DOWD (2/21/07): Hillary is not David Geffen's dreamgirl.Good God, what a loser! As these boys have done since the dawn of time, Geffen knows to slime the woman for daring to be so ambitious. And what does it mean when Geffen says that Clinton is incredibly polarizing? It means this: Right-wing nut jobs invented a string of ugly tales about Clinton —and Geffen is tired of fighting the fight. In fact, Hillary Clinton is incredibly polarizing because Maureen Dowd sat and stared while high-profile crackpots accused her and her husband of (for example) a long string of murders. Today, Geffen isnt angry at the haters and crackpots for this sorry history. Not him! Hes angry at Clinton instead!
''Whoever is the nominee is going to win, so the stakes are very high,'' says Mr. Geffen, the Hollywood mogul and sultan of ''Dreamgirls,'' as he sits by a crackling fire beneath a Jasper Johns flag and a matched pair of de Koonings in the house that Jack Warner built (which old-time Hollywood stars joked was the house that God would have built). ''Not since the Vietnam War has there been this level of disappointment in the behavior of America throughout the world, and I don't think that another incredibly polarizing figure, no matter how smart she is and no matter how ambitious she is—and God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton?—can bring the country together.
Crackpots invented wild stories about her.
And David Geffen is now blaming her.
Meanwhile, Geffen is too stupid to understand a basic fact about Obama, his own (perfectly reasonable) choice for the White House. Heres that fact: Obama will turn out to be incredibly polarizing himself, as soon as he gets the nomination. (Or hell turn out to be a flip-flopper, like Kerry. Or hell turn out to be a big liar, like Gore.) The same Hate Machine which made Clinton so polarizing will make this brilliant man a big punch-line too. Indeed, Dowd is already hard at work on the project. Again today, she snidely compares Obama to an iconic white woman:
DOWD: Barack Obama has made an entrance in Hollywood unmatched since Scarlett O'Hara swept into the Twelve Oaks barbecue. Instead of the Tarleton twins, the Illinois senator is flirting with the DreamWorks trio: Mr. Geffen, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave him a party last night that raised $1.3 million and Hillary's hackles.In her last column, Obama was legally blonde (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 2/16/07). In todays piece, hes Scarlett OHara. And if you think these sneering references are some sort of odd coincidence, you havent watched this tortured nutcase working her magic down through the years. For years, Dowd imagined conversations with Gores bald spot (more below); by the time he began his race for the White House, Dowd wrote that Gore was so feminized that he was practically lactating. But then, inside the tortured mind of Dowd, all Dem males are big girlie-men. And yes, though Geffen hasnt noticed it yet, shes a nut when it comes to race also.
Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it's troubling.What evidence are we given for this? Read the column: Geffen wanted Bill Clinton to pardon Leonard Peltier, were told, and Clinton didnt do it. Thats when the pair fell out, Dowd says. And this is the one example Geffen (through Dowd) gives in support of that sweeping statement about two peoples honesty.
DOWD (1/30/97): Is the Spot getting bigger? Tipper says it isn't, but I know it is. At this rate, by the year 2000 I'll look like Joe Biden, wandering around with okra plugs in my head. It's making me a little crazy. Actually, everything these days is making me a little crazy. I've been so loyal for four years, staying in the shadow of President Smarmy and just praying I don't get splattered.Ah yes—the birth of Gore as a little crazy. Over the next several years, Dowd continued her bad spot series; she wrote columns in which Crazy Gore conversed with the Spot in September 1997, December 1997 and June 1998. After a tantalizing hiatus, she brought her brilliant format back in August 2000, right after the Democratic convention. And then, triumph of the will! There it was again, driving Dowds column on the Sunday before the 2000 election. Omigod! Gore was addressing his bald spot again! Her headline? No, readers, were really not joking. I Feel Pretty, her inane headline said:
DOWD (11/5/00): I feel stunningThats how Dowd started her widely-read column two days before the crucial election which eventually sent the U. S. to Iraq. She mocked Gore—and lets mention that headline again. Once again, in the voice-of-Gore: I Feel Pretty, she said.
