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The Doctor Is Out
NY Times ^ | 1/15/04 | Maureen Dowd

Posted on 01/14/2004 9:26:17 PM PST by Tumbleweed_Connection

Not satisfied with colonizing the Moon, scouting for Martians and civilizing Iraq, President Bush is lavishing more gazillions on another audaciously quixotic plan.

He wants to become the national yenta.

As Robert Pear and David Kirkpatrick wrote in The Times, administration officials are planning an extensive election-year initiative to please conservatives in a swivet over gay marriage; their social engineering scheme will try to shore up traditional marriage, offering training to couples in the interpersonal skills needed to achieve and sustain "healthy marriages."

Before Mr. Bush ventures into the inner cities to practice his conjugal noblesse oblige, perhaps he should beeline to a more rural spot — a split-level ranch house with green shag carpeting and Grateful Dead albums in Burlington, Vt.

The doctors Dean seem to be in need of some tips on togetherness and building a healthy political marriage, if that's not an oxymoron.

Even by the transcendentally wacky standard for political unions set by Bill and Hillary Clinton, the Deans have an unusual relationship.

She is a ghost in his political career. She has never even been to Iowa, and most reporters who have covered Howard Dean's quest here the last two years would not recognize her if she walked in the door, which she is not likely to do, since she prefers examining patients to being cross-examined by voters and reporters.

The first hard evidence most people had that Howard Dean was actually married came with a startling picture of his wife on the front page of Tuesday's Times, accompanying a Jodi Wilgoren profile.

In worn jeans and old sneakers, the shy and retiring Dr. Judith Steinberg Dean looked like a crunchy Vermont hippie, blithely uncoiffed, unadorned, unstyled and unconcerned about not being at her husband's side — the anti-Laura. You could easily imagine the din of Rush Limbaugh and Co. demonizing her as a counterculture fem-lib role model for the blue states.

While Elizabeth Edwards gazes up at John from the front row of his events here, while Jane Gephardt cheerfully endures her husband's "Dick and Jane" jokes, while Teresa Heinz Kerry jets around for "conversations" with caucusgoers — yesterday she was at the Moo Moo Cafe in Keokuk at the southernmost tip of the state — Judith Steinberg has shunned the role of helpmeet.

Many women cheered Judy Steinberg as a relief and a breakthrough. Why should she have to feign subservience in 2003, or compromise as Hillary Rodham and Teresa Heinz did when they took their husbands' names? But many political analysts said that just as the remote technocrat Michael Dukakis needed Kitty around to warm him up, the emotionally chilly Howard Dean could benefit from the presence of someone who could illuminate his softer side. So far he has generated a lot of heat but little warmth.

And at a moment when he's under attack by Democratic rivals for reinventing his political persona and shifting positions, he could use a character witness on the road to vouch for his core values.

The couple did pose for a spread in the new People magazine, where they revealed that he gave her a flowering shrub for her 50th birthday. "Being practical," he said, "I wanted something to plant in the back lawn."

Even some who admired Dr. Steinberg's desire to stay focused on her own life, healing the sick, still thought it odd that she would be so thoroughly disengaged from her husband's wild political ride, missing the thrilling moments and the poignant ones, like the repatriation ceremony of his brother's remains in Hawaii.

Since the frugal, no-frills couple does not subscribe to cable TV, she has not even seen much of the virtual campaign, and has to go into his Vermont campaign headquarters if she wants to watch a debate.

"What will she tell their grandkids?" wondered one political reporter here. "Yeah, Grandpa was once a front-runner for president with crowds all over America cheering him but I was too busy to go see it?"

It will be interesting to see, if her husband falters, whether the exigencies of politics will require her to make a house call on his campaign.

Physician, heal thy spouse.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bush; dean; dnc; dowd; mandatorybarfalert; mba; zetajones

1 posted on 01/14/2004 9:26:18 PM PST by Tumbleweed_Connection
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
I stopped reading at "social engineering scheme"... overloaded my hypocrisy meter.
2 posted on 01/14/2004 9:29:04 PM PST by thoughtomator ("I will do whatever the Americans want because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid"-Qadafi)
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To: Pokey78
Need you Zeta Jones pix ping!
3 posted on 01/14/2004 9:34:05 PM PST by annyokie (Wesley Clark: Howard Dean with medals!)
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To: thoughtomator
And George Bush has found the authority for the federal government to engage in promoting "healthy marriages" precisely WHERE in the Constitution????
4 posted on 01/14/2004 9:48:28 PM PST by Arthur McGowan
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To: Arthur McGowan
Come now. This country has not been ruled by the Constitution for almost 140 years now. If it were, 90 percent of the US government would disappear!

