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Daily Howler: Pssst! McCain was made up by the Pink Sapphire too! And it's time for Dowd to go
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IT’S TIME FOR [DOWD] TO GO! Pssst! McCain was made up by the Pink Sapphire too! And it’s time for Dowd to go: // link // print // previous // next //
MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2007

STARTING TOMORROW—GREGORY’S WORLD: In this cover story from the Washington Monthly, T. A. Frank wryly observes the ways of the modern D.C. “power couple.” By chance, we’d been semi-researching one of Frank’s couples for the past month or several. We’d been intrigued by issues of wealth and insider connection within the Washington press corps.

We’ll start a four-part report tomorrow. Our report concerns a better-than-average Washington journalist and his highly accomplished, superstar wife. (On kooky-con sites, she’s occasionally trashed for supposed Dem Party ties. And yes, she donates to Democrats.) We’d guess that both people are very nice; the gentleman is exceptionally funny. But the Washington press corps almost never discusses the actual world of the Washington press corps, especially when it comes to issues of massive wealth and insider connection. For that reason, we think our report—about two decent people—will be well worth scrolling.

IT’S TIME FOR [DOWD] TO GO: Try to believe what the columnist said. Here are the first three grafs of her Saturday column. Try to believe that she actually made the ludicrous statement we highlight:
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.

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.
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.”)

Yes—that actually is what Dowd said. The fact that she could make such foolish remarks points to a national problem.

Make no mistake, Kerry was damaged by silly stories during Campaign 04. (Below, we’ll take note of Dowd’s flip-flop about his disturbing wind-surfing.) But no—Kerry didn’t lose the 04 campaign because he once asked for Swiss cheese on a steak. Only a fool could think such a thing. And only a fool would make this claim in the manner Dowd does in her column—without the slightest sign of understanding how bizarre such a thought really is.

Kerry lost—because he asked for Swiss cheese! In paragraph 2, the scribe said that!

But then, Dowd has long been a public fool—one of your “press corps’” leading idiots. Just a guess: It has been years since Dowd made a sincere statement in a Times column; for her, as for so many in her sad cohort, our politics really is “fun,” “entertainment” and “sport,” as Margaret Carlson told Imus. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/16/03. Scroll down to “Howler history.”) Is Maureen Dowd ever sincere in the various weird things she says? Can she even recall what sincerity is? Her columns are endlessly loaded with nonsense—with cat-like quips which define her throw-back style, and her gross insincerity.

No, Kerry didn’t lose in 2004 because he asked for Swiss on a cheese steak. But then, George H. W. Bush didn’t “drive his New Hampshire campaign off the road by requesting ‘a splash’ more coffee at a truck stop,” as Dowd claimed in Saturday’s paragraph 2. As we’ll show you below, it isn’t clear that Bush even made this iconic remark—it may be another of Dowd’s invented “quotations.” And Bush ended up winning that 1988 New Hampshire primary—and then the nomination, and then the White House. Indeed, Bush’s stop at that New Hampshire truck stop was often cited, in 1988, as the moment when he salvaged a failing campaign! But so what? Today, Dowd reinvents this apocryphal incident, in service to her endless hiss-spitting at Edwards. But then, Dowd has long self-displayed as an empty-souled fool. If we care a fig about our discourse, it’s time for her to go.

Below, we hash a few aspects of Dowd’s newest column. But readers, let’s get one thing straight. If you think your country’s discourse matters, it’s time for this crackpot to go.

ANTOINETTE’S LATEST PRONOUNCEMENT: How foolish is the latest pronouncement from our press corps’ number-one Antoinette? In Saturday’s column, Dowd pretends to be deeply disturbed by the price of John Edwards’ haircuts. (And make-up.) But uh-oh! She has her facts wrong, as she constantly does, and her logic doesn’t make much sense either. How dare he spend so much for a haircut? For Dowd, it leads her back to her dad in the blessed ’50s—and to her crazy brothers:
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.

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?
It’s hard to know how any of this leads back to the habits of Maureen Dowd’s dad. Meanwhile, Dowd herself has written columns about what perfect crackpots her brothers are, so it’s hard to see why we’re now supposed to emulate their hoary upbringing.

