February 23, 2007

Subversive thought cascade unleashed by David Geffen.

Bill Kristol says:
Hillary Clinton was cruising along, raising big money, triangulating on Iraq, rounding up supporters who felt they had little choice but to sign on. And then Geffen spoke up. Suddenly Democrats all over the country may be thinking to themselves, "Well, what about that? Why exactly do we have to be for Hillary anyway? Shouldn't we consider some alternatives?"

Once unleashed, this series of thoughts is subversive. So much of the Hillary Clinton candidacy depends on an aura of inevitability, supported by oodles of money and a fear of retribution if you're not on board. But what if she's not inevitable? And what if the retribution isn't so all-powerful?

Amusing.

I note that Kristol calls Maureen Dowd "the New York Times gossip columnist."

32 comments:

The partisan moderate said...

She is a gossip columnist: Need evidence look no further than her comments on her Meet the Press appearance after the midterms.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15637887/page/6/
"But I think it’s going to be very tough for him because he and Rummy and Cheney have basically had this “Who’s your daddy?” attitude to the world and the Congress, and they’re used to the executive branch getting more and more and more power. And now they have Nancy Pelosi saying to them, “Who’s your mommy?”"

Do you think David Broder would say that?

This Clinton/Obama/Geffen thing has been overblown as Geffen's endorsement does not really matter (remember Bill Clinton was not Hollywood's favorite candidate initially either) but Republicans are loving it.

StephenB said...

the New York Times gossip columnist

I like it.

The Exalted said...

kristol is bad. but dowd is much worse...she's taken seriously

AJ Lynch said...

I like it too. Dowd tries so frigging hard to be on the edge of the latest popular culture wave. Reading her column is like watching episodes of a once-good TV show that stayed on the air many seasons past its prime.

Thank God they came up with Times Select to spare me the small temptation to even start reading her crap. And it's a shame cause she squandered her talent by overdosing on vitriol.

I am not much of a Kristol fan either. He should go away quietly too.

somefeller said...

"The New York Times gossip columnist" is a perfect phrase to describe Maureen Dowd. She provides nothing but snark and shallow cynicism masked as some species of knowing sophistication to any discussion. I've never seen a single example of insight or sharp analysis in her work. That would be acceptable for a gossip columnist, but not for a political commentator / analyst. The fact that valuable op-ed page real estate is wasted on her is a travesty.

Bissage said...

"Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of subversive thought cascade."

That's not quite as thrilling as the original.

But it is cleaner and that's probably better.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
StephenB said...

The fact that valuable op-ed page real estate is wasted on her is a travesty.

The fact that I have to pay $14.95 a month to read her gossip column is a travesty. Only this month it's not such a waste. They've got a guest columnist this month, you see. And she's waaay insightful.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Steven. The new column should be up in a couple hours.

Ruth Anne... stalking, apparently!

Internet Ronin said...

Astute observation of both Clinton and Dowd, I think. I would have felt compelled to add "over-rated," and "over-paid" to describe Dowd, but the simpler the better, I guess.

Simon said...

I was a little more intrigued by the column that appears alongside Kristol's:

"[M]y favorite new phrase in politics[] [is] non-binding. What does it even mean? Do you realize that, outside of Washington, D.C., nothing in life is "non-binding"?

"I had twelve drinks last night, but they were non-binding." Then I guess there's no headache. Lucky you. "Okay, Doc, give it to me straight. Is the cancer benign or malignant?" "Even, better, son. It's non-binding." "Wow, great. How about your bill?"

... A resolution expressing disapproval? "Expressing"? Metamucil is more binding than this thing. But of course, that's not the point for them, is it? ... The point is not to act, but to appear to act, to fiddle, as it were, ... [b]ut not to act. Never to act. Never to use their powers, the only reason they're there in the first place.
"

"Okay, Doc, give it to me straight. Is the cancer benign or malignant?" "Even, better, son. It's non-binding." That sneering, lacerating, weaponized sarcasm worthy of George Carlin at his best.

LutherM said...

The Geffen quotes and the Hilary reaction remind me that sometimes we do get to know the truth, and it can make us free. But if it's true that all this controversy benefits Gore lurking in the wings, it should please Martin Peretz, but it scares me.
RE: gossip column - one only has to look at the column Maureen wrote on the death of her mother,"A Woman Who Found a Way to Write" (NYT 7/24/05) to see that Dowd is capable of excellent writing. Her piece on the murder of David Rosenbaum was not gossip (NYT 1/14/06) Her work is her own; it's neither Walter Lippmann, or, for that matter, likened to the genre of Walter Winchell. Kristol knows that getting the Geffen quotes was evidence Maureen does a good job from time to time - his denegration of her writing says more about Kristol than about Dowd.

michael a litscher said...

Yea, well, David Geffen is nothing but a Rethuglican smear machine, doing the bidding of the eeeeevil KKKarl Rove.

Or some such. I'm sure the usual suspects will be along shortly to tell us that Geffen is the liar, and, well, Hillary is a saint.

Some words of advice for Mr. Geffen - Stay out of Fort Marcy Park.

Seven Machos said...

I say God bless both Kristol and Dowd. Here we have two people who are spectacularly wrong over half the time yet they are paid exceedingly well to spout their opinions.

Life is beautiful.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

What Kristol doesn't write, and should, is that what David Geffen says doesn't matter.

The 800-pound gorilla in the Democratic primary isn't any of the candidates; it isn't Bill Clinton; it isn't David Geffen and all the pretty puddin' heads in Hollywood; it even isn't the Children of the Corn at Kos and the nutroots. The 800-pound gorilla is Andy Stern and the SEIU; Gerald McEntee and the AFSCME; Reg Weaver and the NEA; in short, its the public employee unions.

