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.”
After chewing out Scalia, Ms. Dowd turned her sights on John Roberts, the genial Chief Justice of the court. According to Maureen, “John Roberts benign beige facade is deceiving; he’s a crimson partisan, simply more cloaked than the ideologically rigid and venomous Scalia.” She offers no evidence or support for this assertion; if Maureen Dowd says it then it must be true.
Lady Maureen then moves on to Clarence Thomas, a justice she clearly dislikes. She rages at Thomas for asking no questions during the oral arguments, describing him as “Inexplicably mute…Clarence Thomas didn’t ask a single question during oral arguments for one of the biggest cases in the court’s history.” She also throws in the gratuitous insult that, “…he (Thomas) lied his way on to the court.” Whereas Ms. Dowd sees evidence of slow wit in Justice Thomas’ silence during oral arguments, many court observers consider Thomas to be circumspect and reflective. He would rather listen to others than to hear himself talk. Isn’t this the type of sobriety that we can reasonably expect from judges?
Ms. Dowd finishes her skewering of the conservative wing of the court by dismissing Sam Alito as “insufferable.” She goes on to lament that “the dream” of universal health care could die at the hands of a Kennedy, in this case Justice Anthony Kennedy, who might very well prove the decisive vote on Obamacare.
The evidence that Maureen Dowd is suffering a mental meltdown is evident in the fact that her column is chock full of random references to supposed outrages perpetrated on the country by the Republican Party, but she offers no context, and fails to note that these outrages have nothing whatsoever to do with the subject of her column, which is the Supreme Court and Obamacare. Let us examine a partial laundry list of Maureen’s complaints: The 2000 election, the Iraq invasion, Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 election, the Citizens United decision, the “shameful” Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings, among other things. None of these alleged misdeeds has any relation to the current issue at hand; they simply serve as mud pies for Ms. Dowd to lob at the opposition. This is the rhetorical equivalent of a playground taunt, along the lines of, “Oh yeah…well so’s your old man” but Maureen Dowd won a Pulitzer Prize.
She finishes with a flourish: “But it isn’t conservative to overturn a major law passed by Congress in the middle of an election. The majority’s political motives are as naked as a strip-search.” One doesn’t remember Maureen screaming in anger about Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh announcing indictments against Reagan Administration figures four days before the 1992 election. In any event, it isn’t reasoned discourse to engage in blatantly partisan personal attacks which center directly on the character of the men chosen as targets. Ms. Dowd, like many liberals has bemoaned the vitriolic nature of our politics, and has compared the current American political scene to that of the Third French Republic. But, who is really venomous and poisoned here? Maureen Dowd is losing her marbles!