December 6, 2009

Tiger Woods refusing to talk to the police ≈ Desiree Rogers refusing to talk to Congress.

Maureen Dowd doesn't really have anything new to say about Tiger,
Tiger may have been the greatest pro golfer but he was an amateur adulterer. His puffed-up ego led him to leave an electronic trail with a string of buffed and puffed babes. Like so many politicians before him, Tiger ignored the obvious rule: Never get involved with women who have 8-by-10 glossies.
Amusing writing. But with nothing much to say about Tiger, Dowd makes a column of it by forcing a parallel with Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary who purported to stand on constitutional principle as she refused to talk to Congress about the White House gate-crashers. Tiger, you see, refused to talk to the police.

But Tiger is a private citizen, and he faced potential criminal charges, either for himself or his wife. Dowd doesn't even mention the Constitution in connection with Woods — even as she's going for parallelism — but Woods had a constitutional right not to talk to the police, and I assume he was well advised by lawyers as he chose not to talk. He had a right to do what he thought was best for himself. The public may be interested in him, and he needs to worry about our loss of respect for him, which would hurt his lucrative career in product endorsement, but he doesn't owe us anything.

Rogers, on the other hand was working for the government, in a position of a public trust, and her refusal to account for herself was quite a different matter. The constitutional provision for executive privilege is not like the individual right against self-incrimination. It's a matter of separation of powers having to do with the ability of the executive branch to function independently. If it is invoked, it should not be Rogers protecting her own interests. It should be because it serves the public good for the executive branch to be free of interference from Congress. It may well be that there are legitimate reasons for maintaining secrecy about the details of planning and carrying out a big White House dinner party. There are some delicate, sensitive matters in party planning, no? One could imagine Congress picking apart such things for the devious purpose of distracting and weakening the President.

Dowd says:
Both Tiger and Desiree hid and stayed silent because they mistakenly thought they were protecting the Brand. But despite their marketing savvy, these two controlling players spiraled out of control.
That sounds clever and amusing, but only if you don't try to imagine what Woods and Rogers might be hiding and how, if they spoke, their words would be used to damage them further.  Dowd assumes that the truth has or will come out: "Don’t stonewall. Admit your mistake before others piece together the embarrassing facts." That is: It's the cover-up, not the crime. It will hurt more if you don't come clean. But I think there are things about what happened the night Woods ran into the tree that will never come to light. And who knows what more there is to the gate-crashers story? It sounds pretty frivolous, and we are expected to get over it. A slight glitch that represents nothing else of any concern. But is it?

33 comments:

PatCA said...

The article is a dud, as you say. The two situations are not analogous. I think the WH is claiming privilege for Rogers to avoid any hint of waiving it for anyone. Like all those meetings with Andy Stern or Van Jones.

And what the heck could Tiger say that would make him look better??

Kirby Olson said...

The thing that I guess nobody has said about Tiger is that it's great that there were no children involved, at least, and he didn't kill anybody. These days, this is a wonderful old-fashioned scandal involving grown-up men and women.

I think Tiger deserves a medal for making a national scandal without injuring any children, or anyone, really, except himself.

Way to go, Tiger! Let's have more news like this!

AllenS said...

I read the article, and found it to be clever and amusing, also. Dowd is not a law professor, and is not trying to be one with her column.

lucid said...

Althouse 10, Dowd 0. Again.

Tony O. said...

What a profound point you have made: YOU are a law professor, Maureen Dowd isn't!

We knew that, Althouse.

We also know that Dowd is a funnier and more popular writer than you are.

More accurate label: Maureen Dowd envy!

Comrade X said...

Never get involved with women who have 8-by-10 glossies.

but definitely take romantic advice from spinsters with decade old glamour shots.

traditionalguy said...

I only see a nice attempt by Dowd to put the spotlight back upon a "Obama is all about parties and super friends in power in DC" meme to over shadow the plunging trust in Obama's ability to produce results as a leader.

edutcher said...

Ann said...

