Only those with strong stomachs should attempt to digest Thursday’s nauseatingly obsequious tribute to Colorado’s own Sen. Michael Bennet by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
Even by the standards of puff pieces, Dowd’s “The man who said ‘nay’” hits a new low in journalistic toe-licking.
Reprinted on the op-ed page of The Denver Post, the column features Bennet grinning, musing, demurring and deadpanning his way through the fawning interview with Dowd, who was evidently awestruck by his “audacious, even precocious” vote against the fiscal-cliff deal.
Never mind that the bill passed 89-8 and that Bennet’s vote made absolutely no difference in the outcome. Or that five Republican senators and slews of House Republicans also voted against the deal.
Bennet earns the Times’ star treatment because he’s a Democrat who broke with his party, even though the party didn’t need his vote and clearly gave him a pass. If Bennet’s vote had actually killed the deal, you can bet that Dowd wouldn’t be giggling over the senator’s cute freckles or anointing him “the future of his party.”
Instead, Bennet is given lots of ink to explain his allegedly bold act. Once again, he says he voted “nay” because the deal failed to reduce the budget deficit. And once again, he says nothing about how he would propose to reduce the budget deficit.
At least Republicans who voted against the fiscal-cliff package gave an explanation: They wanted more spending cuts. Since casting his vote, Bennet has not to the best of our knowledge made any mention of spending cuts, or for that matter offered any other suggestion on how to cut the deficit.
What we get instead from Bennet are the sorts of unspecific bromides that litter Dowd’s column: “I think if we can get people focused to do what we need to do to keep our kids from being stuck with this debt that they didn’t accrue, you might be surprised at how far we can move this conversation,” he says.
Thank you for that clear-eyed insight, Senator.
You have to hand it to Bennet: For a fellow who is allegedly new to Washington, he can say absolutely nothing with the best of them.
It’s also interesting to watch how Dowd bends over backward to portray Bennet as an ordinary guy—He only has one pair of khakis! His grandparents were World War II refugees!—when it’s common knowledge that he’s rich as Croesus.
If Dowd were interested in a real story, she could have asked Bennet how he would suggest reducing the deficit.
Instead, Coloradans are left to guess at what he meant by his headline-grabbing and entirely inconsequential vote.