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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Maureen Dowd, "The Comeback Vegan": But What Do Americans Gain From This Deal With the Big Dog?

It's morning, and I thought I might have some breakfast. After pouring myself a bowl of Cheerios and adding dried cranberries, cinnamon, and low fat milk, I returned to my computer and started to type, before noticing that Arnold, my 130-pound, mixed breed canine friend was drooling over my leg. I had already prepared sandwiches for my youngest child's long school day and had tossed Arnold bits of franfurter and scraps of pita bread, but the Big Dog was hungry and back for more. Sure, I thought of telling Arnold to return to his place and leave me in peace, but Arnold is a never ending source of love, affection and devotion, and after fishing out the cranberries, I let Arnold finish my less than sumptuous repast. After all, a few Cheerios in exchange for getting Arnold to stop sliming my leg is a small price to pay.

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Comeback Vegan" (, Maureen Dowd describes the symbiotic deal struck by Obama and the Big Dog, Bill Clinton, at the Democrats' Charlotte convention:

"Obama doesn’t like to share the stage with other politicians or even campaign for House Democrats. He thinks of himself as a singular force, a unique brand, and his narrative has always begun and ended with him. He thinks he did build it himself. But now — because of his own naïveté, insularity and arrogance — he needs Clinton to rev up the disillusioned faithful and donors and lure independents and white working-class men.

. . . .

And what does the Big Dog get? Resurrection, redemption, relevance, a reflected patina of Obama integrity and fidelity; the chance to outshine the upstart who outmaneuvered his wife and, by extension, him in 2008. And a possible ticket back to the Oval, this time as the first First Man, a vegan gnawing on Michelle’s vegetable garden."

Four more years of Obama, so as to possibly enable him to achieve a passing grade in economics after finishing his first term with an "incomplete," followed by the return of Hillary and the Big Dog to the White House? I know what Obama, Bill and Hillary gain from this grand deal, but what should we lesser mortals anticipate? Love, affection and devotion from this League of Narcissists? Not a chance.

Fortunately, I can always turn to Arnold for solace.


  1. BTW,your breakfast is bad for you and for your dog.
    Have some real breakfast with some eggs and butter.

  2. In this peculiarly American rendition of democracy, it always comes down to a binary choice, doesn't it? And the potential for venality, hubris and indulgent egos--and yes, narcissism-- most certainly knows no party bounds (have you heard Romney's detailed, preening commentary to an interviewer about the origin of his hair style?). But realistically, who but an egoist with narcissistic tendencies would entertain the notion of that he/she has what it takes to manage "the most powerful nation on earth"? I thought the egoism and narcissism were just givens. The real question is which flawed, ego-driven narcissist has the capacity to overcome their human foibles enough to implement wisdom and judgment, to sublimate their personal grandiosity to the needs of the nation--to tend to those with perhaps less wisdom and judgment, certainly less power. Surprisingly, we seem to have a pretty good track record in this country of producing leaders capable of doing precisely that, and I would count Bill Clinton among that number. By all accounts, when he was under extreme duress for his rather egregious personal failures, his focus on the duties of the presidency were laser-like. So as they say in Washington, D.C., "if you want a friend, get a dog." But if you want effective leadership, sometimes you have to look in some unlikely places and "never let the perfect be the enemy of the good."

  3. Well, well, well, JH,
    I am wondering .. Why do I hear the same names (Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt) out of 40 something? Is it possible that American record (and any other nation) is less charming than you suggest?
    Why should I believe that charlatans could suddenly tend to those who ....? And now comes a big problem. Unlike you, I don't believe that the successful are automatically wiser. I am not American born and I don't worship "the bitch goddess of success."
    Yes, I am a Jewish (Pascallian) agnostic who knows history.
    Some narcissists are also charlatans. And yes we need God in such circumstances (just in case ... I am referring to "God help us."