THEY CANT BE EMBARRASSED: One of this mornings letters come from a professor of anthropology and international relations. A second letter comes from a professor of Arabic and Islamic studies. The president of the Islamic Society of North America also wrote inalong with an American Muslim who lives in Woodbridge, New Jersey.
This morning, the New York Times prints five different letters about Edward Luttwaks recent columnthe one in which Luttwak weirdly referred (among other things) to Barack Obamas conversion to Christianity. (The column appeared beneath an unfortunate headline: President Apostate. It asked us to picture Obamas beheading. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/12/08.) And guess what? Not one letter supports Luttwaks point of view about the (rather tangential) matter on which he so clumsily opined. Apparently, the New York Times didnt get any letters saying that Luttwak was right.
Here at THE HOWLER, we were struck by Luttwaks exceptionally clumsy constructions, and by his exceptionally ghoulish imagery. This morning, specialists write to tell the Times that he was full of old shoes on the merits. Five letters appear; they all say he was wrong. And heres the headline under which this embarrassing shut-out appear:
Frank Talk About Obama and Islam
Unfortunate Talk would have been more like it. Extremely Irresponsible Talk might have worked. But nothing has ever embarrassed the Times, and it seems that nothing ever will. If its further proof you seek, well suggest that you just keep reading:
DREAMS FROM HER FATHER: By law, his name must be Barry, not Barack. (Barry must appear in the headline.) And, of course, he must be portrayed as a diffident debutante. You see, as Gore was lactatingas Edwards was the Breck Girlso Obama has been cast as a starlet. The low-IQ Times, which cant be embarrassed, sits by and lets this go on.
(Seeking the endless distractions of word-play, will she eventually turn to Barack Girl? Readers! There are six months to go!)
But lets agree to put Maureen Dowds lunar yodeling off to one side. As her mind continues to go, Dowd increasingly lives in the past. This morning, were handed a puzzling story from the 1930sa story which helps us grasp the way (a few of) We Irish reach journalistic insights.
Dreaming nightmares of West Virginia, Dowd found her mind drifting off to the past. Soon, the nuttiest of the entire Dowd clan was typing an old family chestnut:
DOWD (5/14/08): My father, in West Virginia once on business, found his car had been flipped over by some locals furious about a sign on it supporting the first Catholic Democratic nominee, Al Smith.
Say what? Smith was the first Catholic Democratic nominee in 1928! Typing further, Dowd fleshed out the hoary old tale:
DOWD: On my fathers trip, he was threatened by a man who asked him about rumors that President Roosevelt was in a wheelchair and threatened to thrash any man who said so. My dad, a detective who served on protective details for F.D.R., assured the ruffian that Roosevelt was a fine, athletic man.
Say what? If the ruffian asked about President Roosevelt, this happened in 1933 at the earliest. At that late date, why would Daddy Dearests car still carry a sign supporting Al Smith? We dont have the slightest idea. Did this incident actually happen? Its certainly possible. But we want you to see the secret thinking that is lurking here.
We told you not too long ago that certain (small) throwback bands of We Irish still tend to scorn the white south. For an example, we gave you Jimmy Breslin in 1999, trashing Candidate Gore as a race-baiting southerner. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/2/08). Are we happy with how that turned out?) Why are We Irish so down on the white rabble south? Of course! As Dowd helps us see in this current ramble, its because some white southerners once hated We Catholics! Today, she journeys back seventy years for a stirring example. But then, as she has explained before, such thoughts never leave her crowds minds:
DOWD (5/20/98): Here is what you need to know about the Irish soul.
We are an unforgiving people. We believe in the Evil Eye. We like to fight. We don't like to compromise. We lie in wait for the worst. We lurk about in the past.
When I first moved to New York, I called my mother to tell her I was going to stay in a residential hotel called the Oliver Cromwell. There was a long pause, then tearful anger. "He encouraged his soldiers to throw babies up in the air and impale them on their swords as they came down," she snapped. I found another hotel. In Irish time, 1651 and 1981 were only moments apart.
We are an unforgiving people, she wrote, slandering many who arent crazy/nuts. But in her endless demonizations, she seems determined to prove this about herself. She seems angry at Barry, for things she cant say. Before that, though, she was angry at Al. After that, at the funny gay Breck Girl.
You see, Dowd is deeply, grimly disturbed. Perhaps consumed by her various manias, she also doesnt seem to get the politics of this November.
If he becomes the Dem nominee, will Obama try to win West Virginia? For better or worse, well guess that he wont. No, a Democrat doesnt have to win the state. In 2000, Gore lost West Virginia to Bush by 6.3 points (Kerry lost it by 12.9). But he would have gone to the White House with New Hampshire, or Ohioor with Florida. (Or with Colorado, or with Virginiastates Obama will likely contest.) But this morning, Dowd dumbly presents West Virginia as a state [Obama] will need in the fall. She pesters poor Charlie Peters about Dear Jacks race in 1960and she shares her loopy tale about a ruffian who hated Al Smith.
Why wont Obama contest West Virginia? For starters, well make this guess: Guns. The NRA murdered Gore in the state over minor proposals, and Obama has that questionnaire from Illinois, in which he said he support[ed] state legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns. (For background, just click here.) No, that isnt his position today. But well be amazed if that questionnaire isnt pursued in some states this fall. (The vile/vicious Clinton campaign hasnt gone there. Well guess that others will.) Ditto with Obamas account, in Dreams from My Father, of the first sermon he saw Reverend Wright give. Well guess again: That passage will be pimped around in the fall. (The Clinton campaign hasnt done so.) In some states, that pimping will hurt.
Will Obama contest West Virginia this fall? At this point, well guess that he wont. But Dowd is too busy dressing her doll as a girl to understand her field of discourse. Today, shes telling old stories about Dear Jackand about someone who engaged in car-tipping. And of course, shes telling the world that another Dem Male is just a big girljust a debutante.
Already out of her mind by 2000, she told us that Gore was practically lactating. The Times let her spill her crackpot bilethe crackpot bile of her throwback subgroup. We are unforgiving, this stone crackpot typed. Are we happy with what that produced?
FRIEND OF DOWD: In the acknowledgments to Are Men Necessary? Dowd cited Chris Matthews as one of her infinitely creative and giving friends. Theres a tremendous amount of cracked pottery in this influential, profoundly cracked group.
And yes: In Campaign 2000, these highly influential people did change American history.
In the next day or two, well share another moment from that campaign in which Matthews presented his outlook on Dems. The notion that this man might run for the Senate as a Demwell, its simply astounding.