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Daily Howler: Maureen Dowd heard a very bad word--a word she used to employ
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WHAT MAUREEN HEARD! Maureen Dowd heard a very bad word–a word she used to employ: // link // print // previous // next //
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2009

The price of corporate looting: In this morning’s New York Times, it’s Reed Abelson with the bad news. In fairness, Abelson is simply passing on what the Kaiser Foundation has said:

ABELSON (9/16/09): President Obama may not have much trouble persuading the nearly 160 million people who have health insurance through their employers that the system needs to be fixed, if a new survey of employer health benefits is any indication.

The average cost of a family policy now exceeds $13,000 a year, having doubled over the last decade, according [to] a new survey released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Abelson presents a daunting datum—but he misinterprets it gravely. In fact, Obama could have a lot of trouble persuading those millions of people that the system needs to be fixed. As everyone but Abelson has heard, when you get your insurance through your employer, you may not even know how much your family policy costs. Beyond that, you may not understand that this expense is depressing your wages.

There’s something else you surely don’t understand: You don’t understand how much your policy would cost if the United States spent as much on health care as other developed nations—developed nations whose health outcomes are as good as, or better than, our own.

In part, people don’t understand such a thing because Democrats and liberal intellectual leaders never quite bother to tell them. The late Ted Kennedy never did so. Neither does the quite active James Clyburn. Democratic leaders—and career liberal intellectuals—tend to wander about in a fog. They rarely develop and promote essential, boat-rocking information.

People! It just isn’t done!

Let’s try to develop some semi-information. To wit: How much would that average family policy cost if the United States spent as much on health care as other developed nations? Using the miracle of ratio and proportion, we have developed these figures, based on per-person spending in 2007:

Average cost of a family policy if we spent like other nations (estimates, based on OECD data):
If we spent like Canada: $6900
If we spent like France: $6400
If we spent like Germany: $6400
If we spent like Great Britain: $5300
If we spent like Japan: $5000
If we spent like Italy: $4800
If we spent like Spain: $4800

The average family is throwing away gigantic sums. The average Democrat or liberal never quite remembers to tell them—or to tell them where their money is going. Or to use such naughty words as “looting.”

People! It just isn’t done!

In July, David Leonhardt presented a different set of figures in the New York Times. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/23/09. For Leonhardt’s report, just click this.) According to Leonhardt, this is the amount the “typical household” will spend on health care this year:

Spending on health care, typical household, this year:
In the United States: $15,000
In other rich countries: $8500

On July 22, Leonhardt described the difference between those figures as a “stealth $6500 health care tax.” Since that date, how many Americans have heard that figure? Let’s form a quick guesstimate: None!

The average American is getting looted. The average Democrat is too dumb—or too lazy; or too store-bought—to say so. The average liberal shakes his fist at Joe Wilson (more below). Ain’t life in the idiocracy grand?

“President Obama may not have much trouble?” Here’s our own incomparable question: On which planet will that imagined lack of trouble occur?

Special report: Two days in the life!

PART 3—WHAT MAUREEN HEARD: Last Wednesday, Barack Obama gave a high-profile speech, on a very important topic. Over the weekend, op-ed writers at our biggest newspaper shared their views with the world.

On Sunday. Maureen Dowd took her turn. Amazingly, she passed on Serena’s outburst/Leno’s forthcoming debut and semi-discussed the president’s speech, which concerned a major issue.

Before we consider what Dowd wrote, it’s important to understand how fatuous this Pulitzer Prize-winner is. Consider her account, at the start of this morning’s column, of the proposed health reform:

DOWD (9/16/09): Joe Wilson, congressman, argued that Joe Wilson, chucklehead, should not be formally rebuked.

It would be a waste of time, he asserted on the House floor where, six days earlier, he had committed his conduct most unbecoming.

Other Republicans stepped up to the microphone to agree that this was a distraction from the important things they could be doing. (Like stepping up their effort to kill President Obama’s attempt to provide health care for the have-nots in society?)

“When we are done here today,” said the man who accused the president of lying, “we will not have taken any steps to improve the country.”

Dowd writes, and “thinks,” like an eight-year-old child. And this year, she’s on Obama’s side! Translation: She has stopped comparing him to Scarlett O’Hara; she has stopped referring to him as “legally blonde.” She no longer derides him as a “debutante”—or even as a “starlet.” And she has even stopped calling him boy! She no longer derides him as “America’s pretty boy.” She no longer calls him the “golden boy”—or the “wonder boy,” or “the Boy Wonder.” She no longer invents imagined dialogues in which Hillary Clinton calls Obama a “glib pretty boy.”

