Posts Tagged ‘Maureen Dowd’

On a gloomy Sunday in the northeast, and gloomy in America at the heartbreaking, untimely loss of a promising young American leader,  I took my own sweet time going through the newsfeeds.  I really just wanted the post about Beau Biden to sit there for awhile.  I added John Kerry’s touching statement and a link at the bottom of the page so readers can sign the White House condolence book and send thoughts to the grieving family.  That was all I did today.  It was a day of shocked mourning for the big-tent Democratic family that probably has not been this united since December 2000.

Republicans, too, felt and shared the grief of this tragedy. From Jeb Bush  to Donald Trump, the sentiments poured in.  Sarah Palin, whose son, like Beau, served in Iraq,  quoted scripture.  I am sure Joe’s former Senate colleagues from the other side of the aisle also offered thoughts and prayers, even if I did not see them.

I did see Maureen Dowd’s latest RPG against Hillary and the Clintons.  Writers can have a “got you when” moment.  Umberto Eco got me when he explained in the foreword of The Name of the Rose  that,  although this foreword is long and tedious, you will have trouble following the story if you fail to read it.  I then pursued him through about 100 encyclopedic pages of doctrine and heresy that years later I still consider the most valuable information in the book.

Writers can also have a “lost you when” moment.  MoDo lost me when she compared Hillary to the Jennifer Jason Leigh character in Single White Female.  I will not link to her op-ed.   If you really want to know who the Bridget Fonda character is in Maureen’s scenario, you will have to go find it yourself.

Amid all the gloom, both meteorological and existential,  of this difficult Sunday, at the close of the day, I found a little gem glimmering at the end of the dark tunnel.  It was this reasoned and encouraging piece by Susan Estrich.  She makes a great point.  I do not share many op-eds here unless Hillary has written them, but this one is worth a read.

Susan Estrich: At a Time of Malaise, Hillary Clinton Brings Out Smiles While Republicans Frown

By Susan Estrich |

It’s “June gloom” in Southern California, that period well known to locals when the sunshine you expect doesn’t show until the end of the day, if at all. This year, the gloom couldn’t wait until June, and so it came in May.

That may also be true for the country


The Democrats have a one-word answer to the national sense that our cup today is, sadly, half-empty: Hillary.

People smile when they say it. The idea of a woman who has paid her dues and then some and is so clearly qualified for the job finally getting that job is definitely a half-full cup.

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I think Estrich has hit something here.  The idea of Hillary has positive power.   When I attended my county grassroots organizing event I heard 150 people joyfully and confidently share the words they associate with her.  In the small group I learned that they really do not know very much about her – and these are the activists.  Even the facilitator did not grasp that in this listening phase of the campaign there would not be any broad, sweeping messages.  But there was an optimism in the air about Hillary – about the idea of Hillary.

Hillary’s Strategic Communications Adviser and Senior Spokesperson, Karen Finney, has said “People think they know her,  but she’s the most unknown well-known person in the world.”  Most American voters will probably never come to know Hillary the way Karen does.  Getting them to know her that way – or feel that they do –  is Karen’s challenging  job.  Maybe, though, the optimism around her  – the idea of her – is really what the country needs – at least for now.  Look at this.  It is worth 1000+ words and descriptors.


Many of us know that Hillary is patient, warm. concerned, understanding, dedicated, value-driven, empathetic, generous, sweet, and kind.  (I could go on.)  All of us here also know that she is brilliant, experienced, tested, adroit, prepared, and ready.   No 150 or 1,500 words  can sum up Hillary Clinton or portray her.  Maybe, though, if the idea of Hillary makes people smile  – maybe that, right now, is the important thing.

Susan Estrich is right.  Things are gloomy.  Hillary is the bright spot in a dreary season.  She has been listening.  Another thing we know about Hillary is that the listening continues, even when the listening tour ends.