Feel like running and dancing for joy . . .
O.K., enough gloating. Behave, Albert. Just look in the mirror now and put on your serious I only-care-about-the-issues face.
If I rub in a tad more of this mahogany-colored industrial mousse, the Spot will disappear under my Reagan pompadour.
MATTHEWS (2/19/07): I dont believe early polls. However, I have spent weeks now listening to women—pretty educated women, in fact, very educated women, East Coast types, very professional—one after another after another says, I don`t like Hillary Clinton. They really don`t like her.For some reason, Matthews believes that his lady friends are part of the cognoscenti—and he knows that these friends simply hate Lady Clinton. And if you saw the way Matthews cohort covered Gore in 1999 and 2000, you can expect the same treatment for Clinton. If libs and Dems have an ounce of sense, well start objecting. Right now.
And then I look at the polls [of the nations Democrats], she is up to 40 percent. What is the disconnect? Explain it to me. Why is Hillary doing so well in the general population but the cognoscenti, the people around Washington and New York, the people that really read the papers, really keep up, really follow politics, have this complicated problem with Hillary?
MATTHEWS (2/19/07): Let me ask you, David Axelrod—let me just try to make a proposition to you. On behalf of our producers here and everybody that works at MSNBC, we would like a lot to have your candidate, Barack Obama, to sit—the junior senator from Illinois—be our guest, our special guest on a town meeting with college students at some college, perhaps, of his choice. Certainly a good college. And we would to love him in the round with the students for an hour, like we did with John McCain and we have done with other candidates, including Hillary Clinton in the past, and Rudy Giuliani and the others. We have tried to get everybody. We would really like to get Barack Obama. You dont have to answer today.Yes, Matthews has had other pols on his tour; but no, he has never beg-invited a guest in this manner. As he continued, the shape of the future was clear in his grovel:
MATTHEWS (continuing directly): Well, we will pay for it, and it is very expensive, but it will be a well-lighted room and he get a chance to answer questions for a full hour in front of students, and they will get involved with him. And I think it is a great platform for a guy who, clearly, according to my kids, and maybe me too—the kid in me—appeals to the youth of America and the young at heart. There is no doubt what you say is true. He does draw on something deeply good about this country.Kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss! Matthews friends (theyre part of the cognoscenti) just cant stand the thought of Vile Clinton. But his kids—and yes, the kid within—think that Obama does draw on something deeply good about this country.
MATTHEWS (7/29/99): Is Al Gore just incapable of putting, like, one foot in front of the other in this campaign? Hes a professional politician—Ever the high-brow intellectual, Matthews compared Gore to a sci-fi monster. And, as always, more was coming. Mary Boyle, former Dem Senate candidate from Ohio, said that Gore had appeared in Cleveland that day. Matthews continued his onslaught:
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah. Hes awful.
MATTHEWS: —who acts like an amateur. I dont get it. Did you ever see the movie Altered States? I mean, his face is, like, getting contorted in some of these—theres bubbles coming out of his forehead!
MATTHEWS: What mode was he in? Was he in, was he in the quiet mode, or that sort of Clutch Cargo craziness he gets into, or was heNo wonder Matthews glances about and believes hes part of the cognoscenti! In the two segments of this program which dealt with Gore, Matthews said that Gore had the shakes; called him Bill Clintons bathtub ring; and said that he was a square and loser. He said that Gore was a little too clock-like. He said that Gore was pandering to women because he supported the right to choose. He said that Gore was into robotics. (He landed hard on Boyle, and on Norah ODonnell, when they tried to challenge his ridicule.) At one point, he ridiculed Boyle for her defense of Gore, saying that, in explaining his point, he would be talking like Al Gore, very slowly, like Mr. Rogers. He said that Gore is acting like hes made out of metal—not just wood, metal. In time, he returned to his Clutch Cargo theme. Why was Bush polling well among women? After showing more tape of Gore, Matthews thought he might have the answer:
BOYLE: No, no, but he was
MATTHEWS: —or was he in the Altered States where the head starts to bubble? What state was he in today?
