Cuomo's no Thomas More; Dowd's Still Dowd

I really want to stop writing about her but Maureen Dowd’s extended adolescence just attracts my morbid curiosity, and next thing I know, I have an urge to fisk. Writing on NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, she’s just so irresistibly herself:

“It’s troubling for me as a Catholic to be at odds with the church,” he began, before dissolving into a wry laugh. “Having said that, it seems that my entire political life, the tension with the church has come up again and again.”

Yes, that’s some laughing matter, being at odds with the church. I suspect Cuomo is an all-together more serious person than Dowd, and I doubt he “dissolved” into a wry laugh about it. Wryness, itself, implies a sardonic bark, and sardonic barks usually preclude dissolution in order to get on to the matter at-hand

Just as his father seized a social issue and established himself in opposition to the church with his Notre Dame speech on abortion, now the son has seized a social issue and established himself in opposition to the church with gay marriage.

It was precisely the corkscrew reasoning of his father, in that Notre Dame speech, that has helped Catholic Democrats perpetuate one of the most dishonest, politically expedient and life-destroying, bumper-stickeresque examples-of-non-thinking ever: “while I am personally opposed to abortion, I cannot “impose my views on others.” It’s the line Nancy Pelosi uses when discussing abortion, but drops when she’s trying to pass a ruinous Obamacare bill by touting scripture and St. Joseph. It’s the line that “works” for some on abortion, but never could (and never should) “work” on an issue like, slavery. Would a Cuomo, a Pelosi or a Kennedy have told the founders, “I am personally opposed to slavery, but cannot impose my views on others…” Of course not, because it would be a stupid argument. But I digress…

“I have a portrait of Saint Thomas More in my office,” the governor said . . It is a picture Mario Cuomo once kept in his office. He gave it to Andrew as a present when he graduated from Albany Law School, and the younger Cuomo has kept it with him for 30 years as he moved from job to job and city to city. “It’s not the first time there is a tension between the teachings of the church and the administration of the law, for my father and for myself.” Dryly, he adds: “I haven’t lost my head yet.”

It’s unlikely that he would, since he runs counter to the church, not the king. While I have my doubts about Dowd, I do credit Cuomo with knowing that St. Thomas More lost his head because he was “the King’s good servant, but God’s first,” which makes me wonder why either Cuomo carries the martyr’s portrait around, unless — in their untouchable brilliance — they see themselves as spoon-reflections, martyred by the church for their enlightenment. Which, if that’s how they feel, would be a conceit, not reality. But I have no idea, really; the logic does not compute.

Far from it . . . He has managed to stay on good terms with New York’s pugnacious archbishop, Timothy Dolan, who waged a relatively muted battle against gay marriage that Cuomo calls “reasonable.”

Only Maureen Dowd (who last week referred to the transparently joyful Timothy Dolan as the “starchbishop”) would call Dolan “pugnacious.” Maybe she thinks it means “cute as a Pug.” Last week, she portrayed Dolan as a knife-between-teeth-take-no-prisoners-inquisitor carrying stake, lighter fluid and matches. This week, she describes his opposition to the gay marriage legislation as “relatively muted.” The Relatively Muted Pugnacious Starchbishop. It sounds like an SNL cartoon! I often get the sense that the world flips through Dowd’s awareness like brightly colored panels and balloon dialogue. It all makes sense, now.

When I asked if the archbishop would preside over the ceremony if the governor decides to tie the knot with the Food Network glamour girl Sandra Lee, Cuomo says it couldn’t happen “because I’m divorced.”

Which, of course, Dowd would know; it’s a question she need not have asked, except that it gives this inveterate needlewoman a chance to needle Cuomo and the Archbishop, and the church, and it also lets her make fun of Cuomo’s “Food Network glamour girl” (which she does later in the piece, too) because at heart Maureen Dowd is perpetually in high-school, and forever the mean girl lingering at the farthest end of the Prom Queen’s retinue — compelled to make fun of anyone she possibly can, in order to prove that she belongs at the “cool kids” part of the lunchroom.
[...]