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It seems as if the media has lost its collective head over two public appearances this week by Hillary Clinton after a two-month absence from the public eye. It is interesting when you consider that around this time last year she was in Istanbul at a Friends of the Syrian People Conference  that was covered so shoddily that one vice presidential candidate was ignorant of the group’s existence.  Where was the media frenzy then?  Might she have had something important to impart then?  Click on the image to see the video and remarks you did not see then since apparently it wasn’t that important at the time.  It was only Hillary doing her job.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sp

If the media ever had covered Mme. Secretary’s tenure at the State Department as energetically as it has followed John Kerry’s from the start, there would never have been a need for this blog.  But while our Hillary sacrificed her personal family life to do her job in her signature dedicated manner, the press, largely,  stood aside .  We did hear interviews and reports from regulars in the press room and on her Big Blue Plane.  Most recently, Kim Ghattas published a book about these adventures.  For the most part, however these forays and the speeches delivered were given little media coverage despite MSM spending bucks to send their correspondents along for the rides.   Reports often consisted of  a correspondent quoting her while showing silent, truncated video clips of Hillary.

So one has to wonder why all the media hype this week?  What is new?  What does it mean?  What’s it all about?  Here are the facts.  Hillary Clinton appears at these two events every year.  The sole exception was the Vital Voices event last year when she was on foreign travel, once again in Turkey.  If you click on the image you can see what the media neglected to provide about that event.

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu attend the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul

Chelsea appeared at Vital Voices in her place and brought along a video from her mom.  Hillary Clinton has routinely appeared at these annual events and had she not this year, that would or should have raised the antennae,  not the other way around.  Then the questions would/should have been, “Where is she?”  “Why isn’t she here this year?”

Instead, apparently unaware of her history with these organizations and events, the press entered DEFCON 1 – maximum readiness – because she made two routine appearances at two events she tries never to miss.  In contrast, our current DEFCON level  with respect to  North Korea’s threats is 4 –  above normal readiness.

Here is the archive of Hillary Clinton’s past appearances at the events that shook the airwaves this week.  None of these, in the past, received the coverage or were attributed the gravity her appearances at the same events received this past week.  All she did this week was what was routine for her, what came naturally.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Ninth Annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards

March 11, 2010 by still4hill |

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Remarks At the Women In The World Summit

March 15, 2010 by still4hill

Video: Secretary Clinton Introducing the play “Seven” at the Women in the World Summit 03.12.2010

March 15, 2010 by still4hill

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Women in the World Summit **Updated With Video**

March 11, 2011 by still4hill

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the 10th Annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards

April 12, 2011 by still4hill |

Video: Hillary Clinton at “Women in the World 2012″

March 10, 2012 by still4hill

Hillary Clinton’s Video Message to Vital Voices

June 8, 2012 by still4hill

So it is these two appearances that have the media all in a twirl and to which Maureen Dowd refers as  “tornado activity.”   Two things we knew Hillary Clinton would do after stepping down as Secretary of State were making speeches and writing a book.  Over the past year or more Hillary has often said she would be speaking and writing.  She never, to my knowledge, mentioned a spa,  Maureen.  Why the fact that she is doing what she said she would do should generate wide-eyed shock and speculation is as confounding as the reaction some of her supporters displayed in 2008 when, after suspending her campaign,  she went on the road to campaign for Obama-Biden as she had said she would.  Why is it lost on people that Hillary Clinton is a woman of her word?

Apparently Hillary Clinton is never so fascinating as when she does exactly what she has said she would do or is doing what she always has done while no one was paying attention. Dowd’s Op-Ed in today’s New York Times aggravates as much for what is omitted as for what is included.  As a woman and a journalist, how is it possible that Dowd does not know of Hillary’s history of speaking at the above events? Of course she has known.  Clearly she chose to ignore that history for the sake of sensation.

She sprinkled in some irritants: “commandress” in chief?  Really? That {-ess} suffix eschewed  by women of many professions is truly a stretch.  A quick check found it  primarily referring to a social event and secondarily to a wardrobe style.  It is simply snarky from the keyboard  of one whose career was never subjected to what linguists refer to as marking.  Unlike a stage performer, Dowd has never been burdened with the {-ess} mark.  She should not have applied it where it does not belong.

