Dowd was always irreverent, but as the world turned darker, so her columns took on a grotesque flamboyance, became more a satirical cabaret - she put a spanner in the works of truthiness and made the calamitous shatteringly funny. "Vice" was Cheney - since the incident in which he shot his hunting partner, he's also now Shooter; General Karl is Karl Rove, Bush's chief of staff; Richard Perle, one of the most committed of the neocons, was the Prince of Darkness; W moved from the Oedipal Boy King to Top Gun. In April 2004 Dowd wrote her real scorcher, Bushworld, which later became the name of her collection of writings on the Bush administrations. It is a litany of deadpan statements, acidly and relentlessly pointing up the gap between the Bushies' reality and the real world: "In Bushworld, our troops go to war and get killed, but you never see the bodies coming home ... In Bushworld, the CIA says it can't find out whether there are WMD in Iraq unless we invade on the grounds that there are WMD."
As a friend of mine says as his secret to success, "Cold steel, hard cash, dry socks - and stay away from red-headed women!"
Fat chance, pal.