Excitable New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has a confused, and confusing, op-ed today. The item, titled “Tempest in a Tea Party,” lashes out blindly at the twin phantoms roiling Dowd’s ultraliberal fantasy world.
On the one side, you have the Tea Party, whom Dowd joins other left-leaning commentators and politicians of recent days in defaming. She writes (borrowing one of the president’s favorite metaphors):
The world is watching in fearful—and sometimes gleeful—fascination as the Tea Party drives a Thunderbird off the cliff with the president and speaker of the House strapped in the back.
On the other, you have the inscrutable president, whose unrealized promise of hope Dowd equates to the tulip mania—an historical reference to the cost of tulip bulbs soaring to unprecedented highs during the Dutch Golden Age, then suddenly plunging back toward earthbound reality.
If one can distill a message from Dowd’s fevered prose, it is that Barack Obama would have been a great leader if only that sizable segment of the population who never drank the hopey-changey Koolaid and grew impatient with his ineptness (aka, the Tea Party) had just held back a while and given the man a chance. It is a fiction that many liberals are clinging to to explain to their own satisfaction how the ship of state today is floundering on choppy seas when it should be sailing smoothly with Barack Obama at the helm.
OK, that’s not entirely fair. Dowd does take shots at the president in her column. She quotes one Democratic senator who complained that “the president veers between talking like a peevish professor and a scolding parent,” to which Dowd adds, “Not to mention a jilted lover.” And she quotes another as moaning, “We are watching him turn into Jimmy Carter right before our eyes.”
But it is her switching back and forth between her two targets that makes her column so hard to follow, not to mention different from the prevailing liberal wisdom that the Tea Party is solely responsible for the country’s ills.
What Dowd and her fellow libs are feeling is impotent rage. They can revile the Tea Party as “terrorists” or accuse them (in the case of Sen. John Kerry) of holding “the entire economy hostage,” but they are helpless to anything beyond calling names. Which is precisely where those of us who scratched our heads over the prospect of a President Barack Obama were in 2008. We understood then that the young, inexperienced senator who had captured the fancy of so many—partly because of the color of his skin—was grossly unprepared for a job of this magnitude. We also glimpsed the less flattering aspects of his personality, especially the arrogance and egotism, that many of his supporters still fail to acknowledge.
But there was nothing those in the conservative media could do beyond sending up warning flares. It is not a happy feeling to watch helplessly as the nation you love is taken captive by the forces of willful ignorance. Whether the Tea Party’s tough love proves to be an antidote to what ails the country remains to be seen. But what is a fact is that those who now whine about it and curse its existence are just getting a taste of their own medicine.
- Obama’s reaction to budget deal shows he thinks Americans are fools
- The shootings in Tucson and Tea Party Derangement Syndrome
- Primaries highlight ascendancy of Tea Party
- Murkowski warns Alaska stations not to air Tea Party ads
- Maureen Dowd’s “mean girls”
- Obama is “amused” by Tea Party rallies; thinks protesters should “thank” him
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