A duchess is forced to snark back: In this morning’s silly-bill column, Maureen Dowd cites Ann Coulter, channels Nancy Grace. She asks a dumb rhetorical question—and somehow is able to tell us what happened between Herman Cain and those other two people.
Most amusingly, Dowd takes us inside her favorite novel—again! For the third White House campaign in a row, a literary allusion has come to Dowd. She shares at the start of her column:
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.Good God, we thought. Not again! If Dowd was really going there, it would be her third straight election! But sure enough! Cain and Romney have made Dowd think of—who else?—Wickham and Darcy! “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.”
It’s the Republican primary. Or “Pride and Prejudice.” Take your pick.
So Dowd writes in this morning’s column, just as she did in 2008. And in 2004! For Dowd, it’s the White House election—or “Pride And Prejudice”—for the third campaign in a row! Please note—we quote two columns here:
DOWD (8/3/08): 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.Candidate Kerry was proud and haughty. But then, so was Candidate Obama.
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."
If Obama is Mr. Darcy, with "his pride, his abominable pride," then America is Elizabeth Bennet, spirited, playful, democratic, financially strained, and caught up in certain prejudices. (McCain must be cast as Wickham, the rival for Elizabeth's affections, the engaging military scamp who casts false aspersions on Darcy's character.)
DOWD (3/18/04): The election is shaping up as a contest between Pride and Prejudice.
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.
Mr. Bush is Prejudice.
Like Miss Bennet, who irrationally arranged the facts to fit her initial negative assessment of Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bush irrationally arranges the facts to fit his initial assessment that 9/11 justified blowing off the U.N. and some close allies to invade Iraq.
Did you like this shit the first time around, back in 2004? Today, Dowd has gone for the hat trick! Of course, in a world where Gail Collins is allowed to cite Mitt Romney’s strapped dog in two dozen different columns, you can’t blame Dowd for cutting-and-pasting her handful of lame frameworks too.
Quite visibly, fatuous people like Collins and Dowd are simply going through the motions at this, our dumbest newspaper. But it’s perfectly A-OK! People! These are high ladies!
Two more notes about Dowd’s Darcy triptych:
As you may recall from 2004, Candidate Kerry didn’t really say, “Who among us doesn’t like NASCAR?” If memory serves, Dowd got that from a comedian somehow. In the wake of Campaign 2000, it was a New York Times family tradition: A bunch of folk at the Times mocked Candidate Kerry for saying what he never said.
Please don’t make us look it up. But it’s in our archives.
Concerning Dowd’s new column, she takes us to the heart of dumbness as she aims this jibe at Nate Silver. We’ll translate for you below:
DOWD (11/2/11): [Y]ou have to give Cain credit for breaking creative new ground in unconventional when he responds to a scandal about sexual-harassment complaints when he was chief of the National Restaurant Association in the ’90s by standing up at the National Press Club here and singing a gospel song about “Amazing Grace” to the tune of “Danny Boy.”Dowd scolds this boy for his taunting tweet. Let us translate for you:
Yet despite the taunting tweet from the Times blogger Nate Silver the other day, before the sexual-harassment scandal broke, asking if there was “anyone out there who 1) gets paid to write about politics; 2) is so sure Cain can’t win that they promise to quit their job if he does,” Cain was never going to be the Republican nominee.
In his tweet, Silver challenged a very key part of the culture of dumb—the casual, worthless prediction. Silly predictions help pundits kill time! Without such low-IQ tools, what would the pundit class do?
Silver had challenged the culture of dumb! In the name of all that’s lazy and stupid, Lady Dowd had to snark back.