One side note; Thers says that he is "most familiar" with the small city of Binghamton, NY, just sixty miles east of my old stomping grounds.
In any event, the line in question from Dowd is this one:
If the gender game worked when Rick Lazio muscled into her space, why shouldn’t it work when Obama and Edwards muster some mettle? If she could become a senator by playing the victim after Monica, surely she can become president by playing the victim now.
First of all, enough of the "gender card", especially as it is a phrase that denotes the opposite of its intended meaning. What it intends to mean is a person is using "gender" as a category to divide the electorate based upon an identity politics of grievance. In the same way that the phrase "race card" is used by bigots to complain when they are called out, and "class warfare" is screeched from the highest mountaintops when someone points out that a corporation, aided by the government, is screwing workers, it now seems that "gender card" will be trotted out whenever a woman runs for office. Or perhaps only when Hillary Clinton runs for office.
Maureen Dowd was "writing" at the Times during her 2000 run for the Senate. Since she is a "reporter" one might have assumed she would have gone back and read the campaign reports filed by her paper. Or she might have interviewed voters who went to rallies, perhaps, or did volunteer work for her. SHe might even have perused a campaign flyer or two in order to substantiate the claim that Sen. Clinton played the victim against her opponent, Rick Lazio.
As Thers points out, Clinton won in 2000, and again in 2006, by running in the whole state, familiarizing herself with the issues north of Duchess County and west of the Hudson River, and campaigning in places no New York State Senate candidate had ventured. One may disagree with her policies, but no one can say she sat in an office in Manhattan and played "poor me" in order to win. As Thers rightly points out, she worked her ass off.
So. Dowd just spins stuff she finds floating through that vast space between her ears (or that she pulls out of her ass, which is more likely) and it becomes part and parcel of the conventional wisdom. Or, as is the case with her description of the New York Senate race in 2000, is an established "fact" of "history". That it isn't, and that the so-called "gender card" is a way for lazy journalists who fear a woman President to discuss the candidate without actually dealing with issues. It can be all about her boobies, as The Washington Post has already made clear.
Lord help us over the next year. Or even over the next nine years.