“I have never been in anything like that in my life, period. . . Just the difference we made in people’s lives, how we touched people and made them feel good about society. It was really magic. “A father, maybe 60 years old, came up to me and said, ‘You know, I have a gay son, and I never really accepted him and I shouldn’t have needed you to tell me that it was O.K. to accept my own boy. But I did.’ ”


It’s very sad that a father could not accept his son
without a government sanction, but to the rest of it: “Sentimentalism is the force of feel-goodism, the means by which we may cast off the conventions of faith and casually dismiss those institutions that refuse to submit to the trending times and morals. The Sentimentalist trusts his feelings over hallowed authority or the urgings of his reason, frequently answering hard religious questions with some noble-sounding phrase like “The God I believe in wouldn’t…” (fill in the blank). What fits in that blank is typically some tenet of traditional faith that isn’t currently fashionable, some moral demand that pop culture considers impossible—and hence, not worth even trying. Thus the Sentimentalist, while believing he follows the inviolate voice of his conscience, is really sniffing after trends, forming his heart according to the sensus fidelium of middlebrow magazines and public radio. — me, here.

[Cuomo and his father] talk at least once a day, and he says he values his father’s advice on any issue the “always rational” Mario chooses to weigh in on.

It is a stark contrast to the Bush 43, who was still afraid of his dad’s shadow as president and avoided talking issues with 41.

Oh, you dishonest, hate-obsessed, sniping harpy, you know damn well that if Bush 43 had talked to his father every day, you’d have crucified him for it with a gem on the order of: “The boy-pwince needs to tawk to Poppy evewy day, or he can’t find the Owal Owwice!”

I ask him if it bothers him that he lives with a Food Network star but often keeps a 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. schedule at work that causes him to miss out on his girlfriend’s famous “semi-homemade” meals at home. (His mom’s criticism of her lasagna is another thing you don’t kid about.)

The parting needle, of course. What a nasty, passive-aggressive snot.

I disagree with Andrew Cuomo on many things
, but do think he is smart, and that he was grown from his own “pugnacious” beginnings into a person who — having endured a few tumbles — tries to be reasonable and respectful. That he politely endured what had to be an interminable phone call with this sniggering perpetual 14-year-old speaks well of his mannerliness and his patience.

And of that, perhaps, St. Thomas More would be proud.

UPDATE: Lisa Graas gets cute
Father Z
American Papist

UPDATE II: Deacon Greg has Polling Data, suggesting Catholics like Cuomo. Sigh.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Doc

    Hah, classic! Dishonest, hate-obsessed, sniping harpy seems to describe most of the corporate media types. It sure is apt for Lil’ Georgie and the rest of the squad currently dedicating themselves to the character-assassination of all candidates who might threaten the reign of Obama.

  • DaveO

    Anchoress,

    The Roman Catholic Church feeds this wolf of rebellion. I’ve yet to see the Church actively oppose anything that brings its flock out of communion with the Lord. An institution that does not oppose, by definition then supports such action.

    Cuomo would get as much benefit of religion as an Episcopal, Methodist, or Presbyterian as he receives today in Catholicism. A a cultural point of identifying one’s self, being Catholic is used by these politicos to boast an aura of principled beliefs resting on the bedrock of Xt. Then they routinely enable abortion, and whatever passing fad supports rebellion from G-d.

    The Protestants are in a period of schism over these same issues, with many churches unafraid to tell errant members of the congregation of their love, and their love of seeing the errancy leave and not return.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Maureen Dowd is just a superficial twit who just tries to sensationalize. But why is Andrew Cuomo a Catholic? He’s divorced, living with a woman not his wife, pro-abortion, and pushed through the most harmful anti marriage legislation in history, one that will hurt the Church. He ought to just do us all a favor and stop being a Catholic. If there is anyone the Chuch needs to make an example of by not allowing him to take communion, it’s Andrew Cuomo. I will be very disappointed in our Bishops if they do not do something more forceful. He practically spit in the eye of the Church.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Kudos to DaveO in #2 for this insight:

    “I’ve yet to see the Church actively oppose anything that brings its flock out of communion with the Lord. An institution that does not oppose, by definition then supports such action.”

  • craig

    It seems to me as if a large number of Catholics, perhaps even a majority, exhibit the same self-hatred toward the Church that the broader Left exhibits toward Western Civilization as a whole. (Since Catholics vote mostly with the left, this is not too much of a surprise: they may be the same people in both instances.) It’s hard to ever fathom, much less accept, the claim that the Church is the pillar of truth, when the people closest to her don’t believe it themselves.

  • Dcn. Rich

    “at heart Maureen Dowd is perpetually in high-school, and forever the mean girl lingering at the farthest end of the Prom Queen’s retinue — compelled to make fun of anyone she possibly can, in order to prove that she belongs at the “cool kids” part of the lunchroom”.

