D.C. gossip queen has low tolerance for Democratic ‘lefties’
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is a caricaturist who also specializes in insider gossip, semi-clever puns and simplistic assessments of the national mood.
She would make an ideal replacement for White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, whom she recently deemed unfit for the job.
Dowd was in her glory in the late 1990s, dishing the dirt about Bill and Monica. Then she spent eight years trying to make light of George W. Bush and his posse. No sex scandals in that dull bunch, so she joked about Bush being a spoiled rich kid who felt inferior to his dad.
Her tone is catty and ultra-casual, even when she’s writing about things like the Bush administration’s dishonest but successful effort to start a disastrous war in Iraq. It isn’t until she gets riled up and tries to make a substantive argument that you notice how welded her opinions are to the status quo.
On Sunday Dowd seemed upset because millions of Democrats are disappointed and/or angry about President Obama’s failure to deliver on meaningful health care reform, Wall Street regulation and other big campaign promises. She agreed that Gibbs should be “yanked” for ranting against Obama’s Democratic critics, but she also wrote that Gibbs was correct, such critics are “lefties” who “won’t recognize the necessity of compromise.”
In a dishonest flourish, Dowd tried to pretend there’s no widespread Democratic criticism of Obama, but rather only a few disgruntled ideologues who — and here she quoted Gibbs — “wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.” She compared progressives who’ve lost faith in Obama to right-wing extremists who’ve “co-opted” the message of the Republican Party. The difference is that Republican “radicals” often end up helping their elected representatives — she named the far-right Mitch McConnell and Jon Kyl — whereas “Democratic extremes typically do damage to a Democratic president.”
Dowd concluded that Gibbs should be removed not because of his wildly off-base attack on fellow Democrats but rather because he’s doing a poor job of communicating Obama’s message to the press. As if the flaw wasn’t in the message itself — i.e., in Obama’s watered-down legislative initiatives and his lame insistence on working with an opposition party that from the outset dismissed the possibility of compromise.
Obama’s policy failures shine a light on the general failure of Democratic politicians in Washington to adequately represent the interests of their constituents. Dowd’s defense of Obama shows she’s out of her depth when not writing about Bill Clinton’s cigar tricks or George W. Bush’s frat boy mentality.
If only Dowd could persuade Gibbs to quit and worm her way into his job. She could spew the same “centrist” nonsense that she pushes in print but this time verbally, to fellow insiders in the Washington press corps, and then engage them in gossipy off-the-record chats about matters that have nothing to do with the dreary faraway problems that most Americans wake up to every day.