DOWD (4/21/07): Whether or not the country is ready to elect a woman president or a black president, it's definitely not ready for a metrosexual in chief.Try to grasp what this columnist seems to have said. According to the barely sane Maureen Dowd, John Kerry lost the 2004 White House campaign because he requested Swiss cheese—instead of Cheez Whiz—when he ordered a cheese steak in Philly. Similarly, George Bush the Elder supposedly drove his New Hampshire campaign off the road by requesting a splash more coffee.)
In presidential politics, it's all but impossible to put the man into manicure. Be sensitive, but not soft. Effete is never effective. Not much has changed since George H. W. Bush drove his New Hampshire campaign off the road by requesting ''a splash'' more coffee at a truck stop.
John Kerry sank himself by windsurfing in spandex and ordering a cheese steak in Philly with Swiss instead of Cheez Whiz.
DOWD: Speaking of roots, my dad, a police detective who was in charge of Senate security, got haircuts at the Senate barbershop for 50 cents. He cut my three brothers' hair and did the same for anyone else in the neighborhood who wanted a free clip job. Even now, Mr. Edwards could get his hair cut at the Senate barbershop for $21 or the Chapel Hill Barber Shop near his campaign headquarters for $16.Its hard to know how any of this leads back to the habits of Maureen Dowds dad. Meanwhile, Dowd herself has written columns about what perfect crackpots her brothers are, so its hard to see why were now supposed to emulate their hoary upbringing.
So it's hard for me to understand how a guy could spend $400 without getting Bergdorf Blonde highlights. (The tabloids claim that Brad and Jen used to get matching streaks.) And don't campaign donors get snippy about sponsoring tonsorial treats?
DOWD (continuing directly): Someone who aspires to talk credibly about the two Americas can't lavish on his locks what working families may spend on electricity in a year. You can't sell earnestness while indulging in decadence.Get that? According to Dowd, Edwards cant talk credibly about working-class or poverty issues if hes spending too much for his haircut. Plainly, this is the basic idea Dowd presents in this latest column.
DOWD (continuing directly): Mr. Edwards, the son of a mill worker, moved from a $5.2 million, six-bedroom Federal mansion in Georgetown to a 28,000-square-foot behemoth in North Carolina with a basketball court, a squash court, two stages and a swimming pool.Did you follow the reasoning here? John Edwards lives in a very big house! And his daughter co-founded a web site!
His 25-year-old daughter, Cate, a former editorial assistant for Vanity Fair, co-founded Urbanista, an online Rolodex that dispenses advice for ''hip'' girls in Manhattan, offering to be a ''bestie'' (a best friend) and answer questions like ''Where should I go to get my Marc Jacobs shoes reheeled?'' and ''Does anyone know the best place to get a really great haircut?'' One salon the site recommends is Warren-Tricomi, where Edward Tricomi says haircuts range from $121 to $300.
DOWD: Following his star turn primping his hair for two minutes on a YouTube video to the tune of ''I Feel Pretty,'' Mr. Edwards this week had to pay back the $800 charged to his campaign for two shearings at Torrenueva Hair Designs in Beverly Hills. He seems intent on proving that he is a Breck Girl—and a Material Boy.Yes, she had to include her standard gender-based jibes about Edwards feeling pretty and being the Breck Girl. But consider the way Dowd hissed/spat about the Pink Sapphire—the pricey Manchester spa.
He did not pony up for the pricey bills from Designworks Salon in Dubuque, Iowa, or the Pink Sapphire spa in Manchester, which offers services for men that include the ''Touch of Youth'' facial, as well as trips ''into the intriguing world of makeup.'' The Edwards campaign calls makeup a legitimate expense.
WHITSON (4/18/07): Franggos said she thinks Edwards...is being damned for something every politician does: apply makeup before surrendering to the scrutiny of TV cameras.Duh! Presumably, every politician has makeup applied before he or she does a TV interview. If the candidate is being interviewed from a remote location, he must hire a makeup person himself. And yes, such people do pretty much get paid. Did Edwards pay big crazy money to Franggos (pricey bills)? Sorry. Heres the start of Whitsons report:
In fact, it's unlikely a national candidate has participated in a debate or formal interview au natural since Richard Nixon's infamous meltdown while pitted against John F. Kennedy in 1960.
WHITSON (pgh 1): Reports that a local day spa for women did John Edwards' makeup for $225 are, like the candidate's hair, greatly overblown.No one has challenged this information, which means that Franggos charged Edwards $75 per session—sessions for which she presumably had to travel to Edwards location. No, that isnt a high, shocking rate—and Edwards isnt the only political hopeful who has paid such pricey bills from Franggos. Uh-oh! Guess who else has been made up by Franggos? Omigod! Its just too perfect! Our greatest living saint, John McCain!