But then, the foolishness is never far off when you read a column by Dowd. One part of that passage is pure Dowdism: Edwards could have gotten his cut at the Senate shop, she says—except for the fact he was in California! Of course, there are cheaper ways to get a haircut there than the one Edwards actually chose. Which leads us ahead to Dowd’s great pronouncement—her Current Great Thought on the world:
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 can’t “talk credibly” about working-class or poverty issues if he’s spending too much for his haircut. Plainly, this is the basic idea Dowd presents in this latest column.

Of course, according to this brand of “logic,” Bobby Kennedy couldn’t “talk credibly” about poverty in Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta. After all, he lived in a big, fancy house—a Virginia mansion which had its own name—and he was frequently spotted on fancy sailboats. And FDR couldn’t “talk credibly” about Social Security from his grand manse in Hyde Park. What actually happened in California? Getting his hair cut on the fly, Edwards called a dude who traveled to him—and charged a very high price. From this point of utter trivia, the press corps’ leading Antoinette is prepared to draw a vast, sweeping judgment. As she continues, she helps us see how fake this guy actually is. Be sure you’re seated before you read this. It also helps if you’ve been drugged:
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.

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.
Did you follow the reasoning here? John Edwards lives in a very big house! And his daughter co-founded a web site!

Pathetic, isn’t it? Now we’re trashing a major pol as a big faker/phony—based on something completely innocuous which his daughter (allegedly) did. But then, there’s nothing so stupid this cohort won’t say it, if it can be used to advance their grand theories. On Christmas Eve 1999, for example, the Post’s Al Kamen declared Gore a big phony because of the photographic process used on his family’s Christmas card! (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/24/99.) Here at THE HOWLER, we received that card; it looked very much like the Christmas cards which other smiling families send out. So let’s repeat: There’s nothing so stupid these people won’t say. That’s why it’s time for their most foolish prophet to pack her pink satchel and go.

Should Edwards have paid big bucks for a haircut? Politically, no—he should not have. Given the state of our modern “press corps,” this kind of coverage was sure to follow. But only a fool could actually think that a man who lives in a big house (or who pays big bucks for a cut-on-the-run) is therefore unable to “speak credibly” about his nation’s alleged economic inequities. Dowd, of course, doesn’t care about that sort of thing (link below); like other people who care about nothing, she often seems eager to make the claim that no one else cares about anything either. But the notion that Edwards can’t “speak credibly” about such issues because of a web site his daughter(allegedly) co-founded? Only a fool could produce such mean thoughts. And that’s why these losers must go.

BRIEF INTERLUDE: Remember; when people like Dowd pursue such nonsense, they tend to do so very selectively. Have you ever seen work done on John McCain’s money? On the house he lives in with his (rich) second wife? Have you ever seen a column about how much Bush’s suits cost? Do you think a columnist couldn’t invent a story-line to justify that kind of nonsense?

THE SAINT AND THE SAPPHIRE: And then, of course, as we’ve long shown you, the facts will always get ground into dust when losers like Dowd seek to pimp their Grand Visions. Such “journalists” always reshape their facts. Consider this piece of High Dowdism:
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.

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.
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.

How insincere is Dowd’s outraged passage about this deeply-troubling spa? Start with this: Edwards didn’t get that “Touch of Youth” facial—the facial Dowd lovingly puts in her column. And while we’re at it, how about Dowd’s logic in the last part of that passage? In fact, we’d assume that every campaign considers makeup for TV appearances “a legitimate campaign expense”—and that, of course, is what Edwards purchased. Does anyone go on TV without makeup? This brings us to the newspaper story which appeared in New Hampshire this Wednesday, and then was quickly deep-sixed.

Wednesday morning, the Manchester Union-Leader–one of the country’s most conservative newspapers–rolled its eyes at the “Pink Sapphire” part of this developing story. In a front-page news report, John Whitson quoted Ariana Franggos, the Manchester woman who did Edwards’ makeup. Whitson then made an obvious point:
WHITSON (4/18/07): Franggos said she thinks being damned for something every politician does: apply makeup before surrendering to the scrutiny of TV cameras.

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.
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. Here’s the start of Whitson’s report:
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.

