Sadly, the discourse hasn't: Like her repurposed friend Chris Matthews, Maureen Dowd has come a long way concerning Hillary Clinton.
As late as June 2008, Matthews, Dowd and the rest of the gang were still treating Clinton as the Dragon Lady of American politics. In the sixteen years of this long-running mess, the liberal world had barely managed to offer a peep of protest.
By now, Matthews has been completely repurposed. He is now paid millions of dollars to sing the praises of Clinton.
Yesterday, on the front page of the Sunday Review, Dowd followed suit—at least, she did so by her own standards. Dowd managed to write a column about Clinton which was essentially neutral.
Don’t get us wrong—all sorts of standard fright imagery littered Dowd’s presentation. “The Clinton scandals and dysfunction are in the rearview mirror at the moment,” she wrote, helping the dimmest among us see that these pseudo-scandals could return at any time.
The negative imagery was still there. As we read this newest column about Clinton, we hear references to “her husband’s codependent shadow.” We’re also told that “the Clintons have a rare talent for finding puddles to step in” (especially when they’re helped along by needy people like Dowd).
“Viper’s nests” and “scummy strategists” were of course cited, along with “the Clinton mishegoss and cheesiness.” And needless to say, The Doctor was IN, as in this thoughtful passage:
DOWD (4/7/13): If Obama is the kid who studies only on the night before and gets an A, Hillary is the kid who studies all the time, stays up all night and does extra credit work to get the A. She doesn’t know how not to drive herself into the ground.In January 2008, the unlicensed psychiatrist, Dr. Bernstein, explained the source of those insecurities. Dr. Dowd sees no reason to change the analysis now.
As Carl Bernstein wrote in his Hillary biography, “A Woman in Charge,” her insecurities grew from her herculean effort to win paternal praise: “When Hillary came home with all A’s except for one B on her report card, her father suggested that perhaps her school was too easy, and wondered half-seriously why she hadn’t gotten straight A’s. Hillary tried mightily to extract some unequivocal declaration of approval from her father, but he had tremendous difficulty in expressing pride or affection.”
Meanwhile, does human life ever get dumber than this?
DOWD: “She’s gone to hell and back trying to be president,” Carville said. “She’s paid her dues, to say the least. The old cliché is that Democrats fall in love and Republicans fall in line. But now Republicans want a lot of people to run and they want to fall in love. And Democrats don’t want to fight; they just want to get behind Hillary and go on from there.”Did Clinton learn from her debacle with health care? That alleged debacle occurred in 1993 and 1994.
The real question is not whether but whither. Does Hillary have learning software? Did she learn, from her debacle with health care, to be more transparent and less my-way-or-the-highway?
By now, Dowd has had almost twenty years to see if the experience produced the desired changes. She has been able to observe Clinton’s eight years in the Senate, followed by her four years as secretary of state.
But so what? Twenty years later, Dowd still doesn’t know if Clinton learned from her debacle! More to the point, Dowd is still using this tired old trope to flesh out a tired new column.
In fact, a lot of deeply tired old mash is found in this tired new column. On the other hand, Dowd has been repurposed to the extent that she includes quite a few favorable images of Clinton.
For starters, Dowd is sure that Clinton is going to run—for president in 2016, in case you have so many brain cells that you don’t waste your time worrying about such topics today. Beyond that, Dowd is also willing to call Hillary Clinton an icon.
As recently as five years ago, that could never have happened.
Matthews has been completely repurposed; Dowd has come halfway. But the saddest part of this pitiful column is the fact that it was written at all. Maureen Dowd is a broken-souled tribune of a broken-souled pseudo-journalist class. As any unlicensed shrink can tell you, her entire life is focused on the flight from topics of substance.
Maureen Dowd doesn’t do substance! We’ll remind you again, as we have in the past, of what she once told Joe Klein. Gay Jervey quoted Klein in a 1999 profile of Dowd for Brill’s Content:
JERVEY (6/99): "Maureen is very talented," observes Joe Klein of The New Yorker. "But she is ground zero of what the press has come to be about in the nineties...I remember having a discussion with her in which I said, 'Maureen, why don't you go out and report about something significant, go out and see poor people, do something real?' And she said, 'You mean I should write about welfare reform?'"“You mean I should write about welfare reform?” If you’ve ever seen this lost soul on TV, you can picture her purring that line.
Maureen Dowd doesn’t do windows or substance! The nation is collapsing around her, but her goal is to make you wonder about who will run for the White House next time. One or two of Dowd’s readers complained with some eloquence about the premature foolishness of this column. But pundits like Dowd have nothing to say—and they need to fill up a full column.
True to the soul of the New York Times, this worthless piece ran on the front page of yesterday’s Sunday Review. This paper is run by empty souls—empty souls who live on the fringes of the upper class.
They will be fine, no matter what comes. They don’t much care about you.
Columns and discussions like these are designed to kill time, to distract you from matters of substance. Let us entertain and distract you, pundits like this one proclaim.
Additional question for bonus points: How many people really think that Joe Biden could successfully run for a first term in the White House at age 73? A term he would be starting at age 74?
(Biden was born in November 1942.)
We find that very hard to believe. But since these discussions are pure distraction, all pseudo-journalists so engaged pretend that this makes perfect sense.