Ariana Franggos, co-owner of Pink Sapphire on Elm Street, said yesterday she's applied makeup for the Democratic Presidential candidate several times in recent months before television appearances, and $225 covers about three sessions.
Franggos, who has run the makeup boutique and day spa for three years, said she's carved out a niche for herself through contacts at WMUR-TV. After applying makeup for employees there, she said, word got out and political hopefuls have come calling.
WHITSON (continuing directly): Both sides of the aisle are welcome.Omigod! The dragon-lady from the pricey Pink Sapphire made McCain look pretty too! And she even did Dennis Kucinich! Maybe he needs to shut up now too!
"I literally don't talk politics," she said. "I just go in and do their makeup."
Franggos made John McCain look pretty and hid the flaws on Dennis Kucinich. "I'm definitely not picky about it," she said, referring to political party.
DOWD (4/3/88): Mr. Bush earned his chance [to run for president], and he is well suited to the Republican Party's sense of order. He jokes that he has been keeping his charisma in check for eight years so as not to overshadow Mr. Reagan. But in the end, being a good soldier was more important than glamour and gumption. When Mr. Bush did make a preppy gaffe—like asking for ''a splash more coffee'' at a New Hampshire truck stop, or explaining that he lost a straw poll in Iowa because his backers preferred to attend ''coming-out parties— most Republicans merely shrugged.Huh! So Bushs (alleged) remark didnt destroy his campaign! By last Saturday, Dowd had flipped on this fact, weirdly saying that Bush somehow drove his campaign off the road by making that splash-of-coffee comment. For the record, heres a more definitive citation by Dowd, from the fall of 88. As usual, her work this day was completely inane, but it did nail down her account of the facts. Again, this was a species of news report. She wasnt yet writing a column:
DOWD (9/22/88): George Bush will never completely shake his Topsider accent. Only recently, after hearing the name of a woman who is a reporter for Time magazine and had interviewed him on foreign affairs, he smiled in recognition and said, ''Ah, yes, the arms control lass.''With apologies: If there were a daily newspaper called The Cuckoos Nest Times, thats exactly the type of report wed expect to find there.
Still, he must be given credit for trying to avoid Ivy-speak on the campaign trail. Sitting down the other day at the counter of the Glenwood Diner in New Jersey, he ordered some coffee. He did not, however, ask for ''a splash'' of the brew, as he did last February at Cuzzin Richie's truckstop in New Hampshire. This time he spoke up as proudly and carefully as Eliza Doolittle at the Ascot races: Could we,'' he asked the owner, ''have a little coffee, please?''
WITT (2/17/88): George Bush, the formal, patrician Republican whose presidential bid had been thrown into sudden peril with a trouncing in Iowa, stood in the lot at Cuzzin Richie's truckstop.In fact, Bushs polls began improving after the session at Cuzzin Richies. On Saturday, Dowd advanced her columns theme by pretending that Bush had doomed himself when he (allegedly) asked for that splash of coffee. In real time, pundits said the outing at Richies helped save his slumping campaign.
"This is the real me," he insisted, climbing into the cab of an 18-wheeler. "This is my home turf."
It was three days after the vice president had been crushed in an embarrassing third-place finish in last week's Iowa caucuses. Bob Dole, riding the wave out of Iowa, was surging here in New Hampshire.
But then came the new George Bush and his new campaign. With a U-turn in style and approach, Bush came back and blunted Dole's surge with a big victory in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.
Evans Witt, Associated PressAll reported from Cuzzin Richies. Most of them mentioned Bush drinking joe. But no one mentioned a splash of coffee remark. That report surfaced six days later, in a column by William Safire. And as this cohort often does, Safire employed a key weasel word:
Gerald Boyd, New York Times
David Hoffmann, Washington Post
Philip Lentz, Chicago Tribune
Cathleen Decker, Los Angeles Times
Philip Gailey, St. Petersburg Times
Catherine Woodard, Newsday
SAFIRE (2/18/88): The Republicans are sorting themselves out ideologically, too. George Bush came back from the dead by posing as a non-moderate, inveighing against taxation and even dredging up old Barry Goldwater to demonstrate his right-wingedness, but in his heart we know he's a centrist. (And his yuppiness cannot be suppressed: when asked in a working-class lunchroom if he wanted more coffee, the Vice President reportedly replied, ''Just a splash.)Bush reportedly made this remark, Safire said—without saying who had reported the comment. According to current Nexis archives, Dowd became the second scribe to cite this alleged remark on April 3 of that year (see quote above)—and she left out reportedly. But did Bush actually make this remark? We dont have the slightest idea. In 2004, after all, Dowd invented the bogus claim that Kerry had made that NASCAR remark (Who among us doesnt love NASCAR?). It wasnt true, but it fit the script, and it too is now semi-iconic. As far as we can tell, no one ever nailed down the facts of Bushs alleged Cuzzin Richies comment. Indeed, in the fall of 1988, two AP reporters told the world that Bush had asked for a splash of tea during his sojourn at Richies:
ROTHBERG (9/21/88): A product of privilege who grew up in the moneyed confines of Greenwich, Conn., the son of a banker and U.S. senator, Bush became the butt of jibes about his gee-whiz preppiness during the 1980 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination...Had Bush really asked for a splash of tea? No one reported that comment in real time either, and Rothberg and Knutson hadnt been present. In real time, Catherine Woodard did report the following comment, in Newsday. Lets face it—given the way your press corps works, this could be where this story began:
So often during the past eight years, Bush was seen publicly struggling to shuck that image.
