Maureen Dowd entered May with a sonic boom of idiocy that was felt as far away as Australia, and exited with a Memorial Day weekend column so patronizing it’s still ringing in my ears. In between she went, as usual, to the movies — the metaphorical movie palace of her mind, that is, where she set up “Rummy” and Cheney as various screen idols and then tossed popcorn at them.

In her May 9 column, for instance, she scolded the vice president for “being more Jack Palance than Shane” (whatever that means), and Rumsfeld for resembling a Jack Nicholson character. But that’s just Maureen at the movies, fluffy and inane as usual. More remarkable was the deep thinking she attempted at the beginning and end of last month.

Dowd’s May 6 column found her at the White House Correspondents’ dinner — Yay! She went somewhere! — where she described Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz as “swanning around in black tie” when they should have been back at work, fixing Iraq. (I don’t know where she’s been picking up Brit terms like swanning around, by the way, when she hardly ever leaves the office; maybe she’s been watching a lot of BBC America.) Wolfowitz narrowly escaped a scolding from Maureen’s psychotic schoolmarm persona when he stopped by her table: “I wanted to snap, ‘Get back to your desk, Mr. Myopia from Utopia!'”

That would have showed him, all right. But anyway, what caught Australian blogger Tim Blair’s eye here was this Dowd sentence: “Can’t the hawks who dragged us into this hideous unholy war at least pay attention to a crisis of American credibility that’s exposing Iraq and the world to more dangers every day?”

As Blair aptly noted: “If Dowd’s views were reversed, we’d be reading something like this: ‘Can’t the pussies who denounced this beautiful God-given war at least acknowledge the American bravery that’s making Iraq and the world more perfect every day?’ Run that line and you’ll be condemned as a tabloid simpleton. Dowd’s view is exactly as sophisticated, but redeemed somehow by being anti-war.”

Exactly. What struck me in this column, though (it really was a classic), were a couple of other sentences. “Far from transforming the Mideast into democracies that flower with love of America and Israel,” she wrote, “the bumbling neo-cons have unleased a rash of racism, revenge and hate.” That’s in contrast to the children’s paradise of multicultural tolerance the Mideast was before the Bush administration, evidently, where no madrassah was complete without a Hanukkah bush in December.

Possibly more laughable is this truly nutty graph: “[Disney CEO] Michael Eisner evidently also feels the Bush dynasty will survive because he is balking at distributing a new documentary by Michael Moore that criticizes President Bush’s 9/11 actions and ties with the Saudis, probably out of fear that Jeb will come after his Disney World tax breaks.”

Probably? At this point, Moore is such a famous fabulist that even people who agree with his politics recognize his supposedly sudden squabble with Disney — which had said a year ago it wouldn’t distribute “Farenheit 9/11” — as a shrewd grab for free publicity. And since when can the Florida tax laws be changed just to spite Michael Moore? I doubt that Dowd is naive enough to actually buy Moore’s Disney spiel, which means that she’s dishonest enough to pretend to.

She does seem to be genuinely unaware of 20th-Century history, though, judging by her May 30 column. This is the one that had her venturing out — Again! — to see the new World War II Memorial, which she hadn’t expected to like, but was won over by “all the adorable World War II veterans rolling in wheelchairs…”

You know, I think if you survived Normandy or Iwo Jima you deserve better in your old age than to be clucked over by a condescending Maureen Dowd. But maybe that’s just me. The really rattle-headed part of this column comes a few graphs down:

“World War II had such stark moral clarity in history that it’s almost irrelevant in providing lessons about conflict in a grayer time,” Dowd wrote. “The Japanese bombed us; they didn’t have putatively threatening ‘weapons of mass-desctruction-related program activities,’ as President Bush said of Iraq.”

“Although conservatives compared Saddam to Hitler, America did not have to be persuaded with ‘actionable’ intelligence before confronting Hitler,” she continued.

Now of course World War II had “stark moral clarity” in history; history often provides moral clarity, unlike current events. But what’s baldly stupid about this passage is its ignorance of the past.

Dowd’s ensuing graph ignores facts set forth in the previous one — America did have to be “persuaded with ‘actionable intelligence,'” e.g. the attack on Pearl Harbor, before entering World War II — and seems entirely innocent of the isolationist sentiments in this country (and England) that, had they been resisted, might have stopped Hitler from beginning World War II in the first place.

The reason conservatives compare Saddam to Hitler is not only because of his megalomaniacal ambitions and genocidal habits, but because of his apologists over here. As late as 1939, the German-American Bund held a Madison Square Garden demonstration of more than 20,000 people who booed FDR and shouted “Heil Hitler.” More mainstream was the isolationist America First movement and its sympathizers, complaining about Jews trying to drag the U.S. into a European war.

You’d have to be blind not to see reminders of this in every Not In Our Name rally or “She Is Not Your Enemy” flyer printed up by ANSWER, picturing a winsome Iraqi child. Or maybe you’d just have to be Maureen Dowd.

Catherine Seipp is a writer, and she blogs at her website “Cathy’s World.”