Having sadly skewered another Democratic presidential candidate for being too "effete" and superficially loose with his campaign funds, Maureen Dowd sets her April 25th column's sights on Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. You will recall that Dowd rendered a gloomy, negative take on Obama's announcement tour in February, when most pundits and opinion-makers were able to squeeze at least some sunshine from the history-making moment.
In that February 21st column, Dowd wrote that Obama was "'too emotionally detached and cerebral" and "'self-consciously pristine." Obama as the detached "dreamboy" is Moe’s new, thin theme for the Senator from Illinois. And now, more than two months since that February column, Dowd's red hair has become more bloody than ruddy when it comes to Barry. She writes, "the coolly detached candidate, striving to seem substantive, is good at turning down the heat himself. He manages to tamp down crowds dying to be electrified. He resists surfing his own wave of excitement."
So Barack is an adult among the weary? Really? It's too antiquated to comprehend or take seriously (so last century) and thus Maureen won't even try to. Instead, Dowd confusingly (and “some people” might say dishonestly) describes the candidate in opposing tones. On one hand we are to believe Obama is the cerebral loner, too self-aware to believe his own hype. But on the other hand Dowd tells us that Obama has no substance and is the superficial "dreamboy" to Hillary's "Queen" (to use Dowd's unimaginative Oscar reference).
Dowd desperately needs to describe Obama as detached because her typing fingers simply won't do inspiration and hope. Her opinion-making skill exists only where there is a bad man (or woman) operating boldly and with objectively evil aims. Where the GOP offers her "deceptive" and "bumbling" characters from Bush to Cheney to Wolfowitz, the Democrats only offer the potential for satiated emotions and, well, solutions. In a March 3rd column on Obama, Dowd interviewed the Senator in his office and her impression included this pretty sounding but pointless conclusion: "I'm just not certain, having watched the fresh-faced senator shy away from fighting with the feral Hillary over her Hollywood turf, that he understands that a campaign is inherently a conflict." (Note that Dowd’s lazy narrative would like to spin Barry as the Noxzema Girl to compliment Adam Nagourney’s John Edwards as Breck Girl theme).
I would suspect that what Obama actually doesn't understand (nor does John Edwards, it seems) is that folks like Maureen Dowd need either some candidate-created blood in the water or candidate-generated lies to spin their own stories. Both John and Barry probably don’t care either, since both of their campaigns are about progress and not pandering. I'm not sure that Maureen Dowd understands that Americans are fed up with the Republicans’ self-inflicted conflicts that yield no result beyond deeper division and wilder debt. So many months out before the race truly begins, Dowd has already tired of the lady-boys in the Democratic field because they don’t provide enough red-state-hate meat for her hungry liking.
In her recent breezy article about John Edwards’ locks, Dowd declared that "effete is never effective," a startlingly soothing sentence that means nothing, especially in light of the ineffective macho chest-pumping we have witnessed for the past 7 years. All Barry and John offer Dowd is a chance to recycle her sad masculine-feminine theories that you can buy for 49 cents at Amazon.com. Of course Moe has the blues. Her one-note act is all about alliteration in the name of sarcastic reveals. But it’s tough to keep finding ways to call someone fresh or removed (or subconsciously feminine, i.e. gay). Obama and Edwards have their stinking happy marriages, happy children and even happier supporters. All Maureen is left with are over-priced haircuts, teasing wives and big, adoring crowds. Boring.
For Dowd this entire election will be all about who is the tough Daddy and who is the emotional Mommy, regardless of whether Hillary is the Democratic nominee (or especially if she is not). Dowd enjoys the sexist and vaguely bigoted gender world she has designed in her mind and she will not be moved. I would suspect her waning TimesSelect talent in 2008 will be focused upon throwing antidotes into that gender world and making them stick, logic be damned.
Asked to be the “war czar” for Iraq and Afghanistan by the Bush Administration, Retired Marine Gen. John Sheehan told reporters he turned down White House offer because, "The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going."
Neither does Maureen Dowd.