Maureen Dowd, really:
As our interview ended, I was telling him about my friend Michael Kelly’s idea for a 1-900 number, not one to call Asian beauties or Swedish babes, but where you’d have an amorous chat with a repressed Irish woman. Williams delightedly riffed on the caricature, playing the role of an older Irish woman answering the sex line in a brusque brogue, ordering a horny caller to go to the devil with his impure thoughts and disgusting desire.
I couldn’t wait to play the tape for Kelly, who doubled over in laughter
So when I think of Williams, I think of [Michael] Kelly. And when I think of Kelly, I think of Hillary, because Michael was the first American reporter to die in the Iraq invasion, and Hillary Clinton was one of the 29 Democratic senators who voted to authorize that baloney war.
Let’s leave aside the nutty ethnic/gender politics, as much as they explain. I obviously have no problem with attacking Clinton on her Iraq War vote, particularly since she’s currently re-vindicating those of us who supported Obama in the 2008 primaries on foreign policy grounds. I’m not sure what it’s doing in a a Robin Williams remembrance, but whatever.
But Michael Kelly as a passive victim of the Iraq War? Really? Dowd is apparently hoping we’ve forgotten that Kelly was not merely a fanatical Iraq War supporter, but one of the most disgustingly jingoistic and demagogic ones. “That Kelly was brave in going to cover the combat,” Tom Scocca observes, “does not change the fact that he chose to be bold with other people’s lives.” Here, for example, is Kelly after Al Gore criticized the proposed invasion of Iraq:
Gore’s speech was one no decent politician could have delivered. It was dishonest, cheap, low. It was hollow. It was bereft of policy, of solutions, of constructive ideas, very nearly of facts — bereft of anything other than taunts and jibes and embarrassingly obvious lies. It was breathtakingly hypocritical, a naked political assault delivered in tones of moral condescension from a man pretending to be superior to mere politics. It was wretched. It was vile. It was contemptible. But I understate.
The column goes on to call Gore an idiot for saying that Osama bin Laden and other architects of the 9/11 attacks remained at large while Bush was busy preparing an invasion of a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. It must be read to be believed, although I don’t particularly recommend it. More here. I don’t wish death on anyone, but to pretend that Kelly was just a disinterested journalist rather than an influential proponent of the “baloney” Iraq War, please.
On a related note, I see that Dowd will now be writing for the NYT magazine. I assume her assignment will be to take over the “let’s do a point-by-point comparison of people with vaguely similar names” thing. (This week: Jean Vajean and Jean-Claude Van Damme! Are you laughing yet?) For virtually every writer in the world, including those who write obituaries, this assignment would make their writing less funny. But for Dowd, it would be exactly the right level in terms of both intellect and wit.