Dowd at South by Southwest in 2017
Matthew John Dowd
May 29, 1961
|Political party||Independent (2008–present)|
Democratic (Before 1999)
Dowd was born in Detroit, Michigan, to an Irish Catholic family. He grew up the third of 11 children; his father was an auto executive and his mother was an elementary school teacher before becoming a homemaker. His parents were Republicans. Dowd attended Cardinal Newman College in St. Louis, Missouri. Dowd attributes his early interest in politics to the Watergate Committee hearings during the summer of 1973 when he was 12 years old.
Dowd volunteered for the campaign of Rep William Broomfield R-MI and, while attending college in St. Louis, Missouri, for the campaign of Governor Joseph P. Teasdale D-Mo. He also worked on the staff of Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo. He began his political career as a Democrat, as a member of Senator Lloyd Bentsen's, D-Tex., Senate and campaign staffs. He also worked for, among others, Texas Lt. Governor Bob Bullock. In 1999, he switched parties to become a Republican.
Dowd was the strategist for Arnold Schwarzenegger during his 2006 reelection campaign.
As reported in The New York Times on April 1, 2007, Dowd had come to feel a deep frustration with and great disappointment in George W. Bush, whom he criticized for failing to call the nation together in a time of war, for ignoring the will of the American public with regard to the Iraq War, his re-nomination of former UN ambassador John Bolton after his rejected confirmation and for failing to hold Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld accountable for the Abu Ghraib scandal. According to Democracy Now!, Dowd claims to have undergone a change of heart regarding the Iraq War, and adopted a position advocating a withdrawal from that country, after contemplating the likelihood of his own son's deployment to the country, as well as after seeing Bush refuse to meet with anti-war-mother Cindy Sheehan in the summer of 2005, while he was entertaining Lance Armstrong at his ranch in Crawford, Texas; President Bush had previously met with Cindy Sheehan in June 2004. Dowd cited these incidents, as well as Bush's handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, as cause for this change.
Upon leaving the Bush administration, Dowd has not been on speaking terms with former White House political adviser Karl Rove. Sidney Blumenthal, in an opinion piece in Salon, titled "Matthew Dowd's not-so-miraculous conversion", described Dowd as an "opportunist".
On December 2, 2010, Dowd penned an opinion piece in the National Journal defending WikiLeaks, writing that, "Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on a few things: That the government, in the name of fighting terrorism, has the right to listen in on all of our phone conversations and read our e-mails, even if it has no compelling reason for doing so."
Dowd is currently a founding partner of ViaNovo, a strategy consultancy. He has taught at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. As of 2015, he is also a visiting Fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
He is co-author of the New York Times bestseller "Applebee's America: How Successful Political, Business and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community." His book, "A New Way: Embracing the Paradox as We Lead and Serve", was released in 2017.
Dowd is a vocal opponent of President Trump and believes that Trump's use of Twitter is dangerous, impulsive and counterproductive. Dowd was especially upset with tweets aimed at the leader of North Korea.
Dowd married and divorced twice. He has three sons from his first marriage. His second marriage ended in divorce after one of his twin infant daughters died in the hospital. His eldest son, Daniel, is an Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was deployed to Baghdad from 2007-2009 as signals intelligence specialist.
- Dowd, Matthew J., Ron Fournier, and Douglas B. Sosnik. "Applebee's America: How Successful Political, Business, and Religious Leaders Connect With the New American Community." New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006. Includes interviews with people whom the authors met at Applebee's restaurants.
- "The Axe Files Ep. 2 - Matthew Dowd". October 5, 2015. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
- Bumiller, Elisabeth (August 30, 2004). "THE REPUBLICANS: THE CONVENTION IN NEW YORK -- THE STRATEGIST; A Bush Backer Mixes Caution With Confidence". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
- "Matthew Dowd". University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service Speaker Series. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
- Barabak, Mark Z. (November 14, 2007). "A Bush strategist blazes his own trail". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
- "Matthew Dowd". ABC. January 4, 2008. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
- NPR: Matthew Dowd, "Turning Sour on Bush" NPR; December 31, 2008
- Peter Baker: A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease. Washington Post, July 2, 2007; Page A01
- Oren Dorell (2005-08-07). "Soldier's mother keeps protest vigil at Bush ranch". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
- "Key Bush Insider Speaks Out, Calls for Iraq Withdrawal". Democracy Now!. 2007-04-02. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- Rutenberg, Jim. "Ex-Aide Says He's Lost Faith in Bush" The New York Times, April 1, 2007
- Rutenberg, Jim (August 19, 2007). "Rove says it's Dems who are divisive / Outgoing Bush aide rejects blame from critics on both sides". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- Matthew Dowd's not-so-miraculous conversion | Salon
- Dowd, Matthew, To Tell the Truth, Dec 2, 2010, National Journal, accessed Dec. 4, 2010
- "Connecting with Gut Values in 'Applebee's America'". Morning Edition. NPR. October 18, 2006. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
- "How do Trump's Twitter taunts affect the Presidency". News Hour. PBS. June 29, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
- Kurtz, Howard (December 7, 2007). "ABC Nabs Latest Media Player From Bush Team, Matthew Dowd". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
- The Reliable Source (November 1, 2013). "Schwarzenegger follows his passion; Maria follows hers — a new boyfriend". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
- Zennie, Michael (August 22, 2014). "Two divorces, a baby girl who died and 100 crosses in his Texas home: Meet the former Bush adviser who been dating Maria Shriver for the past year". Daily Mail. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
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