Maureen Dowd: Champion of Women's Rights?

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is a long-time supporter of women's rights, including the rights of women in Iraq.

In this August op-ed, for example, she writes:

"America has caved on Iraqi women's rights. In fact, the women's rights activists supported by George and Laura Bush may have to leave Iraq.
....Yesterday, the president hailed the constitution establishing an Islamic republic as ''an amazing process,'' and said it ''honors women's rights, the rights of minorities.'' Could he really think that? Or is he following the Vietnam model -- declaring victory so we can leave?"

So, I was disappointed that Dowd's Wednesday column on the Miers nomination repeatedly invoked negative stereotypes of women in the public arena.

The column reads like one of those particularly juvenile Saturday Night Live skits that's funny for 20 seconds, then proceeds to drag on for six minutes. (You can find the full text by Googling "" +"To Sir With Love".)

The premise of Dowd's satire is that she has come into possession of several letters written to George W. Bush by Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, all along the lines of Miers's actual note in a 1997 birthday card to Bush, which read, "You are the best Governor ever -- deserving of great respect!''

The first fake letter made me chuckle:

August 2001 -- ''Thank you so much for letting me bundle up and drag away the brush that you cut down today. And if I might add, Sir, I've never seen a man wield the nippers so judiciously. It was awesome! You are the best brush cutter ever!!''

It was all downhill from there, including creepy insinuations that Miers has a deep sexual attraction to Bush.

Obviously, this thought is disturbing on several levels. A verbally-gifted colleague of mine, who was offended by Dowd's column, said she was disgusted by its "smarmy S and M overtones." I hadn't quite caught that in my first read, but on second glance, I can see where "You're one of my favorite things, sir!" and "You're the most chiseled commander in chief ever" followed by "I await your instructions, Master!" could be taken together as presenting an image that is, well, distasteful.

The column also throws in a reference to "Debbie Does Dallas", and though I appreciate the clever alliteration of the film's title, I submit that gratuitous porn references are probably more appropriate in blogs (yes, I guess this one counts) than on an opinion page that charges $3.95 for the purchase of just one column. (Am I the only one who thinks that particular business model doesn't make a lot of sense? I can walk out the door and buy the paper for $1. Why pay an extra $3 to get 99.9% less content?)

My personal opinion of Dowd runs hot and cold, though I definitely respect her long and distinguished career in journalism. Wednesday's column just wasn't one of her stronger efforts. More to the point, the Miers nomination should be debated on its merits, with the fact that she's a female neither helping nor hindering.

There are plenty of reasons to oppose Harriet Miers without painting her as a little girl with a big crush.

By Emily Messner |  October 14, 2005; 3:25 PM ET  | Category:  Misc.
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Comments

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Now if they would just include the link to an online version of "DDD" then I would definitely pay the $3.95. (Although from the pic included with the solicitation to buy the article, Ms. Down looks mighty fine--maybe I would pay the $3.95 to see Dowd do Dallas too!) Otherwise, I'll stick with only reading other people's free opinions. I mean c'mon, I like my opinions a lot better than I like most other people's, but I wouldn't expect anyone to pay for them.

Posted by: Sonny | October 14, 2005 03:34 PM

Personally, I think you miss the point of Dowd's column, which is that Miers has gotten where she is through brown-nosing, as opposed to through merit, irrespective of gender.

Posted by: Joe | October 14, 2005 03:48 PM

Maureen is the left's albatross to bear, luckily she doesn't reek quite as badly as Coulter.

Speaking with the dead,

Necromancer

Posted by: Necromancer | October 14, 2005 03:52 PM

And serious allegations of sexual harrassment against Clarence Thomas were a "high-tech lynching"?

Give me a break. If Harriet Miers were only black, too, then the Right would be screaming "discrimination" in response to such attacks on her.

Not that I think she's really super-duper qualified, but I do resent all the snicker-snicker implications that her friendship with Bush MAKES her unqualified.

And I can't stand Bush!

Posted by: Cal Gal | October 14, 2005 03:53 PM

While Mo certainly doesn't need anyone to defend her; I believe her point is (however exaggerated) that Bush appointments are based more on adoration of him than any real ability to do a job. Perhaps if Mo were a White House advisor we wouldn't have lost our political way. She is a Goddess of unmatched intellect and I gladly pay the fee for the privilege of reading her magnificent prose!

Posted by: claypowell@msn.com | October 14, 2005 04:15 PM

Geez, Everybody. Lighten up. It was SATIRE! From what we know, it appears that Miers is another in the long line of sycophants and toadies with which Bush surrounds himself.

The cause of feminism is furthered when we recognize and dismiss fawning adoration as a qualification for being on the Supreme Court. The fact that the "fawner" is a woman does not preclude criticism.

Posted by: Pilchard | October 14, 2005 04:19 PM

Gee,if you had only been so offended by your paper's *coverage* of this administration's war.Sounds as if you doth protest too much.

Posted by: | October 14, 2005 04:19 PM

I did not see Dowd's column as being sexist. The same problem of flunkies riding the coattails of a prominent figure can apply to men as well. For example, see Mike Lupica's column in today's New York Daily News sports section (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/story/355617p-303051c.html) condemning George Steinbrenner's lieutenants in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Posted by: Phillip | October 14, 2005 04:20 PM

Posted by: | October 14, 2005 04:25 PM

Ms. Dowd is one of the most prolific journalists of our times. I missed her colum when she was on vacation, and now that Times charges internet readers for reading her, I get her colums by going through Google. True , she is liberal, however, she is very sensible as compared to such conservatives as Krauthamer, Crystal and if you consider Limbaugh a journalist.

Posted by: Steve C. Kemiji | October 14, 2005 04:26 PM

Given what Ms. Miers actually did write, it's hard NOT to see her as a little girl with a big crush. Let's face it, that's actually the most charitable excuse; otherwise it's just cynical butt-kissing of the highest order.

As far as the Times Select goes, when they prove they weren't complicit in the selling of the Iraqi war I'll think about it, but I haven't really missed them yet.

Posted by: bob | October 14, 2005 04:29 PM

Why are chicks like you always so eager to be offended? You seem to live to be offended. You just can't get enough of being victim.

Dowd is right. Miers is just being rewarded for years of butt kissing and her blind loyalty to Bush is just plain creepy. Bush seems to inspire that sort of loyalty in people an it's a mind boggling phenomena. Let's face it, if Miers were all that smart she wouldn't have anything to do with Bush. So she's either stupid or she does in fact have some crush on him which clouds her judgment.

So shut lady and stop being such a cliche.

Posted by: Kim | October 14, 2005 04:34 PM

Dowd hasn't written anything worthwhile for years. Her phychobable is a waste of space.

Posted by: Paul | October 14, 2005 04:42 PM

I guess your annoyance with Ms. Dowd would be justified if women's rights included the right to be a bootlicker.

Posted by: Carl | October 14, 2005 04:44 PM

Face it,have you ever read a column by Maureen Dowd in which you didn't know what her opinion would be beforehand and in which it wasn't expressed in the most personal and biased manner ?

Maureen Dowd is the high priestess of the opinionocracy on the left and right who have little if any interest in anything but rationalizing their own view which is stereotypically ideological, narrow and totally lacking in thoughtful or balanced perspective.

This is an industry now and the more strident and unreasonable you are the more you are rewarded. This is not an argument for watered down mushiness, it is a plea for reasoned analysis based on something other than personal opinion and the need to fill space (air time). Where are the voices of rationality ? All to hard to hear I am afraid. The result ? A lowering of the debate on public policy to the lowest common denominator and a needlessly bifurcated, ill-informed citizenry.

Posted by: Brian | October 14, 2005 04:44 PM

Only problem that I can attest to about Harriet in the judgment real is that she's a poor judge of character, witness her fawning over our current Prez.

Here's some similar satire from the LA Times, written by a male. Now, where's the prob?

