I do not subscribe to The New York Times and do not read it with only one exception. Every Sunday I do read Maureen Dowd’s column. She is a very good writer which, in itself, is reason enough to read her, but more importantly she is a weather vane pointing the direction that liberals are taking on issues, individuals, and events.
Ms. Dowd joined The Times in 1983 as a metropolitan reporter, eventually becoming a columnist in 1995. Her columns regarding Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky scandal earned her a Pulitzer Prize. She had become the rare doyenne of The Times ever since, known for not suffering fools easily and for drawing blood when her political antennas pick up an egregious deception. Despite her liberal credentials, she is far less easily duped than most.
After attending the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte and listening to President Obama’s acceptance speech, she jumped ship, abandoning her previous opinions of him. In the Sunday, September 9th, edition she wrote:
“In his renomination acceptance speech here on Thursday night, he told us that America’s problems were tougher to solve than he had originally thought. And that’s why he has kindly agreed to give us more time. Because, after all, it’s our fault.”
Dowd picked up on a theme of Obama’s speech that was missed by just about every other political pundit I heard or read in the days since.
She quoted Obama saying, “So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens, you were the change.”
Her skeptical response was “We were the change? Us?” When Obama said that his supporters were the only ones with the power “to move us forward”, Dowd mocked him saying “We’re so lame. We were naïve, brimming with confidence that we could slow the rise of the oceans, heal the planet, fix the cracks in the Capitol dome.”
Dowd did not spare the Republicans, her bete noir, the anathema of all liberals, but then concluded “We’re older, wiser and grayer now. It’s depressing to look back and remember what soaring hopes we had for ourselves only four years ago. Did we overdo it with the Greek columns? Sheesh, a million people showed up for our inauguration. Now we brag when we break 10,000.”
“Our forebearing leader didn’t pander to us with that standard breakup line: ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’ He gave it to us straight” It’s not me, it’s you.”
If a conservative columnist had written that line, it would just be sour grapes, but when Ms. Dowd writes it, it is a major condemnation, a reflection on Obama’s most famous trait of refusing to take the blame for anything, including the failure of his own programs for the past nearly four years.
What struck me as well was the way Ms. Dowd’s revised opinion of Obama was reflected in a September 6 column written by another female columnist, Kimberly A. Strassel of The Wall Street Journal. Only her column was not one of disappointment, but rather a sharp analysis of the destruction Obama has brought upon the Democratic Party that just nominated him for a second term.
“Lost in the adulation,” wrote Ms. Strassel, “was the diminished state to which he has brought his broader party. Today’s Democrats are a shadow of 2008—struggling for re-election, isolated to a handful of states, lacking reform ideas, bereft of a future political bench. It has been a stunning slide.”
“It took Mr. Obama two years to destroy this potential, with an agenda that forced his party to field vote after debilitating vote—stimulus, ObamaCare, spending, climate change. The public backlash, combined with the president’s mismanagement of the economy, has reversed Democrat’s electoral gains and left a party smaller than at any time since the mid-1990s.”
Maureen Dowd feels jilted. “We are grateful to the president for deigning to point out our flaws and giving us another chance” she wrote with every word dripping with disdain for Obama.
And if she feels this way, imagine how many more Democrats in particular and Americans in general must feel that way as well?
© Alan Caruba, 2012