Stupid, yes, but exciting for the same reason the first few jabs of a fight are exciting — it’s the thrill of first contact and the promise of a beating to come.

Who’d have guessed, though, that David Geffen would land the first clean shots?

Among other things, Hollywood and music mogul Geffen had told Dowd, “God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton?” and “Obama is inspirational, and he’s not from the Bush royal family or the Clinton royal family. Americans are dying every day in Iraq. And I’m tired of hearing James Carville on television.”…

She is overproduced and overscripted. “It’s not a very big thing to say, ‘I made a mistake’ on the war, and typical of Hillary Clinton that she can’t,” Mr. Geffen says. “She’s so advised by so many smart advisers who are covering every base. I think that America was better served when the candidates were chosen in smoke-filled rooms.”…

Once, David Geffen and Bill Clinton were tight as ticks… They fell out in 2000, when Mr. Clinton gave a pardon to Marc Rich after rebuffing Mr. Geffen’s request for one for Leonard Peltier. “Marc Rich getting pardoned? An oil-profiteer expatriate who left the country rather than pay taxes or face justice?” Mr. Geffen says. “Yet another time when the Clintons were unwilling to stand for the things that they genuinely believe in. Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”

Hillary’s guy read that and started whining about personal attacks, which prompted Obama’s guy to start whining about what the mean man in South Carolina whom she basically paid to endorse her said about him being black. Whereupon Hillary’s guy whined that he’d take that as an admission that Obama’s a hypocrite whose promises of a “new tone” in Washington mean embracing slash-and-burn politics.

Democrats: even their mudslinging is weak and ineffectual.

On the upside, though, a slew of sweet quotes came out of it. First, from the “aren’t you glad they put Dowd behind a firewall?” file:

Dowd sized up the situation thusly: “Who can pay attention to the Oscar battle between ‘The Queen’ and ‘Dreamgirls’ when you’ve got a political battle between a Queen and a Dreamboy?”

Then Barry O himself at yesterday’s celebrity Hollywood fundraiser, kissing ass at heretofore unapproached levels of banality:

“Don’t sell yourselves short,’’ Obama said in his 25-minute speech, per the pool report. “You are the storytellers of our age.”

Then this somewhat gratuitous yet welcome bit of observation by our pals at the AP:

The day took Obama to widely contrasting places, although they were just miles (kilometers) apart. At the outdoor rally he talked at length of the struggles of common Americans, then later addressed a crowd of celebrities at the fundraiser where guests nibbled on shrimp dumplings and crab cakes.

And finally, a slogan worthy of a campaign poster from CAIR’s favorite congressman:

Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison says he supports Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for president.

“Not because he’s black,” said Ellison, who is black, on Tuesday. “That’s identity politics. I reject identity politics.

“He speaks with a unifying spirit,” Ellison told about 100 employees at the Star Tribune newspaper during a lunch-hour event for Black History Month.

Exit question: Bearing in mind that Obama has already been demagogued twice for his supposed ties to Islam, how enthusiastic is he on a scale from 1 to 10 to pick up the coveted Keith Ellison endorsement?