Is Maureen Dowd Necessary? Defanging a Hillary Basher via a Chapter from "Dirty Words on Clean Skin"
By Anita Finlay on July 15, 2014
Maureen Dowd, arguably the most powerful columnist at The New York Times, has made a career of loathing Hillary Clinton, painting her in a negative light as often as possible, whether she has anything to do with the topic at hand or not. Dowd's latest column bashes daughter Chelsea Clinton for the $75,000 fee she earns making speeches, although she donates every dollar to the Clinton Foundation. Dowd, on the other hand, receive $30,000 per speech (giving about 12 per year). No chump change that. No word on how much she donates, however.
Since Ms. Dowd was one of the chief Hillary-bashers in 2008 and shows no sign of let up, it might be useful to deconstruct Ms. Dowd's er, logic, as a tool to neutralize the negative effect her years of denigrating comments have on the reader's psyche when it comes to Secretary Clinton and her family.
Herewith is a chapter from my book, Dirty Words on Clean Skin...
Is Maureen Dowd Necessary?
Women will never break the highest, hardest glass ceiling when other highly regarded women use their platforms to rip each other to shreds for what can only, logically, be monetary gain or a personal vendetta:
“Unfortunately for Hillary, there’s no White Bitch Month.”[i]
-- Maureen Dowd
The 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. Her other declarations were likewise suspect:
“The underlying rationale for her campaign is that she is owed. Owed for moving to Arkansas and giving up the name Rodham, owed for pretending to care about place settings and menus when she held the unappetizing title of first lady, owed for enduring one humiliation after another at the hands of her husband.”[iv]
Entitlement may have been the media’s mantra, but it was not Clinton’s. A woman who thinks she is owed does not bother with exhaustive preparation on every issue, nor would she have the will to campaign twenty hours a day without rest. Entitlement is allergic to hard work.
Dowd also proclaimed that many women chose Obama since they didn’t care for Hillary’s “shoulder-pad feminism.” Who were these mysterious women she wrote about? She gave no example, only a sweeping generalization.
Her comments channeled Rush Limbaugh’s term “Femi-Nazi.” Dowd not only debased Hillary, but tended to classify women who supported her in the ball-buster category. In so doing, Ms. Dowd gave the impression she was attempting to ensure she was not thus characterized.
I was once told when you meet someone to whom you take an instant dislike, that person may echo a quality you yourself possess but would rather not own. A successful woman who came up in the male dominated world of journalism, Ms. Dowd must have needed those shoulder pads on a few occasions, yet she insisted these mysterious ladiesfelt…
More Like This
Recent Posts by Anita Finlay
Most Popular on BlogHer
Mom has a lot to check off her list this Summer, and Kellogg's cereal can help her get it done. How will you make the most of your Summer? Check out our blog posts as we share with you inspirational ideas for celebrating the moments of magic that will happen during this activity-filled time of year! PLUS enter for a chance to win as $100 Walmart gift card! Read more
Most Popular on Politics
Recent Comments on Politics
By Lisa Stone