Thursday, February 22, 2007

Political Discourse and My Discontents

Recently I wrote about Maureen Dowd and her nonsense style of side-line reporting. It didn't take her more than 24 hours to substantiate my criticism (read Eric Boehlert's "Dissecting Maureen Dowd" for more detailed proof). Dowd has recently stirred up a nice little controversy, after chatting with Hollywood mogul, David Geffen, who supplied her with some choice quotes attacking Senator Clinton's honesty, while also offering an astute political assessment of why he won't support Clinton:

"I don’t think that another incredibly polarizing figure, no matter how smart she is and no matter how ambitious she is — and God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton? — can bring the country together."

It seems to me as if Dowd has continued on her downward spiral, reminiscent of an aging former prom queen, with no marriage prospects and bad skin (recommend the Vague Nihilism blog for a good characterization of Dowd.) It's kinda sad, but nevertheless she has managed in what I hope are the last throws of her career to force both Obama and Clinton to pay attention. You gotta give Dowd some credit, cause the Clinton campaign took the bait, garbled the argument and ran with it.

The basic situation: Geffen (former Clinton loyalist) sways large donors to Obama and insults Clinton publicly.

Rational response: To either disregard Geffen's comments and possibly try to salvage the friendship privately, or, if you gotta say something, offer your regrets for Geffen's changed attitude, continue to campaign on the issues and smile until this blows over. There are plenty of rich people in L.A.

Clinton response: To shift the burden onto Senator Obama, whose only role in this has been to accept a check from a guy who likes to talk to Maureen Dowd (see Clinton's communications director on Hardball). Clinton bizarrely (though not really; it's politics today) believes that it is incumbent upon Obama to publicly disavow Geffen's comments and give back the money, because Obama's campaign promises to change the public discourse.

Sour grapes, Senator Clinton. You didn't get Geffen's money and connections, big deal. I'm sure that if the press could remember how to investigate they could find a tactless donor of yours. Would you give their money back? Also, why do you incorrectly refer to Geffen as Obama's campaign finance chief. That's just a falsehood.

On a personal note, I actually believe that Senator Clinton would make a fine president. I don't buy into the Lady Macbeth characterization, nor do I feel emasculated by a strong, intelligent and highly capable woman. Her recent controversy with Geffen and subsequent shifting of the burden onto Senator Obama is what is wrong with politics, and just makes her look bad, like the nerdy girl who blossomed into a successful woman but is still vulnerable to the bitter attacks from the aging prom queen (Dowd).

Geffen spoke it, Dowd wrote it, and it should have stopped there. Instead, Clinton was duped into taking the hot potato and tried to pass it to Obama, who remains the one figure in this sordid story who knows when to shut up:

"You know, it's not clear to me," said Obama. "Why would I be apologizing for someone else's remarks?"

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