The Miseducation Of Maureen Dowd

Most white women in America work their asses off. I live smack dab in the middle of stay at home mommy land, complete with the high priced tennis outfits and Mercedes station wagons, but I know this is not reality for the vast majority of white women in America. Most of them work just as hard as their African American counterparts, and in many respects, deal with the exact same issues, concerns and problems.

What amazes me, whenever I read anything by Maureen Dowd, is how the stuff she ultimately gets printed at the New York Times, like last week’s Feliz Cumpleaños, and Adiós even passes editorial muster. It is as if she and her ilk are the new millennium’s equivalent of the 1940’s B-girls, paid to lure readers in off the streets or the web with shiny, showy prose that illuminates nothing so much as the lack of substance in their columns. Dowd has become nothing more than a classic guttersnipe, an op-ed columnist who writes pieces more suited to a Rupert Murdoch tabloid style paper than the New York Times. But the paper keeps paying her to churn out this kind of mindless drivel, as if she is their resident Elizabeth Hasselbeck, minus the perkiness and blonde hair.

It is writers like her who give legitimacy to the lunacy that continues to insist that anybody black who decides to do something nice for themselves and their family is doing so at the rest of America’s expense, as if it is only through handouts and welfare that we are able to enjoy the kind of lifestyle any other upper class and upper middle class Americans do every day.

I don’t know when Dowd’s miseducation began, but these days she serves as nothing more than a double agent who fancies herself as a provocateur because she looks down on the antics of Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin. In reality, her backhanded way of referencing Andrea Tantaros and her petty article about Michelle Obama’s trip to Spain in her column last Sunday is just another way to get to roll around in the mud of “all things Obama” hate, a level of vitriol so intense its practitioners appear to despise the president and his wife for even daring to draw a breath. It is another way to insinuate and perpetuate the false meme that the only way black people in America ever profit or succeed is at the expense of white America, or with the help of the government.

Luckily, there are women like Doris Kearns Goodwin, who don’t need to do any mud rolling to keep their jobs. In an appearance on CNN, she laid out a history of travel by previous first ladies to give some much needed context to the hullabaloo over the excursion First Lady Michelle Obama and her friends took their daughters on last week—the kind of overseas trip, in case the Maureen Dowd’s and Andrea of the world don’t know this, that upper middle class black people take all the time without thinking twice about it. On their own dime.

I mean, Jackie Kennedy went on a two-week cruise with Onassis in October of 1963. The criticism at home was enormous. But Jack protected her from it, not letting her know until she got home. And then, when she got home, and he did finally tell it to her, she felt so guilty that she promised she would go with him to Texas. And, of course, that meant she was with him in Dallas.

When President Bush 41 was in Kennebunkport on a cigarette boat in the middle of the recession, great criticism was levied at him. But he said, it would kill me not to come here. This is a part of who I am.

When Reagan went to his ranch for 335 days, the longest at that point that anyone had gone away, and Deaver was saying to him, you shouldn't be doing this, he said, look, Deaver, you can tell me a lot of things I have to do, but not that I can't go to my ranch. I need this place.

So, people have a very ambivalent idea about what vacations should be.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Presidential historian, on CNN with Don Lemon   

The irony is, Dowd started in the same place and Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson did, in a working class family with no advantages. But so long as the website hits keep coming, and her editors keep encouraging her to write more of the same soap opera style pieces, the auburn haired Ms. Dowd will get to keep playing the role of the dumb blonde with a keyboard for the Times. She will get to keep insisting that Michelle Obama is not worthy of being a First Lady because she is not glued to her husband’s side every second of every day, ready to make him some toast when he needs it.

This is a shame, because the accomplished, educated, hard working white women of America deserve a better standard bearer than this at the New York Times. Luckily for them, most black people don’t hold Maureen Dowd against them, because most black people don’t give a damn what Maureen Dowd thinks.

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