Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Maureen Dowd is a New York Post Columnist (JM)

To Catch a Thief

By MAUREEN DOWD

WASHINGTON

Lenny and Squiggy were nowhere in sight.

Alright Maureen, I get we’re in Milwaukee… but still, if you’re gonna bring the Laverne & Shirley, you really better bring it.

But Hillary was doing her best to come across as a “Laverne & Shirley” factory girl as she headed away from not-a-chance Wisconsin and on to gotta-have Ohio.

Push harder Maureen, you really need to make those facts fit in to your metaphor.

She was drinking red wine and talking up the virtues of imported Blue Moon beer with a slice of citrus on her plane and putting up an ad in Ohio about how she works the night shift, too, just like the waitresses, hairdressers, hospital workers and other blue-collar constituents that she’s hoping to attract.

Yet another unattributed Maureen scoop. Hillary drinks “red wine” and “Blue Moon”. It’s totally her, “Let Them Eat Cake!” moment. Presidential candidates that get this far in the game usually don’t travel by pickup truck either. Also Blue Moon is just an excellent beer, that only makes me more sure that she is ready from day one.

And she doesn’t mean that being married to Bill Clinton is what keeps her up all hours. She’s talking about burning the midnight oil in her Senate office.

Yes, that is true. I am not sure how much better this paragraph was than if Maureen had written, “And she doesn’t mean that thinking about molesting small children is what keeps her up at all hours.” Seriously, can you write a column with out pointless personal attacks? Eh, Maureen?

At any minute, she might break out into the “schlemiel, schlemazel” “Laverne & Shirley” theme: “Give us any chance, we’ll take it.

Give us any rule, we’ll break it.

We’re gonna make our dreams come true.

Doin’ it our way.”

This is seriously like a Family Guy joke. You know, one of the jokes that is funny because it lasts way way longer than you’d expect? Except, this is the NYT and you just wasted four lines quoting the theme song of Laverne and Shirley. To quote the theme song to Wings: “I hate you, Maureen Dowd.”

Doin’ it her way, Hillary huffed to reporters on her plane: “If your whole candidacy is about words, they should be your own words.”

I guess that means if your whole candidacy is anti-words, you don’t have to use your own words.

Ooh, ouch! Twist the ole’ knife there Maureen. “Anti-words”?!! Seriously, someone tell me what that means. Minature American flags for some, deaf mutes for others?

The Clintons are known political cat burglars. They pilfered Republican jewels in the ’90s, and Hillary has purloined as much as she can stuff in her pantsuit from her husband and Barack Obama.

Yes, there a very well known as political cat burglars… standard talking point that.

She changed to Change. She co-opted “It’s time to turn the page” and “Fired up and ready to go.” She couldn’t wait to shoplift the words “yes” and “can” from Obama’s trademark “Yes, we can!” — (which he appropriated from Cesar Chavez) — even though she was cagey enough to put them in separate slogans, “Yes, we will!” and “Americans still have that can-do spirit.”

Seriously, did you just accuse her of stealing the word “can” from Obama. I think a certain man named William of Pitt wants to speak to Barack Obama about his use of the indefinite article in a speech last night, rumor has it Pitt used in a speech centuries ago…

Bill, master thief, got in on the act, too. After Obama said that his election would tell the world that America is back, Bill said that Hillary’s election would tell the world that America is back.

This is obviously a rhetorical response, rather than outright stealing. Yes, I agree the Obama plagiarism thing is a bit overblown, but the man had an entire section of his speech verbatim. It’s also more important in Obama, because he strength seems to come almost solely from his speeches, and voters deserve to know from where those come.

Although the only solid voting bloc in Wisconsin Hillary seemed to get was women over 60 years old, she did seem happy that the press had “finally,” as she put it, scrutinized him. America’s pretty boy was getting muddied up.

The Clinton camp has spent days trying to undermine Obama’s chief asset, the elegant language that has sparked a generational boom.

“We’re seeing a pattern here,” Hillary enforcer Howard Wolfson said, in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. Yeah, we are. She’s losing, and looking for anything to bruise Obama.

You know what, this is a fair hit. One of the only fair hits I ever seen from Maureen. So kudos, a bit childish, but you got one off.

Obama swiped a couple distinctive riffs about words and aspirations — his supposed specialty — from his pal Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, thereby violating the new cardinal rule not only of politics but of life: Don’t do anything you don’t want to see on the top favorites of YouTube.

He had credited Patrick in the past, and Patrick had channeled Obama when he ran for governor in ’06, so basically they’re like two roommates sharing clothes. Or two politicians sharing a strategist. Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, worked for Patrick in the gubernatorial bid.

Why write one sentence when you can waste our lives with three.

“You may know that both Deval Patrick and Senator Obama have the same consultant and adviser,” Hillary told reporters, “who is apparently putting words in both of their mouths.”

This is a fair line of attack on Obama, not so much because it is unique to his campaign, but it’s good for Hillary to remind voters that these unity sermons are political products too.

It wasn’t campaign shredding, as when Joe Biden absorbed Neil Kinnock’s Welsh inflection and life experiences in ’88. But it was sloppy. If you’re going to be hailed as the messiah and sermonize about offering a “hymn that will heal this nation,” you should come up with your own lyrics.

Obama is basing his campaign on his freshness and integrity and honesty, so he shouldn’t cut corners, as he seems to have done with crediting Patrick and explaining the extent of his relationship with his sleazy former fund-raiser, Tony Rezko.

The attribution problem might be small beer compared with Michelle Obama’s comment in Milwaukee on Monday: “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.”

Have I lost my mind, or has Maureen suddenly become a fairly acceptable columnist in the last few paragraphs. Somewhat even-handed, somewhat efficient writing. I am just waiting to hear the other shoe hit the ground.

It’s a discordant note for the stylish, brainy 44-year-old Princeton and Harvard Law School grad. Cindy McCain showed that Republicans would jump right on a line like that, and twist it into something that sounded extremist and unpatriotic.

Michelle made another of these aggrieved pronouncements at a rally in Los Angeles before the California primary: “Things have gotten progressively worse, throughout my lifetime, through Democratic and Republican administrations, it hasn’t gotten better for regular folks.”

We’re still fine here, but remember she has yet to draw any conclusion about what this all means.

Given the way the Clintons unfairly turn the tables, we’re only moments away from Hillary asking Obama: “Can’t you control your spouse?”

Oh ho! That was neat Maureen. Essentially, you made several paragraphs of potential criticisms about the Obama campaign and then you provide the twist ending where it will be the Clintons’ fault if they attack based on this material. Also what happened to the Laverne & Shirley theme, that’s something we could all get behind. Stay tuned for next week, when Maureen compares the Fed to this episode of Mr. Belvedere she once saw.

2 comments:

Mo MoDo said...

The cat burglar remark has to do with the Hitchcock movie that was the title of the column. Meaning that the Clintons are just stealthier thieves than Obama.

Jonathan said...

Yes, I got the reference, but just because Maureen creates her own bizarre internal metaphor mechanism doesn't mean it makes any sense. She uses metaphor to attack, while hiding the validity behind the attack. So instead of substantiating her claim that the Clintons are somehow thieves she hides it behind weird puns and jokes. Her articles are like beer-league versions of The Wasteland.