Is Maureen Dowd Necessary? Defanging a Hillary Basher

Anita Finlay in The New Agenda:

Dowd-2-zuma-300x169The stinging slights offered by several women who had wielded the written word in an effort to cut Hillary Clinton off at the knees were in a class by themselves. Sally Quinn of the Washington Post appeared on CBS’ The Early Show with Harry Smith to say that Hillary is “a tortured person,” “doesn’t know who she really is or what she wants” and “maybe what she really needs is a wonderful, loving relationship with somebody instead of just going after power and being this ambitious person that I think she thinks she oughta be.”[ii] Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift had referred to the Clintons as “the Corleones.” There were others. But none in the same orbit as Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, whose attacks against the Senator felt distinctly personal in tone. Dowd, along with her sister columnists, purported to know what was desirable and acceptable – in a successful woman, yet they all imagined Hillary existed to be in service of a man, thereby telegraphing an addiction to a mindset that has been limiting women for eons. The woman does not, by definition of her sex, have to put her own goals aside. While these ladies were paid by the column inch for opinion rather than fact, opinions infested by trash talk can penetrate the psyche over time, creating a convincing negative portrait of someone that is often disconnected from the facts of their record. Such was the case with Ms. Dowd’s pronouncements about Hillary Clinton:

“After saying she found her “voice” in New Hampshire, she has turned into Sybil. We’ve had Experienced Hillary, Soft Hillary, Hard Hillary, Misty Hillary, Sarcastic Hillary, Joined-at-the-Hip-to-Bill Hillary, Her-Own-Person-Who-Just-Happens-to-Be-Married-to-a-Former-President Hillary, It’s-My-Turn Hillary, Cuddly Hillary, Let’s-Get-Down-in-the-Dirt-and-Fight-Like-Dogs Hillary.”[iii]

By painting Senator Clinton as a person with bi-polar disorder, Maureen Dowd officially joined the ranks of the sexists, hinting that “Sybil” Hillary might blow up the world from the Oval Office if she were having a bad hair day. Male politicians adjust and amend their message and narrative out on the campaign trail regularly. They are not referred to as mentally unstable. Dowd also wrote that “experience does not beat excitement” and much to my chagrin and dismay, that was true. Obama’s bedazzling branding and the celebratory press treatment he received were much better explanations for Hillary’s difficulties in the primaries than Dowd implying she was some sort of psychopath.

More here. (Note: Older column but even more relevant today)