Maureen Dowd phones in world’s worst Obama speech reaction column

The New York Times columnist talks about the new Oval Office carpet, and makes ancient Al Gore jokes

Topics: The New York Times, 2000 Elections, Al Gore, Barack Obama, Iraq, Iraq war, Media Criticism, White House, War Room,

Maureen Dowd phones in world's worst Obama speech reaction columnMaureen Dowd

Award-winning New York Times Op-Ed columnist Maureen Dowd wrote a political column about Barack Obama’s speech last night! Of course the column had to be finished in time for this morning’s paper, so it was obviously written in 10 minutes or so yesterday afternoon, before the speech was actually delivered. There is a joke about Al Gore and “earth tones” in the very first sentence of this column on Barack Obama’s speech about the Iraq war.

An earth tones joke. In the year 2010.

The “earth tones” thing was a completely fictional story invented, almost simultaneously, by the entire 2000 campaign press corps, because the narrative everyone had decided on was that Al Gore was a phony and a wacko weakling liberal loser. MoDo led the charge, and has clung to that caricature, despite its basis almost entirely on complete fabrications, ever since.

As far as I know Maureen Dowd has never acknowledged — let alone apologized for — her relentless, inaccurate smearing of Al Gore. (In 2007 she pretended to apologize, in the voice of Clarence Thomas, but I’m not sure she’s actually self-aware enough to get the real joke she ended up making.) And her blithe willingness to go back to the “earth tone” well illustrates both her lazy hackishness (it’s been a decade, Maureen) and her complete disregard for any truth beyond the idiotic fantasies she constructs about public figures.

That, as I said, is only the very first sentence.

The “earth tones” crack is because there was some utterly inane pseudo-news over the weekend about the Oval Office getting redone. Which, obviously, is a subject of much more interest to political opinion columnist Maureen Dowd than a “war,” because it is utterly inane pseudo-news.

So! She refers to the Oval Office as President Obama’s “redecorated man cave,” because “man caves” are a trend thing she read about, in the year 2005. She then throws in a gratuitous reference to the terrible, trashy taste of those awful Clintons, another Dowd pet topic.

And then the column ends with a dreadful series of Dowd’s trademark stupidly obvious, terribly out-of-date pop culture references. (“Cool Hand Luke.” “Jaws.” “Scarface.” “Body Heat.” Yes, “Body Heat.”)

Maureen Dowd is a Pulitzer-winning columnist.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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