Dowd says: Both Tiger and Desiree hid and stayed silent because they mistakenly thought they were protecting the Brand. But despite their marketing savvy, these two controlling players spiraled out of control.

That sounds clever and amusing, but only if you don't try to imagine what Woods and Rogers might be hiding and how, if they spoke, their words would be used to damage them further. Dowd assumes that the truth has or will come out: "Don’t stonewall. Admit your mistake before others piece together the embarrassing facts." That is: It's the cover-up, not the crime. It will hurt more if you don't come clean.


Good lawyerly advice for the WH crowd, Ann, bespeaking the 40 years' experience of all the people who thought they could beat the odds.

The Administration screwed up badly on the gate crashers and is refusing to talk on the grounds it will make them look as if they don't know what they're doing.

(Why would anyone think that?)

Looks like Tippytoes Emanuel has been reprising DeNiro's interpretation of Big Al again.

Comrade X said...

Never get involved with women who have 8-by-10 glossies.

but definitely take romantic advice from spinsters with decade old glamour shots.


Cheap shot and, from the lady's wedding and quarterversary photos, inaccurate.

WV "tochi" What you usually land on when you slip on the ice.

Dan from Madison said...

Nobody should EVER talk to the police without an attorney present if they want to "have a talk". It can never help. This attorney explains why and the cop agrees.

Ann, you are right to point out that Woods was merely exercising his rights under the fifth amendment.

Comrade X said...

Cheap shot and, from the lady's wedding and quarterversary photos, inaccurate.

no doubt that it was a cheap shot, but it was aimed at Dowd, not Ann Althouse

Tyrone Slothrop said...

It's a tactical mistake for the administration to take a stand on so trivial a matter. Rogers should have appeared before congress and given trivial answers to their trivial questions. As it is, when policy-making members of the executive are called to congress to answer for malfeasance, and they will be post-2010, this will be just another entry in the log of White House obstructionism.

Palladian said...

"It's a tactical mistake for the administration to take a stand on so trivial a matter. "

The Obama administration has no problem taking stands on trivial matters. It's the important things that give them the willies.

mariner said...

Althouse:
One could imagine Congress picking apart such things for the devious purpose of distracting and weakening the President.

Certainly not this Congress, and not this President.

edutcher said...

My bad.

Fred4Pres said...

I am sure Maureen Dowd has 8 x 10 glossy photographs. Although they are probably a couple of decades old. No need to update them.

traditionalguy said...

Tyrone Slothrop...You are becoming a literalist instead of an idealist. You are 100% right. There are good men that do the right thing ( about one in twenty), but they must be discovered by being tested for that quality. Being "from the Government" is not a good character reccomendation without more. Government jobs have affirmative action hires and hard to fire civil service rules making the odds much worse. What would happen to a Death Panel Member if they decide in favor of life???

Fred4Pres said...

Rogers is not talking because the Obamas owe a lot to Desiree Rogers. That includes protecting her from embarassment. So while a few Secret Service guys will lose their jobs just before Christmas, and the Obama Administration gets a little egg on their faces, Desiree Rogers will be protected.

Tiger Woods situation is a private one. As we know, domestic abuse is an issue and the cops are supposed to investigate it (and serious domestic abuse, whoever is engaging in it, is a public issue). But a husband who gets caught cheating and gets some wacks with one of his golf irons from the wife is generally going to shut up about that and try to avoid keeping the cops out of it.

Iapetus said...

" That is: It's the cover-up, not the crime. "

True. However, a successful cover-up never gets included in the win column. It's only the cover-ups that fail that get tallied in the loss column. The challenge is how to calculate the correct odds of success. Most people are probably too optimistic in that regard and end up being victims of their own over-confidence. JFK, for example, didn't do too badly on that score while he lived; Bill Clinton, by comparison, did not.

somefeller said...

A lame analysis from Maureen Dowd. Nothing new there.