When Harry met George
By John Kenney
JOHN KENNEY is a humorist who has just finished his first novel.

October 13, 2005
"`You are the best governor ever -- deserving of great respect,' Harriet Miers wrote to George W. Bush days after his 51st birthday in July 1997.... Ms. Miers, President Bush's selection for a Supreme Court seat, emerges as an unabashed fan in more than 2,000 pages of official correspondence." The New York Times
*
December 29, 1997
Hi!
So great seeing you and Laura at the Christmas party. Christmas is my favorite holiday. What's yours? Because if it's something else that will be my new favorite too! Ha-ha. But seriously, it will. I love you. As a friend.

Harry (but I'm a girl)
*
January 30, 1998
Hello again George and Laura,
Just a quick note as I make my way to the supermarket (aren't groceries great?!). And also to say that I'm STILL thinking about how I saw you both at Christmas and how great that was for me (and you?).

Your biggest fan, for George, I mean, less so for Laura!
*
July 9, 1999
I was reading a biography of Winston Churchill and was fascinated to learn that he was born to a father of privilege and power and wealth and that he wrote "A History of the English-Speaking Peoples" before he was 30 and traveled the world and was a decorated soldier and a painter and an architect and an orator, and I immediately thought of you and also of how fun it would be to have a cookout! Texas and the world is (are?) lucky to have you at the helm! Wouldn't it be neat to be on the Supreme Court? Me, I mean. I'm working out more and hope you find me attractive.

Most very fondly,

Harriet! (which is how I'm signing my name now)
*
October 9, 2000
Hi G. and L.,

It's Thursday (again!). I just wanted to say what great fun it was seeing both of you from outside your home with a high-powered Army Ranger-issue telescopic sight. You both look marvelous nude! Also, I heard that an appointment to the Supreme Court includes lifelong medical and dental. I wonder if parking is included (maybe too much to ask for!). I like the Internet. It's a fun way to meet new friends. Without you my life would be meaningless and I would commit suicide. Good times ahead!

Your "Supreme" pal,
Harry (NOT Belafonte!)
*
March 24, 2002
Just a quick note to say hi and to tell you that today, at the office, I walked to the supply closet because I needed pens and a pad of paper and I got them and then I stood there and smelled the smells of papers and pens and erasers and markers and it smelled clean and like grade school and I started to cry and I wanted you to know. Also, I love wearing a robe. How are you?

Hello to your lovely wife, Laura, who I wish I was!

Harriey (trying a new spelling!! What do you think?!)
*
November 30, 2002
Let us give thanks to the Indians and the Pilgrims (SO brave!) and to the turkey, for giving his life and for gravy. Do you know that you amaze me? Why are people so negative? Take Columbine. Yes, there was death. But on the bright side, these boys were EXCELLENT marksmen! I would KILL for a photo of you in a jumpsuit! Seriously! People say that I am a good judge in disputes. Isn't that interesting?

Hugs in a friend kind of way,
H.
*
December 29, 2004
Why would it be wrong to carve Jesus into Mt. Rushmore? Sometimes when I listen to music by the Rolling Stones it makes me feel dirty, but not in a bad way. Do you know what I mean? I play air drums sometimes. Do you? I wonder if, say, I was a Supreme Court justice would I daydream during a lawyer's arguments and then, after he or she finished, say something like, "That was really interesting. But did you know that I'm naked under this robe?" I bet he or she would be surprised and thrown off. I wouldn't do that though. I just thought it would be funny to write to you and say that. If I knew that tomorrow were the end of the world I would want to spend it with you and Laura, but mostly you, who are amazing. Wasn't Tab a great drink?

Most fondly,

Harrie

Posted by: Ned | October 14, 2005 04:49 PM

Hey now, let's be nice to Emily. She's not a cliche-lady and I'd be happy if she spoke a lot more compared with most of the hacks. I think she should write a piece about the love-letters everyone seems to be posting for Dowd in this blog.

The real offense is that Maureen was not particularly creative or funny in her column. As noted in the intro, the first bits were amusing, but it quickly got old and turned into middle school mocking. "Satire" should not be attempted unless you can really pull off something clever.

Posted by: Fat Joe | October 14, 2005 04:52 PM

You've got nothing to write about execept your criticism of what someone else wrote? Not much originality or initiative.

Posted by: seriobot | October 14, 2005 04:56 PM

S & M? Get your mind out of the gutter! the reference to "Master" is to Star Wars, with how Annikan Skywalker aka Darth Vader called the Evil Emperor, Master.

Posted by: L | October 14, 2005 04:59 PM

Oh how I love satire!

A great dose of satire-laughter, Ned!

This side of the world needs to lighten-up.

Prehaps in the next two months we'll have to deal the - Avrian-Flu!.

Enjoy today, because tomorrow is not guranteed!

Posted by: dd | October 14, 2005 05:08 PM

It is championing of women's rights to subject a woman to the same critical eye as men. It is incoceivable that George Bush couldn't find anyone else more qualified than her. And who says that Sandra Day O'connor has to be replaced by a woman? Imagine being stuck with mediocrity at the Highest Court of the land for the next 25 years!

Posted by: Feling | October 14, 2005 05:09 PM

Cat fight!

Wooof.

Posted by: | October 14, 2005 05:09 PM

You said, "There are plenty of reasons to oppose Harriet Miers without painting her as a little girl with a big crush."

However, once it has been established (and it has been established) that Ms. Miers is indeed a little girl with a big crush, there is no reason to look further. It's not about women's rights, it's about MATURITY and JUDGMENT. Who writes junk like that? Certainly not anyone I want to see on the Supreme Court, regardless of gender.

And tell me, how would you have reacted if those same cards and letters had been written by a man?

Posted by: Subscriptions Inbox | October 14, 2005 05:13 PM

I don't really care what Maureen Dowd has to say anymore since I don't think it or the other Times select articles are worth the money to pay for access. And it isn't b/c I don't like the NYT.

I don't buy papers or magazines for the opinion section.

Posted by: Meh | October 14, 2005 05:14 PM

Dowd has a long history of antagonism toward other women actually: it's part of her MO is you'll pardon the pun.

For instance, her hatchet piece on Howard Dean, by attacking his wife, was legendarily awful and meanspirited. The column was made all the more ironic by the fact that maureen has never been married, has no children, and has used her column to troll for suitors.
Katha Pollitt did a good piece at the time, which I sent to Ms. Dowd: read it here:
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20040216/pollitt

The column where Mo trawls for men is hysterical, in a sad "laughing-at-not-laughing-with kind of way.

Posted by: frenchy lamour | October 14, 2005 05:19 PM

You said, "There are plenty of reasons to oppose Harriet Miers without painting her as a little girl with a big crush."

However, once it had been established by Ms. Miers own pen that she is indeed a little girl with a big crush (or an intolerable sycophant), there is no reason to look further.

It's not about women's rights, it's about MATURITY and JUDGMENT. Who writes junk like that? Certainly not anyone I want to see on the Supreme Court, regardless of gender.

And tell me, how would you have reacted if those same cards and letters had been written by a man?

Posted by: Subscriptions Inbox | October 14, 2005 05:21 PM

Oh grow up - Maureen Dowd is sexist against women? Wow, women are there own worst enemies.

Maureen Dowd is a narrow minded insult slinger (and I'M a liberal) but she's not a sexist.

Stop being so petty.

Posted by: Terry | October 14, 2005 05:22 PM

Maureen Dowd is an accomplished wordsmith hampered by the lack of of a curious (or well expanded) intellect.

Posted by: rawkhawk | October 14, 2005 05:25 PM

Dowd has been a good journalist, but her rage seems to cloud her writing skills sometimes. Same with Herbert at the NY times. Bush sucks, in my opinion, but I have a hard time believing he's on a mission to bring down women & african americans.

