Hayes, Maddow, Dionne or Chait should stand up and tell her to go: Yesterday morning, Maureen Dowd profiled Christine Quinn, the current front-runner in the race for mayor of New York City.
This wasn’t the normal piece by Dowd. Nor was this ridiculous profile Quinn’s fault.
It started on the front page of yesterday’s Sunday Review, an extremely high-profile placement. Inside, on the actual op-ed page, it ran beneath a large color photo of Quinn.
As she started, out on page one, Dowd told us something Quinn supposedly wants us to know. We include Dowd’s pitiful headline, which appeared on the front page of the Sunday Review:
DOWD (8/4/13): Who’s That Candidate in the Teal Toenail Polish?According to Dowd, Christine Callaghan Quinn “wants to be seen as a member of the fighting Irish.” Dowd didn’t explain how she knows that, though it could be an electoral advantage in Irish-inflected New York.
A well-dressed man at the West 72nd Street subway entrance stopped to take one of the fliers that Christine Quinn was handing out.
“You don’t seem quite as evil as they make you out to be,” he said smiling at her.
Quinn looked a bit startled, then replied, “I’m really not.”
This should be the moment for Christine Callaghan Quinn, and she is back in the lead, after being knocked off last month by a resurgent Anthony Weiner. The coppery 47-year-old speaker of the New York City Council wants to be seen as a member of the fighting Irish, “a big pushy broad,” as she puts it, who pushes for New York.
For what it’s worth, Dowd seems to want us to see Quinn that way too! She played Quinn’s ethnicity early and often. In the middle of the column, she referred to Quinn’s “Irish temper.” And as she finished her fatuous piece, she ventured there again:
DOWD (8/4/13): She also takes long fragrant baths, watches “bad TV,” like the Kardashians, though she’s bored by them now, and reads “cheesy magazines,” like Us, O.K., and People. She hasn’t read the new People headlined, “Why Huma Stayed,” but she is up to date on Kate’s baby.OK, OK, we get it! Christine Callaghan Quinn is “an Irish person!” Earlier in the week, Chris Matthews seemed eager to spread the word on that point too. Here’s how he ended a softball interview with his new Irish friend:
“I always feel a little guilty as an Irish person that I care what dress Kate wore but I do care,” she said. “And I’ve never even been to England.”
Her favorite movie is “Dirty Dancing.” “No one sits Baby in a corner, one of the best lines in movie history,” she said.
I tell her she was the first candidate I’d ever seen on the trail wearing teal toenail polish.
“It matches my campaign literature, that’s the point of it!” she said excitedly, pulling two bottles out of her bag. “It’s the color of the blue on my posters so I’m trying to wear it all summer long.”
MATTHEWS (7/30/13): Well, Christine Quinn, who mentioned the Irish already—I never forget you’re Irish, Christine Quinn! Just kidding here—the speaker of the New York city Council and front-runner in the latest polling we’ve got. Congratulations on the polling. Best of luck in this race.Why wouldn’t Quinn be upbeat? Matthews spent his entire interview letting her lambaste Anthony Weiner. He then told the world she was Irish, and his new friend!
QUINN: Thank you. Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: It’s going to get hotter.
QUINN: That it will.
MATTHEWS: Thanks for coming on Hardball. We’d love to have you back.
MATTHEWS: Joan Walsh is editor of Salon, of course, one of our closest allies here in the world of dealing through these issues. She looks like she’s cheered up a bit there, Joan, watching her as a person and a new friend of mine, I got to say, I am impressed by her. She’s upbeat. She’s cheerful.
White America is largely post-ethnic, but throwbacks like Matthews and Dowd are still swimming around in an Irish Catholic stew. Readers largely don’t believe it when we make this observation, but it’s true—and it has been relevant, down through the years, to their crackpot punditry.
At any rate, Matthews and Dowd have now told the world how wonderfully Irish this candidate is. This leads us back to the rest of the bullroar Dowd included yesterday in her high-profile piece.
(Repeat: This profile wasn’t Quinn’s fault.)
What does “intellectual paralysis” look like? Long ago, Joyce saw the destructive trait all over his own native Dublin. It has long been Dowd’s role to bring a species of that paralysis to us mugs over here.
