Observations On An Op-Ed Botch And Its Aftermath

New York Times snarkmistress Maureen Dowd wrote an op-ed  bemoaning the fact that no women have been on a Democratic ticket since 1984, when everyone was so sexist and mean to Geraldine Ferraro. Will everyone be so sexist again, now that Joe Biden is trapped into choosing a woman, whether there are any qualified or not?

Ann Althouse was among the early online pundits to point out Dowd’s gaffe–I would say obvious gaffe, but it apparently wasn’t obvious to her editor, or anyone else who saw the piece before it was published.  Uh, Maureen, does the name “Hillary Clinton” ring a bell? How quickly they forget! The Times eventually rushed out a correction, and the online version of the op-ed now says, “It’s hard to fathom, but it took another 36 years for a man to choose to put a woman on the Democratic ticket with him.”

There’s a lot more wrong than that…

  • Dowd might have mentioned that Ferraro was a terrible choice for VP. Like whomever Biden picks, she was selected because she was a woman, and that it. There were dozens of men who had more relevant experience and were better qualified to be on the ticket, and that’s who a Presidential candidate is obligated to choose, someone who is qualified, not someone who checks a box. Critics were critical of Ferraro because she wasn’t a responsible choice.

Of course, Mondale was a weak Presidential candidate too. Not as weak as diminished Joe will be, though.

  • Go ahead, Maureen, make your case: who are all those qualified women who should have been chosen by Democratic POTUS nominees to be a heartbeat from the Presidency?

I’ve checked. The list of female governors of the Democratic persuasion is notable for its mediocrity.  Only one was a national figure, and that was Texas governor Ann Richards. The only way she could have been on a ticket was if Clinton dumped Al Gore in 1996, and by that time, Richards had lost her bid for re-election. The list of Senators who could have been chosen since 1984 is even weaker. Carol Mosely Braun was supposed to be a rising star, but she was a crook. Maryland’s Barbara Mikulski was a force in the Senate, but she was also a short, stocky lesbian who looked like a bulldog. The one female Senator since 1984 who might have helped a ticket was…Hillary Clinton, and she had her eye on bigger things.

  • Dowd says,

We don’t know whom Biden will choose but we do know the sort of hell she will endure at the hands of Team Trump. Even after the #MeToo revolution, even with women deciding this election, have the undercurrents of sexism in America changed so much? …Kimberly Guilfoyle, Kellyanne Conway, Kayleigh McEnany, Lara Trump and Jeanine Pirro — the Fox Force Five of retrograde Trumpworld — will have the knives out. Conservatives will undermine the veep candidate with stereotypes. She’s bitchy. She’s a nag. She’s aggressive. She’s ambitious. Who’s wearing the pants here, anyhow?

Those evil, sexist conservatives! Clinton isn’t the only woman on a national ticket that Dowd forgot about. Does the name “Sarah Palin”? sound familiar, Maureen? You know, that woman on a national ticket that the news media and progressive pundits…including you…mocked mercilessly, including arguments that her duties as a mother would interfere with her ability to be a Vice President or President, while the Democratic nominee for President had less executive experience, and the male Democratic VP candidate made a career of sticking his  foot in his mouth?  Palin was the one Saturday Night Live roasted, while Joe Biden was left alone.

Dowd’s hypocrisy and historical revisionism are nauseating,

  • Now  a Democratic Presidential candidate again is going to select a female running mate whose only “qualification” is her gender, and embarrassingly, race. All of the potential choices have baggage and well-established weaknesses, and all criticism of whoever it is will be attributed to sexism and racism by those bigoted conservatives.

Just like 1984!

  • What a bitter and nasty individual Hillary is…but we knew that. Here is her response to Dowd’s mistake:

She could have, and should have, been gracious. It’s not as if Clinton hasn’t made her share of jaw-dropping mistakes. She could have shown a sense of humor, or said something constructive. After all, Dowd was a vocal supporter in 2016.

