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Daily Howler: Dowd is front-running hard today. Had Clinton won, life would be different
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END OF AN ERA! Dowd is front-running hard today. Had Clinton won, life would be different: // link // print // previous // next //

End of an era: The end of a 16-year era is on us. In today’s New York Times, Maureen Dowd lets us know how troubled she was by all the overt race talk. The covert talk? Not so much:

DOWD (11/6/08): I had been amazed during the campaign—not by the covert racism about Barack Obama and not by Hillary Clinton’s subtext when she insisted to superdelegates: “He can’t win.”

But I had been astonished by the overt willingness of some people who didn’t mind being quoted by name in The New York Times saying vile stuff, that a President Obama would turn the Rose Garden into a watermelon patch, that he’d have barbeques on the front lawn, that he’d make the White House the Black House.

Actually, the elegant and disciplined Obama, who is not descended from the central African-American experience but who has nonetheless embraced it and been embraced by it, has the chance to make the White House pristine again.

Truly, we’re all front-runners now! Gone is the talk of this disciplined man being “legally blonde” or “Scarlett O’Hara”—weirdly covert apparent race talk authored by Maureen Dowd. Gone are the various species of “boy” to which she had consigned him. This morning, Dowd can finally tell the world how troubled she was by the overt race talk. It was such talk which ripped her apart. The covert talk? Not quite so much.

For ourselves, we don’t recommend that libs and progressives display hair-trigger racial sensitivity. But you have to laugh when you see this public nut let us know, with the dust finally cleared, how pristine her own heart has been.

And truly, an era has come to an end when a hack like Dowd fakes deep regard for a Major Democrat! Make no mistake: Had Hillary Clinton won the White House this Tuesday, that pseudo-journalistic era would still very much be with us. We can infer this from Dowd’s instant jibe about Clinton’s “subtext,” which she can divine (and robotically cite). And we see it when Dowd rubs her thighs and returns to the scene of the action:

DOWD (continuing directly): I grew up here, and I love all the monuments filled with the capital’s ghosts. I hate the thought that terrorists might target them again.

But the monuments have lost their luminescence in recent years.

How could the White House be classy when the Clintons were turning it into Motel 1600 for fund-raising, when Bill Clinton was using it for trysts with an intern and when he plunked a seven-seat hot tub with two Moto-Massager jets on the lawn?

The monuments have lost luminescence? How about the journalistic world inhabited by Dowd—a world-class hack the rest of the hacks once gave their grandest prize? No, the Clintons didn’t turn the White House into a “Motel 1600 for fund-raising” (link below). But at a certain point in time, it became pleasant—and de rigeur—to pretend that they had, and Dowd is still hacking away on the subject. Yes, Bill Clinton showed abysmal bad judgment when he staged those (ten) “trysts.” But no, Miss Lewinsky wasn’t “an intern” when they occurred—though many years later, it can be pleasing to type the delicious word anyway. (Somehow, Dowd restrained herself from pretending that Lewinsky was a “21-year-old intern” when the vile conduct occurred.)

Finally, what about that troubling hot tub—the seven-seater out on the lawn? Even we had to look it up, so obscure are the memories floating up from the depths of Dowd’s cluttered mind.

The tub dates to the Summer of 97, when Dowd devoted several of her most inane columns to the pointless subject. Her inanity got its fullest workout in this column (sadly headlined “Rub A Dub Dub”), a column in which Dowd even reported dragging Mickey Kaus into a similar tub. Of course, Dowd has spent a lifetime vicariously doing the things Big Democrat Males do with their close friends. Let’s recall the sheer inanity of a long “journalistic” era:

DOWD (8/23/97): I came to California, home of hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, all therapy, and indeed, home of the President's Hot Spring Grandee seven-seater with 31 massaging jets, and I couldn't resist dropping by the showroom of the manufacturer that donated the hot tub to the National Park Service. I wanted a test soak, as they say.

I took some friends along so we could float a few theories about the iconic meaning of Bill Clinton installing a hot tub on the South Lawn—Jerry Nachman, the former New York Post editor who now works in TV; Dee Dee Myers, the former White House press secretary who now lives in L.A. and works at Vanity Fair; Barbara Hower, author and TV personality; Rebecca Liss, a reporter for The Los Angeles Daily Journal, and Mickey Kaus, a magazine writer.

Talk about displacement. Before our combined avoirdupois could be accommodated, the service manager had to suction out 100 gallons of water.

