Sunday, May 15, 2016


Today, Maureen Dowd publishes her fifth interview with Donald Trump since he announced his presidential candidacy last summer. (The previous four are here, here, here, and here.) It's obvious to the rest of us, but I'll explain it to Dowd, since she clearly doesn't understand: If Donald Trump is granting you repeated interviews, it's because he knows you're a pushover. He knows you won't seriously challenge him and you'll portray him the way he wants to be portrayed. You'll be "John Miller" or "John Barron" -- the words will be ascribed to someone with another name, but the words will be Trump's.

Dowd just lets Trump hold forth, types up his answers verbatim, and takes everything he says at face value. Here's Dowd asking Trump about his meeting with Paul Ryan:
So, with the soul of the party at stake, the two most powerful -- and polar opposite -- men in the G.O.P. got down to it.

What were Speaker Ryan’s demands?

“We talked about the success I’ve had,” Trump replied. “Paul said to me that he has never seen anything like it because I’m a nonpolitician and I beat very successful politicians. He was really fascinated by how I won. I said, it’s just like I have good ideas and I’ve bonded with the people and my people are very loyal. They will stay through thick and thin, whereas the people that support Marco and Cruz wouldn’t. If Jeb sneezed, they’d leave.”
Dowd asks what Ryan said to Trump and Trump replies that Ryan expressed amazement at how fabulous Trump is. You and I might take this with a grain of salt. Dowd just accepts it as fact:
No doubt Ryan was furiously taking notes for 2020, in case Trump loses big, which is a nearly unanimous expectation in the nation’s capital.
You can read that as Dowd expressing skepticism about Trump's skill as a candidate, but I read it as "Wow, Trump really did kick ass in the primaries, something Ryan desperately wants to do!"

So Ryan didn’t ask Trump to stop making remarks that alienate women? “No,” Trump said, “he wants me to be me.” So much for the showdown.
"So much for the showdown"? Trump says no criticism was expressed and Dowd just takes that on faith? Miller or Barron couldn't have done a better job of channeling Trump's thoughts.

Dowd asks about Elizabeth Warren't criticisms of Trump. Trump calls Warren "Pocahontas." Dowd asks no follow-up. Dowd mentions the fact that Senator John Cornyn offered advice to Trump about reaching out to Hispanic voters. Trump makes a wisecrack about getting advice from people lower than him in the pecking order. Dowd asks no follow-up. Dowd questions Trump about his recent meeting with James Baker. Trump says they talked about Ronald Reagan. Dowd asks no follow-up. Dowd asks about Trump's unreleased tax returns. Trump insists they won't show that he's poorer than he claims to be and won't show that he hides his money in offshore tax havens. Dowd asks no follow-up, and expresses no skepticism.

Dowd even asks about the Miller/Barron story. Trump says, no, the person on the 1991 tape praising Trump in Trumpesque language isn't Trump himself, even though Trump subsequently admitted using fake names in phone conversations. Does Dowd ask a follow-up? I'm pretty sure you know the answer.

No one not named Donald Trump can deliver the unadulterated Trump message as effectively as Trump pretending to be John Miller or John Barron -- but Maureen Dowd comes awfully close.


Kaye said...

People still read Maureen Dowd?

Sweet Sue said...

Maureen Dowd's still alive?

KenRight said...

Trump's criticism of Warren bothers me, but she might have started it.
Then again, if not, Trump might have felt free due to Warren's refusal to align with Sanders against Clinton since he's appealing to Bernies' crowd.

Warren though admirable in wishing to rein in and have had the banksters punished, has also been way too hawkish throughout her political career; you could even call her a neolib in foreign policy.

Victor said...

MoDo's just mad that tRUMP never made a pass at her - like he did to, seemingly, every other woman in NY from the 60's 'til today.

She was great at taking on the Bush's.
Outside of those two, she's about as useful as mammaries on a male bovine!

Blackstone said...

Her problem is Hillary' is a Clinton, therefore Dowd will abase herself. Sad!

Belvoir said...

Victor: She was great at taking on the Bush's.

She doted on Poppy Bush like he was her grandfather. They're friends. As for W, pretty sure she only went after him when it was an acceptable CW thing to do. Before that she did her damnedest best to help W by excoriating and mockingly feminizing Candidate Gore to an insane bunny-boiling degree. Dowd's been an enabler of both Bushes, but has tried to elide and obscure that fact.

Steve M. said...

There was a point when Dowd turned on Poppy. I think the exact moment was this January '92 column, the one where she catches him introducing the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band as "the Nitty Ditty Nitty Gritty Great Bird" and otherwise embarrassing himself. But then, too, it may have been because it had become "an acceptable CW thing to do."

Ten Bears said...

Everyone had pretty much turned on him by then (not unlike junior). If I recall correctly even the Post ran cover articles implicating him in less than savory sexual predilection (not unlike junior). Never a fan, my take at the time was she was sucking up to The Clinton's.

Feud Turgidson said...

Long, long time ago, maybe in the 1990s maybe earlier, I read a MoDo column. Badly written, it was; I'm not kazillion dollars Times contract writer myself, so WhoamItojudge and all that rot, but to me it was just bad writing, and she's a hack. I'd rather read a white supremacist screed at NRO or Ace of Spades HQ than waste effort on a MoDo column cuz Who TF thinks like that EXCEPT members in good standing of the Beltway Hacks Club anyway? I can't get thru a David Brooks column as it is, and as for just about anyone at POLITICO, or - save us, Satan - Hack Halperin, who can read that stuff and why bother? It's bad enough that I have to read the occasional Chait piece to see why everyone's pissed at him (again), but, sheesh, MoDo? I'd rather eat soap.

Writing well is hard, and IMO MoDo and the rest just aren't up to it.

sdhays said...

I wish Trump would actually hire her so the NYT would take its chance to fill her column slot with someone who can actually write, but I doubt he pays enough, considering his meager income...

I read a column in 2001 (pre-9/11) by Maureen Dowd "taking on" W, and even though I thought he had stolen the Presidency and was clearly in over his head, that column was so vacuous, mean-spirited, and personal that I vowed never to read her column again. I've read it once or twice more over the last 15 years if someone has sent it to me (the marijuana column had to be read to be believed), but I've never regretted the decision to ignore her. She's just awful.