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.
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 isn’t a high, shocking rate—and Edwards isn’t the only “political hopeful” who has paid such “pricey bills” from Franggos. Uh-oh! Guess who else has been made up by Franggos? Omigod! It’s just too perfect! Our greatest living saint, John McCain!
WHITSON (continuing directly): Both sides of the aisle are welcome.

"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.
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!

Let’s repeat—Whitson’s report graced the Union-Leader’s front page Wednesday morning. In it, he rolled his eyes at the way the “Pink Sapphire and its $225 services were lumped into the mix” when the AP wrote its initial report about Edwards’ troubling haircuts. But Whitson’s debunking report was ignored in DC; it wasn’t picked up by the Hotline, for example, and Nexis records no other citations anywhere in the national press. Result? Three days later, Dowd was still describing the pretty-boy services Edwards didn’t purchase from the Pink Sapphire. And she forgot to say that McCain and Kucinich had used the spa’s makeup work too.

But then, they always reinvent and select their facts to produce their pleasing, dumb-as-rocks stories. Dowd has done this for year after year. If you doubt that, let’s revisit her work in 1988, when she was still a Times reporter.

This takes us back to that truck stop visit by Candidate Bush in 1988—the one Dowd described in paragraph 2 of Saturday’s column. According to Dowd’s hiss/spitting account, Bush the Elder “drove his New Hampshire campaign off the road by requesting ‘a splash’ more coffee at a truck stop.” This claim is just completely bogus, like so much of the tripe Dowd writes. But then, Dowd has long been just this side of delusional. Unless you think our lives are a joke, it’s time for this big kook to go.

Howler history: Making a splash!

JUST AS IT EVER WAS: Simply put, Maureen Dowd lives to novelize facts in service to various dumb-as-rocks stories. In late 1997, for example, she and Frank Rich invented the claim that Al Gore said he inspired Love Story—a silly and inaccurate claim which was used to trash Gore for two solid years during Campaign 2000. In 2004, she invented a bogus “quotation” by Kerry (“Who among us doesn’t love NASCAR?”). No, Kerry never said it, but it made its way through her blinkered newspaper, with Kerry being mocked every time—for the thing which he just hadn’t said. But sometimes, Dowd reinvents to mock big Republicans too—especially when it helps her drive some stupid claim about a Big Democrat. That’s what happened in Saturday’s column. These fops are all alike, she said. Bush and Kerry killed themselves by being “effete,” just as Pretty-Boy Edwards is doing.

No, this incident doesn’t matter a whole lot today. But let’s review the facts behind Dowd’s absurd claim that “George H. W. Bush drove his New Hampshire campaign off the road by requesting ‘a splash’ more coffee at a truck stop.”

Clearly, Dowd refers to Bush’s famous visit to Cuzzin Richie’s—a truck stop/diner in Greenland, New Hampshire—on February 11, 1988. Did Bush really “drive his New Hampshire campaign off the road” by this visit? Uh-oh! Two months later, in a front-page news report, Dowd referred to the candidate’s visit to Cuzzin Richie’s—as she explained how Bush rallied from defeat in the Iowa caucuses to win his party’s nomination! “Political savants who had been snickering at George Bush for years and predicting that he would dissolve in a puddle of class anachronisms and shallow support are still struck by his swift and decisive triumph in the Republican race,” she reported. Eventually, she cited Bush’s “preppy gaffe”—the thing he had (supposedly) said at that Granite State truck stop:
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 Bush’s (alleged) remark didn’t 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, here’s 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 wasn’t 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.''

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?''
With apologies: If there were a daily newspaper called The Cuckoo’s Nest Times, that’s exactly the type of report we’d expect to find there.

At any rate, Bush’s visit to Cuzzin Richie’s occurred on February 11, 1988. (This is clear from the February 12 reporting.) Bush went on to win nomination—and the 1988 election. On Saturday, Dowd got a chance to “snicker at Bush” by pretending that he had doomed himself with this (alleged) effete remark—just as Kerry sank himself when he ordered Swiss cheese on that cheese steak.

You really have to be a fool to put such screaming nonsense in print. But let’s review two basic points about the Cuzzin Richie event:

The turning point: No, Candidate Bush didn’t doom his campaign by his (alleged) remark at Richie’s. Indeed, after Bush won his party’s nomination, it became the press corps’ conventional wisdom; his visit to Richie’s had started the comeback which led to his Granite State win. For example, right after Bush won the New Hampshire primary, the AP’s Evans Witt traced the triumph back to his day at Cuzzin Richie’s. At the truck stop, Bush had driven around in an 18-wheeler, thereby showing Granite State voters that he was just one of the boys:
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.