Here is something new. According to this article, Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary who didn't send her staff to the entry gates of the Indian PM's state dinner with guest lists in hand (thus showing less security and attendance consciousness than the average charity gala planner) did another blooper.

Excerpt: When former social secretaries gave a luncheon to welcome Ms. Rogers earlier this year, one participant said, she surprised them by suggesting the Obamas were planning a “non-religious Christmas” — hardly a surprising idea for an administration making a special effort to reach out to other faiths. The lunch conversation inevitably turned to whether the White House would display its crèche, customarily placed in a prominent spot in the East Room. Ms. Rogers, this participant said, replied that the Obamas did not intend to put the manger scene on display — a remark that drew an audible gasp from the tight-knit social secretary sisterhood. (A White House official confirmed that there had been internal discussions about making Christmas more inclusive and whether to display the crèche.) Yet in the end, tradition won out; the executive mansion is now decorated for the Christmas holiday, and the crèche is in its usual East Room spot.

Let's leave aside whether or not it's appropriate to have a crèche on public property. I think it's fine and that my liberal colleagues who get worked up about such things are wasting their time, but let's leave that aside. What kind of social secretary (remember, having social etiquette is part of the job) decides in this political environment to think out loud about not having a crèche at the White House holiday display, especially when in the end such a crèche was displayed, thus creating a cultural/religious controversy where none should exist? Wouldn't basic discretion and political savvy (hasn't she seen the annual Fox News broadsides about the "War on Christmas"?) require one to avoid the topic?

I'm an Obama supporter and don't think people should be forced out just because the Glenn Becks of the world make noise. But after a while, having too many unforced errors in matters directly related to one's job can raise some questions about staffing.

vbspurs said...

Lucid wrote:

Althouse 10, Dowd 0. Again.

Absolutely. Ann doesn't comment on legalese much on her blog (because it's a blog by a lawyer, not a law blog like Volokh), but this is one of those times she used her expertise and put it into context given this story.

The point of this is...why is Maureen Dowd allowed to write for the NYT regularly, and not people like Althouse?

vbspurs said...

Comrade X quoted then replied:

Never get involved with women who have 8-by-10 glossies.

but definitely take romantic advice from spinsters with decade old glamour shots.


FUNN-EE. LOL!

Pat said...

I saw her recently in person in New York. She looks more than ten years older than that glamour shot. Total sea hag.

Adele Mundy said...

I have also run into Ms. Dowd recently. It is true that she looks somewhat older. Sort of like someone's mom.

Like in that movie. "Throw Momma from the Train."

Almost Ali said...

...why is Maureen Dowd allowed to write for the NYT regularly, and not people like Althouse?

Talent.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Maureen spends her life straining to be as clever as possible--and to be seen to be as clever as possible.

Kind of a waste of effort, but then again she's getting big bucks for 800 words a week, so maybe not.

Thad said...

Tiger Woods Photo Emerges after Counseling Session with Wife...
Shocking...I feel bad for him. This pic is ridiculous.

http://doodiepants.com/2009/12/06/tiger-woods-photo-counseling-wife/

Elmer Stoup said...

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary makes the point that it was ultimately the President, not Rogers, that decided she would not appear. Social secretaries, by themselves, don't exercise "executive privilege. [http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/rubin/189272]

Almost Ali said...

Social secretaries, by themselves, don't exercise "executive privilege."

That's a relief.

Almost Ali said...

...But what about Tiger Woods, what's he been exercising?

David said...

Totally unfair of you, Ann Althouse. You expect Ms. Dowd to think things through before she publishes her thoughts. That's not her job.

richard mcenroe said...

"Never get involved with women who have 8-by-10 glossies."

Hey! Some of my best friends, etc...

master cylinder said...

Last week Althouse wanted you to read MOdo because she LIKED what she wrote-you know "Obama is in trouble cuz Modo is talking smack on him" meme....
So I would score it: AA 0
MD 10
When I see MD reference AA, the score will change.

Steph said...

Poor guy... We don't know the story! one thing is sure, he wasn't happy with his wife!
Boob Job