Category Archives: Hillary Clinton

I still greatly dislike Maureen Dowd

Apparently, the only thing that can rise me from my politics blog slumber is my hatred for Maureen Dowd. Bill Clinton has just whisked two American journalists from their NO KO gulag nightmare–and all Dowd can think to write is another snark piece on how Bill stole the limelight from his wife.

Maureen Dowd does not rise above petty meanness. She goes out of her way to make fun of Hillary Clinton and “the subjects she most cares about: do-gooder development and women’s issues.” Gasp! Clinton has priorities in life other than character assassination! It’s beyond Ms. Dowd.

Her column is a musing on made-up psychological motivations (her column format of choice) in order to shed a new angle on yesterday’s story. But her concept is not enlightening. It’s just bullshit. I know Ms. Dowd is just trying to be funny, but her 800 words of drivel would not have seemed so clever if she had mentioned the REAL REASON why SPECIFICALLY Bill Clinton was the one to visit NO KO. The Koreans told Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee that they wanted former prez Clinton to visit. The women relayed this message to their families, who relayed this message to the relevant authorities. It wasn’t Bill’s secret coup of his wife’s spotlight. No political jostling between Gore, Richardson and B Clinton took place. And No Ko wasn’t responding to what H Clinton said about them the other week!

North Korea simply requested Bill Clinton. That’s what there is to it. Now, any columnist worth a damn might have chosen to muse on why that is, instead of musing on false pretenses.

In the end, of course I think the press should and must criticize its people in power. And of course, I think opinion columnists can have artistic license to do that however they want to. But Dowd’s sole role on that op-ed page is to gloat with a sarcastic righteousness; it makes me absolutely want to punch her in the face. Krugman is snarky and self-righteous, of course, but he actually has things he cares about–decent healthcare for America, among other things. I don’t really care that K-man is holier than thou, because you know what? He’s a Nobel winner. What’s Dowd got? Red hair and a BAD ATTITUDE!!!

–anna

Maureen Dowd Plagiarizes

You know something? I really don’t like Maureen Dowd. I don’t like her smugness, her hostility towards feminism, her cutesy nicknames and elaborate fictional scenarios involving politicians and Cabinet members. I don’t like the self-congratulatory air pervading her every column, or how she frequently touts her superior experience, name-drops and shamelessly parades her excellent connections.

Indira and I have often shared a laugh in the past about Ms. Dowd, who has written several books, one of them called “Are Men Necessary?” An adapted magazine article that sums up the thesis of her book can be found here.

Dowd blames feminism for her troubles with men, who are apparently intimidated by her beauty and her brains. Feminism, she says, made getting along with men harder. Men now mistake Dowd and her assertiveness for a castrating feminazi and flee in the other direction.

The funny part is that probably she doesn’t get along with men (or anyone? who knows) because she’s likely unpleasant and perhaps a tad boastful. LOOK WITHIN MAUREEN. IT’S NOT FEMINISM’S FAULT THAT YOU HAVE BAD LUCK WITH DUDES.

One other thing I don’t like about her is that she was extremely vicious about Hillary Clinton in the primaries, and was one of her toughest and most unreasonable critics. She often made Chris Matthews’ criticisms look justified.

All this adds up to why I didn’t care when Maureen Dowd was found to have plagiarized a paragraph of another blogger’s work. If at first I found her writing obnoxious and her manner condescending, now I can be justified in thinking that she is an unprincipled journalist and a poor writer.

The Times would do better to stop hiring token conservatives and mix it up by hiring more people of color or an interesting woman or two. To quote my favorite Times critic, Manohla Dargis, I would like to see this happen “not because of some ‘politically correct’ imperative but because it makes the discussion more interesting.” WORD! (Dargis was talking about film critics, but the same principle easily applies here.) Indira once commented that Bob Herbert may be among the best of the bunch, but his genius is doomed to languish in obscurity forever.

Besides Herbert and Dowd (who is the biggest sexist of the bunch), all the other columnists are white men (many with economics backgrounds) in their 50s and 60s. You really know the op-ed page sucks when I enjoy reading David Brooks the most. (I’m not joking. I find him insightful, even if I disagree with him on many occasions.)

So let Dowd take a break to examine her conscience, NYT, and hire Indira or I in the mean time.

The Rise and Fall of Hilly’s Stardust

I am by no means a staunch Clinton supporter. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was fraught with gaffes and missteps–some racist, some overtly dishonest. Her foreign policy proposals would spell disaster for America and the rest of the world. And yet her failure to capture the nomination and her recent reluctance to relinquish the Democratic crown to a younger, more charismatic man strike me as tragic (like, of Greek proportions). This is a woman who toiled her whole life to reach the level of power and influence required to become a presidential contender, only to lose to a shooting star whose rise no one could have ever predicted.

But now it’s time for everyone to weigh in on what her campaign meant in the grand scheme of things. Was her campaign a landmark for women’s progress everywhere? Or it just evidence of Clinton’s disorderly desire for power and influence?

The New York Times‘ and Slate’s finest feminists used the end of Clinton’s campaign as a conduit for meaningful reflection on gender and feminism in America. Gail Collins waxed elegiac about Clinton’s loss. Judith Warner reflected on the media’s sexist campaign coverage.

On the other end of the spectrum, The Economist claimed Clinton “has not only lost the Democratic nomination. She has humiliated herself in the process.”

The Economist points to poor campaign organization and the badly natured Clinton duo as the main culprits for Clinton’s loss; they conveniently ignore the rhetorical influence of the the Chris Matthews and Bill O’Reillys and Tucker Carlsons of the world. And yet it would also be unfair to blame Clinton’s loss solely on the punditocracy’s crass misogyny.

Anne Appelbaum of the Washington Post wrote on Slate’s XX blog that Clinton is “an appalling role model” who disobeyed young women’s “Lesson No. 1: Marry the Right Man.” I happen to think Appelbaum is appalling for implying Clinton could/should have controlled her husband’s infidelities. She goes on to speculate that Clinton continued her doomed campaign perhaps because “she was trying to prove something about her odd marriage—or, more likely, prove something to her odd husband.” Appelbaum conjures up the worst of feminine stereotypes–that the insecure Clinton derives her self-worth from her husband and marriage. I mean, really? Clinton was willing to keep her campaign machine alive and spend millions of dollars just because she felt bad about herself after Bill’s philandering? Appelbaum is clueless.

Where is the middle ground here?

Matt Taibbi says the strength of Clinton’s support for Obama in the coming months determines whether we should see her campaign as a hard-fought feminist battle or a “selfish, indulgent, pointlessly divisive and destructive exercise.”

How about this: Clinton stayed in the race so long because she is a power-hungry, calculated politician who invoked feminist language to justify her long campaign, but she also believes, or convinced herself, that her attempt to break the highest glass ceiling was noble.

Obviously Clinton’s failure was caused by the complicated relationship between old fashioned misogyny, the Clinton reputation, Clinton’s own missteps, and Obama’s amazingness.

The best part: time won’t tell which factors were most important. The warring factions will continue upholding their side which either ignores sexism or claims it is the most crucial factor.

I just can’t wait until someone makes a classy Hollywood drama about this. Meryl Streep should star as Hillary.

–Anna