The imbeciles unchanging clothes: Eight years ago this very week, Maureen Dowd was preparing her closing argument about the Bush-Gore White House campaign; she was preparing the Sunday column in which Gore would pose before a mirror and sweetly sing, I Feel Pretty. Imbecile thenand imbecile now! Today, Dowd posts her second straight column about Sarah Palins deeply troubling clothes. To read todays foolishness, just click here. For Sundays prime bull-roar, click this.
Wittily, Dowd presents todays column in the form of a screenplay. Heres the way it starts:
THE MAVERICK WEARS PRADA
Revised third draft
Oct. 29, 2008
INT. A HOTEL SUITEin the middle of the day in the middle of Ohio
Unfortunately, no one in Hollywood is dumb enough to hire this idiot as a screenwriter. For that reason, she lingers at Manhattans Times, where the bosses are very dumband the screenplays they publish are dumber.
In the face of two warsand a financial meltdownDowd cant stop discussing pols clothes! They said 9/11 would change every thing. But when they said that, they all lied.
In our view, liberals and progressive are very foolish to take a brief ride on this imbecile trainto adopt the pleasing culture of trivia in this brief moment of liberal ascension. So youll recall how we got to this place, heres the way the Imbecile Dowd began that Sunday column, eight years ago. Yes, that was her actual headline. Please dont make the slightest mistake. People are dead thanks to Dowd:
DOWD (11/5/00): I Feel Pretty
I feel stunning
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.
The Spot, of course, was Gores bald spota star of at least six columns by Dowd during Clintons second term (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 2/21/07). Mocking Gore for his interest in issues, the imbecile once again summoned the Spot, letting it take a final bow. It was two days before your election.
Elsewhere, people like this get escorted to homes. At The Times, they get turned into stars.
In this last week before this years election, lets make sure we understand how we all got to this place:
In Washington, the 1990s was an age of ascendant conservative power. Pseudo-conservatives began to drive a stream of poisonous personality talesstarting with the Whitewater hoax, which debuted (where else?) in the New York Times. Pseudo-conservatives drove those talesand flunkies like Dowd, Rich and Herbert bought them. They talked about blow jobs; they talked about earth tones (and buttons/polo shirts/cowboy boots); they wrote ugly tales about Naomi Wolf. (She urged women to release their inner sluts, a nasty misogynist instantly purred, in November 1999.) They invented fake quotes and pretended folk said them. They made a star of a Spot.
Today, these hacks have reinvented themselves as Clinton/Gore admirers, although it took several a very long time. But if the future is like the past, they will use their idiot tools against your interests again. In our view, liberals and progressives are very dumb to delight in this vacants groups new entertainments. (So are centrists. So are Democrats, and most Republicans.) If the future is like the past, these Antoinettes will turn against you again.
Power will come and make its demands. And these consummate palace dwellers will buckle to power again. (Although theyll turn against Obama more slowly than against Clinton/Gore.)
Its true: Dowd has cleaned herself up this year. She no longer lies face down on the carpet, right in the middle of JFKs townhouse. (Hollywood would have rejected that screenplay. Too obvious.) She no longer trashes the she-bitch, Michelle Obama. She no longer calls Barack Obama six different species of the word boy. She has stopped mocking him as Scarlett OHara. She no longer calls him Legally Blonde.
But Dowd was an imbecile eight years agoand shes the worlds biggest fool today. If we let these folk use their idiot tools, we will end up where imbeciles take us.
Two scribes recall the most wonderful guy: Two journalists have penned sad memoirs, sadly recalling the wonderful time when they met the most wonderful guy.
In Sundays Boston Globe, Yvonne Abraham remembered The McCain I Knewthe man she met in 1999, riding around on a bus. But alas! Such love affairs often end badly. I came here to see John McCain on Wednesday, Abraham wrote this week. I barely recognized him.
Two days later, in the Los Angeles Times, Maeve Reston recalled a similar affair. But Restons piece held a bit more interest, because of one key thing she said. You see, Reston didnt meet the most wonderful guy until December 2007. When she did, she got some advice from a protective colleague:
RESTON (10/28/08): By July, I had covered McCain for almost seven months. I could recite many lines of his stump speech by heart, dreamed about his events at night and spent so much time scrolling through campaign e-mails on my BlackBerry that my fiance joked to our friends about the other man in my life.