"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.
In fact, Bush’s polls began improving after the session at Cuzzin Richie’s. On Saturday, Dowd advanced her column’s 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 Richie’s helped save his slumping campaign.

Uh-oh! Did he actually say it? All of which raises a troubling question: In point of fact, did Candidate Bush ever ask for that now-famous “splash of coffee?” In the Times, Dowd has referred to the iconic incident nine separate times down through the years; her friend and fellow crackpot, Chris Matthews, luvvs to cite it too. But uh-oh! On February 12, 1988, a string of reporters described Bush’s visit to Cuzzin Richie’s—but no one mentioned the “splash-of-coffee” remark. From the Nexis archives, here are the names of those who reported from Cuzzin Richie’s on February 12. No one cited the iconic comment:
Evans Witt, Associated Press
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
All reported from Cuzzin Richie’s. 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:
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 don’t have the slightest idea. In 2004, after all, Dowd invented the bogus claim that Kerry had made that NASCAR remark (“Who among us doesn’t love NASCAR?”). It wasn’t 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 Bush’s alleged Cuzzin Richie’s 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 Richie’s:
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...

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."
Had Bush really asked for a “splash of tea?” No one reported that comment in real time either, and Rothberg and Knutson hadn’t been present. In real time, Catherine Woodard did report the following comment, in Newsday. Let’s face it—given the way your “press corps” works, this could be where this story began:
WOODARD (2/12/88): [F]or most of the day, Bush asked as many questions as he gave answers.

"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.
“One more swallow,” Bush was quoted saying, in real time, by someone who was present.

We’ll take a guess: That comment by Bush wasn’t silly enough, so the “press corps” got busy “improving” it. It would be much like that bogus Kerry NACSAR remark; Safire might have heard the “report” from Dowd, and Dowd might have taken it onward from there. This past Saturday, the story has been reshaped again; the crackpot Dowd was now telling the world that Bush had cost himself the White House when he made this effete remark. No, it wasn’t actually true—Bush had gained from his truck spot visit. But so what? It helped her pimp a preferred kooky tale—the one about Kerry and Swiss cheese. Readers, how effete could this #sshole possibly be? And John Edwards seems to be like him!

All this in mind, we repeat what we said—if you care about your country, it’s long past time for Dowd to get out. (An engineer would get fired in a truck stop minute for faking facts the way she constantly does.) And yes, this sort of thing really matters. In 1999, the “press corps” went through a similar process; they kept reinventing the things Gore said, and their conduct did incalculable damage. Al Gore said he inspired Love Story! And: Al Gore said he invented the Internet! And: Al Gore said he discovered Love Canal! When they get it into their heads, these people are expert at making sh*t up. If your lives are not the stuff of sick jokes, it’s time for this crackpot to go.

MORE HISTORY—DOWD DOES WIND-SURFING: How big a fake is Dowd? Consider the U-turn she herself pulled on the question of Kerry’s wind-surfing.

By the fall of 2004, Dowd had herself in line with conventional wisdom; on three occasions, she made mocking references to the fact that Kerry went wind-surfing. The problem with the sport was fairly clear; as she implied in Saturday’s column, it was a game for the East Coast effete, not for manly westerners. Two examples:
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.

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.

> 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 (6/8/03): The Democrats are trying hard to sprout hair on their chests.

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.")

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.

Yes, you can torture consistency out of this mess. But readers, one thing is clear; Maureen Dowd is barely sane. If we actually care about our world, it’s long past time for this crackpot to go—and liberals and Dems will have to scream long, loud and hard to make this happen.

Tomorrow, we tip our chapeau to the growing list of libs who are fighting this fight. Omigod! How great it is—how good for the country—to be able to list all these names!

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 Brill’s Content. What did Dowd once tell Joe Klein when he suggested that she explore some real issues? We got Klein’s 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 Dowd’s early Times editors explaining how he first spotted her talent. In fact, her “insight” couldn’t 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 daughter’s former web site. Is any other cohort this mean and this dumb? Any other group in our world?