Thursday, January 22, 2004
Fisking Dowd: Once upon a time I really wanted to win a Pulitzer Prize, because for journalists those things are a big deal. Then the New York Times' Maureen Dowd won one. Now, I'm not willing to undergo the brain damage caused by repeatedly bashing my head into the asphalt that would be required to compete for the prize.
Dowd's column today is evidence of the fact that she is both completely nuts and not amusing.
[W]ASHINGTON ? Whoa! That was quite the steroid-infused performance. Who's the guy's political consultant ? Russell Crowe? He was so in-your-face, smirking his trademark smirk, it was disturbing to think of him in charge of the military. It's a good thing he stopped drinking and started talking about God.
Smirk? Oh, it's that inner smirk that only enlightened, professional women can sense. Maybe if Dowd stopped drinking she'd be funnier. Maybe if I started drinking she'd be funnier. Nah, the amount of alcohol required to make Dowd amusing would kill me.
You wonder how many votes he scared off with that testosterone festival: the taunting message, the self-righteous geographic litany of support? The Philippines. Thailand. Italy. Spain. Poland. Denmark. Bulgaria. Ukraine. Romania. The Netherlands. Norway. El Salvador.
How many votes? None. Anyone "scared" by that tame performance is already voting Democrat.
Can you believe President Bush is still pushing the cockamamie claim that we went to war in Iraq with a real coalition rather than a gaggle of poodles and lackeys?
Poodles were part of the coalition? Does she have a fact-checker? The French were not part of the coalition.
His State of the Union address took his swaggering sheriff routine to new heights. "America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country," he vowed.
Translation: Hey, we don't need no stinking piece of paper to bring it on in other countries. If it feels good, we'll do it, and we'll decide later why we did it. You lookin' at me?
Translation: I'm scared of the French. If the French look askance at me, I wet myself. Please make sure the French say it's OK before we do anything.
Sure, Howard Dean was also over the top when he uttered the squeal heard round the world. With one guttural primary primal scream, he went from Internet deity to World Wide Wacko and remix victim, with the scream mixed in on Web sites to punctuate Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train."
My name is Maureen Dowd. I'm a professional journalist. This is what we pro-jos, as we call ourselves in Da Country Club, refer to as "burying the lede."
Yes, Howard, you know you're in trouble when Chris Matthews says you make him look like Jim Lehrer; when David Letterman compares you to a hockey dad; when The New York Post suggests you have a "God complex." (As Alec Baldwin's twisted doctor said in "Malice": "You ask me if I have a God complex? Let me tell you something. I am God.")
Dowd: "Hehehehe. They're pickin' on you."
Once Michael Dukakis got in trouble when he failed to get angry when asked how he would react if his wife were raped and murdered.
Dowd: "I'm gonna help you out here Howard, if you're asked how you would react if your wife got raped, pretend you came in third in the Iowa caucuses."
But Dr. Dean's snarly, teeth-baring Iowa finale was so Ross-Perot-scare-off-the-women-and-horses crazy that some Democrats on Capitol Hill, already anxious about the tightly wound doctor, confessed they could not imagine that jabbing finger anywhere near The Button.
Dowd: "There's a conspiracy against you Howard, I'm part of it. If you lose, run as a third-party candidate. Ralph Nader's your man!"
But Republicans were thrilled when Mr. Bush strutted up onstage on Tuesday night to basically tell the country that if you don't vote for him in November, you're giving up in the war on terrorism. "We've not come all this way ? through tragedy, and trial and war ? only to falter and leave our work unfinished," he asserted, as if all those Democrats racing from Iowa to New Hampshire in the middle of the night were crying out to the voters: "Falter! Falter!"
Actually, Deomcrats are racing from Iowa to New Hampshire crying out: "Terrorists hate Bush. We hate Bush. Terrorists won't hate us."
Dr. Dean's poll numbers are diving because people freezing in New Hampshire think he's too hot.
Dowd: "Aren't I clever. You can only turn a phrase like this if you've got a Pulitzer!"
President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are better at looking cool. But their dissing the U.N. ? that palace of permission slips ? and their doctrine of pre-emption are just as hot, and so was Mr. Bush's cocky implicit defense of the idea that if you whack one Middle East dictator, the rest will fall in line. "Nine months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not," he said. "For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible, and no one can now doubt the word of America."
Any middle-aged woman who uses the term "dissing" should be laughed out of town. Besides it wasn't Bush and Blair who scared Libya into giving up its nukes, it was Maureen Dowd! Yeah, she was the one who convinced him to do it! She threatened to write a "witty" column about him and lesbians if he didn't come clean.
Maybe he's right, but what about Bill Clinton's line that unless we want to occupy every country in the world, maybe our policy should also concentrate on making friends instead of targets? The president and vice president like to present a calm, experienced demeanor, but their foreign policy is right out of the let's-out-crazy-the-bad-guys style of Mel Gibson's cop in "Lethal Weapon" movies.
Clinton, wasn't he that guy who used to live in the White House when terrorists attacked the USS Cole in Yemen -- and did nothing? Wasn't he the guy who pulled out of Somalia after the Black Hawk Down incident, encouraging Osama bin Laden's misconception that we were a paper tiger? If you're a terrorist, I'd rather the U.S. be seen as a crazy Mel Gibson than a codependent battered wife who keeps on taking the beatings because she only wants to be our friend.
For proof of how intemperate their policy has been, compare this year's State of the Union with last year's. Last year it was all about Iraq's frightening weapons. This year the only reference was to "dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations."
Dowd: "The president should have known what I didn't know -- what no-one didn't know before he knew it! (If Rummy can do it, then so can I!)"
Would Americans have supported a war to go get "program activities?" What is a program activity? Where is the White House speechwriters' ombudsman?
Translation: Daniel Okrent's been picking on me. Why can't he pick on someone else? I don't like Daniel Okrent. He's a meanie.