When historians look back in wonder at how a long-established publication like the New York Times could have declined from its virtual king-of-the-world status in mid-2002 to its Bush-deranged, 85%-devalued shadow of its former self, they will surely make a few stops at Maureen Dowd's twice-weekly, lost-in-another-world columns (the Dowd picture is from the Times's web site).
Today's offering from Dowd (HT Hot Air Headlines) is intended to be a final figurative kick in the shins at George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, something she admits to fantasizing about having done to the Vice President this week when she had opportunities.
But the Dowd diatribe really ends up as a self-portrayal of someone who deeply imbibed the kool-aid her paper dished out over the past seven years and is beyond ever letting go, and serves as a microcosm of what the Old Gray Lady has done to itself in that same timeframe:
An Extremist Makeover?
In the past week, I’ve twice been close enough to Dick Cheney to kick him in the shins.
I didn’t. It’s probably a federal crime of some sort. But a girl can fantasize. I did, however, assume the Stay-away-from-me-you’ve-got-cooties stance that Jimmy Carter used when posing with Bill Clinton at the presidents’ powwow in the Oval.
The first time was Tuesday, when Cheney left the ceremony where he gave the oath of office to senators. The senators seemed thrilled, especially Joe Biden, who was getting sworn in for just two weeks and was excitedly showing off a family Bible the size of a Buick. But I thought it gave the ceremony a satirical edge to have the lawless Vice presiding over lawmakers swearing to support and defend the Constitution that he soiled and defiled — right in the heart of the legislative branch he worked to diminish.
The second time I crossed paths was Thursday night, at a glitzy party at Cafe Milano for Brit Hume, stepping down as a Fox anchor. It required extreme defensive maneuvers — much zigging and zagging — to avoid Cheney, Wolfie and Rummy, all three holding court and blissfully unrepentant about the chaos they’ve unleashed on the world.
..... After he leaves office, W. wants to go on more bike rides, because biking through Katrina was not enough.
..... The vamoosing Vice has no apologies about turning America into a country that tortured; indeed, he denies it ever happened. “Torture,” he told Barnes, “that word gets thrown around with great abandon.”
..... Cheney’s theory of executive “unitary” power and pre-emptive war and frightening the world was a theory of Constitutional thuggishness.
The fact is that the contentions Dowd's column are little different from the supposedly "objective" reports that have emanated from the Times's newsroom since early 2002:
- Dogged insistence, forever memorialized as "fake but accurate," that the long-debunked Rathergate story, complete with phony documents and substantive refutations (here and here, for starters) is somehow still true.
- The belief that Bush and Cheney soiled defiled the Constitution with, among other things, the FISA law. How inconvenient it is that no less than Barack Obama voted to keep FISA in place at crunch time.
- The military "chaos" unleashed on the world. All you need to know on this topic is that the word "Iraq" doesn't appear in Dowd's column. And how about this: The president-elect, faced with ugly reality, is even getting cold feet about closing Gitmo. I guess doing that would be a little too chaotic compared to our current circumstances. Next thing you know, Obama, again realizing the dangers we face, will have a very, very quiet (and more than likely unreported) change of heart about certain interrogation methods.
- Katrina? Oh stop it, Mo. The weak Katrina response was a failure of city and state officials first and foremost. Start by asking ex-Governor Kathleen Blanco why George Bush is to blame for these underwater buses.
The Times has lost much of its audience, almost all of its credibility, and perhaps its financial viability, during its seven-year infection with Bush Derangement Syndrome. You would think that with the inauguration of Barack Obama just 10 days away, there might be a bit of, well, hope in the hearts of folks like Dowd and others at the newspaper. But it appears that even a change in administrations won't bring an end to their all-consuming bitter-ender attacks, perhaps accompanied by the more bitter end of the newspaper itself.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.