For over twenty years she's tried to bring the Clintons down. Now she's ticked off at Trey Gowdy for not getting it done in 17 months.
Maureen Dowd does not share the grimy, basement-level journalistic tier of, say, Cal Thomas. Indeed, she has some hard-earned and well-deserved hardware and framed certificates dotting the shelves and walls of her study – a Pulitzer, for one.
I often appreciate her “acerbic” and “caricaturing” form of writing, though the writing itself leaves a bit to be desired and her persistent need to convince readers that she is polysyllabic and conversant in French is tiring.
She replaced Anna Quindlen (well, tried to replace Anna Quindlen) as a twice-a-week op-ed columnist for the New York Times in 1995. That lasted until the summer of 2014, when she became a staff writer for the paper’s magazine and the number of her weekly op-eds in the Times itself dropped to one. As a matter of interest, her first story in the magazine did not appear until a year after she joined the staff. There is a story there but I will let the reader dig it up if he/she is thusly interested.
Having offered the requisite props and background for Ms. Dowd, however, I move on to her op-ed from this past Sunday. Titled “Will Hillary Clinton Be Pilloried by the Benghazi Committee?,” the column was ostensibly a critique of the inept, bogus, Republican-initiated waste of time and money known as the Special Committee on Benghazi. The pertinent word being “ostensibly.”
In truth, Ms. Dowd is not interested in the fact that this committee is a waste of time and money. She is certainly not interested in the fact that it is farcical or bogus. What really irritates her is that this eighth GOP-initiated congressional committee to investigate the tragedy that occurred at Benghazi is, like all the others, unable to produce any evidence that Secretary Clinton was derelict in her duties per the attack.
Indeed, I burst out laughing when I realized that Ms. Dowd’s irritation did not stem from the fact that another Republican committee was wasting time and millions of taxpayer dollars. After all, Mo’s unrelenting columns led the parade per the Whitewater investigation back in the 90’s, which turned up no wrong-doing on the part of the Clintons, but cost the government almost $50 million to pursue. No, I burst out laughing because I realized that Ms. Dowd’s irritation stemmed from the fact that the committee had been unable to actually accomplish their partisan goal of smearing Ms. Clinton and diminishing her presidential hopes.
Ms. Dowd has been an integral part of the two decades-old effort by the American Right to bring an end to the public career of Hillary Clinton. A career that has apparently left Ms. Dowd, who is, oddly-enough, relatively progressive, with a severe case of achievement-envy. And she was so, so, so, sure that Benghazi! would be the “Clinton scandal” that finally proved to be scandalous. Or, at least scandalous enough to end Ms. Clinton’s political career, which is the scalp that Mo most wants to hang from her belt.
The Vince Foster scandal, to which Ms. Dowd, the National Enquirer and Richard Scaife inexplicably refer, proved to be nothing more than an insensitive bundle of absurdly non-factual insinuations that resulted only in furthering the grief of a devastated family and smearing forever the reputation of a quite fine man who found himself in the grips of a depression from which he could see no exit. It was a singularly disgusting moment for Republicans, Ms. Dowd and any other “journalist” who referenced it before actually knowing anything about it.
Having failed to make hay with Mr. Foster’s suicide, Ms. Dowd joined with glee the efforts of Newt Gingrich and Mr. Scaife, when the slimy new Speaker of the House proudly proclaimed that his primary agenda was to initiate innumerable investigations of President Clinton, the First Lady, the entire administration and every friend or associate of the Clintons he could identify.
Out of this commitment came the laughable “scandals” known to us as Troopergate, Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate and even the comical conspiracy theory that involved President Clinton in a cocaine smuggling scheme run out of a small Arkansas airstrip known as Mena.
None of these demonstrably false, politically-contrived scandals had any substance to it, but a Republican majority in the House, an “independent” counsel appointed by Republican judges, and a national media driven by personal ambition and fed by phony leaks from investigative committee members or even darker characters kept them in the public eye for years.
That the latter is still an active dynamic is made clear by two major New York Times gaffes this year. Kurt Eichenwald breaks down the Times bungling of the Clinton email story in a scathing Newsweek article that begins by aptly asking, “What the hell is happening at the New York Times?” In the process of answering that question, he also sheds some light on what is happening to journalism in “our hyper-partisan world.”
Indeed, even the Times’ Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, wrote that the Times’ treatment of the email story manifested “major journalistic problems” and sullied the reputation of the paper.
Also this year, what Joe Conason charitably describes as “a rather deranged column” by Ms. Dowd, accompanied by a front-page article “ominous in tone, rife with insinuations and gossip, and distorted by major errors,” had the Times swimming in another journalistic backwater.
This time it was the Clinton Foundation being accused of “conflict of interest” per a Russian agency gaining control of a Canadian uranium mining company, the deal supposedly greased by Canadian donations to the Foundation and the former president being paid a hefty speaking fee for a Moscow appearance.
The story fell apart quickly, though it took the Times’ front-page article ten paragraphs to note that there was no evidence of any link – any link at all – between the donations and the deal. And even longer to note that “multiple United States agencies” as well as the Canadian government had signed off on the deal.
Worse, the Times later admitted that its initial information came in the form of a leak from Peter Schweizer, whose most recent employment was as a fellow at the right-wing Hoover Institution and who was preparing to publish a hit-job on the Clintons called “Clinton Cash.”
Ms. Dowd’s op-ed from this past Sunday makes it all too clear that she is fed up with what she must consider these amateur efforts to exile the Clintons from American political life, topple the Clinton Foundation and send Bill and Hillary crawling in shame back to Chappaqua.
Her frustration is betrayed by the ironic fact that, in the process of angrily pillorying the present GOP effort for failing to pillory Hillary, she decides, in the column, to simply do so herself. Again. In essence, the column is her petulant way of saying, “If none of you fools can get it done, I’ll have to do it myself.”
I hear Ms. Dowd is having dinner with Cal Thomas tonight down in the basement.
Ironically, Maureen Dowd is being unfairly impatient with the committee chair, Trey “What Will My Hair Look Like Today?” Gowdy. After all, he’s only been trying to crucify Ms. Clinton for 17 months. Dowd has been at it for over 20 years, with no better results.