Also, whether or not she is a good candidate for the supreme court, Dowd, and others have gotten far to vitriolic in their criticism of her. There is no other explaination but some sort of sexism. Women like Dowd often cannot believe or respect the fact that women have DIVERSE beliefs and thoughts. For instance, strongly pro choice intelligent women have a hard time beieveing intelligent women could be "pro-life". Down in this cas ehas a hard time believe that Miers could be intelligent, and a good friend of the president's.

Posted by: DC | October 14, 2005 05:27 PM

Ms. Dowd has enough talent to write for the NYT the rest of you don't.

Posted by: | October 14, 2005 05:29 PM

Lighten up, Francis.

Geesh. If only the WaPost would have been critical of the inept reasoning for an Iraqi War? We could have had enough $$ to resolve Medicare/Medicaid, reform Social Security, and properly help the Katrina and Rita victims.

You lend yourself no real credibility.

Posted by: Bill | October 14, 2005 05:30 PM

If there was indeed an S&M allusion intended by Dowd, would it not have been well-earned? This is after all a White House in which everyone has been forced to subjugate their better judgment - and any dissent - in favor of loyalty to a "lord and master" who has demonstrated himself to be of tragically inferior intellect and vision.

The result has been Iraq, the drowning of FEMA (along with some New Orleanders) in a bathtub, and the degradation of our reputation in the world to virtually nil. I wonder if any of THAT bothers Ms. Messner as much as possible satirical excess in Maureen Dowd's column? For all we are allowed to know, Ms. Emily is yet another "journalist" on the White House's Armstrong Williams/Maggie Gallagher retirement plan.

Posted by: Mark | October 14, 2005 05:34 PM

Calm down! It was satire. Miers' notes to Bush have a distinct saccharine and sycophantic flavor, and Dowd was lampooning it. What does that have to do with womwn's rights? Should she avoid any column that may indicate that women, as well as men, can be sycophants?

Posted by: Jim | October 14, 2005 05:34 PM

What's the difference between someone like Harriet Miers and "Brownie?" Like her, he arguably (??) only got where he is by kissing W's patootie. Had Ms. Dowd written a column about him that was similar in tone, I don't think anyone would've even noticed.

Posted by: Petworth/DC | October 14, 2005 05:38 PM

Dowd is a fascinating writer because you can feel her own personal emotions so often in what she writes. When you're writing op-ed pieces, that is probably a good thing.

Dowd has a dislike of Dubya that you can almost taste with each article she writes. For someone who shares that dislike (like I do), it makes her columns very fun to read. To anyone who doesn't, the reaction is just the opposite. It comes across as petty, mean-spirited cheap shots.

Dubya, beyond a doubt, cultivates this Cult of Personality thing that Dowd comments on. While she may have gone a bit too far with the S & M references, I don't think it is a stretch to say that Bush enjoys being worshipped and Miers is where she is today, being nominated for one of the nine most important judgeships in the world, largely due to her outright worship of the man nominating her.

Posted by: J. Crozier | October 14, 2005 05:39 PM

I will take Maureen Dowd and the New York Times over the Washington Post and Charles Krauthammer any day. At least she does a little research before she writes. The Post has gone nothing but downhill ever since Bush II came to town.

Posted by: Nick | October 14, 2005 05:43 PM

Mark,

Ouch! If you have been paying any attention at all to this blog over the last few weeks, it would be pretty clear that Ms. Emily is not in the administration's employ (or if she is, she is doing a really bad job).

Posted by: Sonny | October 14, 2005 05:43 PM

Anyone with half a brain knows it was satire. Ms. Messner says as much when she says "The column reads like one of those particularly juvenile Saturday Night Live skit". I think the biggest issue is that Maureen was just not that funny.

You gotta hand it to liberals - they think they're so goddamn funny. Call that satire? I call it a waste of ink.

Ms. Messner says, "My personal opinion of Dowd runs hot and cold, though I definitely respect her long and distinguished career in journalism. Wednesday's column just wasn't one of her stronger efforts."

This is where I must disagree with you, Ms. messner. Maureen Dowd always runs cold, and Wednesday's column wasn't one of her strongest efforts because none ever are.

Posted by: Carlyle | October 14, 2005 05:44 PM

I agree 110% with Sonny. I think it's entertaining that on this thread Emily is being hit by the left and on a previous thread today, she was being hit by the right. lol

Derek.

Posted by: Derek | October 14, 2005 05:47 PM

Mureen Dowd may been have a little over the top, however it is really hard to stop the satire when it was reported that Miers said that George W. Bush was the most brilliant man she has ever met.

That remark alone is enough to disqualify her for a position on the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Pat Rodriguez | October 14, 2005 05:50 PM

I agree with the blog author. Dowd's op-ed makes me feel that gender is the issue with Miers. It isn't. Her lack of experience is the issue.

Despite George and Laura's efforts, please don't confuse the two.

Posted by: benny | October 14, 2005 05:51 PM

WE KNOW IT WAS SATIRE ALREADY!!!

Emily says, "The premise of Dowd's satire..."

She knows it was satire.
I know it was satire.
Everyone who has said "lighten up, it was satire" knows it was freaking satire.

ENOUGH WITH THE POINTING OUT IT WAS SATIRE!!!

Derek.

Posted by: Derek | October 14, 2005 05:52 PM

I think the allusions to a girly crush on Bush by Miers is not that funny because Miers seems to have the sort of mullety look that I normally associate with womyn. I am not calling her a lesbian (and there is nothing absolutely wrong with being gay) but I don't really get the impression that she is all that interested in guys which I find to be more fascinating than her previous legal experience or lack of judicial experience. I think the Supreme Court needs more woman and especially women who have different perspectives on life. George Bush could have appointed two woman with his two openings and there would still be an inherent imbalance of genders on the Supreme Court. Its so Bush-like to appoint a woman simply to replace a woman just like his father who appointed an African-American simply to replace an African-American without any regard for the qualifications of his nominee. Its as if the only qualification was that the nominee be a woman and at the precise moment Bush had that realization Miers walked by and the cogs in his head were whirring and he was thinking she is a woman AND a legal-type person. Bingo! However she was picked it's not her fault and its certainly no reflection on who she is as a person. So I really really don't find Dowd's column to be funny. It just seems kind of mean and shallow (which I normally appreciate but not this time for some reason).

Posted by: NBG | October 14, 2005 05:55 PM

Lover of the Dead,

MoDo cannot hold an intellectual candle to Ann Coulter. Her columns are puerile at worst, and strained to make an invalid point, at best.

Posted by: Perfesser | October 14, 2005 05:55 PM

You can't find anything to write about but Maureen Dowd? This is Taking on the Week's Big Issue?

Posted by: CW | October 14, 2005 06:00 PM

I wrote about Miers mullety hair-do and the implications of it all. I think thats a pretty big issue to write about that no one else has been willing to touch at all.

Posted by: NBG | October 14, 2005 06:02 PM

Just want to point out something for all the folks complaining about the price of Times Select.

If you subscribe to the NY Times, it doesn't cost a thing. That includes subscribing only to the Sunday edition. So get the Sunday edition of the Times, which I do (I subscribe to the Post, too), and get it all.

Posted by: Ronsan | October 14, 2005 06:09 PM

The "gushing" of Harry over dubya is so outrageous and sophmoric that satire actually competes with reality: you just can't make this stuff up!

Posted by: Denise | October 14, 2005 06:17 PM

Maureen Dowd undercuts her own points way too often, by being catty and petty and/or pseudo-profound. There are much better writers than Dowd in both the Post and the Times. I personally feel that Dowd draws too much of her style from gossip columnists, a stereotypically "female" -- and shallow and mean-spirited -- style and therefore does not advance the seriousness of women as mainstream opinion writers.

Posted by: Big Mama | October 14, 2005 06:41 PM

What exactly is so distasteful about S&M overtones? Some people like S&M. Some people like porn, too. Isn't the porn industry a billion upon billion dollar industry? Someone is watching the stuff; and porn stars even write bestselling tell-alls these days. If Harriet Miers were into S&M, what's the big deal? Can't evangelicals get their "freak on"?

