GET YOUR HUNGER UNDER CONTROL. In today's Times, Maureen Dowd takes a predictably sneering look at Hillary Clinton's Sopranos video (if you haven't seen it yet, you can watch it at her web site). Fine -- nothing surprising there. But Dowd feels the need to throw this in:

"And like Tony, Hillary is so power-hungry that she can justify any thuggish means to get the prize."

Haven't we had enough of this? Dowd should be smart enough to know that she, like so many others, is applying a ridiculous double-standard to Clinton. How many times has she called Rudy Giuliani "power-hungry," or Mitt Romney, or John Edwards, or Barack Obama? After all, they're all running for president. You have to have a pretty strong thirst for power to subject yourself to the marathon of begging, pandering, and humiliation that is a presidential campaign. Yet there's not supposed to be anything wrong with a man who is ambitious, while the same ambition in a woman is described as sinister, even pathological.

In answer to the rhetorical question posed in the last paragraph, I did the blogger equivalent of the old reporter's trick of picking up the damn phone -- booting up the damn Lexis-Nexis. Turns out that in the couple thousand columns she's written over the years, Dowd has used the term "power-hungry" twice before today. In 1987, she referenced "critics' caricature of [Al] Haig as the sort of power-hungry general who showed up in movies," and in 2000, in one of her imagined conversations in the head of George W. Bush, she mentioned "power-hungry connivers like Bill and Hillary and Al." So there you have it.

--Paul Waldman

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