Everyone’s already piling on Maureen Dowd’s horrible column today, but to me what makes this sort of crap doubly aggravating is her refusal to even take responsibility for what she’s doing. Dowd doesn’t want to wake up and say, “I’m using my New York Times column to argue that John Edwards would be a bad president because he got some expensive haircuts.” She won’t come out and write: “John Edwards’ expensive haircuts indicate to me that he would be a bad president.” If she wrote that, after all, it would be obvious that she was being idiotic. Why, after all, would you think that the price of Edwards’ haircuts is an important indicator of what kind of job he’d do as president.
So, instead, she writes a column which is nominally about how other people will find his haircuts objectionable. The voters — not Dowd, Dowd is serious — will find this very damaging. But, of course, it wouldn’t be damaging at all if media haters didn’t talk about it. It’s either relevant or it’s not. If you think it’s relevant, you have a responsibility to explain how and why and expose yourself as a fool. If you don’t think it’s relevant, you have a responsibility to write your columns about something else.