by Deb Cupples | Sometimes, I just don't understand New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. She's a successful, intelligent, gifted word smith -- and gorgeous to boot. Talk about having it all. When she writes about actual issues, she often makes sense, and millions of readers praise her.
When she talks about certain politicians, however, Ms. Dowd's logic leaves the building for a coffee break and belligerently cuts off cell phone contact.
In her recent column ("Yes, She can"), for example, Ms. Dowd speculates that Sen. Hillary Clinton is plotting to hijack the Democratic Convention and steal the nomination from Sen. Barack Obama. Apparently attempting to add weight to her speculations, Ms. Dowd does some 17th century name dropping by bringing up Hamlet (albeit a tad awkwardly).
If the ghost of Shakespeare is willing to lend his name, then Ms. Dowd's speculations must be worth serious consideration, right?
For the moment, let's adopt Ms. Dowd's assumption that Sen. Clinton is nothing more than a massive id, driven only to gratify herself right now -- devoid of the ability to anticipate consequences that she'd likely suffer days or weeks or months down the road.
Let's further assume, for the sake of argument, that Sen. Clinton has no political savvy whatsoever, has no self control, doesn't care about anyone but herself, and does not understand how divided the Democratic party is (because she cannot read polls and cannot grasp simple percentages).
Even if that were Hillary Clinton, what on earth could she gain by thwarting Obama's nomination? Seriously.
First, Hillary likely wouldn't win in the general election, because more than half of the Democratic party now supports Obama (if those polls that Hillary can't read are to be believed). If Hillary hijacked the convention, Obama's supporters would be pissed off in a volcanic way -- thus, very resistant to voting for Hillary.
Then there's the notion that Hillary might secretly want to help Obama lose in 2008, so she can run against McCain in 2012. It would have to be 2012, according to "conventional wisdom," because she'd be 68 in 2016 -- far too old to run for office. John McCain is a man, and he's already getting crap for being 71: chances are they'd give a 68-year-old woman some crap too.
Fast forward to 2012. If Hillary had managed to get enough delegates to knock Obama out of the 2008 race, do you really think Obama's millions of ardent supporters would forgive Hillary and happily vote for her in 2012?
Then there's the the Democratic Party leaders who tried to push Hillary to drop out of the primaries even after she won Ohio and Texas. Do you really think they'd forgive Hillary and support her in 2012 if she'd ruined Obama's chances back in 2008?
Now consider Hillary's Democratic colleagues in the Senate, some of whom were on the push-Hillary-out-of-the-primaries-early bandwagon. Some of them are mighty influential in the Senate (e.g., Leahy and Dodd). If Hillary ruined Obama's chances in 2008, do you really think they'd ever make it easy for Hillary to pursue her legislative agenda?
Let's not forget Hillary's place in History. If she single-handedly ruined Obama's chance to become the first black president -- whether out of spite or inability to delay gratification -- how would historians portray her: like an admirable woman or a vile bitch?
And if Hillary succeeded in foiling Obama's plan to be the first black president -- if her name were total mud in the eyes of voters, senators, party leaders, and the media -- how would that affect Hillary's only daughter (should Chelsae want to run for office some day)?
Back here on earth, the fact is that Hilary Clinton has impressive intelligence and analytical skills.
Not even on her most envy-clouded day could Ms. Dowd honestly deny that. I suspect that Ms. Dowd has, at some point, acknowledged Hillary's acumen if only because doing so would bolster comparisons of Hillary to evil geniuses like Lex Luthor.
In short, Hillary is intelligent and analytical and savvy enough to know that she would gain nothing and lose everything if she tried to thwart Obama's nomination.
That said, I'm still trying to figure out why Ms. Dowd devoted several hundred words to arguing that Hillary is plotting to destroy Obama during the convention.