    That, my dear Elizabeth is a brilliant observation. Bravo.

    As far as Gov. Cuomo and the esteemed Ms. Dowd are concerned they might wish to ponder their own eventual mortality and what comes after this life. I would offer them Ecc 1:1-11

    “Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! What profit has man from all the labor which he toils at under the sun? One generation passes and another comes, but the world forever stays”…

    It’s amazing to me what people are willing to risk for some notoriety, or power, or money or any combination of the three at the risk of eternity through the scandal they perpetrate.

    By acknowledging their Catholic faith in the public square, they take on a level of responsibility to God that they either reject, don’t care about or never believed in the first place. Either way it leads people away from the Church and the truths laid down by our faith on a large scale.

    Did anyone order a millstone?

  • Gail F

    “at heart Maureen Dowd is perpetually in high-school, and forever the mean girl lingering at the farthest end of the Prom Queen’s retinue — compelled to make fun of anyone she possibly can, in order to prove that she belongs at the “cool kids” part of the lunchroom”

    The best description of that woman I have ever read!!!!

    Craig (comment 5) has a great point. Many Catholics seem to feel the same hatred of the Church that many Westerners seem to feel toward Western civilization — a strange sort of guilt-by-proxy for all sorts of things, real and imagined, that their ancestors supposedly did, with a refusal to up and quit themselves. As long as they criticize and hate themselves they can make up for living comfortable, prosperous lives. I used to feel that way myself, but I grew out of it.

  • Bill

    Manny, the same Sentimentalism Elizabeth describes here is what keeps Cuomo a Catholic.

  • CV

    I’m with Gail, you have truly nailed MoDo as the “mean girl lingering at the farthest end of the prom queen’s retinue.”

    I listened to a MoDo interview once in which she admitted that when she was tapped to write the NYT column she privately wondered if she was up to the task. Why would anyone care about her opinions, she claims to have wondered. If only she had listened to that voice inside her head! I think deep in her heart she knows she is a lightweight and she’s just pretending to be a “thinker.” That’s why she always resorts to snarky wordplay overladen with pop culture references (ooooh, the Catholic gov. is living with Sandra Lee! Let’s find a way to work that into this particular self-hating Catholic column.) She’s not capable of real analysis.

    One of the many, many frustrating things about MoDo is the fact that her column appears, like clockwork, in our local paper every Tues. after the Sunday edition of the NYT. And my fallen away Catholic sister laps it right up.

    While I’m on an armchair analsysis kick here, I’ll mention another thing I’ve wondered about Dowd. She is famously the youngest child in a large family of conservative older siblings. Could it be she still wants to prove herself to the big kids? Look at me, I’m a such a “freethinking” (not to mention stubborn) rebel!

    That’s how it is with my own CINO baby sis, anyway.

  • Mandy P.

    As a new Catholic Recieved into the Church this Easter season, I am loathed to even suggest that people be denied the Eucharist. I remember well how agonizing the wait was for me. The Lord was right there and I couldn’t have Him! It was awful!

    That being said, I honestly don’t know what else to think at this point. Obviously that’s not my decision to make. But I am quite a bit frustrated at us regular, non-powerful-politician-type people being (very rightly!) told that we’re cooperating with grave evil and committing a mortal sin if we vote for a politician who is pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage but at the same time seeing those same politicians who openly and very publicly flout the Magesterium continue to do so with absolutely no penalty whatsoever. Even my in somewhat conservative parish the bulk of parishioners consider the likes of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi “good Catholics” because nothing has ever been done to them so they must be Catholics in good standing, right? It drives me nuts!

  • Mandy P.

    And to add to Ms. Scalia’s commentary about the whole “personally opposed, but” nonsense, I have heard more Catholics say quite openly that if they think a politician is right, they don’t care if they’re pro- abortion and/or pro-gay marriage. That those two issues won’t keep them from getting their guy in! My attempts to point out that out that if their judgment is that poor on those two issues that are supposed to be non-negotiable for Catholics, “how can you trust their judgment on anything else?” have fallen on many deaf ears.

  • Marilyn

    Andrew Cuomo is just another religious hypocrite pretending to agonize over moral choices–just like his father. Let the Catholics keep both of them. Like all politicians they both put themselves first, their party second, and their constituency last and religious values have nothing to do with that. Being elected and reelected is what counts.