Why are you such a prejudiced prude?

How about you keep your Puritanism out of your columns! Or get thee to a nunnery, quick!

Posted by: Nathan Hecht | October 14, 2005 06:41 PM

Re: I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, WE ALL SCREAM FOR MAUREEN

"So, I got an idea for a column"
"What's that?"
"Maureen Dowd?"
"From the Times?"
"Yep"
"Why?"
"She writes satire on the level of Juvenal and that's hard to get these days."
"Unlike the stuff on SNL, the Daily Show, and South Park?"
"Yes, Unlike, what you said."
"So what's she about these days?"
"Women."
"She' Gay?"
"No stupid, she wrote a column --"
"Which is what she does."
"About Women specifically Harriet Miers"
"Which said what?"
"Alot of stuff, basically she called Miers Bush's disciple or sex slave."
"That's nice."
"But people are reacting! It's news when people react to news."
"So we become the mirror AND the sun?"
"No, but -- "
"But nothing. either we reflect the days events or we try to create them. This whole creating a reflection things just boggles the mind. Forget about it."
"What do you want me to write about?"
"I dont know, aardvark movements at the Zoo. Ive always liked them."
"What about Bush?"
"Two years and he's gone, time to start electing the next President."

Posted by: Kurt | October 14, 2005 06:49 PM

Oh come on. Like this is something new for MoDo. She always stoops to stereotype.

Where were you when she was repeating the untrue quote from Kerry about NASCAR?

Where were you when she was repeating the stuff about Gore and Love Canal?

Sometimes I enjoy her columns but I don't take her seriously - because she loves to make things fit into her world (Modoworld?) by using stereotypes.

Glad you're finally getting it. Many of us have been seeing it for years.

Posted by: DBJ | October 14, 2005 07:16 PM

"More to the point, the Miers nomination should be debated on its merits, with the fact that she's a female neither helping nor hindering."

I think Ms. Dowd would agree with this statement COMPLETELY! However, with only brown-nosing cards to anaylze regarding her qualifications, what else can one do but assume it is her "coziness" with the president that we should consider as her main qualification to sit on the highest court in the land?? "More to the point", I find it more insulting for this administration to give us a Supreme Court nominee who can only be understood by reading Hallmark cards before I would be insulted by Ms. Dowd's article!

What I find striking is that this is the first time I noted that Ann Coulter and Maureen Dowd agree! Something for all of us to consider, n'est ce pas?

Posted by: jkbriscoe | October 14, 2005 07:22 PM

Wow, some folks need to get a sense of humor.

What I would like to know is when someone is going to start asking whether Harriet Miers will be our first virginal Supreme Court justice? She's never been married, and she is such a self-professed Christian. Therefore, she must be a virgin! Do we need the virgin perpective on the Court?

Posted by: Sally | October 14, 2005 07:23 PM

Your pique at Dowd is ridiculous. She was doing what she does better than most. A satirical piece about a ridiculous appointment of yet another crony.

If women have not progressed past the point where gender still ranks above common sense than we have not overcome the stereotypes as I believe we have.

The point of that column was, and is, that Miers is not qualified for the SC. Miers own words insult women far more than Maureen Dowd's column.

Posted by: BettyG | October 14, 2005 07:57 PM

What does Charles Krauthammer have to do with all this. I like his views best among all the Post contributers, but I also used to read Dowd for kicks (i.e., before the Times started charging). Also, she's pretty good lookin gal. I'll miss her.

Posted by: johnnyg | October 14, 2005 07:59 PM

Dowd is Dowd. Sycophants are sycophants. Your column is infantile.

Posted by: Benpen | October 14, 2005 08:19 PM

Dowd has a blunderbuss approach to every topic -- spray bullets all over and you're bound to hit something. In case anyone has forgotten, she pretty much took a meat cleaver to Clinton during the Monica fiasco. Our Maureen is a blunt instrument, not a scalpel.

She did lay the satire on pretty heavy on Miers, but it is satire. The satire just drags the actual Miers messages to their logically illogical conclusion.

Miers does not deserve the treatment she is getting, but this Administration does. They could have done much better by their own nominee.

Posted by: Linda S. | October 14, 2005 08:19 PM

So this is satire -- Bill Bennett's remarks last week were commentary on a New York Times bestseller. I hope each one of you defending Dowd's right to be an idiot today also defended Bennett's right to discuss a New York Times bestseller.

As for Dowd, I find the following quote more illuminating. I would pick it up from her column, but I'm not wasting $3.95 just to prove a point. Instead, I'll quote Cathy Young from Reason magazine:

"Curiously, the nastiest gender-based swipe at Miers so far has come from a liberal feminist, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. Dowd calls the women on the Bush team 'self-sacrificing, buttoned-up nannies serving as adoring work wives, catering to W's every political, legal, and ego-affirming need.'"

Anyone care to explain this away? Preferably to Condi Rice's face ...

For the record, I think every point needs to be considered on its own merits, be it sexist, racist or just mean-spirited. As for Dowd's? In a sense, that's for Miers to disprove herself before the Senate.

Posted by: | October 14, 2005 08:32 PM

methinks someone is jealous.

Posted by: Joe A | October 14, 2005 09:30 PM

This is the first time I've ever read Ms. Messner's column. Dowd obviously writes over Messner's head. Please, washingtonpost.com, will you please refund the last 3 minutes of my life? Thanks in advance.

Posted by: W Joe | October 14, 2005 09:46 PM

Dowd writes like a fifth-grader and only readers with the intellect of a fifth- grader appreciate or find her writings amusing. It's the best the Left can do though.

Posted by: Robin B | October 14, 2005 09:49 PM

Maureen Dowd is an arrogant know-it-all pseudo-intellectual who belittles anyone who lives west of the Hudson River. She is obviously very impressed with herself for reasons unknown to anyone with common sense. It is clear that she hates anyone who shops at Wal-Mart, attends church to practice one's faith as opposed to attending simply as a social outlet, or is not a graduate of an East Coast university. She fancies herself an expert in foreign policy simply due to her experience on the cocktail party circuit in Georgetown. She is so full of bitterness that one needs to wonder whether she needs a stronger prescription for Prozac or whatever it is that causes her to masquerade as a writer of "satire." There is no question she is ill, and I hope that she gets the professional help she needs to deal with her issues.

Posted by: Dave J | October 14, 2005 10:09 PM

I don't care what you say, I like her.

http://www.e-Merges.com

Posted by: Shawn Harmon | October 14, 2005 10:20 PM

"Dowd writes like a fifth-grader and only readers with the intellect of a fifth- grader appreciate or find her writings amusing. It's the best the Left can do though"

Hey, I resemble that remark and I'm a neo-conservative. I like Dowd. She's so naughty!

Posted by: johnnyg | October 14, 2005 10:26 PM

Get a grip Emily. Harry is not MD's real target. Her boss is. Besides the article is not that funny. Read the one by the LA Times. It's much better.

Posted by: dragonballz | October 14, 2005 10:56 PM

I thought this column perfectly captured how the writings that the Senate will use in confirming Harriet Miers are utterly trivial, contain zero evidence of legal competence, and demonstrate that her selection is because she is yet another fawning sycophant for which this incompetent president has such famous loyalty. Harriet Miers' letters to Bush are a professional embarassment to anyone. They carry the tone of a high-schooler writing the quarterback's name all over her notebook. Not only are they worthy of satire, they plainly demand it.

Posted by: SanJoseGuy | October 14, 2005 10:59 PM

I have a feeling that this whole Miers thing is a predetermined setup for failure. I can't believe she would ever be confirmed. Bush is smarter than you think. I think he's holding his card to play after this fiasco.

By the way, why try to label Ms. Dowd a "womens' rights" writer? Is this issue held dear only to the left? What is this, the 70's? Jeeze.

