Says Maureen Dowd, who thinks that Obama "doesn’t know how to work the system" and "doesn’t want to learn, or to even hire some clever people who can tell him how to do it or do it for him." He's just too good to be good.
Dowd says Obama should have left "the high road," put on "brass knuckles," and clobbered North Dakota Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp with these lines: “Heidi, you’re brand new and you’re going to have a long career. You work with us, we’ll work with you. Public opinion is moving fast on this issue. The reason you get a six-year term is so you can have the guts to make tough votes. This is a totally defensible bill back home. It’s about background checks, nothing to do with access to guns. Heidi, you’re a mother. Think of those little kids dying in schoolrooms.”
Heidi, you’re a mother. Think of those little kids dying in schoolrooms. Give me a break! A powerful female politician would find that incredibly patronizing. I don't believe Dowd really thinks that's what a President would say in a private conversation with a female Senator. That's just pap for NYT readers.
Dowd began with something that sounded slightly tough: "Heidi, you’re brand new and you’re going to have a long career. You work with us, we’ll work with you." Why not make it actually tough? You’re brand new and you’re not going to have much of a career if you don't work with us. But Dowd — even while recommending violence-against-women-y brass knuckles — can't bring herself to invent truly bullying lines for Obama. And then she switches to the same policy arguments Obama used publicly. Finally, Dowd dribbles to such a soft landing that it's inadvertently sexist.
I presume Heitkamp figured out on her own what would play in North Dakota.