For four years as Secretary of State in every country she visited, Hillary Clinton declared making women full partners in society and the economy “the unfinished business of the 21st century.”  Friday was not the first time she said it.  It was more likely the thousandth, but since the media ignored all of those speeches, their readers and viewers might have the impression that this was the birth of a campaign slogan.  In truth it encapsulated her signature issue as secretary of state throughout her tenure and was no red flag.  It is her mantra.

It is arrogant of Dowd to question Hillary Clinton’s ability to learn, her learning style, and to pseudo-analyze her personal academic history in that respect.  Worse, it is needlessly disruptive at this point to set up a false comparison between her style and Obama’s.  Who says Obama gets an A cramming only the night before?  Where are the polls that assign him an A?

Many in the media point long fingers back at 2007-2008 and declare her campaign a disaster.  Certainly there are lessons to be learned there, but we should also remember that she did capture the popular vote and won primaries in landslides.  It was a failure to prime the caucus states that did not guarantee her the nomination.  If she does mount another campaign, certainly that metric will be recalculated.

Hillary Clinton’s approach to all things is to analyze and gain a thorough grounding before speaking out.  That strategy would not be inappropriate for Dowd and the rest of the media to take in view of the short shrift Hillary’s work at the State Department was given. Had they adopted this technique they would not have found Hillary Clinton’s recent activities, from book deal to speeches,  in any way surprising or even significant.  All of that was simply Hillary being Hillary doing what she said she would do and doing what comes naturally to her.


Edited to add:  For all of the reasons stated above, Arianna Huffington has proven herself to be an envious ignoramus of monstrous proportions (as we have always known) given these remarks this morning.

Arianna Huffington: Hillary Clinton sending a bad message to women

During her appearance on ABC’s ‘This Week,’ liberal publisher Arianna Huffington was critical of Hillary Clinton for jumping back on the national stage so quickly.

“She’s obviously running,” Huffington said bluntly about Clinton’s future in the 2016 presidential race.

Huffington added that she was disappointed that Clinton didn’t take more time to rest.

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No, Arianna, she was obviously fulfilling an annual commitment. Do not count on seeing her around much over the next few weeks, since she is not running. She will be writing and resting.

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In the passive-aggressive tradition of women journalists like Tina Brown who casts herself as a Hillary Clinton supporter while charging in 2009 that Obama was keeping her in the shadows and that her famous *snap* in Democratic Republic of Congo happened because she was hot and “feeling fat,”  Maureen Dowd cast Hillary as a Hitchcock blonde of the Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly “survivor” type in an editorial, Spellbound by Blondes, Hot and Icy, in yesterday’s New York Times.

The piece is a kind of left-handed compliment dubbing  Hillary “America’s blonde obsession” while a sub-theme plays out of Hillary neatly escaping blame for Benghazi while Republicans jump all over Susan Rice whom MoDo characterizes as “rough-elbowed” compared to the “smooth Hillary.”   She goes as far as speculating that Hillary is secretly enjoying watching Rice “walk the plank.”

Judge Judy would call all of that “a lot of  who shot John,” but one charge is a shot across the bow and requires an answer.

While Republicans continue their full-cry pursuit of Susan Rice, the actual secretary of state has eluded blame, even though Benghazi is her responsibility. The assault happened on Hillary’s watch, at her consulate, with her ambassador. Given that we figured out a while ago that the Arab Spring could be perilous as well as promising, why hadn’t the State Department developed new norms for security in that part of the world? After 200 years of expecting host countries to protect our diplomats, Hillary et al. didn’t make the adjustment when countries were dissolving.

I guess MoDo missed this:  Aftermath … Benghazi, The Great Debate, and Hurricane Hillary.  I have repeatedly countered such charges here in the nearly three months since the assault on the consulate using Victoria Nuland’s concise explanation of how all embassy security for all countries in all countries works: Clearing The Air On How Embassy Security Works.    The truth is that Hillary et al. did make adjustments by evacuating personnel, closing embassies and consulates as necessary when revolutions were hot, and reinstating personnel and reopening as situations cooled.  What Dowd is expecting is very unrealistic. Countries exchange diplomats according to The Vienna Convention.   Host countries are responsible for the security of diplomats and staff outside embassy walls.

