Maureen Dowd: Superfluous Fiction, Supreme Storyteller

Reaching deep for his next 'Um...'

Uh, umm...

I’ve often been told that a great writer is capable of making the reader feel connected and empathetic for the protagonist. Fiction gives the writer amazing leverage in creating the story around the character to accomplish that empathetic end.

Honesty, when the protagonist is real however, rarely makes for a spectacular “based on a true story” Lifetime movie.

Such is the case here.

Maureen pretends to be someone else writing for the West Wing (a now cancelled NBC show) President Jed Bartlett:

GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

Now, it is worth systematically noting the following, regarding factual analysis:

  • Sarah Palin did say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” When she realized the price tag wasn’t $200-300 million, but more like $400+ million, she decided it was in the best interest to put the funds elsewhere to benefit the state and instead enhanced the ferry system in lieu of the bridge.
  • John McCain might have been legacied into Annapolis but I believe that neither the school nor his service was ‘elitist’. Rather, I’d restrict the term to the root and leave it just ‘elite’. You see, Maureen, a good writer understands that ‘elite’ means a superior mastery of one’s craft and that ‘elitist’ simply carries a connotation of snobbery. As used in a sentence: Maureen Dowd’s Op/Eds in the NYT reveal her radically liberal elitist mentality.
  • On patriotism, your comments make little sense. Raising my taxes to give my money to someone less capable with it is not “patriotism”. It is little more than lunacy. Further, please articulate without research the nuances of the Monroe and the Bush Doctrine (each generation of the term, as you understand it) and how the latter impacts the former. In my view, both are patriotic and necessary, as well as the Roosevelt Corollary.
  • No, they do not have to lie and have chosen not to lie thus far. But please, get angry and mock mercilessly. Looking angry while spewing hateful rhetoric always comes across as professional and prepared to lead.
  • McCain does decry agents of intolerance but also knows where he stands personally. Ironically, Palin is ideologically similar. No books were banned, she was asking the librarian for her professional opinion on the practice. If you, Maureen, were my librarian, I might ask the same of you.
  • Palin is a strict Creationist. However, I am too. The problem here is that you speak of a God as if you know and represent Him. From your vitriol, ideology, and rhetoric you indicate otherwise to my personal judgment. Sometimes, Maureen, it is okay to take things God does on faith, but when you put the faith in a false messiah, we question your judgment. Further, Palin does not want Creationism taught in place of evolution. So enough with the false accusations.
  • Exactly what proof do you have that her daughter is being forced into a loveless marriage? It is wise not to speak with authority about something you personally cannot corroborate even if this is an Op/Ed piece. She also does not dictate that everyone else do the same, in fact, she has even stated each case must be examined individually.
  • On abortion, yes, if you are raped it is a terrible experience but one horrific crime does not make killing someone innocent justifiable. I am sure you agree that two wrongs would not make this right and hardly make it better.
  • God would not call unrighteous baseless anger ‘restrained’. It’s called foolish and people that study God’s Word are keenly aware of this difference.
  • Condescension is sometimes called for but “God is not mocked.” The thin editorial ice you tread upon is cracking under your trembling fear of an electoral loss.
Continuing she adds:
No. You’re elite, you can do both. Four weeks ago you had the best week of your campaign, followed — granted, inexplicably — by the worst week of your campaign. And you’re still in a statistical dead heat. You’re a 47-year-old black man with a foreign-sounding name who went to Harvard and thinks devotion to your country and lapel pins aren’t the same thing and you’re in a statistical tie with a war hero and a Cinemax heroine. To these aged eyes, Senator, that’s what progress looks like. You guys got four debates. Get out of my house and go back to work.
Restoring sanity in light of the above really starts to get old:
  • No, Maureen, per the definition aforementioned, Obama is not ‘elite’, he is ‘elitist’.
  • His name does sound funny, because we have hung people with that last name and are trying to catch or kill someone with a first name that is similar. That’s not a prejudiced remark, it just explains why it recalls other world affairs to mind.
  • Yes, Harvard — an elitist school. You can get a great education there, no doubt, but many also unwittingly pay for an attitude that leaves something to be desired by all they meet.
  • Lapel pins alone do not denote patriotism; however, a pattern of unpatriotic behavior coupled with a quote from a spouse tend to give the impression one may not be appreciative of their country.
  • It is a statistical tie with a war hero, but Palin is no Cinemax heroine, Maureen. Though, your remark does reek of jealousy as she is far betting looking than you according to my latest polling data. Perhaps your aged eyes are too jaded for the harshness of reality.
As Jed used to say, “Break’s over.” Now you get back to work. Journalistic integrity is not your forte and I suggest sharpening your acumen. It resembles that of the Chosen One you are so vehemently defending.
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6 Responses

  1. That is the best spin I have ever read on the book banning issue. Palin had no reason to bring up the issue if she wasn’t contemplating pursuing it. She even tried to get the librarian fired.

  2. There was a rumor that she tried to get her fired in order to ban books…

    She still worked there as the librarian for several more years. If you say someone wanted to ban books but kept the person on staff many more years and then once replaced still ban no books, it’s apparently not a book banning effort.

    Especially when the list of books you want banned are yet to be published…

  3. The librarian WAS fired. And then re-instated by public outrage. This is well-reported. From the New York Times:

    “The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled. Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Ms. Emmons, who left her job and Wasilla a couple of years later, declined to comment for this article.”

  4. The account was given by a self-professed political opponent giving her version of the story.

    It doesn’t really have the gravity that it would if it was from the librarian herself. It’s not like political opponents do not make up stories. I’d really be inclined to believe it if the list that circulated didn’t include yet unpublished books or had an independent review by someone.

    Partisan politics exist even in Wasilla, AK.

  5. The “list” was a red herring distributed as a cheap shot. It seems the real target may have been “My Two Daddies”, but we will never know the truth now. Too many people have a vested interest in it not coming out.

  6. A good defense of knowing where your librarian stands, especially if you’re stuck with her in your administration:

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2008/09/22/bozell-palin-book-burning-myth

    I consider this issue closed.

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