No Mo

Maureen Dowd is not necessary

Many reporters have already pondered the question: Is America ready for a female president?

But let’s not put the cart before the mare. Because before a female becomes president, of course, she must survive being a candidate for president— a time during which most of America will come to know her largely by way of the press. So, we must first ask: Is the political press ready for a female presidential candidate? (You know, someone with cleavage? And, by the way, does she prefer that cleavage dressed up with diamonds or pearls?)

For Mo Do — that’s a no.

Look, regular New York Times readers (and those subjected to her in syndication) know Maureen Dowd’s Rules For Running for Higher Office. Real Men Don’t Lactate. And Real Women…well, they probably don’t run at all (too busy are they getting the vapors over Rummy). We get it. We read it already. Last week. Last month. Last election cycle.

And yet the Times hits us with another Dowd special this past Sunday which opened as follows:

The debate dominatrix knows how to rattle Obambi.

Mistress Hillary started disciplining her fellow senator last winter, after he began exploring a presidential bid…

The rest of the column has “unapproachable” Clinton continuing “to flick the whip in debates,” Obama “brought to a heel” and “responsive to Hillary’s moods because he lives with another strong woman who… [is] a master at the art of the loving conjugal put-down,” and Big Bad Rudy “who will not be so easy [for Hillary] to spank.”

Whether or not the Clinton campaign Plays the Gender Card, the press is going to talk about the Playing of the Gender Card and argue over whether the Playing of the Gender Card is a winner or a loser — and for which gender. In other words, gender is and will continue be an issue. So why can’t the Times get someone on its op-ed page who can write about it in a new and thoughtful way? What an op-editorialist says (over and over) in The New York Times is not — as much as we might wish it were so— without real impact. And besides, Mo Do’s m.o. is tired.

How tired?

In Dowd’s world 2007, Hillary Clinton is the “debate dominatrix,” a “control freak,” someone who “iced” opponents and used to subject her husband to belittling treatment. In Dowd’s world circa 1999, Liddy Dole was “an Oprah dominatrix” at the Republican Convention, a “control freak,” someone who “icily corrected” a reporter and belittled her husband.

Same shtick. Different year.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.