Maureen Dowd Sells Out

Why write a column when you can have your ignorant right-wing brother do it for you?

If I could buy a roll of carnival tickets that would give me the chance to drop columnist Maureen Dowd into a dunk tank, I’d empty my wallet in a heartbeat.

I have my reasons. But the clincher came yesterday when Dowd turned over her valuable space in the NYT to her right-wing brother for the purpose of gloating about the midterm election.


Dowd, as you know, is one of the columnists who represent the liberal point of view on the op-ed pages of the New York Times.

But what Dowd really stands for, far too often for my taste, is cute and overreaching prose. No one can stretch a fragile pop culture metaphor over 800 words like Dowd. [SIGNUP]

She also wields a kind of impertinence—like calling Obama “Barry,” for example— that can echo the tactics of the lowest ranking Tea Party faithful.

Sure, Dowd satirizes right-wingers and Republicans more than she does liberals and Democrats, but too often she does it with those dreaded in-the-moment chic similes, the very thing that makes liberals look vapid.

Bad enough all that, but then Dowd goes and turns her column over to her right-wing brother so that he can revel in the results of the mid-term elections?

The column was called—ready?—“Kevin Rubs It In.”

With liberal friends like Maureen Dowd, who needs enemies?

Turning space—especially space in the NYT—over to a non-professional writer is like showing up at your dentist with an abscess only to discover that his brother, the non-dentist, is filling in for the day.

It’s a thoughtless slight to those who make their living working at the craft.

It’s also an insult to NYT readers and to those who look to Dowd to stand up for their beliefs.

Brother Kevin, as you might expect, made the most of his sister’s nepotistic gesture.

He was ecstatic about the election!

So what if what he had to say was broad in scope and petite in detail?

There was this: “Instead of focusing on jobs… [Obama] insisted on giving the American people things they did not want: expensive health care, more regulation and higher taxes. He clumsily interjected himself on behalf of the mass-murdering Muslim Army major, the ground zero mosque, the civil trials of enemy combatants and the lawsuit against Arizona.”

The first half of that litany you can only prove through the funny arithmetic we’ve heard postulated by the right for months.

And the other half shows Obama has principles—which is what your sister could have said in her space instead of allowing you to bluster rhetorically.

Of the final weeks of the campaign, brother Kevin had this to say: “The vision of the President of the United States, one who spoke of civility and hope and change, exposed as just another Chicago pol, viciously and personally attacking his opponents, was undignified.”

Seriously, dude? You believe this?

You accuse Obama of “viciously and personally” attacking opponents while not once referencing what’s been said about him over the past year?

That would have required a bit of journalism, which is your sister’s line of work, not yours.

Journalism may be something the NYT should think a bit more about the next time somebody thinks it a good idea to turn things over to an amateur.

Tim Whitaker (, a writer and editor, is the executive director of Mighty Writers.