We live in what is effectively a barely limited judicial tyranny. That bare limit is limited in duration itself by the amount of time it takes a court to decide a phrase means its opposite. The only parts of the original Constitution to which we recognizably adhere are legislative appropriations and the injunction against quartering soldiers in your house.

Given these circumstances, how would you approach the situation?
5 posted on 01/14/2004 9:57:27 PM PST by thoughtomator ("I will do whatever the Americans want because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid"-Qadafi)
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I actually agree with her.. she has a busy practice and her partner is out with cancer.. so why does she give it up.. when she knows he will lose
6 posted on 01/14/2004 10:19:25 PM PST by stockpixx
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To: thoughtomator
Which was, of course, my point.

The answer is, billions of people have had it worse than I do, so I can muddle through, from now until my death, being ruled by this totally bogus "Constitutional" government.

7 posted on 01/14/2004 10:30:20 PM PST by Arthur McGowan
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
Ooh...dowdy got a two-fer; slammed Bush and slammed dean. Is there no end to this bitter wag's talent???
8 posted on 01/14/2004 10:31:58 PM PST by E=MC<sup>2</sup>
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
I feel pretty much the same way about Chelsea, the Bush Twins, and Judith Steinberg--if they don't want to be in the public eye, they should be given their privacy. I doubt someone as hard-headed and independent as Dean could be swayed by his wife. I didn't vote for Laura Bush, I voted for George. I don't care who is the First Lady, so long as she doesn't do anything annoying. If Judith Steinberg never wants to set foot in the White House, I couldn't be happier. Why does MoDo care about this? Is she just incapable of understanding how anyone could shy from the spotlight, being such an attention whore herself? After all, she'll say any stupid, anti-intellectual, cutesy s--- in her columns just to get attention.
9 posted on 01/14/2004 10:49:53 PM PST by xm177e2 (Stalinists, Maoists, Ba'athists, Pacifists: Why are they always on the same side?)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
" You could easily imagine the din of Rush Limbaugh and Co. demonizing her as a counterculture fem-lib role model for the blue states. "

Here's the irony. Rush wisely adopted a no comment policy on Dean's wife.The only ones criticizing Mrs Dean are MoDo and the liberal Ellis Henican of Newsday.His 01/14 column took quite a swipe at Mrs Dean. Liberals are such loving and tolerant people.
10 posted on 01/14/2004 11:06:22 PM PST by Wild Irish Rogue
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To: Wild Irish Rogue
Exactly. She is attacking Dean's wife, by imagining conservatives attacking Dean's wife.

I asked on another thread- are we absolutely sure that being a liberal doesn't involve some sort of uncontrolled projection psychosis?

11 posted on 01/15/2004 7:09:32 AM PST by William McKinley
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To: annyokie
Here's one:

12 posted on 01/15/2004 7:13:16 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Plate Teutonics: The theory that Germans are moving the continents.)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
There are plenty of reasons to dog Howard Dean other than Judith. Personally, I've changed my mind about her. She can choose for herself whether she wants to be involved in all this hype.
13 posted on 01/15/2004 7:14:22 AM PST by .cnI redruM (Dean, Clark, Deadwards, Kerry - If were an Iowan, I'd vote Opis in '04.)
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To: thoughtomator; Tumbleweed_Connection
<< I stopped reading at "social engineering scheme" >>

Really? Was that in there somewhere?

I guess you're more resiliant than me -- and have a longer Dowd-drivel attention span.
14 posted on 01/15/2004 8:16:57 AM PST by Brian Allen ( Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Brian Allen
I read this far:


The Doctor Is Out

15 posted on 01/15/2004 8:19:06 AM PST by Howlin
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
Seems like Dowd crossed a line with the bed wetting liberals. One of the DUhers was so maddened by this, that they wrote an editorial against her. Heres a sample. "Ms. Dowd has exposed her true colors as a male-pleasing woman who would rather have our daughters emulating women who ?sit in the front row and gaze up? at their husbands. How the mighty have fallen. I expected so much more from her."
16 posted on 01/17/2004 9:07:55 AM PST by Democratshavenobrains
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