Dowd should learn from editorial cartoonists. Don't copy cartoons exactly--just the ideas. So if your brain isn't working one day and notice some other guys drawing a ball player with steroid needles coming out of his butt labeled "stimulus," you can swipe their idea. But only the lowest form of pond scum would actually trace it--you find a new composition and make the thievery your own.
And don't worry, Ms. Dowd. You can still win Pulitzers this way as well.