Friday, February 16, 2007
Personal Aside: The New York Times Coverage of the Obama Gaffe Al Salvi and Mike Noonan on Sundays Political Shootout.
I havent seen any coverage in The New York Times of Barack Obamas charge that due to George W. Bush, the lives of 3,000-plus U. S. troops were wasted. Perhaps it appeared in the New York edition but it certainly wasnt in the Midwest; probably it was tucked in someplace in the general news and carried over to page A23. But yesterday mention appeared in the coverage of Obama by the Times Maureen Dowd. She gave it all of one sentence which read: He made his first Swift-boat-able slip when he had to apologize for talking about soldiers lives wasted in Iraq. It appears in paragraph 11 of her editorial page piece.
Pulitzer-prize winner Dowd is my favorite liberal columnist: favorite because of her cunning style which mixes pop culture, movies and classic literature with political analysis. She has the claws of a true savage, honing them on the Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal for which she won the Pulitzer in 1999 but has been positively a terrorist on people she dislikesincluding the man she calls W and Benedict XVI. She rages with a feminists vitriol, stemming from her Irish Catholicism, the daughter of a Washington, D. C. cop who began as a sportswriter for the old Washington Star, the spectacle of a beautiful woman who gave up chances at marriage and now interiorly regrets it but not to admit ither latest book, Are Men Necessary? telling more about her than she wishes you to know.
The more she outrages me the more I run to her column. In fact, The Times is, for all its leftism, the masterpiece of a brilliantly written advocacy newspaperthe kind I think should exist; her column ties with that of David Brooks in my view.
Concerning Obama, Dowds piece had the trappings of a bouquet tied up in a ribbon but which underneath contained some vicious barbed wire sublimated under fluff. Showing her real sympathies are with Hillary Clinton, she said that Obamas big problem is he so hung up on being seen as thoughtful that he sometimes comes across as too emotionally detached and cerebral with crowds yearning for an electric, visceral connection. JFK mixed cool with fire. Dowd is not just a brilliant wordsmith, she takes a novelists license of reading peoples mindswonderful for those she likes, tough for those she dislikes. And its obvious that Bambi isnt her cup of tea. Here are some capsule IDs of Obama:
at a press conference in Ames on Sunday where he was getting irritated at suggestions that he lacked substance and at the specter of his vanishing privacy The Illinois senator didnt have on an implacable mask of amiability, as Hillary did in Iowa. He didnt look happily in his element, like Bill Clinton. But he certainly didnt look as if he was straining to survive the Q & As as W. did in the beginning Beyond his smooth-jazz façade, the reassuring baritone and that ensorcelling smile,* the 45-year-old had moments of looking conflicted Senator Obamas body language was looseand hes so slender his wedding band looked as if it was slipping offbut there was a wariness to his dark eyes He sounded self-consciously pristine at times, as if he was too refined for the muck of politics. Thats not how you beat anybody but Alan Keyes.
He snapped at the press which evidently was waiting for the substantive beef in his talk to high-school journalists: Take some notes, guys, thats how its done. Heres a tart Dowd-ism, unusual in covering a liberal star: Using the dreaded third-person that some candidates slip into, he told the press that one of their favorite narratives boiled down to `Obama has a pretty good style, he can deliver a pretty good speech but he seems to prioritize rhetoric over substance. After an odd to his own specificity he tut-tutted, `Youve been reporting on how I look in a swimsuit. Then she added with an uppercut: He poses for the cover of Mens Vogue and then gets huffy when people dont treat him as Hannah Arendt.
More: For a man who couldnt wait to inject himself into the national arena, and who has spent so much time writing books about himself, the senator is oddly put off by press inquisitiveness. When The Times Jeff Zeleny asked him on his plane whether he had a heater in his podium during his announcement speech in subzero Springfield, Mr. Obama hesitated. He shot Jeff a look that said, `Are you from People magazine? before conceding that unlike Abe Lincoln, hed had a heater.
She winds up applying his own words to the press corps: Take some notes, senator, thats how its done.
And theres usually a word-lesson a day in a Dowd piece. Yesterday it was the word ensorcelling for Obamas smile. Meaning betwitching, it is not just French from the original ensorceler, its an allusion to the Old French ensorceror.
Salvi & Noonan.
Former U. S. GOP senatorial nominee Al Salvi will appear on Political Shootout with Democratic strategist Mike Noonan Salvi still one of the bright young assets of the Illinois Republican party and who, along with his wife Kathy, is half of a very attractive youthful duo that can still attain great benefits for the GOP. Noonan is the best political brains the Democrats have and is not surpassed by any other young Dem leader.