Political Writing: Maureen Dowd Bedazzles

Every once in a while, I read an op-ed column that is so entertaining, it could stand alone as a piece of great writing, even outside the context of the current events spurring it. Maureen Dowd‘s Op-Ed column today in The New York Times, “Begrudging His Bedazzling,” is one of those columns. Regardless of one’s politics, you have to appreciate the sheer fun evidenced in the wordplay of this column, which addresses the difficult time Hillary has had countering the Obama charisma (or “Obamisma,” as I like to call it). First, Dowd runs off a string of opposites in attributes, starting with “Sunny beats gloomy.” And to her credit, I think, these attributes are utterly free of gender connotations. But where she really starts to have fun with this piece is in her characterizations of the many voices of Hillary:

After saying she found her “voice” in New Hampshire, she has turned into Sybil. We’ve had Experienced Hillary, Soft Hillary, Hard Hillary, Misty Hillary, Sarcastic Hillary, Joined-at-the-Hip-to-Bill Hillary, Her-Own-Person -Who-Just-Happens-to-Be-Married-to-a-Former-President Hillary, It’s-My-Turn Hillary, Cuddly Hillary, Let’s-Get-Down-in-the-Dirt-and-Fight-Like-Dogs Hillary.

That passage made me chortle with glee.

Now clearly, Ms. Dowd is no hack. She’s been an op-ed columnist for The New York Times since 1995 and won a Pulitzer for Distinguished Commentary in 1999. But I think she had some real fun writing this column, so for me, I’ll take her “bedazzled” and raise her a “bewitched.”

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