Monday, September 19, 2011

She Lost it at the Movies

Apparently out of any serious ideas for her weekly column, the New York Times' Maureen Dowd trots out this tired caricature instead.  You know the one, Liberal Democrats are smart but often ineffectual, while conservative Republicans are stupid but...reckless gunslingers too!

You pick.

Her point, of course, is to discredit as quickly as she can the candidacy of Texas Governor Rick Perry and to help make her case, she invokes the John Ford film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.  I'm afraid, however, that she misunderstands that superb movie (no surprise).  For her, it is little more than a shallow Manichean horse opera.  Dowd: "At the cusp of the 2012 race, we have a classic cultural collision between a skinny Eastern egghead lawyer who’s inept in Washington gunfights and a pistol-totin’, lethal-injectin’, square-shouldered cowboy who has no patience for book learnin’."

What that picture was actually about was something far more serious and enduring.  So enduring, in fact, that were it possible, Alexander Hamilton himself could have provided the voice-over for the film's trailer.  Hamilton, from The Federalist:
It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country to decide, by their conduct and example, the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.
While Hamilton was clearly on the side of "reflection and choice" (who isn't?), he was not being simplistically rhetorical.

Neither should MoDo. 

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