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Monday, June 08, 2009
Your objection may be well taken, but not against me.
As the byline clearly states, the co-writer is my colleague from my NYT day, and competitor from our San Francisco days more than three decades ago, David Johnston.
I had nothing to do with the piece.
David Cay Johnston
First, a pleasantly diverting trifle of a column:
June 10, 2009
Can The One Have Fun?
By MAUREEN DOWD
The fun police are patrolling Pennsylvania Avenue.
Given the serious times, the chatter goes, should Barack Obama be allowed to enjoy date night with Michelle in New York, sightseeing in Paris, golf outings in D.C., not to mention doing a promotion for Conan O’Brien and a video cameo for Stephen Colbert’s first comedy show from Iraq?
With two wars and G.M. in bankruptcy proceedings, shouldn’t the president be glued to the grindstone, emulating W.’s gravity when he sacrificed golf in 2003 as the Iraq insurgency spread?
“I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” the former president explained later. “I think, you know, playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”
Actually, what sends the wrong signal is going to war with a phony justification, inadequate troop levels, insufficient armor, an inept Defense secretary and an inability to admit for years, deadly ones, that you needed counterinsurgency experts.
The right signal is Michelle and her daughters being charming ambassadors, “gobsmacking” the town, as a British tabloid put it, by scarfing down fish and chips at a London pub for £7.95 (about $13), like regular tourists.
As a taxpayer, I am most happy to contribute to domestic and international date nights. As Arthur Schlesinger noted in his diaries, the White House tends to drive its occupants nuts. So some respite from the pressure is clearly a healthy thing. Not as much respite as W. took, bicycling and vacationing through all the disasters that President Obama is now stuck fixing — spending a total of 490 days in the tumbleweed isolation of Crawford and rarely deigning to sightsee as he traveled the world.
Some White House officials fretted that the Obamas’ Marine One and Gulfstream magic-carpet ride to dinner in Greenwich Village and a play on Broadway was too showy. Others thought it helped show a softer side of the often dispassionate Obama.
Interestingly, Dr. No, Dick Cheney, declined to tut-tut with other Republicans, saying “I don’t know why not,” when he was asked about the propriety of the president’s getaway to Broadway. A far more mature response than Senator Chuck Grassley’s nit-twit tweets grumbling about the president urging progress on health care “while u sightseeing in Paris.”
I loved the “Pretty Woman” romance of the New York tableau, the president, who had not lived an entitled life where he could afford such lavish gestures, throwing off his tie and whisking his wife, in a flirty black cocktail dress, to sip martinis in Manhattan, as Sasha hung over a White House balcony and called out goodbye.
When the president and first lady walked to their seats in the Belasco for “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” the theater-goers went nuts. And why not?
What a relief to have an urbane, cultivated, curious president who’s out and about, engaged in the world. Not dangerously detached, as W. was, or darkly stewing like Cheney. Not hanging with the Rat Pack like J.F.K. or getting bored and up to mischief like Bill Clinton....
Then, the prominent economist bent on destroying the finest paper in America likely the finest paper in any country:
June 10, 2009
In Which I Am Embarrassed to Share a Universe with the New York Times...
Maureen Dowd: "The 'Pretty Woman' romance of [President and Mrs. Obama's] New York tableau..."
You have to ask: doesn't Maureen Dowd have any friends inside the NYT building who will say: "Ummm... Do you know what 'Pretty Woman' is about?"
Will no one have pity and stop this person before she writes again?
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?
-- Brad DeLong
What is interesting is being incapable of understanding what it means to be especially offensive to women, to find women to bash in special ways. Here though we have the sense of intellectual authoritariamism, where there is only the allowing of a reading of a film or text from an officially approved perspective, any other perspective being necessarily false. Such is being closet to a century of art. And we wonder why the perspectives of a Picasso are still taken as a threat.
Possibly the gentle word is Philistine, likely to nuanced to be understood.
The Berkeley academic thought police crazily bashing women as such supposed liberal thought police must always do.
June 10, 2009
Can Anybody Tell Me Why Ross Douthat Rather than Megan of Jezebel Writes an Op-Ed Column for the New York Times?
-- Brad DeLong
This from the person who was gushing over Ross Douthat and bashing women when Douthat was selected. Of course the person is terrified of women who recognize the falseness of the supposed liberal and strike back.
March 12, 2009
Enthusiasm for Ross Douthat: Brad DeLong Smackdown Watch
The lurkers attack me via email and instant messaging.
It appears that my enthusiasm for Ross Douthat as the best choice for the conservative op-ed slot on the New York Times is not repeat not repeat NOT shared by those of the XX genome.
-- Brad Delong
March 11, 2009
Now There Are Two New York Times Columnists Worth Reading Regularly...
The Juicebox Mafia continues its drive to world domination!!
Ross Douthat has gotten the conservative columnist slot at the New York Times, a little bird says.
The bar is low--a ficus would be better than William Safire, John Tierney, or William Kristol was. But this is actually quite a good pick.
-- Brad DeLong
Think the Berkeley supposed liberal academic thought police will track me down? I already have tenure, though.
Dear anonymousPost a Comment
I guess that all of the comments above were written by the same person. If I'm wrong I apologise to those of you of whose individuality I am ignorant.
There seems to be something odd happening with your browser. This blog is written by Robert Waldmann. Brad Delong's blog is at
http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/. Robert Waldmann and Brad DeLong are 2 different people. "Robert Waldmann" is not a pseudonym used by Brad DeLong. Similarly "Brad DeLong" is not a pseudonym used by Robert Waldmann.
I Robert Waldmann just read the Dowd column for the first time as it was copied into the comment here. I find that I totally agree with Dowd. I don't want Obama to drive himself crazy by working all the time either.
She only mentions this briefly, but I think many citizens who dislike politics will like Obama more if he doesn't work all the time. Such people are citizens to and vote. Obama's ability to improve the world depends, in part, on his popularity.
To paraphrase Brad DeLong quoting Cicero, no one can love Brad DeLong more than I do, but he demands that we move to the Republic of Plato today when in fact we live and will continue to live in the real world.
I actually watched the Colbert episode on the web. I was delighted. Partly, I think it increases the chances of oh take your pick a robust public option in the health care reform or a cap and trade bill passing.
More than that, I consider the Commander in Chief of the US armed forces telling Colbert and some his subordinates "no it's because I have such big ears" one of the high points of human history so far
(current high point "mutts like me" before that it was when Vaclaw Havel named Frank Zappa ambassador plenipotentiary to the USA.)
I think "pretty woman" is a reference to a film which I haven't seen. To me it is a song by Roy Orbison. I do think the film is a useful analogy (if I understand correctly, the Julia Roberts character in the film is not a prostitute and is mistaken for a prostitute by the male lead (played by ..... Richard Gere ?). But, since I haven't seen the film, what do I know.
So it turns out that I totally disagree with Brad DeLong about that column by Maureen Dowd. I absolutely agree with her.
See it sometimes happens that 2 different people have 2 different opinions. In this case, Robert Waldmann and Brad DeLong disagree. It happens.
But, I mean, be fair to Brad. His criticism may be unreasonable, but he didn't claim that the column was written by, say, Paul Krugman. I claimed that David Cay Johnston co-wrote something written by David Johnston et al. That is an error, a false claim, not true, not a matter of opinion.