Dowd has even stopped writing columns about what a big loud b*tch Michelle Obama is.

Dowd has given all that up; she types on our team now! For that reason, she presents proposed reform as an “attempt to provide health care for the have-nots in society.” That’s as far as her mind lets her go. As she told Joe Klein long ago: Dowd doesn’t do welfare reform. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/15/00.)

For ourselves, we have no idea what Obama’s motives or thinking might be at this juncture. We could imagine a wide range of novels. We will note this: One of the ways he is currently “attempt[ing] to provide health care for the have-nots” is by ordering the have-nots to buy health care—at the grotesquely inflated prices we have described above. (For most have-nots, there would be subsidies.) In his speech, Obama didn’t explain why those prices are so vastly inflated. (Didn’t explain who is doing the looting.) And don’t worry! Dowd won’t ask!

But people! Maureen Dowd doesn’t do policy! She simply decides whose side she is currently on, then starts to dream and imagine. For years, she imagined things which savaged Big Democrats, helping send George Bush to the White House. (In November 2000, she imagined Candidate Gore before a mirror, singing “I Feel Pretty.” Two days later, Florida voted.) Now, she imagines quite different things—but she remains a cosmic idiot. A society whose major columnists “reason” this way will always be one whose have-nots—and whose average people—are looted by corporate elites. In this passage from Sunday’s Times, you read our dumbest columnist:

DOWD (9/13/09): The normally nonchalant Barack Obama looked nonplussed, as Nancy Pelosi glowered behind.

Surrounded by middle-aged white guys—a sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men’s club—Joe Wilson yelled “You lie!” at a president who didn’t.

But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!

As we’ve noted many times in the past, Dowd at least is willing to cop to her method. To wit: She types things whether they’re “fair or not.” And she tends to type those “unspoken words”—the words she says she has “heard.”

Maureen Dowd types the things she imagines. This helps explain why your nation remains so dumb—a ripe target for corporate looting.
About that imagination:

All through the 1990s, Dowd was imagining things that killed liberal interests. Now, she imagines things which please your team. But a country with fools like this in charge will always be owned by big corporate interests. Silly boys like Josh will sing Dowd’s praise—and the PayPal donations will come rolling in. No one will note how odd it is that the unspoken word she heard last week is a word she herself used to aim at Obama! After all, that was then—and this is now! On the web, we brain-dead liberals now have our latest distraction!

Two quick notes about Dowd’s inanity:

In the following passage, Dowd nails down her ongoing transition from race-baiter to Brave Racial Giant. But if “analysis” like this doesn’t make your skin crawl, you should go in the house, lock the door, and unhook your computer. Note the way Dowd’s tiny mind “supports” its racial thesis:

DOWD (9/13/09): For two centuries, the South has feared a takeover by blacks or the feds. In Obama, they have both.

The state that fired the first shot of the Civil War has now given us this: Senator Jim DeMint exhorted conservatives to “break” the president by upending his health care plan. Rusty DePass, a G.O.P. activist, said that a gorilla that escaped from a zoo was “just one of Michelle’s ancestors.” Lovelorn Mark Sanford tried to refuse [some of] the president’s stimulus money. And now Joe Wilson.

Regarding that highlighted passage: No, you can’t get dumber. A nation whose liberals are willing to reason that way will always be shipping half its income off to the corporate interests.

Note what Dowd does in that passage. In the middle of her Three Prior Examples, she positions a fairly obvious case of blatant racial insult. But like the screaming dimwit she is, she sandwiches it between two other recent events—events which plainly would have occurred if President Obama were white. How dumb—how thoroughly ahistorical—are we liberals willing to be? Many people have already noted that DeMint’s exhortation to make health care a “Waterloo” closely parallels Bill Kristol’s cry to defeat Bill Clinton’s health plan, no matter what. And guess what, losers? If Hillary Clinton were president today, Sanford would have rejected (some of) her stimulus money too!

Are we really supposed to think different?

Anyone with an ounce of sense knows these things are true. But we’re talking about the leading columnist in the dumbest nation on earth. You see, Dowd is chief pundit to the idiocray. It’s a place where you already live—a place the Big Interests adore.

Is Obama “at the center of a period of racial turbulence sparked by his ascension?” Is he “a black man whose legitimacy is constantly challenged by a loco fringe?” In a more intelligent nation, people would consider such statements more carefully. They might even do what Rachel Maddow did last night at the start of her program—they might observe that this same sort of calumnies have routinely been aimed at past Democratic presidents, all of whom were white. (Partial transcript below. More Friday.) In fairness, Dowd provided a bit of that history in Sunday’s column, lazily typing this:

DOWD (9/13/09): I tended to agree with some Obama advisers that Democratic presidents typically have provoked a frothing response from paranoids—from Father Coughlin against F.D.R. to Joe McCarthy against Truman to the John Birchers against J.F.K. and the vast right-wing conspiracy against Bill Clinton.

