The senator began the debate with a gentle reminiscence about his mother, who took in wash from the brothels in scruffy Searchlight, Nev.I thought "Prairie Fire" was William Ayers's "forgotten communist manifesto." Lefties are poetic — "A single spark can start a prairie fire" — but apparently Sharron Angle wrote a book about an actual prairie fire. Literal. Righties are so concrete. Dumb as a block.
Angle could have told the poignant story of her German immigrant great-grandmother who died trying to save laundry hanging on the clothesline in a South Dakota prairie fire, which Angle wrote about in her self-published book, “Prairie Fire.” But instead the former teacher and assemblywoman began hurling cafeteria insults. “I live in a middle-class neighborhood in Reno, Nevada,” she said. “Senator Reid lives in the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C.”
But, so... Dowd's point is that Sharron Angle is a high-school "mean girl." Hey, I wonder if she read my October 8th piece answering Slate's question "Who gets to be a feminist?" I wrote:
So what am I supposed to care about here? You don't get any special rights or privileges for being a feminist, so what difference does it make? "Who gets to be a feminist?" Is it some high-school clique with mean girls deciding who gets in? Are there guardians at the entrance? The entrance of what? Nothing hinges on it. One woman says, "I am a feminist" and another says, "No, you're not." This is political polemic of a very dull sort.I see the liberal women as having the exclusionary "mean girl" attitude, but Dowd is trying to pin that stereotype on Angle. How does Angle's failure — in a political debate — to rhapsodize about an ancestor exclude anyone? I can see that Reid might wish things had stayed sweet and gentle, but how is a political debate a time for hugs? If women are to be in politics, we need to rise above the socialization toward niceness and not hurting anyone's feelings.
And how is it "hurling cafeteria insults" to question Reid about how he got so rich when he's spent nearly his whole career in politics? It certainly wasn't saying my neighborhood is better than yours — which might be mean-girlish. He lives in the Ritz-Carlton in Washington!
Dowd is hot to flip everything around. If you want to talk about mean girls, she's the mean girl! But look at how she portrays herself:
... I was getting jittery....Dowd is my age — nearly 60. Isn't there something really awful about presenting your emotional life in adolescent terms when you are that old? Especially when you're cozily situated on the op-ed page of the New York Times. Here's Dowd's description of Sharron Angle:
As the politicians droned on and my Irish skin turned toasty brown, I worried that Governor Brewer might make a citizen’s arrest and I would have to run for my life across the desert. She has, after all, declared open season on anyone with a suspicious skin tone in her state....
After the debate was over, Angle scurried away and so did I — in a different direction. I was feeling jittery again. If she saw me, she might take away my health insurance and spray-paint my locker.
Even sober and smiling beneath her girlish bangs, the 61-year-old Angle had the slightly threatening air of the inebriated lady in a country club bar...Now, click over to Dowd's column and see how she looks: sober and smiling beneath her girlish side-swept bangs, the 58-year-old Dowd has a slightly threatening air. Which is just fine! Don't get me wrong. A columnist should feel threatening. But she's not a timorous girl. Or maybe she is when she gets out in the world, out of her comfort zone. If so, that's not fine. And it's not Sharron Angle's flaw.