Brian Birdnow

Maureen Dowd is a woman of many talents. She is, of course, a New York Times featured columnist, a Pulitzer Prize winning commentator, and the liberals acknowledged Queen of Snark. Ms. Dowd has also completely blown a gasket, if her column of last week (April 5th) is any indication of her psychological-emotional state.

In her column of last week entitled, Men In Black, Maureen employs language and phraseology that her fellow liberals would quickly label “hate speech” if it were uttered by their foes. Ms. Dowd assails the Supreme Court in the most personal and vitriolic terms for their unmitigated gall in considering the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known as “Obamacare”. She refers to the Roberts Court as “…the most divisive in human history” (She obviously has no memory of Earl Warren & his cohorts) and derides the current court as “…hacks dressed up in black robes.” In the third paragraph of her piece Ms. Dowd tips her hand and shows that she resents the court taking a critical look at Obamacare, through a conservative lens, and she is, accordingly, blowing her stack.

She begins her attack thusly, “All the fancy diplomas of the conservative majority cannot disguise the fact that its reasoning…seems shaped more by a political handbook, than a legal brief.” It is odd that Ms. Dowd never applied the same standard to a liberal hero like Thurgood Marshall, who readily admitted that his liberal political ideology guided his judicial rulings, and that statutory law was only a secondary concern.

But, no matter! Maureen moves on to chastise the individual justices in very personal, ad hominem attacks. She begins by repeating the old reliable liberal chestnut, “In 2000 the Republican majority…helped to purloin the election for W.” (Bush) This “big lie” about the 2000 election has been repeated so often that all liberals believe it, thereby illustrating PT Barnum’s famous maxim about suckers being born every minute.

Ms. Dowd then moves on to attack the individual justices, and she singles out Justice Antonin Scalia for special abuse. “If he’s so brilliant, why is he drawing a risible parallel between buying health care and buying broccoli.” There is more: “…Scalia voted to bypass that little thing called democracy and crown W. President.” Finally, she chirps “Still, it was stunning to hear Antonin Scalia talking like a Senate Whip last week during oral arguments last week on the health care law.”

Brian Birdnow

Brian E. Birdnow is a historian and teaches at a university in the St. Louis area.