And from Maureen Dowd against Al Gore, one of our analysts quipped.

You see, an intelligent person might even note the historical continuity in Wilson’s shout of “You lie.” No, no one ever yelled that at President Clinton during a speech to the Congress. But the entire decade of the 1990s was an attempt to turn Bill Clinton—then Hillary Clinton; then Al Gore—into the world’s biggest liars. And uh-oh! Despite her currently failing memory, Maureen Dowd lay right at the heart of that disastrous campaign.

Forget about a pipsqueak like Wilson. At Dowd’s very important newspaper, the most famous columnist of that time called Hillary Clinton “a congenital liar” in January 1996, bungling various factual matters as he thundered. Dowd never complained about that cry, because she was playing on the other team then. (Dowd’s column began in 1995. In the early years, it was called “Liberties,” named for the thing she took with the truth.) Nor did Dowd complain in June 1999, when her clucking cabal pretended that Hilary Clinton had lied about the Cubs and the Yankees, creating a very loud pseudo-scandal. (To relive the gruesome events, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/16/08.)

Of course, the major effort at that time was the effort to remake Candidate Gore as a liar. It’s odd to see Dowd upset today when someone yells out the words, “You lie,” because she was present at the birth of that disastrous movement. In December 1997, she and Frank Rich invented the Love Story incident. (In fairness to Dowd, it was Rich who invented the notion that Gore had lied—two days after it became clear that Gore had been misquoted. But then, Rich has always been a killer. In that era, he was killing you—and people not yet born in Iraq.) Sixteen months later, in March 1999, this fantasized LIE became the foundation of the two-year propaganda campaign which sent George Bush to the White House.

Dowd was there at the start. In her two columns about Love Story, she imagined why Gore said the (misquoted) things she apparently thought he had said. But then, this b*tch always imagines.

Dowd is the dumbest person on earth. Unfortunately, she writes for the biggest newspaper in the whole idiocracy. Those “have-nots” are being looted today. With people as dumb as Dowd at the helm, they will be looted forever.

Obama gave a major speech. So what did Kristof write?

Tomorrow—part 4: Kristof reads Reid.

Maddow gets it right: In the past few weeks, your DAILY HOWLER just keeps getting results at the Maddow Show! Last night, Maddow liberated some thoroughly accurate thoughts from our own pixels and pages. She put Joe Wilson’s conduct in a larger context:

MADDOW (9/15/09): In fact, there is historical precedent for what we are seeing here.

In the 1930s, a little-known Catholic priest became hugely influential, a hero of the right, as well as of the Nazis and fascists who he rather liked in Germany and Italy at the time because his ruthless—because of his ruthless opposition to Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Father Charles Coughlin used his radio broadcast to inveigh against FDR as a great betrayer and as a liar.

Less than a generation after Father Coughlin, Democratic President Harry Truman saw the ascendants of Republican Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s, who made headlines, of course, for accusing President Truman’s state department of harboring commies and then seeing that get a rise out of people, he moved on to spotting communists everywhere in America.

John F. Kennedy’s administration was met on the right by the rise of the Birchers, the ultraconservative John Birch Society, which said liberalism was treason.

During the Clinton administration, there was the vast right-wing conspiracy that held that Bill and Hillary Clinton secretly murdered White House deputy counsel Vince Foster, who actually committed suicide. The unhinged anti-Clinton right in the ’90s also brought us The Clinton Chronicles, a film financed by groups with ties to evangelist Jerry Falwell, that purported to expose a whole lot of unexplained murders around the Clintons’ political rise. The Fringy McFringerson opponents of President Clinton also accuse him of running an elaborate cocaine smuggling operation out of an airport in Mena, Arkansas.

There’s a case to be made that right-wing paranoid extremism rises in America to meet the challenge of effective, relatively popular Democratic presidents. And it`s not just that it is a predictable pattern. It’s also sort of a way of life for some conservative activists now. Some of the same people who were part of the conspiratorial wing-nut opposition to President Clinton are now doing it to President Obama. It’s some of the same folks.

Maddow omitted the crackpot campaign to turn Gore into the world’s biggest liar. That campaign started with Maureen Dowd. Dowd luvved “You lie” at that point!

More on Maddow’s effort this Friday. We’ll even throw our heads back and roar at Jonathan Alter’s expert reaction. We’ll also clap ourselves on the back for a result your HOWLER got last week!

But first! Part 4 of our series!