration’s phony case for war.

    If you want to carry the G.O.P. banner, your fabrications have to be more sneaky.

    As Republican strategist Steve Schmidt noted on MSNBC, “the candidate in the race most like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a foreign policy perspective is in fact Hillary Clinton, not the Republican nominee.”

    And that’s how Republicans prefer their crazy — not like Trump, but like Cheney.”

    The neocons aren’t supporting Clinton simply because Trump is crazy. They support Clinton because her brand of foreign policy thinking matches their own brand of craziness. And it’s a shame that one has to read Dowd to see someone on the NYT op ed page pointing this out.

    • Joe_JP

      foreign policy perspective is in fact Hillary Clinton, not the Republican nominee.”

      Yes, they are not as big on the whole Putin thing especially since they probably realize Putin will eat Trump for lunch.

      If she limited her remarks to foreign policy, it might work. But, overall, Clinton is not an ideal 21st Century Republican.

      ETA: Clinton will probably toss in various things, including in the human rights areas, conservatives won’t like. See, e.g., her efforts for international sexual rights.

      • Donald

        If you want accuracy, you aren’t going to find that from very many people anywhere during an election season. So yes, Dowd says a lot of stupid things. If she limited the column to Clinton’s compatibility with the neocons she could have filled the whole column with true statements about her support for Iraq ( many Clinton supporters play that down in inaccurate ways), her pushing for intervention in Libya, her pushing for intervention in Syria, and her seemingly bizarre love for Netanyahu. Neocons are happy to use human rights arguments as a reason to bomb or support ” moderate” rebels, so there is no conflict there.

        On many other issues, of course, Clinton is not a Republican. But neocons are just a subset of the Republicans and on a Venn diagram they also overlap a bit with some Democrats.

        • Scott Lemieux

          John Kerry voted for the Iraq War — he’s clearly a dead ringer for Dick Cheney too!

          (Again, let me be clear: Clinton should be criticized for that vote. It cost her the nomination in 2008 and should have. Attempts to defend it are wrong. But voting for an inevitable war in the Senate doesn’t make you a neocon.)

          • Bill Murray

            But voting for an inevitable war in the Senate doesn’t make you a neocon.

            but it does point in that direction and is not the only part of her foreign policy record, which looks to be reasonably neocon in intervention and pro-military use although with more of an interest in women’s rights.

        • Joe_JP

          I can find a reasonable amount of accuracy from many people during election season, including writers of op-eds. Again, if she narrowly discussed how Clinton has a foreign policy that Republicans can relate to, she might have made a case. Though even there only so far.

          But, she did more & that is what Scott said.

  • Docrailgun

    Far too many people of Dowd’s age are still fighting the Cold War. The 80s were 30 years ago, and Goldwater’s campaign was half a century ago.
    Wake up, Dowd and other pundits (like George Will)… join the new Millennium, huh?

  • One minor point in favor of Dowd’s style: now all the young journalistic women want to sound like Joan Didion, but in the late 80s/early 90s, that chatty, perky, subjective style was encouraged (at least according to my roommate who objected to my objections). Candace Bushnell’s columns from then have that same flavor of overstatement and rejection of stodgy restrictions on tone, etc. Dowd managed to get a NYT perch through that.

    • Tehanu

      now all the young journalistic women want to sound like Joan Didion

      A mistake they’ll all be paying for in 20 years, one can only hope. Pseudo-cool objectivity based on limitless condescension is much more irritating than perkiness is. Now if they wanted to sound like Molly Ivins, they’d be on to something.

    • calling all toasters

      In a way, you’re on to something. If Dowd is of any note at all, it’s that she brought snarky gossiping to political reporting in the 90s. Which may or may not be a victory for feminism, but it was a big loss for the quality of political discourse.

  • Roger Ailes

    Maureen Dowd is about as relevant as a buggy whip, and twice as leathery.

    Between the time Leon Wieseltier writes MoDo’s columns and the NYT posts them on its website, the conversation has moved on. If Dowd had anything to contribute besides stale gags, she might be worth reading, if only to gauge how elderly Irish Catholics view the world. Instead, she’s The Best of Mark Russell, Volume 1, “Power to The Peanut” on VHS.

    • Ugh

    • calling all toasters

      I had forgotten that Mark Russell existed. Thanks for nothing.

  • Mike in DC

    I’m beginning to think that mandatory retirement for employees of print and television news media at age 70 would, on balance, be a net plus.

    • weirdnoise

      Dowd is only 64 (a year old than Krugman). She may write like she was born in 1935, but the Times would have to find another reason than age to dump her. It wouldn’t be hard.

