Forgive the sarcasm, but I can't count the number of times I've read something similar in American journalists' interviews of French officials. But before Dowd gets to that, she gives us this, which is the journalistic equivalent of traveling to Paris and choosing to dine at McDonald's:
PARIS -- THE turquoise tranquillity of the Côtes d’Azur was rocked a couple of times during the Cannes Lions Festival, the advertising world’s rosé-soaked answer to the Cannes Film Festival.Okay, a few things. Lewinsky wasn't a "predator," but she did pursue the affair, as a lawful adult, albeit a young, naive one. Do Hillary Clinton's friends believe Lewinsky "let herself in for trouble when she took up with a married president who was a magnet for right-wing bullies"? Well, they're right. I'm not saying she deserved what she got, but she took a foolish risk.
Al Gore snubbed Monica Lewinsky. Lewinsky, who was giving a speech for Ogilvy & Mather about how she became “patient zero” in the cyberbullying epidemic, was slated to sit in a V.I.P. box with the former vice president, who got an award for being a good brand.
But her invite got yanked.
The contretemps was a reminder that Gore’s prissy attitude toward l’affaire Monica helped cost him the election, because he was so angry at Bill Clinton that he leashed the Big Dog, curtailing the president’s campaigning, even in the South. If Al had been less eager to put baby in a corner, there would have been no phony action on Iraq and plenty of action on melting glaciers.
Monica’s main bullies were not of the cyber variety. The Internet was just getting up and running. Her chief bullies were flesh and blood, a raffish president and feminist first lady who are now vying to be a feminist president and raffish first lad. They’re the ones who tried to paint her as a “narcissistic looney toon,” as Hillary put it to her friend Diane Blair.
Sidney Blumenthal, Hillary’s Doberman and email correspondent, led the sliming of Monica as a fantasist and stalker. Hillary’s friends do not regard Monica as a victim, but a predator. They think she let herself in for trouble when she took up with a married president who was a magnet for right-wing bullies.
And if we're arguing about who "Monica's main bullies" were, are our choices really limited to the digital media and the Clinton camp? How have, um, the Republicans disappeared from this contest? The GOP Congress that pursued impeachment to the bitter end? The so-called friends who used Lewinsky to get to Clinton? And, of course, the inquisitor, Ken Starr?
All this leads me to ask: Why is Maureen Dowd still at The New York Times? Why hasn't she joined the likes of Dick Morris and Judy Miller and become the regular Fox contributor she's obviously qualified to be?
Her fixation on the Lewinsky scandal would make her perfectly at home in Wingnuttia, where old scandals are endlessly rehashed and grievances are nurtured for decades. What's more, Dowd's specific focus on the moment when Team Clinton tried to tarnish Lewinsky's reputation is strikingly similar to the right's obsession with the relatively brief timespan when Hillary Clinton's State Department downplayed the true nature of the Benghazi attack. In both cases, it just doesn't matter. The truth about Benghazi became obvious very quickly in the fall of 2012, and was soon acknowledged by the administration. In early 1998, the public wasn't fooled by Bill Clinton's denial of an affair, and didn't care -- a CBS poll taken within weeks of the Lewinsky revelations, in February 1998, showed that nearly three in four respondents thought Clinton was hiding something, and yet he had a 66% job approval rating. Seventeen years after the fact, Dowd is still fixated on a coverup, that didn't work.
That's the kind of never-say-die thinking that would make her an ideal right-wing pundit.
But we're stuck with her, because the Times not only continues to back her but presumably foots the bill when she wants to jet off to Paris. Also, she retains a vestigial anti-GOP (or at least anti-Bush) skepticism, which might manifest itself between now and November 2016 if she can overcome her Clintonophobe monomania.
Give it up, MoDo. Go over to the dark side. We're sick of you here.