    Politicians are the last who should be talking about family values or religious values. Their spouses and children sacrifice a lot for a politician’s ambitions. There’s a reason Mario Cuomo was force to remove his name from consideration as a US Supreme Court Justice nominee but neither father or son will ever tell you why.

    This country will come a long way only when they elect a proud atheist or agnostic for president. Do we really believe the majority of our male politicians ponder whether or not to be pro choice or anti-abortion? All that matters is what their bases think. Since almost all of us know men well, its apparent that baseball, football, basketball and other sports and statistics related to sports are what most men really care about–not abortion.

    There’s a reason Mario Cuomo was force to remove his name from consideration as a US Supreme Court Justice nominee but neither father or son will ever tell you why.

  • Sherrill

    Andrew Cuomo somehow comparing himself to St. Thomas More?? Without trying to judge the state of another person’s soul; as we all know St Thomas more’s last words were ” I die the King’s good man but God’s first” Some how I don’t see Andrew saying that. Henry VIII did not want to kill Thomas More but to live More would have had to behave “counter to the Church” and agree the King could be head of the Church. Cuomo and Dowd no doubt would have agreed with the King, More did not. Somehow I don’t hear Cuomo saying ” I die New York’s good man but God’s first.”

  • LaVallette

    “Andrew Cuomo a Catholic? He’s divorced, living with a woman not his wife, pro-abortion, and pushed through the most harmful anti marriage legislation in history, one that will hurt the Church. ”

    And Kim Jong Il’s North Korea is a democracy!!!

  • Dynan

    Lwx orandi

    Lex credenti

    Lex vivendi

    Only God the Father knows who has excommunicated

    themselves, far be it from me to know. I have enough

    problems taking my own inventory and admitting my

    mistakes. Life is very short compared to eternity, pray

    hard and often.

  • LaVallette

    And one thing Thomas More did not do was abandon his principles for “fellowships’ sake. His reply was “What merits a man if he gains the whole world and then loses his won soul? Would you then accompany me into eternal damnation for fellowship’s sake/”.

    But then all Cuomoesque/Pelosian/Kennedyesque Faustian Contracts do eventually have to meet THEIR end of the bargain. It will not be a pretty sight when they call on God with “I am a Catholic, but” and He replies “But I do not know you”. for “Not everyone that says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but those that DO the will of my Father will enter the Kingdom of Heaven”.

  • JAL

    Weird how obsessed MoDo is with George W Bush.

    She needs to read Decision Points.

    With an open mind.

    But that would be too much to ask.

    Not a Catholic, but find it interesting how hard people work to undermine the devout.

  • Francis

    As the Times shifts even more to the the left, so must Ms Dowd.

  • Mary

    It’s very sad that a father could not accept his son without a government sanction,

    If true. An anonymous father making such a claim to ther person reporting it alone. . . .

  • Liz

    “But why is Andrew Cuomo a Catholic?”

    Because religion is not just religion. It is a cultural, social and political phenomenon. Maybe this is more obvious to me as an Irish Protestant. As far as I’m concerned, religion is as much about tribal identity as any actual belief – for instance, I see many Catholics who would walk out of their church if their priest denounced contraception or divorce.

    People may not believe in anything their religion/denomination says, or even in god. They may not actually follow everything, or anything, that their religion tells them to do.

    But it’s still the culture in which they were raised. It is very difficult – short of a genuine religious conversion or the need to marry someone of a different faith, both of which my father faced – for people to just walk away and stop identifying with that.

  • Liz

    “If true. An anonymous father making such a claim to ther person reporting it alone. . . .”

    Agreed. If the father had not accepted his gay son because he believed that it would be wrong to do so, then why would legalising gay marriage make a difference? Would it not make him angry?

    That looks like someone trying to show an example of Daddy Govt changing what’s in peoples’ hearts. I support same sex marraige, but all that does is remind me of Bloomberg’s sanctimonious claims that leadership involves ignoring the will of the people and leading them into what is “right”. Not helpful, and creepy to boot.

  • Maureen

    Here’s something St. Thomas More said about people like Cuomo. From his Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation, written in prison:

    “Business,” is here, cousin, the name of the devil who is ever full of busy-ness in tempting folk to much evil business… he carrieth about with him such foolish folk as will follow him and setteth them to work with many a manner of bumbling business.

    He setteth some, I say, to seek the pleasures of the flesh in eating, drinking, and other filthy delight. And some he setteth about incessant seeking for these worldly goods. And of such busy folk…, our Saviour saith in the gospel, “He that walketh in darknesses knoweth not whither he goeth.”