"This is the real me," he told reporters at Cuzzin Richie's truckstop in Greenland, N.H., as he climbed into the cab of an 18-wheeler. "This is my home turf."
Moments earlier, inside the wood-frame, single-story restaurant, this patrician trucker had prepared to hit the road by ordering "a splash of tea."
KNUTSON (11/9/88): Bush has sought to conceal his Eastern Establishment heritage with humor, occasional annoyance and some good-ole-boy gestures that don't always ring true.
"There's a tendency to have you fit into a mold," Bush complained this year. "The mold for me is a kind of Ivy League elitist, and I resist it."
He resisted by climbing behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer in New Hampshire and announcing that he liked fried pork rinds. "This is the real me," he said. "This is my home turf."
But try as he might, Bush had a hard time disguising his preppy origins.
Just before his highly publicized truck ride, Bush loped into a cafe and asked the waitress to bring him "a splash of tea."
WOODARD (2/12/88): [F]or most of the day, Bush asked as many questions as he gave answers.One more swallow, Bush was quoted saying, in real time, by someone who was present.
"Do you ever get home?" Bush asked as he sat down beside Tennessee trucker Ricky Grindstaff at the counter of Cuzzin Richie's truck stop in Greenland.
"One more swallow and I'll be out of your way," Bush said as he finished a cup of coffee and a brief conversation. He wished Grindstaff a safe trip back to Johnson City, Tenn., and turned to discuss blue fishing with a trucker from Maine.
DOWD (9/2/04): Unlike the arrogant Boston Kerry strategists, who focus-grouped and dial-a-metered their convention to death, scrubbing most of the direct attacks on President Bush, the arrogant Austin Bush strategists have encouraged their non-girlie-men speakers to put the pedal to the metal and flatten the poor Democrat who is windsurfing through his free fall.> But uh-oh! Back in 2003, Kerry had mentioned his wind-surfing to a Washington Post reporter. To Dowd, it was a laughable thing—but the problem had been somewhat different. What was wrong with wind-surfing in 2003? Of course! Kerry was trying to prove he was macho when he mentioned the manly sport:
DOWD (9/12/04): In Westerns, the heroes are men of smoke-'em-out edicts and action, played out in gorges on their ranches; in Easterns, the heroes have windy, nuanced dialogue, delivered with a lockjaw in mansions on Beacon Hill and on windsurfing expeditions off Nantucket.
DOWD (6/8/03): The Democrats are trying hard to sprout hair on their chests.In 2003, wind-surfing was a manly deed. (And Edwards was the Breck Girl, of course.) One year later, it had become the sport of eastern fops. By last Saturday, it was soooo metrosexual.
They have to compete with the Bush buckoes to show they can be even more aggressive in fighting terrorist vermin than the cowboy in chief and his shoot-'em-up-now-and-check-for-weapons-later posse.
And so John Kerry toted up his manly deeds for Laura Blumenfeld of The Washington Post: hunting doves, gutting deer, riding a Harley, playing ice hockey, snowboarding, windsurfing, kitesurfing, Purple Hearting. (The only thing poor Joe Lieberman has is speeding and not wearing a seat belt, and the Breck Girl, as the Bushies call John Edwards, merely musters limp trash talk: "Mr. President: Bring it on.")
VISIT OUR INCOMPARABLE ARCHIVES: Readers, no one is more effete than the gang of overpaid press corps poodles who think that Dowd is some sort of seer. Could they possibly be more disconnected from the real events of our lives?
In 1999, Dowd was profiled by Brills Content. What did Dowd once tell Joe Klein when he suggested that she explore some real issues? We got Kleins account—and it rang very true. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/5/07. Scroll down to WIKIDOWDIA.
In that same profile, Jay Gervey quoted one of Dowds early Times editors explaining how he first spotted her talent. In fact, her insight couldnt have been more insipid. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/7/07. Scroll down to STILL RIDING WITH COULTER.
No one is more effete than the poodles who think that Dowd is some sort of genius. But as we so often see from such Antoinettes, they love to sit about, simpering hard, pretending that others are very much like them. They can tell that Edwards is fake and effete because of his daughters former web site. Is any other cohort this mean and this dumb? Any other group in our world?