MATTHEWS: Well, could it be that—that George W. Bush seems like a spontaneous human male, rather than a windup robot, like that performance we just saw? That wasnt a human performance He doesnt behave now like—he behaves like a windup Clutch Cargo cartoon character. I wouldnt think that would appeal to the other gender. Just guessing.Gore went on to win 54 percent of the womens vote, compared to Bushs 43. But so what? This sort of thing went on for two years as this utterly stupid man earned his way into the hearts (and wallets) of Jack Welchs cognoscenti. This Sunday, Gore will likely share an Academy Award for a film about his brilliant work on warming. But back when it mattered, Matthews compared Gore to the star of a horror film—and to Clutch Cargo, a cartoon.
MATTHEWS (10/12/99): That strikes me as virtual reality. Theres a man—Ben Jones, you were a congressman—where he, hes reading every word from his script! And then it must say in his script, Now walk out from behind the lectern and start slashing on—your arms, talking about slashing. And he did it almost like an automaton, like thats what Churchill once said of Molotov, you know, the, the closest thing to a human robot.To his credit, Jones didnt seem to know how to react to such an utterly bizarre presentation. But Hardballs host was inventive in trashing Gore—and in fleshing out Bradleys high character. On that September 7 show, for example, Matthews had surely set a new record for ludicrous fawning. By now, the host—a member of the cognoscenti, youll recall— was puffing Bill Bradley quite hard:
FINEMAN (9/7/99): [Bradleys] straight out of central casting in the old-fashioned sense: well-credentialedDid you follow that? According to Matthews, Bradleys hairline and five oclock shadow showed him to be a real guy. And, for the deeply scholarly Matthews, Bradleys hairline was no passing fancy. It came up again when Fineman returned to Hardball two weeks later:
FINEMAN: Sports hero
FINEMAN: Fellowship of Christian Athletes when he was young, the whole nine yards. So what he offers Democrats is a chance to keep the Democrats in the White House.
MATTHEWS: I think that five oclock shadow, by the way, and the receding hairline are big pluses with men. Just guessing. Just guessing. He looks like a real guy.
MATTHEWS (9/21/99; playing tape of Bradley): I think hes doing—hes gonna do much better [than Gore] among men. And I think that receding hairline of his is gonna be a lot more popular than Clintons Maginot Line hairline, because a lot of guys say they cant figure out Clinton because he never seems to lose any hair. And look at this guy, Bradley. He looks like a regular guy youd bump into.Again, Bradleys hairline made him a regular guy. Two nights later, Matthews spoke with Peter Maas—and he raised the subject again:
MATTHEWS (9/23/99): Well, what do you make of the guy up there in New York, where youre at—what do you make of guys like Dollar Bill Bradley, the gritty NBA star that goes out on the court with guys like Russell and Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson? And heres a gritty, real guy with a receding hairline. He looks like a real guy. He looks like Bruce Willis, not Pierce Brosnan or Mel Gibson. Do you think were gonna go back to that era of looking for guys that are real guys?Luckily, Maas understood what Matthews wanted, so he was able to pander in turn. Were looking for the genuine article, is what were looking for, he dumbly replied. But then, inane conversation about Bradleys authenticity were sweeping through the press at this time. Even those outside the cohort, like crime writer Maas, understood the themes of this brainless new drama. Or maybe its just that Maas is part of Matthews east coast cognoscenti too.
MATTHEWS (7/21/99): Is he the bathtub ring of the Clinton administration?Indeed, Gore was taking a hit for Clinton—on Hardball, every damn night.
REP. PETER KING: He really is. The residue, whatever—you know, whatever term you want to use, yeah.
MATTHEWS: Well, thats not a very nice one. If you can come up with a better one, Ill start using it, but for right now Im saying bathtub ring because I think he is taking a hit for Clintons zaniness of the year before.