Maureen Dowd: Joe Biden is ‘crazy about the Irish and plans to celebrate them every way he can’

The New York Times columnist was speaking at the Irish Times Summer Nights festival

Maureen Dowd: ‘I completely trust Joe Biden. When I go to bed, I know he’s doing the best he can do as president’

Maureen Dowd: ‘I completely trust Joe Biden. When I go to bed, I know he’s doing the best he can do as president’

 

“My family is conservative, but they’re not nuts,” the New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd told Hugh Linehan, The Irish Times’ Arts and Culture Editor, at the Summer Nights festival on Wednesday evening. “My family are Trumpsters, which is why it is odd to me that the Republicans are still so craven to Donald Trump and can’t seem to break away from him.

“Donald Trump was the most remarkable – not in a good way – president we’ve ever had,” Dowd continued. “During Covid he was making fun of states that would put safety mandates in place and telling people to liberate their state. He kept encouraging all these insurrections of a government he was running. What’s scary is, maybe two-thirds of the Republican Party now seem to be conspiracy theorists.”

Dowd said she believes Trump’s continued presence is less of a problem for the Democrats than “the progressives who have made defunding the police a huge issue ... You see it in the New York City mayor’s race.”

The fact that this guy that everyone had written off gets to be president at this very belated stage is a pretty amazing story

When Linehan asked how Irish-Americans vote, Dowd said they’ve always been quite conservative. “A lot of times the Democrats choose as their leaders the kind of people who radiate elitism and seem to look down, like Hillary’s basket of deplorables.”

To understand the Biden presidency, Dowd explained, “you have to understand that for the last couple of decades the narrative of Joe Biden was set”. “The narrative was that he was lucky to be chosen as Obama’s vice-president and he had hit his ceiling and he could never run for president because he couldn’t attract enough voters and he couldn’t raise enough money and he had too many gaffes. But what they ignored was that he did have that appeal to that core group that Democrats want to get back.

“I love the romance of the Biden story.” Dowd added. “Just the fact that this guy that everyone had written off gets to be president at this very belated stage is a pretty amazing story. And that he has fallen in love with the idea of going big. I completely trust him in terms of, when I go to bed, I know he’s doing the best he can do as president.”

Summer Nights: Maureen Dowd spoke to Hugh Linehan of The Irish Times
Summer Nights: Maureen Dowd spoke to Hugh Linehan of The Irish Times

Dowd described the biggest difference between Barack Obama and Biden to be that “Obama was not sentimental at all”, which she believed hurt Obama. “Biden loves the cheap sentiment... I think this is one of the few presidents I’ve seen in modern history that is absolutely crazy about the Irish and intends to celebrate them in every way he can.”

Dowd, who won a Pulitzer for her coverage after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, during Bill Clinton’s administration, said “it was very difficult to make that decision in real time about who to support, because all the feminists were supporting Hillary and Bill, and sort of trading off progressive policies for women.

“I could never understand how Hillary could keep being a feminist icon when she directly participated in plots to smear all of the girlfriends, right through Monica, for telling the truth.”

The Irish Times Summer Nights festival, sponsored by Peugeot, is a series of online talks featuring Irish Times journalists in conversation with local and international authorities. It runs until Thursday, July 1st.

Still to come in the festival are: Roddy Doyle talking to Fintan O’Toole; Mona Eltahawy with Róisín Ingle; and Jo Spain talking to Bernice Harrison. A ticket covering all events costs €50, or €25 for Irish Times subscribers. Full schedule and tickets from irishtimes.com/summernights.

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