Friday, January 16, 2004

The medblog community has gotten quite agitated (and rightly so) over this column by Maureen Dowd about Howard Dean and his wife, Dr. Judith Steinberg. This comes right on the heels of a Jodi Wilgoren article in the New York Times.
Rants concerning have been posted by Dr. Centor, Dr. Smith, Dr. Rangel, and Ms. Williams who describes Ms. Dowd, as we do down south, as "catty".

When I see such an uproar about a MoDo column I think about something that appeared in The Weekly Standard in October 2002. Written by OxBlog's Josh Chafetz. They are:
The Immutable Laws of Maureen Dowd
(earlier permutations may be found here and here). Some of them apply here:

THE FIRST IMMUTABLE LAW OF DOWD: The first and most important rule is what might be termed the People magazine principle: All political phenomena can be reduced to caricatures of the personalities involved. Any reference to policy concerns or even to old-fashioned politicking is, like, so passé. And, of course, with every caricature goes a nickname.

In worn jeans and old sneakers, the shy and retiring Dr. Judith Steinberg Dean looked like a crunchy Vermont hippie, blithely uncoiffed, unadorned, unstyled and unconcerned about not being at her husband's side — the anti-Laura. You could easily imagine the din of Rush Limbaugh and Co. demonizing her as a counterculture fem-lib role model for the blue states.

While Elizabeth Edwards gazes up at John from the front row of his events here, while Jane Gephardt cheerfully endures her husband's "Dick and Jane" jokes, while Teresa Heinz Kerry jets around for "conversations" with caucusgoers — yesterday she was at the Moo Moo Cafe in Keokuk at the southernmost tip of the state — Judith Steinberg has shunned the role of helpmeet.

THE THIRD IMMUTABLE LAW OF DOWD: It is better to be cute than coherent. Along these lines, Dowd's favorite rhetorical device is parallelism.

As Robert Pear and David Kirkpatrick wrote in The Times, administration officials are planning an extensive election-year initiative to please conservatives in a swivet over gay marriage; their social engineering scheme will try to shore up traditional marriage, offering training to couples in the interpersonal skills needed to achieve and sustain "healthy marriages."

Before Mr. Bush ventures into the inner cities to practice his conjugal noblesse oblige, perhaps he should beeline to a more rural spot — a split-level ranch house with green shag carpeting and Grateful Dead albums in Burlington, Vt.

The doctors Dean seem to be in need of some tips on togetherness and building a healthy political marriage, if that's not an oxymoron.

While the above may be a reach, I thought it was worth posting, due to the chord Ms. Dowd's column struck with many of my fellow travelers.

There is a cottage industry of Dowd-bashing in the blogpsphere, and they are all thinking:

She takes a month off and this is the best she can do!?!
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