Posted by: johnnyg | October 14, 2005 11:20 PM

Emily,
If you were half as clever as Maureen Dowd, you'd be twice as much read.

Posted by: Quetzal | October 14, 2005 11:23 PM

This will get lost in the comments, but here goes:

I don't want to get off on a rant here but...couldn't bush find a WOMAN more qualified than Harriet Meiers?

In order to answer this question, we need to look at the lady that she would replace, Sandra Day O'Connor. Sandy O. served in elected office AND was the head of the state Senate in Arizona. She was an assistant attorney general, also. AND a jurist on the AZ appeals and Supreme Court before she was chose by Reagan. She served in all three branches of government. All this, while raising kids! This is a sign of a person with a wealth of varied and broad experience. The exact type of person that you want on the supreme court. Someone who can say, "well, I remember when I was in the executive branch, we viewed it this way...see, when I was an elected official, my constituents had this concern..." Sandra Day O'Connor is a true gem, whether or not one agrees on how she votes in court cases. A rare example of that moment in our nation's history where we started to acknowledge the contributions of women who was OVERWHELMINGLY QUALIFED and an example of furture women (and men) to be proud of and serve as an inspiration regardless of political ideology.

Compare this with Ms. Meirs. She has spent most of her career as a corporate attorney. (not necessarily a bad thing)She's never married or raised kids or had to make the sacrifices that our society unfortunately requires of women. Adding Meirs would put another singleton (souter also) on the court.[maybe they'll get together?] So maybe that's good for us here in D.C. where we have one of the highest percentage of singles nationwide...In other words, she _might_ vote the interests of singles. But I doubt it.

However, Harriet Meiers is "qualified" in the precious type of way of the 80's where we'd give women a slot while setting aside the rigorous scrutiny of qualifications that we'd have for a man. Just to open up things and get the ball rolling. Do you remember the process of Clinton nominating his attorney general? Zoe Baird, sorry!Kimba wood, oops, try again!Janet Reno: the most qualified by virture of vagina. But look at twenty years later and what we have now: Now women outnumber men as undergrads AND law school grads, one cannot make the argument of the glass ceiling atleast as far as school goes. But as women have to sacrifice time in prime child-bearing years which happen to also be prime career-advancement years....we have farther to go. Still, if bush had her in mind all along he could've put her in any number of slots (not necessarily appeals court judge) to flesh out her resume. This nomination suggests a president wanting to brush this thing aside quickly in order to get back to the issues (social security, tax reform, immigration?) that he's been distracted from. An act of political desperation and calculation.

Never forget: the greatest benefactor of affirmative action has been WHITE WOMEN. Here we go again.

P.S. I could probably say the similar things about Clarence Thomas replacing Thurgood Marshall.

Posted by: Bobby C | October 14, 2005 11:41 PM

Yeah, well at least maureen dowd has yet to be accused of PLAIGARISM.

Coulter can't even do her own writing. I'm not a fan of dowd but you can't even begin to compare the two. Dowd writes for the times. Coulter writes, to quote Franken "on the prestigious internet".

Yes, and we all know what a distinguished space that is. You have to be at least as qualified as harriet miers to post your writing here.

Posted by: | October 14, 2005 11:59 PM

Here's tomorrow's to chew on...


Op-Ed Columnist
Sex, Envy, Proximity
MAUREEN DOWD
Published: October 15, 2005
WASHINGTON

President Bush started his weekend early. He decided to leave for Camp David at 2 p.m. yesterday.

Can you blame him?

The White House has lost its mind - and its survival instincts. The monomaniacal special prosecutor is moving in for the kill. Republicans are covered in dirt. And we may be only moments away from another Newsweek cover on another President Bush headlined "The Wimp Factor."

W.'s political career was structured to ensure that he would never suffer his father's problems by seeming weak or wobbly on conservatism. Everything would be about projecting strength and protecting the base.

But the reverse playbook got washed away with Katrina, when Karl Rove and W. did not jump to attention at the word hurricane. W. ended up with a job approval rating of 2 percent among African-Americans, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. He missed the golden hour, as it's called in combat medicine, the precious time when acting fast may save those in jeopardy.

W.'s presidency has become branded with rushing into one place too fast and not rushing into another fast enough.

Astonishingly, with the choice of Harriet Miers, this Bush has ended up exactly where the last Bush ended up: giving affirmative action for the Supreme Court a bad name and angering conservatives, who call him a mollycoddle.

Just as the father clearly missed the wily strategist Lee Atwater after he died, so the son clearly misses the Atwater protégé Karl Rove, who has been distracted by kidney stones and trips to testify to the grand jury looking into the outing of Valerie Plame.

Lyndon Johnson said the two things that make politicians behave more stupidly than anything else are sex and envy. You might add one more: proximity. I always think men are more prone to get seduced by proximity into making unwise choices. They tend to be a bit lazy. They'll grab the closest doughnut off the platter. Like Jude Law and the Nanny.

It was Monica Lewinsky's proximity that caused Bill Clinton to forget the dignity of his office. It was Harriet Miers's proximity - she has spent more time with W. than any aide except Andy Card - that caused George Bush to forget that flattery and catering to his every need are not qualifications for the Supreme Court.

"We're innately lazy, like lions," a male friend said. "We like whoever happens to be around."

President Bush is still the same loyalty enforcer he was in his dad's White House. He likes deference and dislikes checks and balances. Having one of his handmaidens on a Supreme Court designed to be free of "obsequious instruments," as Alexander Hamilton called cronies, makes perfect sense to him, just as paying conservative columnists to spread the administration agenda made sense.

Without his "Boy Genius," Mr. Bush has turned to other shields. Laura gave the fidgeting and blinking president support on the "Today" show on Tuesday, telling Matt Lauer that criticism of Ms. Miers might be sexist.

That's silly. The conservatives want a female justice - they just want one who will be reliably certain to influence the court to curb women's rights.

On Thursday, again with weird and stilted body language, and an earpiece that kept falling out, W. held a teleconference and tried to use 10 American soldiers from the Army's 42nd Infantry Division in Tikrit and one Iraqi soldier as props to offer a more upbeat assessment of the security preparations for the weekend vote.

The surprise wasn't that it turned out to be rehearsed, although that angered some uniformed officers at the Pentagon who felt the troops were being politicized and used as military wallpaper. If these brave young men and women can be trusted to carry guns and kill insurgents, these officers reasoned, why can't they be trusted to speak into a microphone without stage-managing and a rehearsal from a civilian Pentagon spin doctor?

The surprise was how inept the event was. The White House was always able to pull off these stagey, scripted events during the campaign and when selling the Iraq war.

It's hard to believe sunny reports from Tikrit with Syria turning into Iraq's Cambodia. As James Risen and David Sanger write in The Times today, "A series of clashes in the last year between American and Syrian troops ... has raised the prospect that cross-border military operations may become a dangerous new front in the Iraq war."

It was hard to tell whom that teleconference was aimed at impressing - unless it was just meant to cheer up the edgy W. Instead, it just made him seem more lost than ever.

Posted by: Mo Admirer | October 15, 2005 12:03 AM

Emily,

Seems to me you're the one being bitchie... Meow....

You used up your space to critique a colleague's piece? Incredible (and very tacky). Care to add some value and share an original thought on something like Judy Miller, or something similar?

Little hint here: come up with some better ideas, or get out of the way and let someone else write something that is worthy of a major paper. Your stuff, and this piece in particular, is more like third rate blog posts.

Oh wait, I get it. You're trying to be controversial, like Bill O'Reilly, and get your ratings up... very clever.

Posted by: Jim | October 15, 2005 01:12 AM

Recently, I read another column by Mo DOwd when her mother passed away. Even her own mother told her 'not be be mean'! And, in yet another of her items, she was talking about being single. So, why would anyone be upset with the writings of a unwanted and a mean woman kinda make it unwarranted. She shows her spirit the only best way she is capableof - not by writing great prose but by tearing down people.