    And surely in such a state are they—they neither know which way they go, nor whither. For verily they walk round about as it were in a round maze; when they think themselves at an end of their business, they are but at the beginning again. For is not the going about the serving of the flesh a business that hath no end, but evermore from the end cometh to the beginning again? Go they never so full-fed to bed, yet evermore on the morrow, as new they are to be fed again as they were the day before. Thus fareth it by the belly; thus fareth it by those parts that are beneath the belly…

    But now hath this maze a centre or middle place, into which these busy folk are sometimes conveyed suddenly when they think they are not yet far from the brink. The centre or middle place of this maze is hell. And into that place are these busy folk… sometimes suddenly conveyed, unaware whither they are going. And that may be even while they think that they have not walked far from the beginning, and that they have yet a great way to walk about before they should come to the end. But of these fleshly folk walking in this busy, pleasant maze, the Scripture declareth the end: “They lead their life in pleasure; and at a pop, down they descend into hell.”

  • dry valleys
  • Rich Fader

    Thomas More, Andrew? Richard Rich, more like.

    “Why, Andrew, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world…but for the West Village?”

    Everybody wants to be Thomas More. To the point where they have to lay their head down on the block? Not so much.

  • Q.Q. Moar

    Fred Clark is such a better Christian than you, Elizabeth. A better writer too. He’s a real credit to Patheos.

    [I have no doubt most Christians are better Christians than I am. Thanks. admin]

  • Michael Leroy

    Another reason Mr. Cuomo is no Thomas More: as far as I know, Mr. Cuomo, unlike the saintly Thomas More has never ordered that his opponents be burned alive.

  • Maureen

    I’m sure Cuomo never called for anybody to spend a few days in the stocks, either, but that’s only because it’s not in today’s New York or federal law code.

    It’s fairly well known that “burning at the stake” usually suffocated you within the first few minutes, because trained executioners set the fire so as to devour all the oxygen within range before it even got anywhere close to the person at the stake. All the rest of it was just scared-straight stage dressing for the crowd.

    Cuomo’s totally okay with setting people up to burn forever and ever while totally conscious, though he himself seems to be counting on a last minute anointing to get him out. Or possibly he just thinks he’s so perfect that he is better than God, which is not a theory that worked out for Lucifer.

  • http://sequel2oblivion.blogspot.com/ David

    You know in light of the very declassification of homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder and the subsequent legalization of ‘gay-marriage’. When we look at people like Maureen Down and Governor Cuomo who don’t follow the Catholic faith in practically any way and are always at odds with a religion they have chose to reamain a part of as a imbedded religious insurgents. Why do we assume that people like these two are really sane for the most part. At least why do we expect them and others like them to make logical sense? Thomas Moore, huh?

  • Richard M

    “Another reason Mr. Cuomo is no Thomas More: as far as I know, Mr. Cuomo, unlike the saintly Thomas More has never ordered that his opponents be burned alive.”

    Execution for heresy was on the English law books at the time, and as Lord Chancellor, More was the executor of the laws, not their master. And he worked unceasingly to avoid having to pass such sentence by working for the conversion of the heretics.

    But last I checked, there’s no such law on the U.S. or New York code books.

  • Glen Tomkins

    You might consider changing your handle from Anchoress to Inquisitrix.

    Not only would this be truth in advertising, but it would probably draw more hits from blind searches. Instead of drawing a few people disappointed to find that this isn’t a nautical site, you’ld draw a crowd that might have some level of disappointment that the S&M isn’t sufficiently explicit on the sexual side, but many of them would still be able to relate to you on the psycho side.

  • Michael Leroy

    “And he worked unceasingly to avoid having to pass such sentence by working for the conversion of the heretics.”

    Using the threat of torture and death to impose the state religion on dissenters is not my idea of saintly, let alone civilized, behavior.

  • Beatrix

    Q.Q. Moar – just read around in Fred Clark’s blog; I was dying to find out just what was so wonderful about the man. He’s a poor writer (Mrs. Scalia is an excellent writer) and an extremely sanctimonious leftist. If that’s what you want, go enjoy. The Anchoress is far too gracious to defend herself; too gracious by half in this instance says me. (BTW, are you a good Christian, insulting her in her own comments section?)

  • SKAY

    Thank you Beatrix for confirming what I thought when I read the QQ Moar comment.

    The left is trying to redifine Christianity in their own image.


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