(Early) Monday Self-Smackdown by the Often-Insightful Corey Robins

Monday Smackdown: Scott Lemieux on Maureen Dowd's Greatest Bong Hits

You know. There is much too much good stuff out there--written by smart, hard-working people trying their best to inform me, many of whom have not gotten their fair chance because they did not make the right connections or flatter the right gatekeepers. The combination of Obama's saying what's what last night and the latest Maureen Dowd column... Actions should have consequences: bye, bye, New York Times. I'll whitelist Paul Krugman. But that's it. (However, anybody else who wants to be whitelisted drop me an email.)

Scott Lemieux: Maureen Dowd's Greatest Bong Hits, An Ongoing Series: "Sometimes, you hear that even if Dowd’s ideas are lame...

...you have to admit she can write. No I do not. It’s all cliches and references and phrases that seem to take the form of humor while never, ever being funny. Also, as Charlie Pierce said about Bill Simmons... Dowd’s ‘vaunted pop-cult knowledge is carved out of a very thin loaf of Wonder Bread.’ The one billionth lazy, meaningless reference to Lena Dunham--Dowd sure is on top of the zeitgeist.... Now we reach the point where the column stops becoming merely something too banal to be worthy of publishing alongside the onion dip recipes and profiles of B-list celebrities in the Sunday supplement in the local paper and becomes actively offensive:

‘It’s going to be nasty, isn’t it?’ says Obama Pygmalion David Axelrod. ‘Put the small children away until November.’

It sure is great that ‘Barry’ Obama knew a white guy who could teach the former president of the Harvard Law Review how to act in polite society....

We can only hope that Cruz, who croons Broadway show tunes, and Carly, who breaks into song at the lectern, will start doing duets from ‘Hamilton.’

I have to give her this: she never misses the opportunity to include the most obvious pop culture reference in a way that doesn’t say anything. It’s impressive in its own way. You’d think one of them would be funny one time if only my accident, but nope. Longtime Dowd watchers will note, however, that she’s been playing against type here, unprecedentedly arguing that Hillary Clinton is a woman. So you already know the twist that’s coming: in fact, all Democratic men are women and all Democratic women are men:

On some foreign policy issues, the roles are reversed for the candidates and their parties. It’s Hillary the Hawk against Donald the Quasi-Dove. Just as Barack Obama seemed the more feminized candidate in 2008 because of his talk-it-out management style, his antiwar platform and his delicate eating habits, always watching his figure, so now, in some ways, Trump seems less macho than Hillary. He has a tender ego, pouty tweets, needy temperament and obsession with hand sanitizer, whereas she is so tough and combat-hardened, she’s known by her staff as ‘the Warrior.’

The idea that a ‘tender ego’ and ‘needy temperament’ (or, for that matter, ‘obsession with hand sanitizer’) are inconsistent with masculine bluster is hilarious. One amazing thing about Dowd is how inept the Judy Miller of love is even on the only subject she actually cares about, gender stereotypes. And finally, what would a Maureen Down column be without a massive factual howler that benefits the Republican candidate:

The prime example of commander-in-chief judgment Trump offers is the fact that, like Obama, he thought the invasion of Iraq was a stupid idea.

Trump’s assertion that he opposed the Iraq War ex ante is an utter lie, and since it’s the sole basis for asserting that Trump is any kind of ‘dove’ that’s kind of a problem. But it’s a lie that fits the narrative, and that’s all the Pulitzer winner has ever needed.

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