That said, Dowd’s piece about Quinn was so inane that even Times readers complained. This sardonic commenter offered a nice summary of Dowd’s latest paralyzed effort:
COMMENTER FROM CONNECTICUT: Dear Ms. Dowd, I am to assume you’re endorsing Ms. Quinn for the job? I live in Connecticut and am interested in the mayoral race only as a spectator. The main points I come away with are:The sardonic reader captured the contents of Dowd’s vacuous profile. Around the continent, other readers filed complaints about the latest garbage from Dowd, which ended with the headline-worthy “get” concerning toe polish:
a. Ms. Quinn apparently has a temper and uses it
b. Her favorite movie is "Dirty Dancing"
c. She has a weight problem
d. She used her influence to have an ambulance help an aide
e. She wears teal nail polish
f. Most importantly, she's NOT Mr. Weiner
She's obviously qualified to be mayor of NYC. Bring on the voting!
COMMENT FROM MASSACHUSETTS: Toenail polish color? Is this going to be the election season of "too much information" for every candidate?Joyce saw a moral and intellectual paralysis infesting his native Dublin. Dowd has worked very hard, for twenty years, to paralyze our lost souls.
COMMENT FROM JARAMA VALLEY: This is a puff piece worthy of People Magazine.
COMMENT FROM DC: OK, I'm glad that she likes People magazine and wears teal toenail polish, but this effort falls flat. What's needed is a better understanding of what a Quinn mayoralty will mean to the average New Yorker. That's a story that the media has yet to tell well.
COMMENT FROM SOUTH CAROLINA: Agreed! Why is journalism, esp. one of its gray bastions, evading its obvious responsibilities in the contest for chief executive of one the world's most important cities, and a beacon of values, culture, and opportunity?
COMMENT FROM MICHIGAN: I'm from Michigan and after reading this, I have no idea what this lady stands for. What's good for New Yorkers? What is that? Are you going to ask the male candidates what color they paint their toes?
COMMENT FROM NEW YORK: Toe nail polish? Bubble baths? What's your favorite TV program? When did the Times editorial page become Tiger Beat?...At some point someone needs to talk about the issues and not useless nonsense. This was a missed opportunity and actually almost sexist in its tone.
COMMENT FROM COLORADO: Amusing little column. But I could find the same thing at People magazine.
COMMENT FROM CONNECTICUT: Boy, am I glad I moved out of NYC! Toenail color is important? How about a piece on what each of these folks proposes to do?
COMMENT FROM ATLANTA: An entire column, and no issues...Will she spend 4 years working on toe nail polish?
COMMENT FROM NEW YORK: As always, Maureen leaves me wanting more. More substance! What a great opportunity gone to waste.
COMMENT FROM NEW JERSEY: After reading this column, I know even less about the mayoral race than before I started.
COMMENT FROM EDMONTON, CANADA: What did we learn about the woman, beside her "coppery" something, I guess her hair? What positions? What problems? What solutions, other than keeping [Weiner] out of office? What does she believe in? What does she fear?
Why did I read this cotton candy? Why was it written? And what did I learn?
COMMENT FROM NEW YORK: I have zero interest in what color toe nail polish a politician wears. I have zero interest in if they take bubble baths or not (I can't imagine asking LaGuardia that question). I only care about how they are going to keep the streets clean and safe and the city moving forward. Anything else is not my business and definitely not my interest.
This column reduced Ms. Quinn into a political Kardashian. That was probably what her team wanted but I learned nothing about her plans from it.
COMMENT FROM NEW YORK: Where’s the beef! Oh, please, this is an article for light summer reading in the beach. Surely, not what one hoped from Ms. Dowd's pen.
COMMENT FROM NEW YORK: Toenail polish? Really? When will the Hillary-esque comments regarding hairstyle begin? When will women politicians be judged on policy, not appearance?
COMMENT FROM HOUSTON: Annice Parker has thrived as Houston's mayor. The fact she is gay doesn't have any bearing on her ability to lead. Aside from that, this piece is pure fluff, Ms. Dowd.
Happily, many “Dubliners” here in this country are tired of this deadly work. When will someone who writes for pay stand up on his or her hind legs and tell the world, and the New York Times, that it’s time for this paralyzed mossback to go?
Joyce said he wanted to look at “the deadly work” done by his country’s “paralysis.” Dowd has produced such deadly work for several decades now.
Krugman, Dionne, Drum, Chait? Maddow, Hayes, Joan-and-David, Pareene? Who will stand on his or her legs and free us from this destructive high priest? Who's willing to tell the essential truth about our own paralyzed nation?
Everyone knows that Dowd is a joke—a destructive one at that. But no one will stand up and say it! In the bidness, it just isn’t done! Too many six- and seven-figure jobs are at stake!
By the way, Quinn is Irish! A pair of priest-defeated mossbacks very much want you to know.
Just for the (truly pitiful) record: In the hard-copy Times, a sub-headline appeared on Dowd's piece: “Can Christine Quinn vanquish Carlos Danger?”
Times op-ed writers produce their own headlines. Such is the state of Dowd's “mind.”