And they don't care what David Geffen says or Maureen Dowd writes.

But Kristol is right about the gossip columnist part. Too bad for the rest of us she can't get any satisfaction dating.

Pat said...

stephenb writes: The fact that I have to pay $14.95 a month to read her gossip column is a travesty.

You have to?

Why, exactly, do you have to do this? Is someone holding a gun to your head?

The partisan moderate said...

Luther M, there is little chance that Gore will run. Apple Computers, which he sits on the board is being thoroughly investigated for illegal backdating, which Al Gore as a board member would be responsible for.

Additionally, given that Al Gore has amassed such a tremendous net wealth in aproximately six years since he left public service that he can afford to spend $50 million on a campaign (according to those close to him), one wonders how he made that.

Board members (no matter how many boards you sit on) do not typically (and should not) get that kind of money. He has done a little venture capital on the side but not a ton. One has to guess that he was severely overpaid in Apple and Google stock options and considering Democrats have made a huge deal about executive pay, how can the party justify that kind of board pay, given the limited involvement most board members have in the company.

Buddy said...

Maybe he got a reward from the Riady family, for keeping all that iced tea moving through his system --?

Ann Althouse said...

I think people are way underrating the difficulty of what Dowd is able to do. The fact that she bugs you is part of her success.

Internet Ronin said...

I think people are way underrating the difficulty of what Dowd is able to do.

You do? I really don't see it. On the whole, I found her columns ceased being remotely interesting, much less original, years ago. So I quit reading her. No great loss to her, I'm sure, and a small gain in time for me to do something more enlightening. Dowd is not exactly a serious, or deep, thinker. Before I quite reading her regularly, I came to view her writing as unimaginative.

On the rare occasions that I have come across one of Dowd's more recent pieces, I've felt no need to revise that opinion. It seems to me that Dowd often resorts to a well-known, and well-worn, bag of tricks in order to quickly dash off something, anything, prior to the inevitable deadline. Even a hack has her or his moments, but they are usually rare and stand in stark contrast to the much larger body of work of little redeeming value.

The fact that she bugs you is part of her success.

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but Maureen Dowd doesn't bother me in the least. She's largely irrelevant to life as I know it, unless someone I do read happens to mention her. The Times did a great service to society when they placed her column behind their Select veil. Her jottings are now mentioned far less often.

Adjoran said...

I think Kristol, and many other conservatives, have misconstrued what has happened here, their view of the situation colored by their opinion of Hillary. If it had been any other candidate personally maligned by a prominent supporter of an opponent, the opponent would have immediately repudiated the remarks and dissociated himself from the supporter.

Geffen called her a liar, and insinuated something was funny about the Rich pardon, insulting her spouse as well. While he may not be Obama's "Finance Chairman," as Wolfson mistakenly claimed, he isn't exactly just a face in the crowd, either. His remarks came on a night he had organized a $1.3 million fundraiser for Obama.

As soon as other candidates agreed Obama should apologize, he was in a trap. Having first declined to do so, capitulating appears weak. Sticking to his guns is not without danger, either: now he is setting a standard where you don't have to apologize what your supporters say about the other guy, no matter what it is.

When Hillary supporters start referring to his questionable land deal with a shady character, he can't be outraged. When they bring up his cocaine "problem" and nickname him "Sniffles Obama," what is he going to say?

dearieme said...

"When Hillary supporters start referring to his questionable land deal with a shady character": but wouldn't that be met with howls of derisive laughter?

Finn Kristiansen said...

Seven Machos said it correctly: that Kristol and Dowd are paid well for being wrong a great deal of the time.

I've listened to Kristol chatter and comment on television, and he often seems to sputter stutter off, before turning his head to the next commentator with a kind of "interrupt me before I make sense" confusion on his face.

I've never found him to be particularly astute on anything.

As for Geffen, his comments are good to the extent it encourages the candidates to critique each other's positions, statements and policies. I want to hear how HIllary or others defend themselves.

fred said...

I am tryhfing to recall the last time, if ever, that Bill Kristol has been right about anything...he is a fool believed by many people to be some sort of whizz kid.

ncghost said...

Before I pile on, let me just say that I like your photographs.

That said, Maureen Dowd is a rotten, self-serving, etc., et. al.

Naked Lunch said...

Here is a great column on Radar Online getting rich by being wrong. Well worth a read.

Internet Ronin said...

Interesting article, NL. Thanks for the tip.

Pyrthroes said...

Anyone who after sixteen years from 1992 does not know that MzBill is a Larry Flynt Democrat --blackmailer, extortionist, monomaniacal sociopath-- has no-one to blame but themselves. As for Dowdy Maureen... well, yes, good Master Geffen, we at the Auld Tymes do eat cellulose not celluloid for breakfast, but who outside our gnostic sanctuaries would know the difference?

What's that you say? Barack Banana just peeled Geffen away... the horror. When will Mde Dowd catch on?

Joseph Hovsep said...

"Gossip columnist" is a great slam in that it rings true to a small extent and I'll bet it stings Dowd if she reads his column. But she's not a gossip columnist. Whether you like her style or not, her writing is substantive and insightful and pisses people like Kristol off, which an ordinary gossip columnist would not be able to do.

michael a litscher said...

Thirty posts (29 if you subtract my previous one), and not one lefty has even tried to defend Hillary against this charge.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Thirty posts (29 if you subtract my previous one), and not one lefty has even tried to defend Hillary against this charge.

Self-described "lefties" probably aren't the ones who would defend Hillary, as she is probably the most right-leaning Democratic candidate this time around. So, the lefties are probably rooting for Obama in this particular catfight. So, why would lefties with lukewarm feeling for Hillary rush to defend her inevitability?