I don't hate her points--many of which, while basic, are sound--but I detest her prose style. It's everything I don't want to do as a writer: she's overbearing, solipsistic, indulgent. For example, this recent Times column on the fall of Donald Rumsfeld and the role of the first Pres. Bush in the administration brings nothing new to the table, other than a family-sized helping of shlock. Her pieces are one-note sputterances, buried beneath mounts of colloquialisms and faulty analogies:
Mr. Gates, already on Mr. Baker’s “How Do We Get Sonny Out of Deep Doo Doo in Iraq?” study group, left his job protecting 41’s papers at Texas A&M to return to Washington and pry the fingers of Poppy’s old nemesis, Rummy, off the Pentagon.Dowd-advocates might argue that she brings the verbal playfulness and wit of entertainment or arts writing to politics, making issues more accessible to the public. I think this is a discredit to good features journalism. A deft pun, sprightly figurative language, or a clever analogy is like a flash of cleavage or a hint of upper leg: a journalist should only reveal her goods with caution and discrimination. Dowd's heavy-handed style lets it all hang out. Rather than being pleasantly surprised by instances of literary or humorous prose, her reader is left wading through the text in search of the argument.
And then, of course, there's the problem of her flawed, one-dimensional feminism, as evidenced in yesterday's piece on the wave of "female influence" that's accompanied the Democratic victory:
Rather than trumpeting Obama's appearance on The View or taking sly sexual jabs at "flaccid" George W. Bush, perhaps Dowd should consider the anti-feminist, heteronormative subtext of such statements.Nancy Pelosi, who will be the first female speaker, softened her voice and look as she cracked the whip on her undisciplined party, taking care not to sound shrill. When she needs to, though, she says she can use her “mother-of-five voice."