It's Week Two of the Maureen Dowd/John McCain Watch here at Bubblegum Aesthetics: despite having three columns available to her since McCain's lobbyist scandal broke (to say nothing of McCain's dalliances with noted bigot John Hagee), Mo has chosen to completely ignore her Republican crush's ongoing meltdown in favor of...oh, take a guess.
C'mon, I know you can do it...
It's not hard...
OK, I'll spoil you:
I'm not, in theory, opposed to columns criticizing Hillary Clinton: in the last four months, she and her campaign have been remarkably uninspired, making a lot of missteps and campaigning with a lack of joy that was nailed this week on The Daily Show: "Vote Clinton: Because a Deaf God Ignores Our Pleas." I think she's a much better candidate than John McCain, but when I go to the polls on Tuesday to vote in the Ohio primary, I will be voting for Barack Obama.
Still, even my disappointment in, and cynicism about the Clinton campaign recoils from Maureen Dowd's particular, ongoing take on Clinton. Dowd's complaint has nothing to do with the senator's policy positions, and little to do with her rhetoric, but instead focuses on what a supposed bitch Hillary is, how "unfeminine" she is (note all the snide coded references to pantsuits), how desperate and ambitious and cold Clinton can be (and how gleeful Dowd is that the candidate might soon be gone). It's a deeply misogynistic take on the candidate that reveals less about Clinton than Dowd. I realize calling Maureen Dowd a snippy misogynist is like pointing out that the sun rises every morning (for a complete look at her inanity, take a deep breath, put on a hazmat suit and read the chilling archives over at The Daily Howler); still, it bears repeating: Dowd is beating this dead horse in every column, while simulataneously ignoring John McCain's trainwrecks.
She's not alone in this: Nicholas Kristof and Frank Rich have also been guilty of fluffing for their white-haired knight (Rich's column is hesitantly critical today, but he makes the expected nods towards McCain's purported liberalism and ever-present 'humor,' and also spins it into an anti-Hillary commentary). Given Dowd's penchant for sex talk (she won her Pulitzer for writing about Monica Lewinsky) and her love of shallow moralisms about the character flaws of public servants, one would think the McCain campaign's inimitable mixture of lobbyists, affairs, racism and double-talk would act like catnip (imagine if this stuff had happened to Bill Clinton). Instead, her ongoing omerata about the travails of the 'Straight Talker' puts an ironic spin on the closing line of today's column: "This time, Americans may prefer cerebral arguments to visceral ones. What a refreshing change reality would be." Indeed, Mo, indeed.