Maureen Dowd Turns to Jane Austen to Try to Explain Obama

Barack Obama has often been compared to previous presidents ranging ideologically from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan. If we want to look further back at figures further back in history, John McCain has compared Obama to William Jennings Bryan. In today’s column Maureen Dowd both takes a character from the past and moves both beyond politics and beyond real people:

The odd thing is that Obama bears a distinct resemblance to the most cherished hero in chick-lit history. The senator is a modern incarnation of the clever, haughty, reserved and fastidious Mr. Darcy.

Like the leading man of Jane Austen and Bridget Jones, Obama can, as Austen wrote, draw “the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien. …he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased.”

The master of Pemberley “had yet to learn to be laught at,” and this sometimes caused “a deeper shade of hauteur” to “overspread his features.”

The New Hampshire debate incident in which Obama condescendingly said, “You’re likable enough, Hillary,” was reminiscent of that early scene in “Pride and Prejudice” when Darcy coldly refuses to dance with Elizabeth Bennet, noting, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me.”

She goes on further, but other than as an addition to the list of Obama comparisons doesn’t really have much to say. Unfortunately this could be said of most of her recent columns which have generally been well below the quality fo her past work. The column might have been more interesting if she had expanded upon the beginning of her column where she mentions “Hillary Clinton’s dead-enders, some of whom mutter darkly that they will not only not vote for him, they will never vote for a man again.”

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    Mo MoDo says:

    I think it was a very clever analogy. Barack makes a very handsome Darcy. I have the photoshop to prove it.

    http://dowdreport.blogspot.com/2008/08/price-of-pride.html

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