Sunday, November 07, 2021


Maureen Dowd is being widely criticized for her latest column, which is titled "Wokeness Derails the Democrats." There's quite a bit wrong with the column, but, curiously, it barely touches on "wokeness" at all. Yes, she quotes James Carville on the subject, as all mainstream pundits apparently must:
There’s some truth in what James Carville told Judy Woodruff: “What went wrong is this stupid wokeness. Don’t just look at Virginia and New Jersey. Look at Long Island, look at Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Wash. I mean, this defund the police lunacy, this take Abraham Lincoln’s name off of schools.”
Later she writes, equivocally:
Republicans have not lost their talent for coming up with boogeymen to scare white voters, and thanks to a dumb comment by Terry McAuliffe in a debate, they have succeeded in turning parents’ rights in schools into a wedge issue.
But that's it for "wokeness." The headline seems to be a product of the Times op-ed editors' obsession with the subject, not Dowd's.

Which is not to say that it's a good column. Dowd has her obligatory moment of catty spitefulness -- or, to be more precise, she imputes spitefulness to other people, in a way that (as usual) tells us a lot more about how Dowd thinks than about how her subjects think:
Biden has pursued his two bills with Captain Ahab-like zeal; he pines to be F.D.R. and eclipse Barack Obama, who pushed him aside for Hillary.
Dowd gives a free pass to her wingnut family:
Some in the G.O.P. see Glenn Youngkin as a template for moving beyond Trump. The members of my family who voted for Trump are eager to see their party move back to a more palatable and recognizable form of conservatism.
(I assume this includes Dowd's brother Kevin, who told us in Dowd's Thanksgiving 2020 column that he didn't want Trump to run again, but hoped he'd "start a media empire to replace an increasingly disappointing Fox News," which, in his view, was experiences a "not-so-subtle shift leftward." Apparently Kevin's desire for a "palatable" conservatism doesn't extend to the media. I hope he's getting what he wants from OANN, Newsmax, and Tucker Carlson.)

And, mostly, Dowd wastes the column inches the Times gives her. She writes:
Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi hail the bills as transformational. But what are you transforming into?

... Democrats have to come up with a vocabulary and a vision to elucidate how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework and Build Back Better will benefit people. B.I.F. sounds like Willy Loman’s son, and must we ask, to B.B.B. or not to B.B.B.? Yammering about the budget reconciliation process is not going to cut it. Tonally and emotionally, Democratic pols seem at odds with the electorate.

At the end of the day, Democrats are going to get some good stuff for Americans, but voters may not realize that because of the big hash the Democrats made with the bills.
People don't understand what's in the bills? Look, I yield to no one in my contempt for Democrats' poor messaging skills, but has Dowd ever considered the fact that she writes a column for the most important newspaper in America, and therefore she could actually try explaining to that paper's 7.8 millon subscribers some of what's in the bill?

Or, alternately, she could stick with Mean Girl snark and bad wordplay, because that's what she knows best. And we had no reason to expect any more from her.

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