  • Back to editing: the Times is supposed to be the gold standard of print journalism. If their editors could miss a glaring historical error like that, what does it say about the paper’s standards, professionalism, competence and trustworthiness? This is recent history.

It reminds me of the old Bob and Ray routine where Ray Goulding played a proud longshoreman who had written a massive history of the United States. “But, sir your book is riddled with errors!” says an interviewer, played by  Bob Elliot. “Like here on page 543, it says that Abraham Lincoln was born in Bailey;s Mistake, Maine!”

9 thoughts on “Observations On An Op-Ed Botch And Its Aftermath

  1. Maureen Dowd must not have even looked up the list of candidates going back to Ferraro. That sounds like typical, responsible, New-York-Times-esque journalistic research to me.

    Anyways, it’s incredibly unethical to preempt VP Biden’s pick – actually, the Democratic Party’s pick for Biden – by suggesting that any criticism leveled against the pick is automatically sexist, racist, or typical conservative stereotyping. That has become normal behavior…no room for debate, no room for dissent, no room for discussion. The merits of the candidate are off-limits, and anyone who dares raise a question or a doubt is immediately labeled with whatever “ism” or “ist” best sticks, whether it actually applies or not…usually “racism” or “racist”. Frankly, it might be the primary reason the Democrats want a “woman of color” on the ticket…to make sure anyone with a critique can be branded both a sexist and a racist. Isn’t it funny?…the Democratic Party is now manipulating women the same way it does African-Americans. Actually, it’s not funny…it’s appalling.

    I’m old enough to remember Ferraro – I was a teenager, but I remember. If Democrats want to know the reason for the gap between Mondale/Ferraro in ’84 and Clinton/Kaine in ’16, don’t look at the GOP’s criticism of Geraldine, don’t look at the supposed sexism in the Republican party, and don’t look at the incredible strength of Reagan in ’84. It’s probably the brutally awful experience the Democrats had with Ferraro on the ticket that caused a 32-year gap.

    But anyways, a big kudos to Maureen Dowd for living down to the new standards at the Times. You nailed it!!

    P.S. About Sarah Palin – sure…she was not a great VP candidate, but her running mate may have been just about as bad as Mondale. Voting for John McCain was a grotesque experience for many Republicans.

  2. Actually, much as it pains me to say so, I could almost nominate Hillary Clinton as an Ethics Hero for that tweet. Or, as a now long-gone, wise old Vermonter of my acquaintance used to say…

    “Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.”

  3. In Hillary’s retweet, dowd says it’s been 36 years since a MAN chose to put a woman on the democratic ticket with him. That is an accurate quote as Hillary chose tim Kaine not Vice versa.

    • I suppose that is a fair criticism, but it does kind of show the stupidity of the remark.

      This gets into an aggravating thing about politics: 36 years may be a long time, but it is really not that many campaigns.

      36 years: 9 elections. That is not a lot of chances. Considering that Clinton and Obama served two terms, you can’t count the second terms really, because it is probably not advisable to switch up a VP in the second term. And, if we are not counting Hilary’s run, you really have 5 elections to do it: 88, 92, 00, 04, 08. That’s not that many.

      5 viable opportunities, with 2, as suggested above, coming within 2 election cycles of the Mondale Ferraro ticket. You take those out and you are looking at: ’00, ’04, and ’08.

      And, that does not take into account the intangibles. When Gore ran in 2000, his boring personality required him to pick a dynamic, charismatic running mate (like he had with Bill Clinton, but without the sexual predator vibe): he had to pick Lieberman.

      So, you are down to 04 and 08. ’08 gave us Obama, so you have to rule that one out. Yes, he could have picked Hilary to be on the ticket with him. Not only could that have been risky politics, she might not have wanted to be on that ticket.

      So, really, there was one good chance for a man to pick a woman: 2004.


  4. Hillary’s just awful.

    She and Maureen do inadvertently bring up an interesting question I’ve never seen addressed before: Why didn’t Hillary choose a woman running mate?

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