Pride and emptiness: If Romney loses, the high lady Collins may have to say good-bye to all that.
She may have to say good-bye to a friend! If so, she sent him off in style last weekend, citing him in two different parts of her final campaign column.
Collins offered her final thoughts in a typically piddle-strewn campaign. It took the form of a to-do list.
Before long, she paid tribute to her fine friend:
COLLINS (11/3/12): 4) Stop obsessively checking the polls.She even mentioned Seamus by name—only the second time she’s done so since Labor Day! But then, since Labor Day, Collins has only referred to Seamus in three columns altogether.
This has been going on way too long. Stop torturing yourself! Whatever Colorado is going to do, it’ll do it on Tuesday. Clean the basement. Read a novel. Consider purchasing a new pet. If it’s an Irish setter, you can name it Seamus.
5) Forget about the fact that Mitt Romney once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car.
If he loses, nobody will care. If he wins, we’ll have so many other things to worry about.
Can you think of a single thing you have learned from reading Collins all through this horrific campaign? For us, her most astonishing act was the book she published about the state of Texas, in which she ranted about the Texas schools while making strings of amazingly bogus claims about that state’s public schools.
Collins strikes us as a bit of a nut—but she's plainly a journalistic disaster. But so what? Within the context of our 5-year-old press corps, that latter fact is rarely noticed or mentioned.
In her closing column, Collins returned to her favorite Irish setter. One day later, Maureen Dowd returned to her favorite novel.
Dowd has described all recent elections in terms of Pride and Prejudice (proof below). Finally, with time running out, she began Sunday’s column like this:
DOWD (11/4/12): Not since Lydia Bennet eloped with Mr. Wickham, not since Anna Karenina ran off with Count Vronsky, has such a hue and cry been heard about purloined affections.It wasn't much, but she squeezed it in just under the wire. For unknown reasons, the New York Times put this column on the front page of yesterday’s Sunday Review.
The triangle that flared at the climax, with Chris Christie scampering away from Mitt Romney in the wuthering storm to cling to Barack Obama, the New Jersey governor’s brown eyes looking up trustingly into the president’s brown eyes, added a frisson to a jaundiced, spendthrift race.
In novels and movies, it’s a powerful narrative: the problems of three little people, playing out against a charged backdrop. “Casablanca.” “Gone With the Wind.” “The Year of Living Dangerously.” “Broadcast News.” “L.A. Confidential.”
Christie was unrepentantly swept away by his new pal, the commander in chief, who also likes to wear a jacket with his name and title sewn onto the lapel.
The column ran almost 1500 words; we strongly suggest that you try to read it. As you do, marvel at how empty of content Dowd's fatuous piddle pile is.
Of course, Dowd’s closing columns can be like that! This is the way she sent us off at the end of Campaign 2000:
DOWD (11/5/00): I Feel PrettyDowd even used the “teleprompter” image that day, years before the GOP got there! But yes: In this, her last column before we voted, she pictured Gore before a mirror, singing “I Feel Pretty.” And she focused again on “the Spot,” the troubling bald spot she had featured in a half dozen columns.
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.
Below, we’ll show you the ways this empty soul has worked from Pride and Prejudice. But once again, in yesterday’s column, you can see the soul of the scam. You see the hole in the soul of the crew which gets sold to us as a press corps.
When it comes to Collins and Dowd, liberal voters can’t see the scam. Liberal careerists aren’t tattling.
The endless return to the well: In both 2004 and 2008, Dowd compared the Democrats’ condescending nominees to Mr. Darcy, the “Pride” in Austen’s novel. Here she was, describing the smug and pretentious Candidate Kerry:
DOWD (3/18/04): The election is shaping up as a contest between Pride and Prejudice.Kerry never made that quoted remark about NASCAR. But do what? It fit!
Mr. Kerry is Pride.
He has a tendency toward striped-trouser smugness that led him to stupidly boast that he was more popular with leaders abroad than President Bush—playing into the Republican strategy to depict him as one of those ''cheese-eating surrender monkeys.''
Even when he puts on that barn jacket over his expensive suit to look less lockjaw—and says things like, ''Who among us doesn't like Nascar?''—he can come across like Mr. Collins, Elizabeth Bennet's pretentious cousin in ''Pride and Prejudice.'' Mr. Collins always prattles on about how lucky people would be to be rewarded by his patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, with ''some portion of her notice'' and to receive dollops of her ''condescension.''
Speaking to Chicago union workers last week, Mr. Kerry happily informed them that on the ride over, his wife, Teresa, had said she could live in Chicago. What affability, as Mr. Collins would say, what condescension.
Literally, Dowd compared Kerry to Mr. Collins (no relation), though the haughty Darcy has always been the figure associated with the pride in Austen’s title. Four years later, she made it official. This time, Obama was haughty and condescending—and he was much too thin!
This time, Dowd nailed Obambi as Darcy right in her overwrought headline, which bore the possible scent of a bit too much information:
DOWD (8/3/04): Mr. Darcy Comes CourtingObama was too thin! Also, he was condescending and proud! Just like Kerry before him!
Despite Obama's wooing, some women aren't warming. As Carol Marin wrote in The Chicago Sun-Times, The Lanky One is like an Alice Waters organic chicken—''sleek, elegant, beautifully prepared. Too cool''—when what many working-class women are craving is mac and cheese.
In The Wall Street Journal, Amy Chozick wrote that Hillary supporters—who loved their heroine's admission that she was on Weight Watchers—were put off by Obama's svelte, zero-body-fat figure.
''He needs to put some meat on his bones,'' said Diana Koenig, a 42-year-old Texas housewife. Another Clinton voter sniffed on a Yahoo message board: ''I won't vote for any beanpole guy.''
The odd thing is that Obama bears a distinct resemblance to the most cherished hero in chick-lit history. The senator is a modern incarnation of the clever, haughty, reserved and fastidious Mr. Darcy.
Like the leading man of Jane Austen and Bridget Jones, Obama can, as Austen wrote, draw ''the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien. ...he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased.''
The master of Pemberley ''had yet to learn to be laught at,'' and this sometimes caused ''a deeper shade of hauteur'' to ''overspread his features.''
The New Hampshire debate incident in which Obama condescendingly said, ''You're likable enough, Hillary,'' was reminiscent of that early scene in ''Pride and Prejudice'' when Darcy coldly refuses to dance with Elizabeth Bennet, noting, ''She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me.''
Indeed, when Obama left a prayer to the Lord at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a note that was snatched out and published, part of his plea was to ''help me guard against pride.''
It’s the emptiness of this person’s work which always strikes us first. That said, even during this campaign’s Republican primaries, she drank from Austen’s well.
Here’s how that column started:
DOWD (11/2/11): We have the starchy guy—tall, handsome, intelligent and rich, with a baronial estate—who's hard to warm up to. And we have the spontaneous guy, who's charming and easy to warm up to—until it turns out that he has an unsavory pattern with young women and a suspect relationship with facts.In this case, Candidate Romney was cast as Darcy! Wickham was Herman Cain!
It's the Republican primary. Or ''Pride and Prejudice.'' Take your pick.
The Herminator was just a raffish passing fancy, like Mr. Wickham, a place for Republicans to store their affections while they try to overcome their aversion to Mitt Romney's Mr. Darcy.
Go ahead! Read yesterday’s column, Dowd’s final thoughts about this campaign. Note how little she has to say, even with 1500 words.
Recalling Cillizza's silly self-reference, where would you place Dowd’s mental age? In what world, except in our own, could this scam have continued so long?