Posted by: Kishan | October 15, 2005 01:22 AM

I'm the type of person who enjoys ideas, originality, and well executed exposition and argument, regardless of political bias or whatnot. I prefer to read top quality, highly credible opinions to form my own ideas.

I have always thoroughly enjoyed the NYTimes Op-Ed writers... Rich, Brooks, Kristof, et al are great. In my opinion, they consistently produce the best stuff out there, and my favorite has always been Maureen Dowd. In my judgement, her ability with words, prose, and the English language is unparalleled by today's op-ed journalists.

With that said, I too was taken aback by Dowd's article on Wednesday. To me, it was indeed out of professional character for Dowd to so blatantly use the diction and tone that she did.

So for those that have been bashing Emily Messner for writing her piece, I wanted to throw out my opinion that I'm glad she wrote about it. Immediately after I got into the 4th or 5th paragraph of Dowd's Wednesday column, I had to scratch my head and ask myself "is this right?". So I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one having second thoughts on that op-ed piece.

Thanks Emily Messner, I can't recall ever reading anything you've produced before, but I definitely think the points you brought up were legitimate. (I hope that last sentence isn't taken as a back-handed compliment!)

Posted by: RedStripe | October 15, 2005 01:25 AM

Yes, you are right. Wednesday's column was the worst Dowd has written in a long time. Forget it. Read today's column. It more than makes up for the previous one.

BTW, for a mere $50, anyone can subscribe to a year's worth of NYTimes op-ed columns and 100 archival reprints a month. Suscribers to the paper NYTimes get that for free. Your choice.

Posted by: Lib | October 15, 2005 03:57 AM

Ms. Messner,

With all the things that are happening in this country by this administration, I am extremely surprised that you didn't find anything else to write about.

Is the Wash Post the new media victim of George Bush and his thugs? Did they threaten you too?

Grow up!, Ms. Messner. Probably you should read Dowd's columns more frequently so you learn how to captivate the readers attention.

Posted by: JAT | October 15, 2005 04:59 AM

Except for a piece or two (e.g., about her mother) Maureen Dowd's work has really devolved from witty sophistication to rather childish, catty banter.

She apparently spends her life first looking for themes, e.g., mythological, Biblical, then tries to find current situations to match those themes.

It would make much more sense to do things in reverse.

Anyway, her work incessantly takes jabs at the Bush Administration to the point of mind-numbing redundancy.

She's become a one trick pony and the pony is beginning to look tired...

Posted by: Bernard Silverman | October 15, 2005 06:39 AM

Maureen Dowd is one the most creative insightful writers in the poltical satire business. If she didn't offend some, then she would not be pushing the envelope far enough.

I enjoy reading comments about her columns; she does push buttons!

While I don't agree with Emily Messner's view of Dowd's column, I did enjoy reading her comments and admire her for taking on the formidable Maureen Dowd.

I'll bet Dowd got a chuckle out of Messner's article.

Posted by: Richard A. | October 15, 2005 06:44 AM

Bush' attitude towards women comes from his life with mother. Barbara Bush is a first class bitch. George learned both to respect and to fear aggressive women. He likes strong women who are not a threat to him: the kind who do not marry, who work 20 hours a day, who fawn on him, etc. It is a sick relationship. Bush is very sick. Miers and Condi Rice are bright but somehow flawed women. Laura Bush is the "librarian" from Music Man.

Posted by: norman | October 15, 2005 08:37 AM

Maureen Dowd is a gem!

Posted by: norman | October 15, 2005 08:38 AM

I place a lot more stock in Maureen Dowd championing women's rights than I do Harriet Miers. She's a walking stereotype, a slap in the face of women who thinking doing one's job well ought to be good enough. Thus the satire and the reason it works.

You've missed the mark badly on this one, siding with Laura Bush who laughably accuses conservatives of being sexists for insisting a woman be judged by standards that run deeper than unquestioning loyalty to her boss, a man who calls his bevy of women (Rice, Hughes, Miers) mother hens. There's a stereotype you could sink your teeth into.

Posted by: Sarah Bellum | October 15, 2005 09:47 AM

I place a lot more stock in Maureen Dowd championing women's rights than I do Harriet Miers. She's a walking stereotype, a slap in the face of women who thinking doing one's job well ought to be good enough. Thus the satire and the reason it works.

You've missed the mark badly on this one, siding with Laura Bush who laughably accuses conservatives of being sexists for inisisting a woman be judged by standards that run deeper than unquestioning loyalty to her boss, a man who calls his bevy of women (Rice, Hughes, Miers) mother hens. There's a stereotype you could sink your teeth into.

Posted by: Sarah Bellum | October 15, 2005 09:48 AM

Me doth thinkest thou protestith too much?.

Emily, Maureen obviously hit a nerve with you. Don't be afraid, come clean and name names. Did you don a leather teddy, stilettos, and a riding crop to get your job? Based on your lack of creative writing skills, that would explain a lot.

Posted by: Dana | October 15, 2005 09:56 AM

Me doth thinkest thou protestith too much?.

Emily, Maureen obviously hit a nerve with you. Don't be afraid, come clean and name names. Did you don a leather teddy, stilettos, and a riding crop to get your job?

(Based on her lack of creative writing skills, that would explain a lot)

Posted by: Dana | October 15, 2005 09:57 AM

I tend to agree with one of the other responders to your piece essentially pointing out that you miss Ms Dowd's larger point, which has less to do with Meiers credentials as a woman trying to break some glass ceiling, rather than as a cynical, partisan Bush sycophant who's primary objective is inflating Bush's fragile male ego, which always seems on the verge of succombing to the same fate as his father's: Wimpism.

In fact, Bush's entire persona seems to be a fabrication designed to assure all of the macho elements in this country--the gun nuts, the Nascar fanatics, the hillbilly yahoos in the South and West, the jocks, the retro-Dixie cheering rebels who still dream of the South rising again, and the run-of-the-mill religious zealots who chafe at the notion of white males having to share authority and power with any group that isn't, well...white and male.

Bush is their champion. Never mind that he is far from that "chiseled" hero that Ms. Meiers imagines him to be. Never mind that in actuality, Bush is more in the line of Octavian, who cherished the idea and the nobility of war, but who seemed always to manage to be on his sick bed when the time came for him to take his place at the head of his attacking legions. For Bush, the manly art of war lies in its Platonic application.

Posted by: jaxas | October 15, 2005 10:52 AM

I tend to agree with one of the other responders to your piece essentially pointing out that you miss Ms Dowd's larger point, which has less to do with Meiers credentials as a woman trying to break some glass ceiling, rather than as a cynical, partisan Bush sycophant who's primary objective is inflating Bush's fragile male ego, which always seems on the verge of succombing to the same fate as his father's: Wimpism.

In fact, Bush's entire persona seems to be a fabrication designed to assure all of the macho elements in this country--the gun nuts, the Nascar fanatics, the hillbilly yahoos in the South and West, the jocks, the retro-Dixie cheering rebels who still dream of the South rising again, and the run-of-the-mill religious zealots who chafe at the notion of white males having to share authority and power with any group that isn't, well...white and male.

Bush is their champion. Never mind that he is far from that "chiseled" hero that Ms. Meiers imagines him to be. Never mind that in actuality, Bush is more in the line of Octavian, who cherished the idea and the nobility of war, but who seemed always to manage to be on his sick bed when the time came for him to take his place at the head of his attacking legions. For Bush, the manly art of war lies in its Platonic application.

Posted by: jaxas | October 15, 2005 10:54 AM

Dowd has apparently been getting lazier and lazier - her columns seem tossed off - the kind of thing you might write in an email to a friend after about a minute's thought. Unfortunately timed, given that the NYT is expecting people to start paying for her would-be witty words.

