There is no better temperature gauge of the Left’s derangement syndrome — the object of the hatred is irrelevant — than the New York Times’s liberal op-ed columnists. So when Maureen Dowd goes into full-rant mode over Liz Cheney (and her political-consultant sister), you pretty much know the object of the next spasm of liberal venomous paranoia. And as it usually is, the rant is more revealing of the ranter than the intended victim.
Dowd fumes: “On Fox News last Sunday, Liz Cheney — who still talks about having ‘liberated’ Iraq — called Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize a ‘farce’ and suggested that he ‘send the mother of a fallen American soldier to accept the prize on behalf of the U.S. military.’ ” Iraq, last time we checked, was liberated from the clutches of Saddam Hussein, and there is a healthy bipartisan consensus that the Nobelists went a bridge too far, even for flaky international Leftists, in giving a self-esteem award to America’s Apologizer in Chief. But how dare Cheney say so! And really, must she be so darn pleasant on TV? (It’s getting hard to remember the good old days when all Republicans were grumpy old men.)
On Dowd meanders to the website of Keep America Safe. (The teeth-grinding you hear is the sound of other Republicans’ whose not-very-exciting websites don’t get attacked on the pages of the Grey Lady.) Dowd objects to showing what terrorists look like (“a daily Willie Hortonish detainee feature, profiling one of the scary swarthy prisoners at Gitmo”). Better that we shouldn’t think too hard about who these people really are, I suppose. And Dowd really doesn’t care for the mission statement of the group, which goes after Obama as “uncertain, wishful, irresolute, and unwilling to stand up for America, our allies and our interests.” That brings on a flashback of the Project for a New American Century, which advocated regime change in Iraq. We know how that worked out. (Iraq was “liberated” — sheesh, there’s that word again — but let’s not introduce any facts into a Dowd column; they’ll be lonely.)
Around now, readers may be wondering why Dowd is all worked up about some TV appearances and a conservative advocacy group. She reveals the source of her angst at the end of her column:
[William] Kristol joked to Politico’s Ben Smith that the venture might serve as a launching pad for Liz to run for office. (A Senate bid from Virginia, where she lives, or Wyoming, which she still calls home?) That raises the terrifying specter that some day we could see a Palin-Cheney ticket, promoted by Kristol. Sarah would bring her content-free crackle and gut instincts; Liz would bring facts and figures distorted by ideology. Pretty soon, we’re pre-emptively invading Iran and the good times are rolling all over again.
The operative word is “terrifying.” What if the Republicans come up with a conservative standard bearer who is smart, attractive, and dedicated to debunking Obama’s weakling foreign policy — and female? It’s enough to send Dowd running for her smelling salts. And the invocation of Palin is telling as well. She was the last (and not so coincidentally also female) Republican who unhinged the Left.
Non-stereotypical conservatives with some popular appeal running for anything has that effect on liberals, who greatly prefer character assassination by word association (“torturer!” “ideology!” “sexist!”) in lieu of facts or any real analysis. Should that conservative figure turn out to be an articulate opponent of the views they hold so dear (but for which they can’t quite mount a reasoned argument), that’s cause for hysteria. And if you’re looking for that on the pages of the Times, you know just where to find it.