While the fighting was ongoing in Libya and we were participating in a No Fly Zone, many friends were betting that in the end we would have boots on the ground.  We did not.  But now  some of those same people are implying that we should have when the fighting was over, a new government was installed, and we reopened our missions.  You cannot have it both ways.  Boots on the ground  on  foreign soil is invasion, so MoDo is dead wrong on this.

One thing I think we all would agree about is that Hillary Clinton is cool in all the right ways.

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I deliberated long and hard about posting these, and they are not the only examples bouncing around on the web.  In the end, they are Hillary news, so I suppose they merit some attention.

The first one, by Maureen Dowd, appeared days ago.  I first saw it in the New York Times.   This particular publication came from The Seattle Times.  Alluding to remarks HRC delivered last week at the Women in the World Summit,  Dowd postulates thus.

Originally published Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 3:30 PM

A riled Hillary is a formidable foe

The attempt by Republican men to wrestle American women back into chastity belts has not only breathed life into President Obama, writes Maureen Dowd, it has roused and riled Hillary Rodham Clinton — not a wise thing to do.

By Maureen Dowd

Syndicated columnist

Hillary Clinton has fought for women’s rights around the world. But who would have dreamed that she would have to fight for them at home?

“Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me,” she told an adoring crowd at the Women in the World Summit at Lincoln Center on Saturday. “But they all seem to. It doesn’t matter what country they’re in or what religion they claim. They want to control women. They want to control how we dress. They want to control how we act. They even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies.

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The war on women in this country is genuine. We need our women leaders, and I am sure most American women see Hillary Clinton as the most powerful and vocal of these, particularly on women’s issues, but Hillary cannot do it alone.  She needs her army behind her.  Women need to recognize the level of threat to their personal freedom, get mad, and get active.

Men, even those on our side of the aisle,  do not share the sense of urgency Dowd telegraphs.  They put forth her name but… not now.

From The Gothamist.

Hillary Clinton 2016: Pundit Put Likelihood At 99.4%

Secretary Clinton at the 2012 Global Chiefs of Mission Conference yesterday (AP)

Will the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits come back in four years? Game Change authors John Heilemann and Mark “Obama is a dick” Halperin were on Morning Joe this morning predicting that Secretary of State is interested in running for President again.

Heilemann, who covers politics for New York magazine said the chances were “99.4. I think very high,” while Halperin, an editor at Time, said, “A little lower. I think that if Joe Biden wins re-election and runs, she’s much less likely to run.”

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Then there is Ed Koch, former Mayor of New York, who sometimes pals around with Republicans.  As Politico reports.

Ed Koch pushes Clinton on 2016 run


3/15/12 5:21 PM EDT

(AP Photo)

Former New York City mayor and Hillary Clinton booster Ed Koch wants to see a Clinton 2016 run, and he made his feelings clear to the Secretary of State at Wednesday’s state dinner, according to the New York Times:

Mr. Koch also said he spoke with the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and encouraged her to run for president in 2016.

“I said, ‘Everybody’s running you for president again — count me in!’” he said. “And there were other people there who applauded.”

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I have been addressing the issue of the war on women primarily at The Department of Homegirl Security , which is a defense blog,  and not in the context of Hillary making another presidential run.  But in this  particular post,  Falling Short,  I did state a position similar to what Dowd said.  Women leaders, acting as surrogates for Obama on this issue inspire far more confidence in me than he who prefers to lead from behind.  Dowd’s questions mirror my own thinking.  She ends her op-ed thus:

Women who assumed that electing Obama would lift all minority boats are beginning to think: Maybe he’s not enough.

If the desire of all these conservative male leaders to yoke women is this close to the surface, if they are perversely driven to debase women even though it could lead to their own political demise, then women may require more than Obama.

If women are so vulnerable, they may need one of their own.

Is she inevitable?

It is possible that she is, but generals do not win wars without troops.  She needs her army.  I know you are all still here.  We have been together for almost five years now and never left her side.  Join Americans Elect.  Be a delegate for Hillary because, no, Obama will not be or do enough and we cannot afford to lose this war.

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