Posted by: Daisy | October 15, 2005 11:01 AM

Dowd has apparently been getting lazier and lazier - her columns seem tossed off - the kind of thing you might write in an email to a friend after about a minute's thought. Unfortunately timed, given that the NYT is expecting people to start paying for her would-be witty words.

Posted by: Daisy | October 15, 2005 11:02 AM

Dowd has apparently been getting lazier and lazier - her columns seem tossed off - the kind of thing you might write in an email to a friend after about a minute's thought. Unfortunately timed, given that the NYT is expecting people to start paying for her would-be witty words.

Posted by: Daisy | October 15, 2005 11:03 AM

Dowd has apparently been getting lazier and lazier - her columns seem tossed off - the kind of thing you might write in an email to a friend after about a minute's thought. Unfortunately timed, given that the NYT is expecting people to start paying for her would-be witty words.

Posted by: Daisy | October 15, 2005 11:04 AM

Dowd has apparently been getting lazier and lazier - her columns seem tossed off - the kind of thing you might write in an email to a friend after about a minute's thought. Unfortunately timed, given that the NYT is expecting people to start paying for her would-be witty words.

Posted by: Daisy | October 15, 2005 11:05 AM

Good "mass psychology" experiment, emily! And, it worked, you have 86 comments -- including this :) Compare this with comment on you other blogs on the same issue!

Posted by: Rishi | October 15, 2005 11:21 AM

M. Dowd is essentially a left wing female Rush Limbaugh. She appeals to a hard core crowd the same way Rush does.

As far as arguments go, she can't be taken seriously for input to solving some of the issues of the country. Her bias is so strong that it taints her credibility.

An example, she criticizes Bush for his comments on Women's rights in the Iraqi constitution. You gotta start somewhere and I'm sure it'll get better in an evolutionary process. You don't change a society overnight (civil rights took many years to progress in America).

Problem with Mo's critique is, she never wanted us there in the first place. If it were up to her, the US would never have set foot in Iraq. So where would that place women's rights in Iraq? The honest truth is she doesn't really have a strong interest in Women's rights in Iraq and it's just a convenient way for her to take another shot at the POTUS either sincerely or to play her role as a lefty woman Limbaugh.

And I agree, while I don't appreciate Dowd as much as some others, I think it's sad that the NYT feel that they can charge for an OPINION section of their paper. Sheesh.

Posted by: toshiro | October 15, 2005 11:42 AM

I can hardly believe I'm participating in this irritating distraction of a non-thread, but here goes...

The degree to which I would rather share a bottle of wine and a conversation with Maureen than with Emily, Harriet, or anyone else who has posted a comment here, is about the same as the degree to which I would rather share a conversation with Bob Dylan than with Bob Novak.

I immediately signed up for NYT Select, too, gladly paying the 50 bucks for the annual access. Between Maureen, Friedman, and the rest, it's a bargain, worth every cent.

Oh, and I live in Springfield, Missouri, the actual buckle of the Bible belt, John Ashcroft's hometown; Roy Blount's, too.

It's so red here I can hardly breathe sometimes.

Thanks for the oxygen, Maureen.

Posted by: MoJo | October 15, 2005 11:46 AM

Liberals just make me sick with their double standards- they gush over how intelligent JFK was in 1961, to nominate his fawning younger brother, Robert, as Attorney General, yet Bush is a moron for nominating his attorney, Miers for the Supreme Court. Personally, I don't support Miers because she doesn't appear conservative enough & feel it was an awful choivr, but when it comes to using labels of 'cronyism' to attack Bush, give me a break! Unfortunately that's how this country operates- you get employment, promotions, etc. based on who you know and not how hard you work, except in everyday circles, its called 'networking' and is accepted practice.

Posted by: Tyler Elliott | October 15, 2005 11:55 AM

I am curious as to why many are surprised by Ms. Dowd's lack of civility and propriety. Does not everyone recognize that the left has a propensity to vilify all who do not agree with them? First they call former Secretary of State Colin Powell offensive, racist terms, and now they attack Miers on being less than a leftist feminist. If they wish to criticize Ms. Miers, perhaps they should use logic and reason, and leave the tawdry rhetoric where it belongs, in the gutter! The citizens of this country are ill served with such boorishness from the left, and the garish behaviour of the ubber - christian right. Please restore civility and respect to politics, and enfranchise the voters and citizenry to once again regain interest.

Posted by: Curious | October 15, 2005 12:25 PM

Of course, if we want to talk about columnists who have devolved into inanity - we should be talking about Richard Cohen and his divorced-from-reality perspectives.

Posted by: DBJ | October 15, 2005 12:30 PM

Is it poosible that Miers is a Brer Rabbit...with every conservative in the country calling for her head all it would take now for her to get the nomination from the libs would be to hear hear her cry, "Don't throw me in that briar patch"...and she'd be in.

Posted by: Edwin | October 15, 2005 01:00 PM

Geeeeez Emily. Are you off your medication? Mo was just poking some fun at this ridiculous nomination. Get a sense of humor.

Posted by: Gary | October 15, 2005 01:22 PM

You obviously missed her wit and satire. She nailed it. Remember Harriet Miers is the same woman who said "the president is brilliant". How's that working for you? Just on that comment alone should she be rejected for the Supreme Court or for any other job as for as I am concerned.

As M. Dowd has been saying and I know for a fact, being from Texas, why didn't the American people see the faults in GW before he was elected the first time?

This woman is a lawyer, so she must be at least as smart as me, a teacher, why would she say such absurd things, unless she probably does have a big school girl crush on old GW. It's nothing to be ashamed of, I've had a school girl crush on Hugh Grant for years, but that doesn't make her a qualified candidate.

Sandy Shahwan

Posted by: Sandy Shahwan | October 15, 2005 01:24 PM

This isn't the first time for Maureen. Back when Howard Dean was the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, Maureen wrote more than one column mocking both his wife's appearance and her decision to devote her time to her career and her children, not Howard's presidential campaign. She even gave her tips on how to be more "wifely"--this coming from Dowd, who has never even been married.

Posted by: Will | October 15, 2005 01:30 PM

My take on MoJo's column was that it was also a sub rosa referencing of her boss, Arthur Sulzberger and Judith Miller.

Various articles but most prominently the June 2004, New York Magazine, profile of JM states that Pinch Sulzberger and Judy go way back and Pinch could never properly distance himself once he became publisher. While their relationship was purely platonic, it was never the less problematic when it came to personal loyality vs. what was best for the paper.

It's pure speculation of course, that Maureen Dowd put a hidden message in her column, but try re-reading it with with that in mind.

Posted by: Anastasia | October 15, 2005 01:36 PM

MoJo -- it's fine that you love Dowd. I hardly think it makes you better than the rest of your Missouri brethren. But it doesn't make you worse, in my opinion. Elitism is running at high tide in the Democratic party right now. You shouldn't buy in on it. It certainly won't help the Dems win an election. But it will keep the NYT Select subscriptions doing well.

Regarding your willingness to pay for Times Select, seems a bit naive. Why pay? Why is the content so valuble? It's someone's opinion your paying to read. Nothing factual or constructive. Attitudes like that are liable to turn the opinion pages, which are supposed to make you think about tough issues into entertainment sections, designed to keep you happy.

It's not particulary egalitarian either. I mean, you might have $50 to blow on opinion pieces, but how many lower/middle class or even students can spare that?

Posted by: toshiro | October 15, 2005 01:44 PM

Right-wing retards make me sick.

Posted by: Ed Johnson | October 15, 2005 02:20 PM

Offended feminists will be happy to see that Cobra's column today leaves Harriet Miers alone and skewers the prominent object of Miers' desire instead.

Posted by: Ichabod | October 15, 2005 02:59 PM

Mo-Jo Re: Dowd etc.
SEEK AND YE WILL FIND!!Start with Google etc. and its ALL the columns for FREE!! Why be stupid?
As for EMILY--not one of her better days.