      • Mike in DC

        At least that would mean only 6 more years of this. Also, Tweety would be bumped off the air immediately.

  • Warren Terra

    So, this isn’t really properly relevant, but I’ll excuse it by saying it’s about political reporting. Trump spokesthing Jason Miller went on CNN’s Reliable Sources today, and the results were fairly amazing. I saw this in a number of excerpts posted to the twitter feed of CBS news Trump stringer Sopan Deb (this one and a couple chronologically after that), and then found the full (rush) transcript at CNN’s site here. The host repeatedly asks Miller about things like why Trump is holding up charts printed out from fringe conspiracy websites and why his other spokesperson thinks Obama invaded Afghanistan in 2001; Miller’s typical reply is to say “but: the emails!” or “but: the economy!”. It’s fairly incredible.

    • weirdnoise

      facts are simple and facts are straight
      facts are lazy and facts are late
      facts all come with points of view
      facts don’t do what i want them to
      facts just twist the truth around
      facts are living turned inside out
      facts are getting the best of them

      • wjts

        You got the CBS…!
        And the ABC…!
        You got Time and Newsweek!
        Well, they’re the same to me!

        Now don’t you wanna get right with me?
        (Puzzling evidence)
        I hope you get ev’rything you need
        (Puzzling Evidence)

        • Bruce B.

          I celebrate the specialness of this comment.

    • (((Hogan)))

      Now, there was a report that was put out in 2012 from Philadelphia city commissioner Al Smith that detailed the number of voting irregularities in the city of Philadelphia where you had in some places, more votes than you had voters, you had people who weren’t U.S. citizens who were voting, the examples of people voting more than once.

      Yeah, that didn’t happen.

      • efgoldman

        Yeah, that didn’t happen.

        Like the precinct in Brooklyn that Combover Caligula won overwhelmingly in the Republiklown primary – only one voter took a Republiklown ballot.

  • skeptonomist

    There are Republicans and Republicans – anyone who doesn’t know that there are two main types doesn’t understand politics. When Dowd talks about Republicans she means the old-style, country-club, CEO, big-bank ones with whom Hillary is actually not on bad terms, and who mostly do not care for Trump (even though he would give them bigger tax cuts than any other candidate). The other kind of Republicans, who are mostly motivated by hatred of non-whites and anyone not an evangelical Christian, are the more numerous ones whose votes chose Trump.

    There is usually more than a germ of truth in Dowd’s writings, although like Trump she doesn’t always seem to know which side she is for or against.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Not on bad terms with != supports the policy preferences of.

    • But Clinton isn’t either of those types of Republicans. Those types of Republicans haven’t traditionally supported universal health care, free college tuition, etc.

  • A Rising Ape

    Oh Scott, this is just embarassing, even for you.

    • Warren Terra

      You make a compelling point! I especially like the way you skip past actually arguing your position!

    • wjts

      Have another drink or two, Maureen. You’ll have forgotten all about it by tomorrow.

      • Denverite

        Or some of that Colorado chocolate.

  • Manju

    OT, or maybe not, but I can’t freakin wait for the next Camille Paglia column.

    I mean, the last 2 were:

    PC feminists misfire again, as fearful elite media can’t touch Donald Trump

    Zombie time at campaign Hillary: Camille Paglia on Trump’s real strength and Clinton’s fatal sleepwalking

    • junker

      I enjoy the special obliviousness of that zombie headline.

  • calling all toasters

    I invite everyone here to join the comments pile-on over at the NYT. For me, it’s a Saturday afternoon ritual to rip into the latest birdcage liner from this idiot. I don’t care if it gets her clicks– it’s too much fun.

    They used to block the really direct anti-MoDo stuff in favor of the “Maureen, you used to be great but…” genre. Now the mods have simply given up. To wit:

    I’m afraid the explanation for Maureen Dowd’s longstanding animus is a bit simpler. She likes a man to respond to her in a certain way and neither Obama nor the Clintons qualify. Though she appears to know Trump is a disaster, he is a girl’s kind of guy.

    Wow, another Dowd attack on Mrs. Clinton. Trump is imploding in a sea of lies, threats of violence and ignorance. Time to attack Hillary. Same as it ever was. 25 years of this…

    There is nothing sadder than an aging hipster– Lenny Bruce

    Maureen, Maureen,
    Malign, malicious, mean,
    In memory elephantine
    In recollection serpentine,
    Deserter from Trump’s sinking barque
    In hating Hill’ry staunch and stark,
    The Clintons are your great bête noire
    Still targets for your muck and mire,
    In cherry picking quite astute,
    Is it for Trump you really root?

    • The Clintons are your great bête noire
      Still targets for your muck and mire

      I reject this rhyme with every fiber of my being.

