The New York Times is offering its caged columnists' opinions for free this week, in a sort of journalistic HBO-free-weekend kind of thing (when I was a kid, I remember thinking the HBO free weekend was the coolest occurrence ever, even if they just played Ghostbusters and War Games over and over). Such a broadening of the columnists' audience makes Maureen Dowd's recent column on all things W. and Rummy even more sad--MoDo is definitely phoning it in this week (I like how Don Imus assigned Charles to read the column this week, noting that it was just too much of a commitment to deal with Dowd's writing). While not awful by any stretch, it certainly isn't thought-provoking or necessarily original. Dowd has covered this W.-vs.-Daddy slant many, many times before, and this week she writes the obvious and notes that old 41's crew is on the warpath to make W.'s War Path one towards victory as opposed to chaos.I would be more interested in Dowd's take on Bob Gates and his past expressions of doubt over a possible conflict with Iran as well as Gates' relationship with Kinky Boots Condi. Or heck, I'd appreciate a Dowd discussion on Condi Rice that was more than a superficial cupcake of a column. But alas, we're left with Oedipal mush. Next week, perhaps. I'll discuss next week's article here, since the Times Select prison bars will shortly fall down hard once again. Elite talk is only for those who pay the price... or those who find ways to break into the thought prison.