The secret life of Maureen Dowd
The New York Times columnist reveals her first great love, her family's Irish ties and her real take on Obama, Bush, Biden and Geffen
“It was hilarious that he lied,” Maureen says now, “and as a policeman, he was lying on an official document.”
The Dowds had it rough. Years later when Maureen would sometimes romanticize the 1930s her mother would wag her finger. “Those were tough and mean times,” mother would tell daughter.
Now Maureen says she knows what she was taking about. “We're back there,” she says referring to the current economic crisis. “We're back in a soup can economy.”
The sisters describe Michael as the cool, clean hero, devout and chivalrous to a fault, a man adept at sizing up people and situations like no other. Peggy says Maureen had the same gift from an early age and that she got it from her father.
He loved to read, especially newspapers. “He'd grab a morning, an afternoon and evening paper every day,” says Peggy.
Their strongest memories are of Michael engrossed in the newspaper sitting under a portrait of JFK, one of his heroes. So it is not surprising that Maureen felt the pull to write from an early age.
There were already other powerful role models in the family pantheon. Tommy Corcoran, married to a Dowd relative, was FDR’s closest confidante, known to the president as “Tommy the Cork.” He drafted much of the New Deal legislation and reputedly coined the phrases “nothing to fear but fear itself” and “rendezvous with destiny.” Roosevelt’s son Elliott wrote, "Apart from my father, Tom (Corcoran) was the single most influential individual in the country."
So being around power was also an early experience for the Dowd clan. And Ireland permeated the family’s early years.
Maureen is pictured in the Washington Post at age 2 in 1954, plump and pretty, shamrock bedecked dress posing on St. Patrick's Day. Typically she critiques her first media appearance –“look, they had to give me potato chips to make me smile.”
Like Maureen, her dad had political favorites -- Truman was one.
“He tended to judge politicians by whether he thought they were phonies or not,” says Maureen. “I think that's one thing I inherited, besides wearing sunglasses indoors.”
As part of his job Michael Dowd guarded FDR and Joe McCarthy during the Red Scare, loved Truman but didn't like Bobby Kennedy, who let the side down by not bothering to hire some Irish who needed work on the Hill.
He won a medal for bravery and befriended high people, and saw places a young Irish emigrant had no right to dream of. Michael rose through the ranks to become head of the AOH, the largest Irish organization in America.
Her mother was an Irish rebel. In the 1970s Peggy Dowd led a demonstration at the British Embassy after Bloody Sunday when 14 were shot by British forces in Derry. To her eternal satisfaction the then British ambassador had to sneak in through the underground garage.
Maureen and Peggy agree she would have been “delighted” that President Barack Obama recently got rid of the Churchill bust that George W. Bush kept in the Oval Office.
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@DaddyMac22: Um, yeah. Exactly like I said. It's a FAN MESSAGE BOARD. Is that what you call "US sports journalism," as the title of thisKatherine Webb and the morbid depths of US sports 'journalism'
@marpag: If you had actually read the article, the subject was the comment section, and the dearth of intelligence in same. However, have fun with you