The Truman Library speaks: Maureen Dowd’s “week that was” was really quite a week!
Last Sunday, she wrote a ludicrous column about the vile Clintons, the three millionth such column in her ongoing decade-long series. Three days later, she wrote a column so grossly bungled that even some journalists noticed!
Yesterday, she pandered to us liberals in the same way she did the last time she got into trouble. She wrote a fawning, GOP-bashing column in which she played a race card!
That seems to be what Dowd does when she gets in trouble. She seems to know that silly, insincere fawning will win back liberal hearts.
She seems to know that our attention spans are very short. She seems to know that our brains are just a bit weak. She can slander Democratic front-runners for years, as long as she tosses us the occasional bone—a column in which she attacks a no-name GOP pol while playing a slippery race card.
Needless to say, this buy-back seems to work! In yesterday’s comments, Dowd’s regular readers were quickly praising her obvious brilliance.
Before long, two regular commenters staged the pathetic call-and-response shown below. As you read their love cries, please remember: we the liberals consider ourselves to the smart tribe!
REGULAR COMMENTER FROM NEW YORK:The liberal world is very easy and very soft. Unfortunately, Dowd seems to know it!
I want to say clearly & loud
I love you today Maureen Dowd,
Lambasted the bigots
Their bile spewing spigots,
Of your sterling effort I'm proud!
REGULAR COMMENTER FROM CALIFORNIA:
Hear, hear! When she's good, Maureen is really good! Thank you, Ms. Dowd!
Tomorrow, we’ll show you what Dowd did the last time she got into trouble, back in 2008. For today, let’s review another groaner from last week's week that was.
Last Sunday, Dowd wrote her ten millionth lunatic column about how vile the Clintons are. Her headline screeched in lunatic fashion: “Money, Money, Money, Money, MONEY!”
At one point, Dowd offered this pleasing tale about President Truman, who was so very very good while Clinton is so very bad:
DOWD (8/18/13): As George Packer wrote in The New Yorker, Bill Clinton earned $17 million last year giving speeches, including one to a Lagos company for $700,000. Hillary gets $200,000 a speech.Groan. In the post to which Dowd referred, Packer noted that the Clintons are pretty much like everyone else in this country today. Smoothing that point, Dowd kept acting like everyone else still behaves like poor impoverished Truman.
Until Harry Truman wrote his memoirs, the ex-president struggled on an Army pension of $112.56 a month. “I could never lend myself to any transaction, however respectable,” he said, “that would commercialize on the prestige and dignity of the office of the presidency.”
So quaint, Packer wrote, observing, “The top of American life has become a very cozy and lucrative place, where the social capital of who you are and who you know brings unimaginable returns.”
She specifically said the Clintons were the worst of them all.
As it turns out, Dowd wasn’t even right about Truman. In this morning’s Times, a letter from the Truman Library explains that her portrait of Truman’s retirement was yet another groaner:
LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (8/26/13): Maureen Dowd correctly notes that as a former president, Harry S. Truman stated that he would never involve himself in “any transaction, however respectable, that would commercialize on the prestige and dignity of the office of the presidency.” Citing an article by George Packer in The New Yorker, she also writes that in retirement, the Trumans “struggled” to get by on a $112.56 monthly Army pension. She is correct about the pension, but the Trumans were far from impoverished.In his first year out of office, Truman was worth $750,000. And that was in 1953! Go ahead! Adjust for inflation!
Family manuscripts made available to the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum after the death of the Trumans’ daughter, Margaret Truman Daniel, in 2008, reveal that the former president had planned carefully.
Truman put a considerable amount of his presidential salary into savings (perhaps as much as 20 or 25 percent of his $100,000 annual compensation from 1945 to 1953), and he owned more than 400 acres of farmland near Kansas City, Mo.
In two handwritten documents prepared for his wife, Bess, an undated “in case disaster overtakes me” and “in case of my passing on Dec. 1953” (Truman was to undergo a gallbladder operation), he estimated his net worth to be $750,000.
Indeed, his prudent retirement planning and modest living habits provided for a more than adequate retirement.
MICHAEL J. DEVINE
Director, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
Independence, Mo., Aug. 21, 2013
We don’t say this to denigrate Truman. We say this to denigrate Dowd and her editors:
If the Truman Library knows its stuff, Harry Truman didn’t “struggle on an Army pension of $112.56 a month” until he wrote his memoirs. He did receive a pension of that size, but he “was far from impoverished,” the Library says.
Warning! Packer provided no source for his account of Truman’s struggle, which Dowd simply seemed to accept as accurate. (That's the way upper-end “journalists” do it.) That said, this Wikipedia article presents the claim of “financial challenges” just as Packer offered it.
But uh-oh! Wikipedia cites this 1953 newspaper report as its source, and that same report specifically says that Truman wouldn’t be financially challenged, in part because he had saved part of his salary as president.
Dowd’s column last Sunday was her ten millionth lunatic column about the evil Clintons. Ten million more will follow.
In the future, Dowd may commit new errors so obvious that even the press corps will have to notice. If so, she’ll quickly write a make-up column in which she race-baits some no-name Republican member of Congress, preferably a rodeo clown or a Santa Claus impersonator.
We the liberals will rush into line to tell her all is forgiven. We the liberals are very dumb.
Dowd seems to know this fact well.