Posted by: Sharp | October 15, 2005 04:03 PM

Maureen Dowd did not, as you suggested, paint Harriet Miers as a "a little girl with a big crush" Ms. Miers did that herself by using giggly schoolgirl language. All Ms. Dowd did was emphasize how disturbing Ms. Miers' conduct (and language) are. No doubt you identify with Miers because you are guilty of scribbling an equally juvenile note to someone you've had a crush on as an adult woman.

Posted by: George Henson | October 15, 2005 04:10 PM

I didn't know that Newt Gingrich and a lot of Rummy's other friends were liberals because they were the ones that attacked Colin Powell while lefties thought the was the only voice of reason in the Bush Adminstration.
As for lefties being nasty and mean spirited, it's been a long time since a leftie told a Senator to go have sex with themselves as Dick Cheney did or call liberals anti American because they didn't buy the Bush manure and the Rush & Coulter calling everyone left of Attila the Hun nasty names.

Posted by: Jack | October 15, 2005 09:11 PM

I place a lot more stock in Maureen Dowd championing women's rights than I do Harriet Miers. She's a walking stereotype, a slap in the face of women and men who think doing one's job well ought to be good enough. Thus the satire and the reason it works.

You've missed the mark badly on this one, siding with Laura Bush who laughably accuses conservatives of being sexists for insisting a woman be judged by standards that run deeper than unquestioning loyalty to her boss -- a man who calls his bevy of women (Rice, Hughes, Miers) his mother hens. There's a stereotype you could sink your teeth into.

Posted by: Sarah | October 15, 2005 09:13 PM

Ed J-- Brooding over W won't keep the Republicans from taking the next White House. From everything that's happened, the Dems should have done _something_. Don't just be naive and say "the country is just stupid". We need the Dems to provide a better challenge. A monopoly is never good for quality. I suggest you start by following the model from David Broder's column "For Democrats, a Path Back to Power". Dowd is the past and road to ruins. Time to roll up the sleeves and do the hard work necessary to win. Unless you're having more fun losing...

Posted by: toshiro | October 15, 2005 09:18 PM

I have a crush on Maureen so I like all her columns. I think she is the greatest.

goodmorninhouston.blogspot.com

Posted by: Thomas | October 16, 2005 12:19 AM

Now isn't it possible that the roots of Harriet Miers's closeness to George W. Bush lie in a college friendship with his wife? I haven't heard it suggested before. But consider: Harriet Miers and Laura Bush attended SMU from 1964 to 1967, both with the intention of becoming librarians. SMU was a lot smaller in the late 1960s than now. It's very plausible that they were friends.

Official records of Harriet Miers's interactions with George W. date back to 1989, when Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht took his girlfriend to an event hosted by the Senate Ladies Club. (Justice Hecht first became romantically involved with Miers in the late 1970s, when the two worked in the same Houston office of the law firm Locke & Liddel. Over the years the status of their relationship shifted, but they remained close.)

Consider the time. For the Bushes, it was an amazing moment. In 1989, W.'s father had just been elected President. W. himself was kicking off the process of buying the Texas Rangers. For Hecht and Miers it was also amazing; both were becoming well-known in the Texas power circles.

At the Senate Ladies Club event, the two couples were seated at different tables. But they conversed and struck a rapport nonetheless. My guess is that the common ground lay between the two ladies, not the two men.

In 1993, Miers started representing George W., first in a fishing dispute and then in his Texas gubernatorial race. She's been an unwavering Bush loyalist since.

Another important figure is "James B. Francis." He's one mysterious guy. Now a lobbyist and businessman, formerly Bush's 1994 campaign coordinator, he apparently first tagged Miers to join the Bush team. It appears to me that he was influential in Bush's decision to nominate Miers for the Supreme Court.

He's clearly a political heavyweight. Putting aside the question of how he knows Miers, way back in 1992-3, when Bush was putting together his gubernatorial campaign, why did Bush decide on James Francis? My bet is that W. knew him well--you don't turn to a stranger to organize your first major political campaign. But all of Mr. Francis's political muscle is behind the scene; try finding a solid biography of him.

Finally, there's the shadow of one "Roland Garcia" to examine. It's also impossible to find information about this guy. (As with James Francis, web pages about Roland Garcia appear to be systematically requested to be removed from search engines--call this a paranoid theory or do some searches yourself.) In the 1980s, he too was a partner in Locke & Liddel, the firm Harriet Miers eventually presided over. That means he and Miers knew each other well.

Here's the kicker: Mr. Garcia seems to have had a really close friendship with the disgraced Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Remember Gonzales? He's the guy who planted the roots for the Guantanamo Bay prisoner-abuse scandal and drafted a memo limiting the Freedom of Information Act and expanding Executive Privelege, which allows the Bush administration to act in secrecy. He's also the dude considered most likely to have been nominated for the Supreme Court vacancy had he not been exposed. Gonzales was also with Bush back in 1994.

So this is how it went down. It's possible they already knew each other, but George W. is only formally introduced to Harriet Miers through his wife Laura, their mutual connection, in 1989. They keep in touch for the next few years. Then in 1993, Bush has his gubernatorial campaign organized by James Francis. Bush thinks of Harriet Miers when Mr. Francis explains to him the importance of having a powerful Texas woman lawyer on board.

In comes Harriet Miers. With her comes the legal weight of her male friend, Texas Supreme Court Justice Hecht, and the minority connections of her coworker, Roland Garcia.

Hecht himself is not directly useful in W.'s bid for governor because as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court he's already as powerful as W. could make him. So they remain pals, connected through Harriet. But Roland Garcia is interested in Bush's bid for governor. He joins the club, bringing his good friend Alberto Gonzales on board.

Pretty soon, Bush is elected governor. He appoints Gonzales to be his General Counsel in that capacity. He appoints Harriet Miers to the state's Lottery Board.

Years pass. Gonzales proves to be particularly loyal to Governor Bush. So in 1999, Bush helps Gonzales get elected to fill a vacancy on the Texas Supreme Court. Why, aside from his loyalty? Because Harriet Miers's "male friend" Nathan Hecht, already a Texas Supreme Court Justice, has gotten to known Gonzales since 1994 and recommends him. On the Texas Supreme Court, Gonzales serves alongside Nathan Hecht and Priscilla Owen. The treo is close; their judicial opinions tend to be in accord.

Texas likes Governor Bush. So W. decides to run for his daddy's old job. His team remains close.

In 2001, as President of the United States, George W. remembers his friends who helped make his presidency possible: he nominates Priscilla Owen to fill a vacancy on the Federal Appellate Court; taps Gonzales (who was always less a judge and more a political ally) to be Attorney General; and chooses Harriet Miers to be the White House's General Counsel.

As President, W. knows he'll need to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. He has Gonzales in mind. But unfortunately, before Sandra Day O'Connor retires, Gonzales is exposed as a corrupt political hack. So now who should he nominate? He asks for the input of his close friends, including Harriet Miers, whose job description as White House General Counsel included the role of finding a good nominee, as well as other power figures in Washington. All stars point to John Roberts. He's a luminary and he's got no record.

Turns out, Roberts was a great choice. People love it. The Senate confirms him. But during this process Rehnquist dies. Now W. has another nomination on his hands. He can't choose Gonzales, because he's been exposed; he can't choose Priscilla Owen, because she has too weighty of a conservative trail; so he chooses the chooser herself, his wife's old friend, Harriet Miers.

stevenebin.blogspot.com

Posted by: Steven Ebin | October 16, 2005 01:20 AM

the sky is falling and all you can write about is a whine about dowd, 90% of the ones I've read have been great.

Posted by: daniel | October 17, 2005 10:31 PM

ms. dowd has been a twit, is currently a twit and will probably always be a twit. reading her columns is using scarce time that you'll never get back.

daniel, i can only assume you have a low-end definition of the term "great".

Posted by: cpinva | October 18, 2005 11:51 AM

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