POLITICS
03/28/2008 02:46 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

MoDo Manages To Diminish The 'Plagiarism' Discourse Even Further

No matter where you might stand on the issue of Barack Obama and Deval Patrick sharing choice bon mots with one another, it's likely that everyone can agree that the discussion hasn't reached it's nadir until that grim dowager of seething resentment, Maureen Dowd, weighs in on the pages of the New York Times. Well, as of today, the bottom has been reached.

The main thrust of what we'll generously describe as her content, seems to be, "Whatever, Hillary and Bill have totally hijacked other people's words and ideas." On that regard, Dowd's hardly the first pundit to advance that point. What sets Dowd apart is the extent to which she can take any piece of discourse and transform it into a arena for hurling her endless supply of acid-tipped daggers.

Right off the bat, Dowd takes a discussion over "words" - which, itself, has largely been a tweedy, ivory-tower bug-out that's yet to register with the electorate to any measurable degree - and buries it in churlish caricature:

She was drinking red wine and talking up the virtues of imported Blue Moon beer with a slice of citrus on her plane and putting up an ad in Ohio about how she works the night shift, too, just like the waitresses, hairdressers, hospital workers and other blue-collar constituents that she's hoping to attract.

And she doesn't mean that being married to Bill Clinton is what keeps her up all hours. She's talking about burning the midnight oil in her Senate office.

Yeah, so, Hillary Clinton is a imported-beer praising, wine-sipping, cat-burglar with Republican ideas stuffed down her pantsuit. She's a classist hypocrite, and hey, why not sidle up to the edge of the Chris Matthews-esque intimation that her candidacy is powered by a response to her husband "messing around." And the trenchant cultural gravitas is supplied by a lengthy recitation of the Laverne and Shirley theme. Dowd watches sitcoms, you see, so she feels our middle-class pain.

The whole piece will probably be read as a defense of Obama, but frankly, he doesn't exactly come off in spectacular fashion either. Obama and Deval Patrick are more or less depicted as "roommates" trapped in the cultish thrall of that dread Svengali David Axelrod.

Does anyone come off well? One person almost does, and mystifyingly, it's Cindy McCain, for responding to Michelle Obama's "proud of my country" gaffe:

It's a discordant note for the stylish, brainy 44-year-old Princeton and Harvard Law School grad. Cindy McCain showed that Republicans would jump right on a line like that, and twist it into something that sounded extremist and unpatriotic.

Note again the invocation of class imagery: Michelle Obama is a style-obsessed, Ivy League elite, but Cindy McCain is a shrewd political genius who's not afraid to get a little dirty if it gets the job done. Nevermind that Cindy McCain ran away from her remarks minutes later, after reporters asked her to confirm ownership of them. Maybe she borrowed them from Deval Patrick, too!