      Otherwise, bravo, NYT commentariat!

      • N__B

        A. Shouldn’t it be “grand bête noire”?

        B. “Still targets for your muck and bushwa”

      • calling all toasters

        Every fiber of your being can suck it — William Blake

      • Vance Maverick

        How would you feel about a rhyme with ‘moiré’?

        Some remark upthread reminded me of Calvin Trillin’s political poetry. It’s been a while, but my impression remains of a certain fluency in versification, but no correlating freshness of thought — that he was making exactly the same jokes about his “targets” as everyone else that month (despite publishing in a magazine open to sharper writing, i.e. Pollitt).

  • a_paul_in_mtl

    “Hilary Clinton is really a Republican” is one of those claims often made by “Bernie or Bust” types. It does have a certain superficial plausibility if you think that everyone to the “right” of you or that you consider to be part of the “establishment” is pretty much the same, which allows you to ignore the actual differences between policies supported by Clinton and those supported by Republicans, or the fact that actual Republicans appear to be conditioned to hate her guts, at least publicly.

    Given that, it says something about Trump’s weakness as a candidate that even a small minority of actual Republicans (albeit ones not actually running for public office) have been pushed so far as to publicly endorse her. That is not because she is a Republican. It is because she is not going to wreck everything. With Trump, you can’t be sure exactly how bad it’s going to be, but bad it most certainly will be- a fact that even gives some Republicans pause.

    • Warren Terra

      a small minority of actual Republicans (albeit ones not actually running for public office) have been pushed so far as to publicly endorse her. That is not because she is a Republican. It is because she is not going to wreck everything.

      See for example this tweetstorm by Texas Republican Raffi Melkonian, which amounts to “Donald Trump is a risk the country cannot take”. I don’t even know if he’s voting Clinton, as opposed to voting third party or leaving the line blank, but this is the dynamic that has led other Republicans to back Clinton, a phenomenon that does not mean Clinton is a Republican.

      • los

        It is telling that the “conservative appellate lawyer’s” tweets numbered…
        * 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 13 are “liberal” POV, not conservative.
        * 11, 12 are more commonly “liberal” criticisms than conservative.
        * 5, 10, 14 (ha) are “bipartisan”.

        Is Trump neg-converting/neg-baptising the heathen?

  • los

    most prestigious op-ed page in the country
    prestige isn’t worth much….

    I’m intuitively convinced that
    * more readers read Letters to the Editor than read syndicated columnists, and that
    * more readers read columnists than the official editorial

  • los

    MD: Hillary is a safer bet in many ways for conservatives. Trump likes to say he is flexible. What if he returns to his liberal New York
    [Hillary Clinton]
    positions on gun control and abortion rights?
    Dowd thinks conservatives prefer an Inflexibly Assured Hillary rather than a Maybe Hillary..?

  • los

    Wondering why does NYT still publish MD?
    Maybe Dowd works for kibble…

    • twbb

      Wondering why does NYT still publish [insert majority of NYT columnist lineup]?

  • los

    I looked through the MD op-ed.

    * MD’s op-ed seems inconsistent because different parts of her op-ed “speak” for a different types of Republicans. For example, Trump’s “Playboy cave” quips repel (some) Republican women, while thrilling the alt-cucks.

     
    * Presidential mental stability is Dowd’s strongest argument for “GOPe” to prefer Clinton rather than Trump. For example, Politico reports that the Clinton team sent out feelers to see if Kissinger… and Condi Rice…would back Hillary.

     
    * But as David Weigel wrote in The Washington Post, the specter of Kissinger… fed a perception that “the Democratic nominee has returned to her old, hawkish ways and is again taking progressives for granted.”

    Alternatively, because Kissinger-favoring (conservative) voters have no Presidential candidate, Clinton may take Kissinger voters for granted.
    “Doh! (facepalm) Double Double Crossed again.”

  • But Hillary is essentially what we would have called a Republican at one time. I think only the insanity of the current age makes her look liberal in relief.

    That’s not to say that difference currently doesn’t matter, but let’s not lose perspective: Hillary’s policies while way better than Trump or the other (at one time) possible Republican candidates, are not where we want them to be. In the process of ensuring that she wins, let’s not brainwash ourselves into believing she’s something she isn’t – a liberal progressive.

    • But Hillary is essentially what we would have called a Republican at one time.

      Nope. Really not. Not in any meaningful sense.

  • Thom

    What do commenters here think of Gail Collins?

    • Joe_JP

      I liked her when she was in the NY Daily News but haven’t really kept track of her in recent years. She has written a few books on historical subjects like women’s rights that from what I can tell are of some value.

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