Posts Tagged ‘Maureen Dowd’

The Sound of Silence

August 31, 2013

A long time ago, back when I was in fifth or sixth grade, my class went on a field trip of sorts to the Hanover College Library. We were supposed to be doing research for some project or other. when I had gathered the books and materials I needed and sat down at a little table, I discovered that I couldn’t concentrate. Something was wrong. After several minutes, I realized what was wrong. The place was silent. I don’t know if the walls and ceilings were made of some sort of sound dampening material or if it was some design of the building, but there was no sound at all. As a person who has grown up in our mechanized era, constantly surrounded by noises and machinery, I found silence to be unnerving. It was almost as if the absence of sound was aloud and distracting sound of its own. I hated the silence. (Incidentally, years later I found the library at Indiana University to be very loud. Somehow the ventilation system was always making loud knocking noises and swooshes of air. I loved it and could spend hours happily reading there.)

In politics recently, I have noticed a certain lack, especially as we seem headed for military action against Syria. Where did all the peace groups go? Whatever happened to Code Pink? Where is Not In Our Name? Where are the massive protests against Obama’s wars? Why are there no demands that Obama be tried for war crimes? Why isn’t Maureen Dowd proclaiming the absolute moral authority of grieving parents? (That “grieving mother” opposes military action against Syria, by the way. Cindy Sheehan may be a left wing loon and a lover of dictators, but at least she is consistent.) Why are policies that caused outrage while Bush was in office now greeted with silence when done by Obama?

I have an idea. Maybe I am too cynical, but could it be just possible that all of that outrage was simply for political posturing? Could it be that it was not so much Bush’s policies they opposed but Bush? Could they all be a bunch of hypocrites. It does seem odd that all of these anti war movements disappeared almost the same day Barack Obama was inaugurated. Come to think of it, notice that the Occupy Wall Street movement with its 99% against the 1% only lasted as long as the wealthy Mitt Romney was running for president. Maybe I am getting paranoid as well as cynical. The silence does seem odd, though.

Maureen Dowd is a Twit Too

October 7, 2012

Again, no surprises there. In her latest column, Dowd imagines a post-debate conversation between Barack Obama and The West Wings’s Josiah Bartlett.

The lights from the presidential motorcade illuminate a New Hampshire farmhouse at night in the sprawling New England landscape. JED BARTLET steps out onto his porch as the motorcade slows to a stop.

BARTLET(calling out) Don’t even get out of the car!

BARACK OBAMA(opening the door of his limo) Five minutes, that’s all I want.

BARTLET Were you sleepy?

OBAMA Jed —

BARTLET Was that the problem? Had you just taken allergy medication? General anesthesia?

OBAMA I had an off night.

BARTLET What makes you say that? The fact that the Cheesecake Factory is preparing an ad campaign boasting that it served Romney his pre-debate meal? Law school graduates all over America are preparing to take the bar exam by going to the freakin’ Cheesecake Factory!

OBAMA(following Bartlet inside) I can understand why you’re upset, Jed.

BARTLET Did your staff let you know the debate was gonna be on television?

OBAMA (looking in the other room) Is that Jeff Daniels?

BARTLET That’s Will McAvoy, he just looks like Jeff Daniels.

OBAMA Why’s he got Jim Lehrer in a hammerlock?

BARTLET That’s called an Apache Persuasion Hold. McAvoy thinks it’s the responsibility of the moderator to expose — what are they called? — lies.

WILL(shouting) Did Obama remove the work requirement from Welfare-to-Work?!

LEHRER No!

WILL And you didn’t want to ask Romney about that because? It would’ve been impolite?!

Again, we see the idea that Jim Lehrer should have been actively covering for Barack Obama instead of being a fair and unbiased moderator.

I have not watched a single episode of The West Wing, but I gather it tells the story of a Democratic President in a strange, alternate universe in which liberal ideas are actually popular in America and Democrats can win without pretending to be moderates. Also, Liberals in this world are intelligent and articulate and do not have to resort to name calling. I know it is an incredible premise but the show was on for seven years, so I suppose it offered some consolation for Liberals who found the real world too harsh.

But the main point here is that Dowd repeats the idea that will soon become the conventional wisdom on that first debate, that Romney defeated Obama not because he is a better debater, or that his ideas are superior, but because he kept lying and Obama was simply too astonished by his blatant prevarications to reply.

BARTLET All right! (back to OBAMA) And that was quite a display of hard-nosed, fiscal conservatism when he slashed one one-hundredth of 1 percent from the federal budget by canceling “Sesame Street” and “Downton Abbey.” I think we’re halfway home. Mr. President, your prep for the next debate need not consist of anything more than learning to pronounce three words: “Governor, you’re lying.” Let’s replay some of Wednesday night’s more jaw-dropping visits to the Land Where Facts Go to Die. “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of a scale you’re talking about.”

OBAMA The Tax Policy Center analysis of your proposal for a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut in all federal income tax rates, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, the estate tax and other reductions, says it would be a $5 trillion tax cut.

BARTLET In other words …

OBAMA You’re lying, Governor.

BARTLET “I saw a study that came out today that said you’re going to raise taxes by $3,000 to $4,000 on middle-income families.”

OBAMA The American Enterprise Institute found my budget actually would reduce the share of taxes that each taxpayer pays to service the debt by $1,289.89 for taxpayers earning in the $100,000 to $200,000 range.

BARTLET Which is another way of saying …

OBAMA You’re lying, Governor.

I sincerely hope that President Obama does try something like this for the next debate. I have a feeling that Romney will have all the facts and figures he will need to verify his statements at hand and ready to use. Obama will only make a fool of himself if he keeps repeating, “You’re a liar”.

By the way, Maureen Dowd is probably the last person on earth who should be lecturing anyone on honesty, given her propensity to omit words from quotes to alter their meaning. This practice is called dowdification and in listed in the Urban Dictionary.

The omission of a word or a phrase in order to reframe a quote and alter its meaning. This is usually done to help an author portray a particular viewpoint and is very common amongst weblogs. The term is named after the New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

Her dowdification seriously mischaracterized his statement

That says enough.


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