Maureen Dowd, in her comfort zone ...

... Fantasizing about the Clintons' and their marriage.

Let's start with Dowd's description of Hillary Clinton's response to a question at a town hall in Africa:

Using tough hand gestures not seen since “The Sopranos” went off HBO, Hillary snapped back at an African college student who asked about the growing influence of China on Africa and then, according to the translator, wanted to know: “What does Mr. Clinton think?”

It turned out that the student was trying to ask how President Obama felt about it. But before he was able to clarify, the secretary of state flared: “Wait, you want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state. I am.”

Yeah, the Secretary of State looked just like a gang of murderous thugs. If, that is, you're a delusional columnist bent on portraying her in the worst possible light. Now, did Clinton “snap[] back” and “flare[]” before the student was able to clarify? Well, she "paused nearly nine seconds" before responding to the question. When was this clarification Dowd imagines going to come? Nine minutes after the question had been asked?

Speaking of the question, Dowd's paraphrase of it seems more innocuous than it really was. Clinton wasn't simply asked “What does Mr. Clinton think?” She was asked “We have all heard about Chinese contracts in this country, the interferences from the World Bank about this contract. What does Mr. Clinton think through the mouth of Mrs. Clinton?”

A little more understandable how someone would have a negative reaction to that wording, isn't it?

Back to Dowd:

[W]e all know Hillary could just as well have made the same comment in Paris. (And looking unhinged about your marriage on an international stage hardly empowers women.) She may have been steamed about Bill celebrating his upcoming 63rd birthday in Las Vegas with his posse. The Times's Adam Nagourney irritated Clinton Inc. when he reported that Bill went to the pricey Craftsteak restaurant at the MGM Grand HoteltMonday night with Hollywood moguls Steve Bing and Haim Saban, and former advisers Terry McAuliffe and Paul Begala, among others.

“Unhinged” is quite clearly a wild exaggeration. And does Maureen Dowd really expect us to believe Hillary Clinton's reaction was a result of being “steamed” that Bill Clinton celebrated his birthday at a “pricey” restaurant? Craftsteak surely is expensive, but I'm pretty sure the Clintons can afford it.

This is pure fantasy.