“Talk about displacement?” Is that what she calls it? At any rate, even Myers was helping this public nut float theories about those iconic meanings. And sure enough! Dowd devoted this whole column to the troubling tub—but it wasn’t her first citation. Previously, she had mentioned the tub in her July 30 column—and she’d featured it on July 26, in a piece devoted to the submerged question of whether Bill Clinton had been boinking Susan McDougall, one of the many troubling ladies torturing Dowd’s fitful dreams. (Delicious headline: “Joan of Ark.”) Here’s the way she started that column, one year before the Pulitzer people gave her the corps’ grandest prize:

DOWD (7/26/97): Teddy Roosevelt added the West Wing. William Howard Taft added the Oval Office. Harry Truman added the Truman Balcony. And Bill Clinton added the Hot Tub.

The President has finally nailed down that legacy thing by installing a seven-seat hot tub (the Grandee model, with two Moto-Massager jets) on the White House lawn. (Will we be able to see it during TV correspondents' stand-ups?)

"The President reports that it's nice," White House spokesman Mike McCurry says, adding, "The people of the United States own this." (I guess that's why he got the seven-seater, so we can all get into it.)

Steve Hammock, president of the company that donated the hot tub, assured The Times's James Bennet that Americans now own a "a legitimate therapy appliance," in which "you can bounce around and have different jets affect different parts of your body." (No comment.)

“No comment!” But darlings, you simply knew which “part of your body” Dowd had in mind! Eleven years later, this White House tub is still lodged in Dowd’s brain—inside the head she rests face-down on the carpet inside the Georgetown “pad” where JFK once shagged so many (click here). Even today, the tub bubbles up—one of three things the scribe can recall from eight Clinton years.

This helps us recall the era which would have continued had Clinton, not Obama, won election.

Alas! The era which gets a last gasp today eventually sent George Bush to the White House. It spilled forward in Dowd’s endless columns about Gore’s bald spot and Edwards’ big house, and about Obama, who was “legally blonde” until he proved so successful (until Dowd got called on a different carpet by Times public editor Hoyt). Today, Dowd ushers in a new age, in which the lady is front-running hard. Sad but undeniably true: Had Hillary Clinton won Tuesday night, past inanity would still have been with us.

In real time, the hot tub Dowd can’t evict from her brain got minor play, then disappeared. By the way: In the James Bennet news report Dowd cited, the Timesman had mentioned an earlier tub—a tub Dowd knew not to cite:

BENNET (7/26/97): As is routine with such gifts, the hot tub was processed through the National Park Service.

Mr. Hammock said he was pleased to hear that the tub would remain at the White House. He said the company had either donated or sold another model to the White House in the Reagan Administration. "I don't know where that one ended up," he said.

Uh-oh! Reagan got a hot tub too! Instantly, Dowd understood a key fact: It was better to leave that unsaid.

Maureen Dowd remembers three things from Bill Clinton’s years in the White House. In today’s column, our most visible public crackpot gives that hot tub moral equivalence with George Bush’s subsequent war in Iraq. But then, the crackpot Dowd spends a good deal of time lying face down on JFK’s carpet. So goes the world of our multimillionaire “press corps”—the gang of harlequins, crackpots and hacks who put the US where it is.

Dowd is front-running hard today. Had Clinton won, life would be different.

Tub, meet Spot: Within two weeks, Dowd would mention the troubling hot tub again—along with Gore’s troubling bald spot. Here’s how that tragic piece started:

DOWD (9/10/97): The Spot is growing. Maybe even galloping. That Rogaine better kick in before the millennium. Tipper says I'm paranoid, but I'm not. Everyone is out to get me. Nothing is going perfectly.

I mean, look at him. It's unbelievable. The President looks positively lean. He's happy. He's relaxed. He's popular. The Republicans are scared of him. He's got all his hair. And look at me. I'm portly—I mean, senatorial. I'm tense. I sweat when I make speeches and I look ruddier than Bill. The Republicans are after me. Bob Woodward is after me. He's worse than paparazzi!

I don't get it. You-know-who plops a hot tub on the South Lawn in the middle of a sexual-harassment scandal. And I'm the one they're picking on. Even Quayle is getting better press than me.

“Even Quayle is getting better press than me?” The war hadn’t even started yet! It’s too late for liberals to mention such things. But it started in March 99.

At any rate, Dowd was deep inside Gore’s brain, tortured by something inside Clinton’s pants. Two months later, she and Frank Rich (and Melinda Henneberger) invented the Love Story gong show.

But good news! Dowd is happy today. She can picture a better day. She can see luminescence returning.

Visit our incomparable archives: For some background on the so-called Lincoln Bedroom matter, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/16/05. (Scroll down to “Spinning the Lincoln.”) You’ll see how Bush’s guests got treated—and how they handled Bill’s.

Yes—this is how Bush reached the White House. This is how we got to Iraq.