A Fisking

I should know better than to read Maureen Dowd while sober, but I’m on the wagon until I get Melissa knocked up. Well, at least there are pretty mock-lesbians involved – in the fisking, I mean.


Let’s begin.

I bet President Bush is more worried about putting on weight, now that his knees hurt too much for him to run, than getting re-elected.

Cute. But shouldn’t we desire politicians with desires more important than re-election, even if it’s something as simple as their waistlines? But in Mo’s mind, there’s not enough imagination to grasp anything beyond popularity.

I bet he made a New Year’s resolution to give up desserts because he’s more scared of facing his “inner fat boy,” as one Bush pal calls the earlier, beefier beer-drinking incarnation of W., than Howard Dean.

My mistake. There is something more important to Mo than being popular — it’s staying trim.

After all, the Democrats seem puny wandering around Iowa. And more Americans are pronouncing themselves pleased with Mr. Bush.

We’ll leave that last line be, because Maureen scribbled down an actual fact. Oh, she couldn’t be troubled with the fancy-schmancy number (61%, if you must know), but still, we must give credit where it’s due.

They like him even though Osama and Al Qaeda are still lurking and frothing, even though we couldn’t get through the holidays without an orange alert and flights being canceled, and even though Iraq is still a free-fire zone after a war to get rid of weapons that may not have existed.


“Free-fire zone?” Sounds cool, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, Ms. Dowd doesn’t know what the phrase means. “Free fire” means soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen can shoot at, fire on or blow up anything that moves. Or even anything that doesn’t move. Hell, most of Iraq wasn’t under free-fire rules during the three weeks of major combat last spring. But let’s not let definitions get in the way of using mean-sounding military jargon.

And the first three quarters of her sentence is nothing more than a whine amounting to, “What do you mean the war isn’t over yet? We had a battle and everything.”

Oh, and Maureen? The weapons did exist. Saddam used them to gas Kurds, Marsh Arabs, and Iranians. Wake up, sister.

OK — onward.

A top Iraqi rocket scientist, Modher Sadeq-Saba Tamimi, told The Washington Post that he had hidden his designs for nine-ton missiles from U.N. inspectors, but that the weapons themselves did not exist.

Here we go again. An imminent threat is when the bad guy is pointing a gun at you. After 9/11, Bush told us we can no longer wait for threats to become imminent. Therefore, you go after the bad guy before he picks up and points his gun. Or in this case, before he takes his plans off the shelf and builds his missiles.


Karl Rove has the ’04 effort well in hand, despite the distraction of Nosy Parkers from Justice trying to out the official who outed an undercover C.I.A. officer.

Um. . . isn’t that what we have Nosy Parkers in Justice for?

For the next two paragraphs, I’ll have to go line by line. Why? Well, it took years of devoted, daily news reading, but I have finally read the most politically obtuse series of sentences I’m ever likely to see in a major publication. Join with me now.

The president and vice president have raised $130.8 million, and are showing a brutal willingness to do whatever it takes to secure key bases.

Which bases are those, Mo?

The president courted Hispanics by saying he would try to extend more legal rights to illegal immigrants by offering a new temporary worker status.

Illegal immigrants are not a Republican base. They can’t even vote. Or maybe she meant Hispanics. Well, they aren’t a Republican base, either — they vote overwhelming Democratic in most elections. In fact, Bush risks alienating his most conservative supporters over his proposal, as witnessed by the cover of the next issue of The National Review, which calls it “a policy disaster.”

Appealing to your base, alienating your base — whatever, right? Just so long as you get to make Karl Rove sound menacing.


He courted the religious right by saying he would not try to extend more legal rights to gays by offering a new marital status.

Maureen doesn’t leave Manhattan much, does she? Outside of the Manhattan-Hollywood-San Francisco Axis, support for gay marriage is not a popular cause. Last poll I saw gave it no better than 40% support nationwide — and I say this as someone who is solidly in favor of gay marriage. But in Dowd’s world, 60% of the American public belongs to the religious right. If that’s the case, why do we bother with elections, and why isn’t Pat Robertson our Preacher-in-Chief-for-Life already?

Mr. Bush has decided to offer legitimacy only to those dispossessed groups in American society who may be politically useful to him.

And that’s something the Democrats have never done. Either that, or it’s just the nature of politics


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