The real Gail Collins is back—and she’s citing Ashley Parker: Like you, we were concerned.
But in this morning’s column, Gail Collins put our concerns to rest. Quickly, she was up to old tricks. Just like that, the real Gail Collins was back:
COLLINS (12/15/11): Mitt Romney arrived in New York City on Wednesday, newly endorsed by Christine O’Donnell, who we have not seen since her not-a-witch race for the U.S. Senate. She praised Romney for having “been consistent since he changed his mind.” I so miss Christine O’Donnell.We got to enjoy some good solid fun as Rome continued to burn. She started out with Christine O’Donnell, then cited the fatuous Ashley Parker. But then, it was on to Mitt Romney’s dog!
Romney was in town to raise money. Iowa and New Hampshire get the love; we get the traffic jams. ’Twas ever thus. We’re not bitter, really.
However, he did sit down with The Times’s Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker to compare himself to Newt Gingrich. (The above-the-fray Mitt is so November.) “Zany is not what we need in a president,” he said.
I would say this is an extremely safe position for Romney to take because the odds are very good that no one has ever called Mitt zany in his entire life. Unless it was when he drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the station wagon. (“Hey, Mister, you got an Irish setter on top of your car. What are you, zany or something?”)
Last week, Collins didn’t mention Seamus at all—not in either one of her columns! It was only the second such week of the fall, not counting the week of October 27, when Collins was openly said to be “off.”
Today, though, the silly shit is back with a vengeance in Collins’ column. She focuses on the press corps’ latest craze—the fact that Romney said the word “zany” in his interview with Parker, Maureen Dowd’s former top researcher.
Within the madhouse still known as a “press corps,” Candidate Romney’s use of “zany” is the new $10,000 bet. Indeed, this latest piece of abject nonsense rules the front-page of this morning’s Times. In our hard-copy paper, these are the headlines sitting atop the featured front-page report:
SHIFTING TACTICS, ROMNEY ATTACKS SURGING GINGRICHThe report was written by Zeleny/Barbaro/Parker. The giants discuss the use of “zany” right in their opening graf.
CALLS OPPONENT ‘ZANY’
Bracing for Rough Fight, He Questions if Rival Is Credible Choice
“Zany” ruled much of cable last night. The life-forms wasted everyone’s time examining the somewhat archaic word choice. Collins fiddles around with this hottest new topic, then wisks us away to this:
COLLINS: Perhaps Romney was worried that all those even-keeled virtues sounded too much like Barack Obama, because he veered off into an attack on the current administration’s foreign policy failures. “When Honduras wanted to toss out their pro-Marxist president, our president stood with him,” he said.In this passage, Collins exhibits a semi-standard play. When a candidate is interviewed by the Times, you select the most obscure thing he said, then complain about how obscure that particular statement was! We recalled Dowd’s reaction when Candidate Gore spoke to an extended collection of the life-forms in June 2000:
O.K., two problems here. First of all, you can hardly talk about Iraq or Afghanistan without somebody announcing that all the country cares about is jobs, jobs, jobs. Where do you think a former diplomatic problem in Honduras currently stands on the average voter’s list of Things to Worry About?
DOWD (6/14/00): The vice president spoke 1,565 words, really, really slowly, with glacial pauses between each word. He propounded and expounded for more than 15 minutes, touching on such diverse topics as the human genome, the ice-free future of the Arctic Ocean, the "Star Wars" journey, the climate of New York City, federal entitlements, the climate of Atlanta, embassy security, the climate of Illinois, Individual Development Accounts, the climate of Oklahoma and the state of the U.S. economy in 1835. But despite some prodding, he never did get around to answering.Darlings! Lady Dowd was just desperately bored! Indeed, she almost nodded off, a problem Lord Broder would confront a few months later. It was his reaction to a speech the nation loved, a speech which was termed a “home run.” See THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/13/11.
He simply kept exhaustively not answering in that formal voice that sounds as though he has to guide his listeners by the hand, no matter how well they know the subject.
All . . . those . . . drawn . . . out . . . syllables . . . signifying . . . nothing . . . had . . . a . . . soporific . . . effect . . . on . . . me. But when I snapped back to attention, I hadn't missed a thing.
The vice president was apologizing for being long-winded and belaboring points, even as he continued to belabor long-winded points.
This is the way this small mafia works; it’s the way they’ve functioned for decades. Out on this morning’s page one, we were struck by the fact that Zeleny/Barbaro/Parker managed to discuss their interview with Romney without mentioning even one policy matter.
They care about hair and marriage and clothes. They care about deeply troubling bets. They care about slightly odd words like “zany.”
And darlings! They care about Seamus, Mitt Romney’s roof-strapped dog!
Visit our incomparable archives: For our original report on the suffering of Dowd, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/15/00.