Over those months, McCain had artfully created a sense of intimacy with the reporters who traveled with him. He barbecued for us at his Arizona cabin, and opened up about matters as personal as his faith and his son's girlfriends. On one of my first days covering McCain, another reporter protectively warned me that it was important to be judicious with the material I used from McCain's bus rides to keep the conversations in context.
Where in the world does this cohort come from? Even today, after all that weve been through, they still think its cute to refer to a White House candidate as the other man in my life.
At any rate, Reston was warned that it was important to be judicious with the material I used from McCain's bus rides to keep the conversations in context. Like you, were not quite sure what that means. Youre rightit isnt quite written in English. But quite possibly, Reston refers to a social compact observed on Saint McCains busa social compact which has been obliquely described at various times in the past.
We first discussed this matter in December 1999, when the press corps began to blab about the Special Rules it maintained for McCain. Theyve Just Met the Greatest Guy, our incomparable headline said (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/15/99). We quoted Nancy Gibbs, Times top political scribe, who had oddly admitted this:
GIBBS (12/13/99): And then there are the stories he tellsto which, if there's a pattern, it's to exalt other people and deflate himself. A presidential candidate is not supposed to tell you about the rules he broke or the strippers he dated, or the time he arrived so drunk that fell through the screen door of the young lady he was wooing. The candor tells you more than the content, and reporters sometimes just decide to take McCain off the record because they don't want to see him flame out and burn up a great story.
Say what? Reporters sometimes decide to take McCain off the record? Let us quickly translate for you: Reporters were hiding the weird things Saint McCain said. He was the most wonderful guy!
Incredibly, Gibbs didnt flesh out what she meant. What sorts of statements had reporters agreed to take off the record? What sorts of weird things had McCain saidthings we werent allowed to hear? Oddly, Gibbs gave no examples, although one example emerged two days later. (Her piece was published on December 6.) On his bus, McCain had been referring to his former Vietnamese captors as g**ksand reporters had generally agreed not to report it. More details below.
(During this same period, these same journalists were inventing weird things Candidate Gore hadnt saidand they were pretending hed actually said them. The liberal world sat and stared into air. George Bush ended up in the White House.)
McCains use of g**ks was soon being ignored againuntil an Asian-American group complained in March 2000.
Whatever you think about the g**ks matter, various reporters have noted, in passing, the Special Rules that applied on that busthe Special Rules which protected McCain, under which the children agreed to hide the great mans unflattering conduct. Reporters would take him off the recordand reporters would hoot and hiss when other scribes tried to question him about serious issues. A rolling clown-show was underway. To judge from what Reston wrote this week, some variant of these Special Rules may have existed right though this election.
No, she didnt quite say it in Englishbut that may be what Reston meant. Another reporter protectively warned me that it was important to be judicious with the material I used from McCain's bus rides to keep the conversations in context? Like you, we arent sure what that means. But we could make a small guess.
McCains flights of candor: The g**ks issue blew up in December 1999 because of a piece by the Posts Howard Kurtz. Jacob Weisberg and Linda Douglass help us remember the rules of the road in that remarkable time:
KURTZ (12/8/99): Aides sometimes cringe at McCain's flights of candor, and with good reason. On one bus ride, McCain described a minor diplomatic flap as "one of the many reasons I hate the French." On another, recalling his days in a Hanoi prison camp, he referred to the Vietnamese as "gooks." Yet he rarely gets burned.
"At one level, the press protects him," says Jacob Weisberg, political writer for Slate magazine. "He delivers these stupid lines all the time. The typical response from journalists is either not to report it or to congratulate him for being so blunt instead of treating it as a gaffe... If Bush had talked about 'gooks,' everyone would say how callow he is and how he's not up to running U.S. foreign policy."
Says ABC correspondent Linda Douglass, who interviewed McCain on the bus: "I have never seen a candidate allow himself to be videotaped at length like that, with no aides watching, listening, taking notes or telling you to cut. He's clearly winning us all over, and we have to be careful about that."
Weisberg helped explain the Special Rules which were then in effect:
Al Gore said he discovered Love Canal! Theyd dreamed it up just one week before. (During this same week, they took turns pretending that Al Gore was the man who introduced us to Willie Horton. )
At any rate, those were the rules of the ageand Dowd, Rich and Herbert all kept their traps shut. Are you happy with how it turned out? Are you sure, when power turns, that they wont do the same thing again?
Tomorrow: Mother Jones, Mother Judd