The Remarkable Revisionism Of Maureen DowdPosted: March 15, 2012
I stopped reading Maureen Dowd’s columns after the 2008 election season. Dowd’s attacks on Hillary Clinton, her drift into pseudo-literary allusions and her love affair with all things Barack Obama was too much to bear.
Life is short, I reasoned. So little time, so much to read. Why waste precious moments on mind-numbing crapola?
But yesterday morning, I found a deadly twofer in the Op-Ed section of the NYT. Thomas Freidman [a man I rarely agree with], waxed eloquent on the future of capitalism, now that the shine on globalization has dulled. Not to be outdone, Dowd led with the Tea Party’s warrior cry: ‘Don’t Tread On Us.’ Her tagline?
For the Republican uncivil war on women, we’ll need a take-no-prisoners Democratic general.
We’ll need? As in Maureen Dowd and moi? As in gender solidarity within the Democratic Party now has meaning?
Oh yes, I’m well aware of the Republican assault on all things female, particularly our sexual parts, our inability to make right-minded decisions when it comes to reproduction or contraception. Women are obviously so clueless it’s a wonder we can tie our shoes. Just to be sure we understand what pregnancy is, what it truly means, women in a number of states will be required to have an ultrasound before terminating a pregnancy, otherwise known as a legal abortion. The forward-thinking Great State of Arizona has suggested legislation where an employer can fire you for using birth control. Amazing!
I’m waiting for someone to suggest arranged marriages. Or foot binding.
Hillary Clinton has fought for women’s rights around the world. But who would have dreamed that she would have to fight for them at home?
And then goes on to say:
. . . Republicans could drive women into Democratic arms. . . .And whose arms would be more welcoming to the sisters than Hillary’s?
This is too rich. Hillary Clinton has spent her entire professional life fighting for the rights of women and girls, here and abroad. But in 2008, none of that mattered. Shortly before the New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton spoke to supporters. Her eyes welled up. Maureen Dowd’s reaction? In her Op-ed entitled, ‘Can Hillary Cry Her Way Back To the Whitehouse?’ she wrote:
But there was a whiff of Nixonian self-pity about her choking up. What was moving her so deeply was her recognition that the country was failing to grasp how much it needs her. In a weirdly narcissistic way, she was crying for us. But it was grimly typical of her that what finally made her break down was the prospect of losing.
And to further skewer:
She became emotional because she feared that she had reached her political midnight, when she would suddenly revert to the school girl with geeky glasses and frizzy hair, smart but not the favorite. All those years in the shadow of one Natural, only to face the prospect of being eclipsed by another Natural?
Yup, that’s what I call a strong dose of sisterly love! A sharp knife right between the ribs. Get the angle right, there’s barely any blood. And the campaign against Hillary was death by a thousand tiny cuts.
But Dowd was not a one-trick pony. She kept it up. In the piece ‘Wilting Over Waffles’:
Now that Hillary has won Pennsylvania, it will take a village to help Obama escape from the suffocating embrace of his rival. Certainly Howard Dean will be of no use steering her to the exit. It’s like Micronesia telling Russia to denuke.
“You know, some people counted me out and said to drop out,” said a glowing Hillary at her Philadelphia victory party, with Bill and Chelsea by her side. “Well, the American people don’t quit. And they deserve a president who doesn’t quit, either.”
The Democrats are growing ever more desperate about the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.
Another warm and fuzzy descriptive: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. What’s not to love?
Dowd whipped it right to the finish line. In a piece entitled: ‘Yes, She Can’:
Hillary’s orchestrating a play within the play in Denver. Just as Hamlet used the device to show that his stepfather murdered his father, Hillary will try to show the Democrats they chose the wrong savior.
Obama also allowed Hillary supporters to insert an absurd statement into the platform suggesting that media sexism spurred her loss and that “demeaning portrayals of women … dampen the dreams of our daughters.” This, even though postmortems, including the new raft of campaign memos leaked by Clintonistas to The Atlantic — another move that undercuts Obama — finger Hillary’s horrendous management skills.
Besides the crashing egos and screeching factions working at cross purposes, Joshua Green writes in the magazine, Hillary’s “hesitancy and habit of avoiding hard choices exacted a price that eventually sank her chances at the presidency.”
It would have been better to put this language in the platform: “A woman who wildly mismanages and bankrupts a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar campaign operation, and then blames sexism in society, will dampen the dreams of our daughters.”
Dampen the dreams of our daughters???
I’d like to dampen Maureen Dowd’s head, a few dunks in the toilet. But to be fair, Maureen Dowd is not the only one revising past barbs and now hyping the Hillary Clinton train for 2016. I’m hearing the pundit echo machine repeat the refrain that Hillary has reached a pinnacle of respect, equal to . . . Al Gore and John Kerry.
Hillary Clinton reached that pinnacle long before these born-again cheerleaders took note. Despite the minimizing of her accomplishments–the 80+ countries she visited as First Lady, her participation in Vital Voices during the peace agreement sought in Ireland and her remarkable speech in Beijing—there were many of us who recognized Hillary Clinton as one of the most talented and dedicated political figures of her generation.
The question is . . . why now? Why the sudden gush of Hillary love after years of pot shots?
Well, riddle me this: who desperately needs the women’s vote in 2012? Sure, the Republicans have gone out of their way to play the Grand Inquisitor of the 21st century, but until recently President Obama specifically and Democrats in general were watching the female vote slip into tight-lipped resentment. But then, who can draw genuine excitement in the female electorate [leaving the dwindling Palinistas out of the equation for the moment]?
None other than Hill, who has been voted as the most admired woman for the last 16 years. With good reason.
Hillary Clinton has stated her role as Secretary of State is likely to be her last public position. I’ve resigned myself to that fact though I’d be thrilled if she were to run again. But the possibility of a future Clinton candidacy has not cast mass amnesia, erased what we witnessed and heard–the flurry of demeaning articles, suggestions that Hillary was ‘pimping’ Chelsea on the campaign trail, that someone should drag Hillary into a broom closet where only the aggressor comes out, that her nagging voice was like everyone’s ex-wife, etc., etc., etc.
If Maureen Dowd and her colleagues have had a genuine change of heart about Hillary Clinton’s extraordinary career, her achievements and leadership qualities, I’m glad for that. But you’ll have to forgive me. I’m more than a little suspicious of rah-rah revisionism when the ‘Change We Can Believe In’ mantra has grown old and stale.
You’re not fooling anyone, Ms. Dowd. We have not forgotten.