(Cliff Owen/AP)

Maureen Dowd in Sunday’s New York Times drove home a rule that big-time columnists everywhere should heed. When you have no material, no news to bounce off of, and no time/inclination to do some reporting, it’s best just to take the week off.

Instead of writing something that contains these paragraphs, for example:

While Obama has developed an unnerving and enervating pattern of going into a prewin slump — as in New Hampshire and Texas in the 2008 primaries or the first debate with Mitt Romney — [Robert Griffin III] never allows his batteries to run down while he’s playing. His parents were Army sergeants — he was born in Okinawa, Japan, and his father served in Iraq — who imbued their son with the ethos of hard work and discipline. The only time Griffin drooped was when he got a concussion in the game against Atlanta.

While Obama prefers to preen as the man alone in the arena — keeping other pols at a distance on stage, parsimoniously handing out thanks and failing to mention his party or top surrogate Bill Clinton in his last victory speech — RGIII never passes up a chance to share credit.

Call it a blowout for tired and invalid analogies over sound columnizing. That said, Dowd may have done Washington a service here. By placing her what-Obama-can-learn-from-RGIII column in such a prominent spot — the Sunday NYT, that is — perhaps she ensures that we’ll never see the likes of this logic again.