Maureen Dowd | Apocalypse Right Now – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Holy smokes.

It feels like we are living through the first vertiginous 15 minutes of a disaster movie, maybe one called “The Day After Tomorrow Was Yesterday.”

Heat waves are getting hotter. Forests are ablaze. Floods are obliterating. An iceberg nearly half the size of Puerto Rico broke off from Antarctica.

Florida’s fleurs du malalgal blooms known as red tide, have become more toxic because of pollution and climate change. They are responsible for killing 600 tons of marine life, leaving beaches strewn with reeking dead fish.

It’s Mad Max apocalyptic. Crazy storms that used to hit every century now seem quotidian, overwhelming systems that cannot withstand such a battering.

The heat wave that stunned the Pacific Northwest, killing nearly 200 people, was followed by a bolt of lightning igniting the dry earth in Oregon. The Bootleg Fire has now devoured 400,000 acres, with flames so intense, they are creating their own weather pattern capable of sparking new fires. The smoke has traveled from the West to the East Coast, tainting the air.

As Angela Merkel and President Biden touted a climate and energy partnership on her recent visit here, nature mocked them. While the two leaders had dinner, rains submerged huge swaths of Germany, including medieval towns.”

Maureen Dowd | The Ascension of Bernie Sanders – The New York Times

“. . . At 79, Bernie Sanders is a man on a mission, laser-focused on a list that represents trillions of dollars in government spending that he deems essential. When I stray into other subjects, the senator jabs his finger at his piece of paper or waves it in my face, like Van Helsing warding off Dracula with a cross.

“Maureen, let me just tell you what we’re trying to do here,” he says. “We’re working on what I think is the most consequential piece of legislation for working families since the 1930s.”

Sanders, long a wilderness prophet in Washington, a man who wrote a memoir bragging about being an outsider, admits that it is strange to be a key member of The Establishment. As the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, the democratic socialist is now pulling the levers in the control room.

He has changed the whole debate in the nation’s capital. He is the guy trying to yank his party back to its working-class roots and steer President Biden in a bolder, more progressive direction.

Mirabile dictu: A president and senator who are both pushing 80, men who were underestimated and dismissed for years in Democratic circles, are now teaming up to transform the country. It’s the Bernie and Joe show.

Sanders passionately believes that the only way to undo the damage done by Donald Trump and Trumpism is by showing that government can deliver, that good policy can overcome dangerous conspiracy theories and lies.” . . .

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:

So many comments about how Bernie is or might be a saint. There is some truth to this notion, but he never got my vote for saint or president. I do not forget that he withheld his support from Hillary Clinton, after she beat him in the primary, and was partly responsible for the election of Donald Trump. For that, he has blood on his hands. Sanders has been a shoddy act compared to the greats, like Abraham Lincoln. Biden is more in the Lincoln mold, knowing that you can not get too far away from the majority of the public, or they will not follow you. Unlike Bernie, these other two leaders have a record of accomplishment. Bernie does deserve a lot of credit for popularizing his positions, and pushing them into the mainstream of American politics. It’s fine to love and respect him, without putting him on a pedestal or failing to note his shortcomings.

Opinion | Bill Bratton Discusses Police Reform With Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

Bratton first ran the N.Y.P.D. in the mid-90s, as Rudy Giuliani’s commissioner, trying “to take back a city that was out of control.” After he appeared on the cover of Time in 1996 in a trench coat under the Brooklyn Bridge, his relationship to a petty Giuliani went kaput.

Bratton adds that Giuliani “had such awful relations with the Black community and the Black leadership, it really prevented police commissioners, myself included, from developing relationships that we would love to have made with the Black community.”

Credit…Chad Batka for The New York Times

“. . .  It must’ve been strange to watch Rudy devolve into a two-bit henchman for a former reality TV star, and to see the feds’ recent predawn raid of Giuliani’s home and office.

“As somebody who’s got a big ego, speaking about another guy with a big ego, I can’t understand how he allowed himself to be subsumed by Trump,” says Bratton. “He’s made a caricature of himself and he’s lost the image of America’s mayor because of the antics of the last two or three years.”

I ask about the hypocrisy of Donald Trump, claiming to support the police and then siccing the mob on the Capitol Police.

“We saw how pro-police that mob was, didn’t we?” Bratton says dryly. “I know a lot of the cops really liked Trump because they feel he stands up for them against a lot of progressives. I personally believe that he was encouraging that insurrection that day.”

Bratton says it’s “shameful and disgraceful” that Republicans on Friday blocked the bill to create a commission to investigate Jan. 6, adding that “without the Capitol Police, our country would have failed on that day.”  . . .”

Maureen Dowd | Liz Cheney and the Big Lies – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — I miss torturing Liz Cheney.

But it must be said that the petite blonde from Wyoming suddenly seems like a Valkyrie amid halflings.

She is willing to sacrifice her leadership post — and risk her political career — to continue calling out Donald Trump’s Big Lie. She has decided that, if the price of her job is being as unctuous to Trump as Kevin McCarthy is, it isn’t worth it, because McCarthy is totally disgracing himself.

It has been a dizzying fall for the scion of one of the most powerful political families in the land, a conservative chip off the old block who was once talked about as a comer, someone who could be the first woman president.

How naïve I was to think that Republicans would be eager to change the channel after Trump cost them the Senate and the White House and unleashed a mob on them.  . . . “

Maureen Dowd | Joe Biden: Old Pol, New Tricks – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

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Credit…Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

“WASHINGTON — Joe Biden never had a seat at the cool kids’ table at the Obama White House.

Heading into 2016 and 2020, if you told the hotshots from Obamaworld that you thought Biden would be a good candidate, they would uniformly offer a look of infinite patience, tolerance and condescension and say something like, “Well, I could understand how someone would think that.”

The message was unmistakable: Biden was not part of the Obama entourage. He was sort of a goofball and windbag. He was a member of an older, outmoded generation. In other words, uncool.

The West Wing attitude was that Biden should simply be grateful that the Great Obama had handed him a ticket to ride. Biden was viewed as a past-his-sell-by-date pol who needed the president’s guiding hand to keep Uncle Joe from making a fool of himself as vice president.

In 2012, Biden faced “friendly fire” from the West Wing, as one outraged Biden family member put it to me back then. Obama aides were furious when Biden went on “Meet the Press” and made a glorious gaffe, blurting out support for gay marriage while his boss was still dragging his feet. They trashed him anonymously to reporters, froze him out of meetings and barred him from doing some national media.”

David Lindsay:  While this column by Maureen Dowd has some flaws, it made me smile, since I too think Obama was an pretty bad president. Obama was and is a great guy, but he was an inexperienced and cautious politician. One could even hold Obama accountable for the rise of Trump.  Obama wasted a lot of his political capital waiting for Godot, for the GOP to compromise and help him help the country. His emergency bailout and stimulus package was half of what was needed in hindsight, and he followed the wrong advisors at the time. He failed to put bankers and fraudsters from Wall Street in jail, taking the advice of Wall Street chiefs, and enraged many less fortunate Americans, hundreds of thousands of whom lost their houses as the sub prime mortgage market collapsed. He unwisely took Pelosi’s advice, and in his first two years when he had a Democratic congress, he put heath care reform ahead of infrastructure and jobs, and then with the obstruction of the GOP led by Mitch McConnell, his presidency was doomed. Nothing else of consequence happened, since he lost the house in the mid terms. We made or continued the big international trade agreements, but didn’t do the job of finding or making work for the Americans displaced by the competition of world trade and the move towards automation is US manufacturing. The anger in white working class America was volcanic, and unaddressed, since the GOP wouldn’t let any of Obama’s responses go through.

The last  item on my short list is perhaps the most controversial. Obama was shy in foreign policy in Syria. He failed to follow the advice of his Joint Chiefs Staff and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and make war on Bashar Al Assad, after he crossed an expressed US red line, and used chemical weapons on the farmers, protestors and rebels from the north, who protested the lack of government aid while they combatted a severe drought attributed to climate change. The rebels of Syria begged for at least a  no fly zone to protect their schools and hospitals. Syria had about 21 million people. It is now an ugly state with perhaps 5 million refugees, 6 million displace persons, and a half million casualties, and there is a group of analysts who think we missed an important opportunity to remove or handcuff  or limit Assad to his southern enclave. Trump removed almost all of just 500 US troops from northern Syria, where they kept the peace, and we then witnessed the slaughter of  our close allies the Kurds and the northern rebels,  both of whom were betrayed by Trump. It was mainly the Kurds who did the fighting to defeat ISIS, with our backing and air support. They lost over 10,000 soldiers in that war with ISIS in Iraq.

Maureen Dowd | Trump’s Taste for Blood – The New York Times

“. . .  But once Trump got into politics, he realized, with growing intoxication, that the more incendiary he was, the more his fans would cheer. He found that he could really play with the emotions of the crowd, and that turned him on. Now he had the chance to command a mob, so his words could be linked to their actions.

Trump never cared about law and order or the cops. He was thrilled that he could unleash his mob on the Capitol and its guardians, with rioters smearing blood and feces and yelling Trump’s words and going after his targets — Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence.

It was Manson family-chilling to watch the House impeachment managers’ video with a rioter hunting for the House speaker, calling out: “Where are you, Nancy? We’re looking for you, Na-a-ncy. Oh, Na-a-ncy.”

It was like watching his vicious Twitter feed come alive. Others were chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” even as a gallows, complete with noose, was erected on the lawn. Watching those shivery videos, it hit home how Pelosi and Pence could have been killed and the melee could have turned into a far worse blood bath.

Trump not caring about the fate of his vice president was the inevitable sick end of the pairing of the Sociopath and the Sycophant.”   . . .

“. . .  CNN reported Friday night that Kevin McCarthy called Trump during the riot, telling him the mob was breaking his windows to get in. The then-president told him: “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” The conversation ended in a shouting match. Yet McCarthy still voted against impeaching the president.

These dreadful Republicans are all Falstaffs, trampling the concept of honor, blowing it off as a mere airy-fairy word, not worth sacrificing anything for, not worth defending your country for. “Honor is a mere scutcheon,” Falstaff scoffed.

McConnell and the other craven Republicans realize now that they should not have played along with Trump as long as they did, while he undermined the election. But they still refuse to hold him accountable because he controls their voters.

The Democrats put on an excellent case, and they were right to impeach Trump. But if the Republicans won’t convict him, then bring on the criminal charges. Republicans say that’s how it should be done when someone is out of office, so let’s hope someone follows through on their suggestion.

A few days ago, prosecutors in Georgia opened an investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the election there. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance could drag Trump into court on tax and fraud charges. Karl Racine, the attorney general for D.C., has said that Trump could be charged for his role in inciting the riot.

Maybe a man who gloated as his crowds screamed “Lock her up!” will find that jurors reach a similar conclusion about him.”  -30-

 

Maureen Dowd | Trump’s Taste for Blood – The New York Times

“. . . .  CNN reported Friday night that Kevin McCarthy called Trump during the riot, telling him the mob was breaking his windows to get in. The then-president told him: “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” The conversation ended in a shouting match. Yet McCarthy still voted against impeaching the president.

These dreadful Republicans are all Falstaffs, trampling the concept of honor, blowing it off as a mere airy-fairy word, not worth sacrificing anything for, not worth defending your country for. “Honor is a mere scutcheon,” Falstaff scoffed.

McConnell and the other craven Republicans realize now that they should not have played along with Trump as long as they did, while he undermined the election. But they still refuse to hold him accountable because he controls their voters.

The Democrats put on an excellent case, and they were right to impeach Trump. But if the Republicans won’t convict him, then bring on the criminal charges. Republicans say that’s how it should be done when someone is out of office, so let’s hope someone follows through on their suggestion.

A few days ago, prosecutors in Georgia opened an investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the election there. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance could drag Trump into court on tax and fraud charges. Karl Racine, the attorney general for D.C., has said that Trump could be charged for his role in inciting the riot.

Maybe a man who gloated as his crowds screamed “Lock her up!” will find that jurors reach a similar conclusion about him.”   -30-

Opinion | Joe’s Fearsome Weapon Against Trump: Simple Decency – By Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Illustration by The New York Times; Photograph by Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

“WASHINGTON — Whenever I called my mom to tell her something bad had happened, she said, “I know.”

As Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously put it, “To be Irish is to know that, in the end, the world will break your heart.”

Joe Biden has had his heart broken again and again and again.

And yet somehow — against all odds, in one of the most remarkable resurrections in political history — Biden stood with a full heart before an empty hall to accept his party’s nomination.

“This is our moment to make hope and history rhyme,’’ he said, using the Seamus Heaney line alluding to the Irish finding a way beyond the Troubles to peace.

But there’s another Heaney line, the one the Nobel laureate chose for his gravestone in County Derry, that suits the moment even better: “Walk on air against your better judgment.”

That is what Biden is doing.

At 77, he has spent half-a-century running races; he has been dismissed and written off and gotten tangled up in his own missteps. He has been immobilized by grief, slowed by age and imprisoned by this plague. And yet the old war horse has made it to his party’s winner’s circle — and he has a real shot at the Oval.”

Opinion | Liar, Liar, Nation on Fire – By Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Sleepy Joe and Creepy Joe haven’t worked. So now they’re trying Sticky-Fingered Joe.

After Joe Biden gave his big economic speech in Dunmore, Pa., they pounced.

“He plagiarized from me but he could never pull it off,” President Trump told reporters as he left Friday for a Florida fund-raiser. “He likes plagiarizing.”

Kellyanne Conway told Fox News that Biden’s “Buy American” pitch was “rich with irony.”

“Look, this is Joe Biden plagiarizing Neil Kinnock, the Labour leader,” Conway said of the time Biden lifted lines from the British politician, during his first presidential run. “Two days ago,” she added, “he’s plagiarizing Bernie Sanders, and yesterday he’s plagiarizing Donald Trump, Buy American.”

“Buy American” is a slogan that House Democrats have used for many years, so if anyone is swiping it, it’s Trump. And Joe and Bernie coming together on proposals is not plagiarism.

As to Kinnock, Kellyanne, I know a little something about that. That was my front-page Times story back in 1987. Biden, as he did on other occasions, got swept away with puffing himself up and sprinted over the factual line. He overidentified with aspects of Kinnock’s life in Wales — fusing their backgrounds — and borrowed some Celtic lyricism.

I wrote another story at the same time about Biden lifting chunks of Robert Kennedy speeches. But that was the fault of his speechwriter Pat Caddell, who sprinkled in R.F.K. passages without Biden knowing.

Biden dropped out of the race. I ran into him on a back stairway in the Senate when he was getting ready for his news conference. We looked at each other but did not speak. I figured he’d never speak to me again.

I was wrong. One of his top aides yelled at me and told me I wouldn’t be allowed into Robert Bork’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, which Biden was chairing. But Biden himself was friendly and fair to me afterward, even when I wrote pieces that were highly critical of the way he conducted the Anita Hill hearings and ripped on him for his hair plugs. He was so un-vengeful that I began to doubt he was really Irish. (His middle name is Robinette, after all.)

Biden has a talent for messes and has made some bad judgment calls — including voting to authorize the Iraq war.

But when David Axelrod told me that Barack Obama was leaning toward putting Biden on the ticket, I thought it was a fine idea. I felt that Obama made a mistake nudging him aside in 2016 — I think he would have beaten Trump.”

David Lindsay:  I completely agree with this last remark. If Obama had pushed for Joe Biden in 2016, Trump would never have gained the presidency.

Opinion | Covid Dreams, Trump Nightmares – by Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

“. . . The mask should be a medical signal, not a political one. But Trump rejects the mask because of a misbegotten image of masculinity and power. In denying the mask, he denies reality, science and the fact that the country is in a crouch. Trump has proved that people wearing a mask can present more truth than people not wearing a mask.

His latest con, something that he stupidly refers to as “Obamagate,” a scandal about unmasking, is also misbegotten. You can’t create a scandal about Obama out of nothing just because you hate the fact that he went by the book while you dwell in a murky world of transgressions, that he glides while you lurch.

Even as Trump tries to paint Joe Biden as gaga, he is doing something truly gaga: He is running the government that is responding to the worst pandemic in a century at the same time he is the leader of the resistance to his own government, urging people and states to open up whenever they see fit, recommending Clorox injections, stifling Dr. Fauci, refusing to wear the mask.

The fact is that Donald Trump has been wearing a mask for a long time, like Eleanor Rigby “wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door.” He studied larger-than-life titans like George Steinbrenner and Lee Iacocca and invented a swaggering character called Donald Trump with a career marked by evasions, deceptions and disguises.

The young builder was intent, as T.S. Eliot wrote, to take the time “to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.” Early on, Donald locked in his costume for the masquerade, the look of a C.E.O. in the ’80s. His body armor was a dark suit, white shirt and monochromatic silk tie. His hair was a blond helmet, his war paint was orange.

“He is the most vaudevillian performance artist who ever inhabited the White House,” says his biographer Tim O’Brien. “He has a consuming desire to always be center stage, yet he never wants to reveal who he really is. He masks his finances, his taxes, his friendships, his ongoing family conflicts of interest, his ignorance and his inadequacies. He’s constantly making up areas of expertise he doesn’t have.

“He doesn’t read the Bible and he doesn’t live as a Christian and love thy neighbor. But he is demanding that the churches be reopened because his evangelical base will love that. Everything he’s doing right now is to stave off a loss in November.”  . . .  “