I have fallen madly in love, with a woman I have never met.
I realize falling in and out of love in Las Vegas is easy to do, with temptresses at every turn. But I am not in Las Vegas, and neither is the lady in question. We’re far away, and 3,000 miles apart.
She has written me hundreds of letters. Not to me, but for me. Most of them have been about George Jr. in Washington, or W, as she calls him. And the fact that she has been on his back, constantly, without respite or let-up, week after week, month after month, has endeared her to me.
One of the things I love about her most is that she doesn’t beat around the bush. She just beats the Bush, unmercifully.
You’ve probably read her stuff too. Her name is Maureen Dowd, and she writes a syndicated column for the New York Times.
"Writes" might be the wrong word.
She fires, with sharp steel barbs embedded in flammable ink.
Knowing how the White House protects W, I would imagine the lackeys there insulate him from Maureen’s attacks. And Cheney too, wherever he hangs out. But it is consoling to know that Condoleesa and the boys ””Wolfowitz and Perle and the whole flock of hawks ”” probably read her stuff regularly, and suffer line by line.
Last week she was on the Calamity Crew again, on their favorite subject: war.
Maureen said that Cheney, talking to the VFW in one of his carefully orchestrated and hand-picked appearances, finally had convinced her that he was right, and we should start a war. With Saudi Arabia.
She wrote that it was embarrassing, given President Bush’s swaggering on Iraq, to watch him fawn over the Saudis, 15 of whom flew into the World Trade Center towers. But of course you can’t pick on them, since they hold the gas pumps, regular and high test.
Maureen does not spend all of her time uprooting the Bush, or writing political tracts, although the ones she does are crafted by one of the most facile writing minds in newspapering today. But the lady is versatile.
Early in July, she wrote a review of Margaret George’s book on Mary Magdalene for the Times’ prestigious book section.
That’s a tricky challenge for anyone, reviewing a story of one of the most controversial women of biblical history, particularly when the author portrays her as one of the Apostles.
Ms. Dowd realized it, and started by saying of the author’s effort, "It’s not easy to write a love scene for Jesus." Later, she concludes that Ms. George "goes a bit overboard with her feminist fable, turning Mary Magdalene into the Gloria Steinem of Galilee."
Anyone who can review the life of Mary Magdalene with that light a phrase deserves to be loved. Bemused at the author’s "educated guesses" that Mary was an observant Jew who married a sardine fisherman, Ms. Dowd concluded her review by writing, "The new Mary’s arc from pious good girl to Mrs. Sardine Salesman to Pillar of the Church may leave you a little nostalgic for the transgressive Mary’s gripping drama of sin and redemption."
Where do you learn to write like that?
In Maureen Dowd’s case, at Catholic University, where she got her degree in English literature in 1973. A year later she went to work at the Washington Star, where she became a sports columnist (no kidding). From there she went to Time magazine, then to the New York Times Washington Bureau in 1986, and to its op-ed page as a columnist seven years ago. She won the Pulitzer prize for distinguished commentary in 1999, about the time I became enamored of her.
A confidential source ”” one of Chuck DiRocco’s pipes ”” told me recently that Ms. Dowd, learning about my secret love, said the Pulitzer meant more.
No one ever said life, or love, would be easy.