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

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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

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“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.”  . . .  “

Opinion | He Went to Jared – by Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

“. . . Now we have another pampered scion in the Oval, propped up by his daddy for half his life, accustomed to winging it and swaggering around. And he, too, is utterly unprepared to lead us through the storm. Like W., he is resorting to clinical states’ rights arguments, leaving the states to chaotically compete with one another and the federal government for precious medical equipment.

Donald Trump is trying to build a campaign message around his image as a wartime president. But as a commander in chief, Cadet Bone Spurs is bringing up the rear.

“I would leave it up to the governors,” Trump said Friday, when asked about his government’s sclerotic response. Trouble is, when you leave it to the governors, you have scenes like we did in Florida with the open beaches — not to mention a swath in the middle of the country that, as of Friday night, still had not ordered residents to stay home.

The Los Angeles Times reported that two months before the virus spread through Wuhan, the Trump administration halted a $200 million early-warning program to train scientists in China and elsewhere to deal with a pandemic. The name of the program? “PREDICT.”

It is said that nature abhors a vacuum, but this virus loves it.

At Thursday’s briefing, Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, who barely two weeks ago became the head of the administration’s supply-chain task force, added to the confusion when he defended the government’s decision to send the supplies governors are pleading for to the private sector first.

“I’m not here to disrupt a supply chain,” the admiral said.

Trump was elected to disrupt things. So disrupt.”

Opinion | Hating the Word ‘Hate’ – by Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

“When Rosen asked, “Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker?” Pelosi wagged her finger and retorted, “I don’t hate anybody.”

With more to say, she strode back to the microphones: “As a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president.” Before walking off, she delivered the coup de grâce to a chastened Rosen: “So don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.”

Within the hour, the president had predictably tweet-trashed her, saying she had “a nervous fit,” returning to the threadbare canard of women as hysterics. He said he did not believe that Pelosi prayed for him.

But she does. I talked to her about it in August, when she was still keeping impeachment at bay, after we visited the chapel at Trinity, where she went to college.

She said that she prays for the president at night in her apartment in Georgetown and in church on Sunday. “The prayer,” she said, “is that God will open his heart to meet the needs of the American people.”

She said that she even complained to her pastor that her prayers were not working.

“Maybe you’re not praying hard enough,” the priest replied.”

Impeaching the Peach One, by Maureen Dowd, the New York Times

“WASHINGTON — It’s a beautiful day for an impeachment.

Or at least an inquiry about an impeachment inquiry.

So on Friday, as summer stretched on, I went to the Capitol to see what the speaker of the House was thinking, now that she has lowered the boom.

At the tender age of 73, Donald Trump may finally have to face some consequences for his depredations. His casino games have caught up with him and this time Daddy’s not here to bail him out. How delicious that a woman has the whip hand.

“Isn’t it something, Maureen?” Nancy Pelosi asks about what she calls her “wild week.”

I nod. It surely is. “The president says you’re no longer speaker of the House, that you’ve been taken over by the radical left,” I say to Pelosi, who looks smart in a pink pantsuit and sparkly pink high heels.

She laughs. “See, I always think he’s projecting: When he says ‘She’s not the speaker of the House,’ what he really means is ‘I shouldn’t be president of the United States.’ When he says that Adam Schiff should resign, what he really means is ‘I, Donald Trump, should resign.’ He knows that this is really very incriminating.”

The speaker is in a fine mood, now that she’s turned her focus from reining in the progressives to reining in the president.”

David Lindsay Jr.

 Hamden, CT NYT Comment

“The man who always claims the system is rigged against him keeps trying to rig the system — proving Pelosi’s point that Trump projects.” Bravo Maureen Dowd. When your are this good, you are great. I am terrified though about the warnings of Ross Douthat and David Brooks. Ross warned, Trump really wants this, because, it changes the discussion from about his lousy record, to his being persecuted by a witchhunt. So, Democrats, pay attention to these warnings. You must make room in the press for the candidates to run their election.

David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Opinion | Spare Me the Purity Racket – By Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

Maureen Dowd

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Opinion Columnist

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“WASHINGTON — After I interviewed Nancy Pelosi a few weeks ago, The HuffPost huffed that we were Dreaded Elites because we were eating chocolates and — horror of horrors — the speaker had on some good pumps.

Then this week, lefty Twitter erected a digital guillotine because I had a book party for my friend Carl Hulse, The Times’s authority on Capitol Hill for decades, attended by family, journalists, Hill denizens and a smattering of lawmakers, including Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Susan Collins.

I, the daughter of a D.C. cop, and Carl, the son of an Illinois plumber, were hilariously painted as decadent aristocrats reveling like Marie Antoinette when we should have been knitting like Madame Defarge.

Yo, proletariat: If the Democratic Party is going to be against chocolate, high heels, parties and fun, you’ve lost me. And I’ve got some bad news for you about 2020.

The progressives are the modern Puritans. The Massachusetts Bay Colony is alive and well on the Potomac and Twitter.

They eviscerate their natural allies for not being pure enough while placing all their hopes in a color-inside-the-lines lifelong Republican prosecutor appointed by Ronald Reagan.

The politics of purism makes people stupid. And nasty.

My father stayed up all night the night Truman was elected because he was so excited. I would like to stay up ’til dawn the night a Democrat wins next year because I’m so excited to see the moment when the despicable Donald Trump lumbers into a Marine helicopter and flies away for good.

But Democrats are making that dream ever more distant because they are using their time knifing one another and those who want to be on their side instead of playing it smart.

House Democrats forced Robert Mueller to testify, after he made it clear that he was spent and had nothing to add to his damning yet damnably legalistic, double-negative report, because they were hoping the hearings would jump-start howls for impeachment.”

David Lindsay: You go girl. Maureen is spot on, even if catty as ususal. It all boils down to the anlaysis of lights like David Leonhard and the folks he reports on. Trump would do welll in impeachment, claiming every day to be the victim, while enjoying all the negative attention. Then, if the Dems were stupid enough to actually impeach him, it would go to the Senate, which would declare his innocence, which he would trumpet like a happy drunk.  It’s a part he plays well. We do not worry about his base, but about the myriad red state voters who voted for Obama, but then voted for Trump.