Thanks, BooMan, for tipping me off to Maureen Dowd's sad face this week.
Having climbed down from her brownie-induced high, MoDo seems to have been knocked out of her ivory tower for a moment, too. Even Saint Ronnie can't tease her out of her deep red funk, sparking a column that rivals one of David Brooks' worst.
With our swaggering and sanguine image deflated by epic unforced errors, Americans are playing defense, struggling to come to grips with a world where we can no longer dictate all the terms, win all the wars and lead all the charges.
“The Fourth of July was always a celebration of American exceptionalism,” said G.O.P. pollster Frank Luntz. “Now it’s a commiseration of American disappointment.”
Translation: The black guy has ruined everything, even Camelot and Saint Ronnie. Frank Luntz has already gone through his own round of depression over the failure of his message to take hold, but neither one of them seem to grasp the notion that when serving a shit sandwich in a pretty bun, people still don't like it.
From Katrina to Fallujah, we’re less the Shining City Upon a Hill than the House of Broken Toys.
For the first time perhaps, hope is not as much a characteristic of American feelings.
Yeah, that tends to happen when crazed lunatics with signs and hate for all people brown toss a busload of kids off the highway and tell them "Not in my town, bub." That behavior tarnishes the lovely inscription on the Statue of Liberty and substitutes a very different, darker message. One that doesn't involve hope. Or mercy. Or compassion. Or even human kindness. As for hope, it's tough to hope when the batch of right wing lunatics in Congress can't manage to do something as basic as renew UI, much less pass immigration reform.
For MoDo, this isn't about real values. Winning is her drug of choice.
Are we winners who have been through a rough patch? Or losers who have soured our sturdy and spiritual DNA with too much food, too much greed, too much narcissism, too many lies, too many spies, too many fat-cat bonuses, too many cat videos on the evening news, too many Buzzfeed listicles like “33 Photos Of Corgi Butts,” and too much mindless and malevolent online chatter?
Are we still the biggest and baddest? Or are we forever smaller, stingier, dumber, less ambitious and more cynical? Have we lost control of our not-so-manifest destiny?
Interesting metric there. Biggest and baddest versus small, stingy, dumb, lazy and cynical. Small stingy lazy dumb (right wing) cynic, know thyself.
Once we had Howard Baker, who went against self-interest for the common good. Now we have Ted Cruz. Once we had Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner whose fortitude in a Japanese P.O.W. camp was chronicled in Laura Hillenbrand’s book “Unbroken.” Now we’ve broken Iraq, liberating it to be a draconian state run on Sharia law, full of America-hating jihadists who were too brutal even for Al Qaeda.
She must have taken a hit when I wasn't looking to stave off the munchies or something. WE didn't break Iraq. SHE and her neocon pals did that, while WE protested and tried to make someone see reason. What the hell kind of comparisons are these, anyway?
About that whole "biggest and baddest thing?" Longman (BooMan) has the best answer:
Ms. Dowd, born in 1952, grew up in a country struggling under Jim Crow, which then intervened and failed in Vietnam, saw its most inspiring leaders assassinated, discovered that their vice-president and president were vindictive crooks who both then resigned, learned that the FBI, CIA, and NSA had been reading our mail, blackmailing our leaders, and making assassination attempts of foreign leaders. Back then, the environmental movement was in its crib, women were trying and failing to get an Equal Rights Amendment, and no one was even considering gay rights. But we were still John Wayne-undefeatable until the energy crises and the Ayatollah messed with our psyches, right?
Actually, I'm pretty sure MoDo would say we were John Wayne-undefeatable right up to the point where the black guy took the oath of office.
You get her drift by now, I'm sure. But if you thought it was bad now, wait. She gets worse. Maybe she should try dropping acid or something.
Barack Obama vowed to make government cool again, but young people, put off by the dysfunction in our political, financial, military and social institutions, are eschewing government jobs. Idealism is swamped by special interests. The middle class is learning to do more with less. The president, sort of the opposite.
Yes, those legions of government jobs are just standing vacant somewhere. Not here, but somewhere.
There seems to be a bright spot for Dowd in millennials' enthusiasm for opportunities in tech. That VC money is really, really happy stuff for education reformers and craft-beer makers alike.
Walter Isaacson, head of the Aspen Institute and author of the best-selling “Steve Jobs,” agreed that “there’s a striking disconnect between the optimism and swagger of people in the innovative economy — from craft-beer makers to educational reformers to the Uber creators — and the impotence and shrunken stature of our governing institutions.”
At least she didn't say "both sides do it." At least, not out loud. But you know she was thinking it. Take a Valium, Maureen and repeat after me: Your side broke it.
Honestly, this column of hers made me want to put this on a loop and play it over and over and over: