Saturday, November 01, 2003
�NEVER VERY GOOD WITH NUMBERS�:
Jo Fish ridicules Sullivan�s admitted math problems:
Andy wants to ascribe America-hating Motives to Krugman�s analysis of the growth numbers just released. Well, no one is unhappy when there is some movement in the economy ... but a single point of data is like a flash-flood during a drought. Sure it�s water, but it's hardly helpful or indicative of a permanent condition. Of course, since Sully admits that he does not really understand complex subjects like numbers, an analysis any more complex than that might send him screaming to bed with a hysterical migraine...
posted by Sully 11/01/2003 02:47:00 PM
SQUARE AND PROUD:
TAPped on why Howard Dean will do better in Peoria than Republicans think, unintentionally echoing Sullivan:
For the record, no man who �has been known to stuff pretzels into his pockets,� goes anywhere with �shaving nicks on his neck, uneven fingernails and wrinkles from a hanger creasing his suit at the knees� (as has been documented in The Washington Post) and still wears a 20-year-old suit he bought for $125 at J.C. Penny�s (as Dean claimed on The Tonight Show that he does) can call himself a metrosexual.
First, the man is an unrepentant cheapskate � during the weekend before the last debate, while most other campaign staffers stayed in a Detroit skyscraper, Team Dean slept at a budget hotel. And second, he wears very old clothes.
�Everybody thinks I�m very hip, but I am really a square,� Dean told the Denver Post today, backpedaling from his intitial claim.
And that, alas, is the verifiable truth.
posted by Sully 11/01/2003 01:08:00 AM
WHY THE MARKET IS UNIMPRESSED:
Sawicky on the real problem with the economy.
posted by Sully 11/01/2003 01:03:00 AM
FINALLY FESSING UP:
Just as Clinton-hatred (I plead guilty, in part) wounded Republicans.
Well, it�s nice to see him finally admit this, albeit in an aside near the end of the post.
But the deeper question is just how, at this point, can one who is not a blind follower of the Republican agenda say that the Republican Party was �wounded� by its Clinton-hatred?
In the short-term of the 1998 elections, yes. That year became one of the few in American political history in which a party in power in the White House actually gained Congressional seats in the mid-term election of a second presidential term. And it was, as even the thorniest reactionaries of the time had to concede, a direct response to the effort to impeach Clinton.
But the Republicans still controlled Congress. Both houses. And what did they decide to do?
One would think that if it was recognized that Clinton-hatred was wounding to Republicans, the new GOP leadership in the House after that election would have immediately called a halt to the impeachment and told the American public, �Message received.�
But noooooooo!. The base was more important. Heeding the words of Bill Bennett and others who told them that the American electorate�s overriding opposition to impeachment was a sign that the task was all the more urgent (the sort of attitude conservatives once pointed to in, say, Herbert Marcuse, as evidence of irrefutable liberal elitism), they went full-steam ahead, some hoping (like Tom DeLay) that all would be made understood by the trial, most more honestly concluding that they were still in charge and they were going to do whatever they damn well wanted and if you didn�t like it, see you in 2000.
By which time Clinton had been such an issue for a significant chunk of the electorate that Gore�s own failings as a candidate were multiplied through his association with Clinton, and although he won the popular vote the Supreme Court�s dubious intervention gave conservatives the result they had been hoping for for eight years. The brief flash in the pan when Jeffords� defection gave Democrats control of the Senate was ended in 2002.
Conservatives like David Brooks like to portray this as a result of the party and the movement coming to its senses and getting behind the �uniter, not a divider,� Bush Jr. But the truth of the matter is that, as Josh Marshall notes:
However you slice it the Beltway Republican party had grievously and dangerously alienated itself from public opinion on numerous fronts. Clinton-hating was a big loser with a decisive majority of the electorate � at least 60 percent. Yet it still played a key role in the 2000 election.
The key was George W. Bush.
In his person, Bush seemed to Republican partisans to be the antithesis of Clinton. He also consistently tapped at the anti-Clinton keywords like honor, and respect for the office and so forth. At the same time, Bush didn�t come from Washington (or didn�t appear to). And thus he could portray himself as unconnected with the partisan frenzy of the late 1990s. When he talked about �changing the tone� in Washington he wasn�t running against Clinton or Gore. He was running against congressional Republicans in an appeal aimed at swing voters.
What the Bush candidacy provided for the GOP was a candidate who could pocket the 30% to 35% of the electorate animated by anti-Clinton rage, gain from all their energy, and yet also present himself to the political middle and independents as unconnected with the anti-Clinton craziness they found repellent in the congressional GOP. He let the party have its cake and eat it too.
So just how wounded are Republicans today? They are crying all the way to the bank, so to speak (well, almost literally, in too many cases). For them to then turn around and argue that Bush-bashing is somehow self-defeating for the other party is the height of chutzpah.
The real reason they try to counsel this is twofold. Psychologically, they recognized that nice-guy Democrats and liberals (such as Colmes, their favorite) were always some ideal, some sort of thing they might have liked to be but weren�t, even when they were kicking them around on cable talk shows. The presence of these soft-spoken NPR-listening types made them feel better about the WWE-like brawling they themselves were doing, as if by merely engaging in debate with such types they could tell themselves they were at least aware that some possibility of civil debate existed for them to aspire to.
But once the other side starts sounding somewhat like you did, that possibility goes out the window. You then start to feel an emotion conservatives do their best to suppress in their politics ... that old liberal standby, guilt. You realize that you have corrupted the discourse, that these sweet harmless people have now become as bad as you were.
Neither candidate nor president Bush rebuked the Clinton-haters or took steps or actions to distance himself from their rhetoric, almost like the way he walked away (or purportedly walked away) from drinking without looking inward to change the kind of bad habits that develop to maintain an addiction. The Republican Party followed suit, pretending that it all that bad stuff about Vince Foster never happened, or that it was just some sort of radical fringe with too much time on its hands, and as a result it is experiencing what a Freudian would call the return of the repressed, this time through what a Lacanian would call the (Democratic) Other. Much of the current Republican distress over alleged Democratic rudeness is really a tacit recongition of the fact that they, as a party, never really dealt with this and really resent anything that reminds them of this.
The second reason is pure politics.
They�re properly scared of what this could mean for a second Bush term, because of certain historical trends, awareness of their Dear Leader�s limitations and most importantly ... they did this themselves not so long ago as they like to think, as we have made clear and indeed as we all should know.
Imagine where we are a year and a half from now, assuming Bush gets re-elected.
Howard Dean has run a noble fight and lost the election, this time on a clean electoral vote count, but just as Bush was warning all his people during his first term, it was incredibly close. All those ads bashing gay marriage and tagging it on Dean may have held the Solid South, but Dean built on Gore�s trends surprisingly well, taking New Hampshire blue for the first time in a long time and polling most of the Midwest. Arnold looked good but has lost a lot of his luster now that Bush didn�t even come close to winning California.
Sure Bush became the first Republican ever, as rightwing spinmeisters and pundits never tire of repeating, to win an election without carrying Ohio. But that can�t change the fact that they came extraordinarily close to losing one of the sparsely-populated Western states like South Dakota or Wyoming, states that they had always assumed for granted would be Republican, which would have cost them the election. Polling showed that those prairie folk were opposed to gay marriage, yes, but they didn�t consider that as much of an issue as the White House backing the interests of big corporate agribusiness over them, as it had done so several times in the first term.
As commonly occurs in second terms, the true believers and capable people who worked for the president in key positions during the definining moments of the first term are taking their leave. Powell was gracefully out the door during the lameduck period. Rumsfeld is hanging on, but only as long as it won�t be obvious that he no longer has the power he once did, which should be before 2006 (and it�s widely known around town that the president wants him out before the elections to quiet the grumbling from Congressional Republicans). Rice is still there and could capably replace either one of them, but she�s too busy with Iraq.
Oh yes ... Iraq, where despite many different changes of strategy, many different troop withdrawals and redeployments, we still seem to be, taking casualties on a daily basis while the country bickers endlessly about the constitution they promised a while back. We�re still paying, dragging an economy that even Paul Krugman seems to see as possibly improving, and not getting much more appreciably in the way of foreign help. The protests are getting louder and more regular, and are vocally including military family members who are absolutely fed up with the deployment that hasn�t ended in three years.
Can you imagine, in this environment, what damage a constant drumbeat of attacks on the president from an ever more-coordinated opposition media machine would do? When the name �Media Whores Online� gets mentioned on Sunday morning talk shows as sources of stories that have reached the front page of the Post within days and conservative protestations about the alleged dubiousness of the site are met with silence? With a staff and Cabinet increasingly consisting of second-string types hoping to burnish r�sum�s for future runs at elective office or higher positions in future administrations and less experienced at dealing with the media and political crises? With the serious sixth-year scandal that seems to beset every Administration that lasts that long (Sherman Adams, Watergate, Iran-contra, Lewinsky) waiting in the wings to pounce? With Bush increasingly having to rely on his own personal resources to deal with this, and his flaws such as his Cartman moments with the media harder to conceal or explain away, even for conservatives?
The electorate as a whole may start to take these people (i.e., us and our friends) very seriously, especially with no prominent Democrats for the administration to deflect any anti-incumbent rage on to (they will start appreciating Gray Davis as they never did).
And all this with the likely pounding in the polls Clinton should have taken in his sixth year but didn�t coming up. Conservatives privately begin to practice saying to themselves �Speaker Pelosi� and vainly trying to suppress what inevitably follows � the mental image of reading news stories that begin with accounts of her meeting the president, who chuckled over the two of them wearing matching pantsuits that day ...
This is not a prediction if anyone accuses us of making one, but rather the deepest underlying reason for current conservative flogging of the �Bush-bashing bad! Bush bashing bad!� meme: They know full well where this can lead, and know their only hope is to try to sweet-talk Democrats out of it now before they can start to do some real damage.
posted by Sully 11/01/2003 01:00:00 AM
Friday, October 31, 2003
SO MUCH FOR THE GAY-FRIENDLY TORIES:
From his new listening post just across the North Sea, Vaara tells us just how socially liberal Michael Howard really is.
posted by Sully 10/31/2003 02:38:00 PM
THE TERRIBLY UNSUCCESSFUL FUND MANAGER:
We�re glad to see that others have begun to pick up on the idea of Googlebombing Donald Luskin with the phrase �Terribly Unsuccessful Fund Manager� linked to his website, poorandstupid.com.
But the appellation was not ours. Full credit should go to Max Sawicky.
For some of the story behind this (Luskin ran a consulting firm in the late nineties called MetaMarkets) by reference, and an idea of how Luskin feels about this (and insight into his ability, or rather the lack thereof, to withstand criticism), see what Quiddity Quack has pulled together from an archived discussion on Yahoo!�s board for thestreet.com.
posted by Sully 10/31/2003 02:35:00 PM
YES, THE REAGAN PIC WAS BIASED:
TAPped with one moderate Democrat�s different take.
posted by Sully 10/31/2003 02:01:00 AM
Whatever one can say about Moore, what so infuriates righties about him is that he cannot be forced into the box they would like him to be, i.e. someone unable to speak to what right-wingers consider their core constituencies.
Sullivan�s lame excerpt from a lamer editorial (so now the Chron is safely left-wing?) is no different. Wow ... the man avails himself of the perks his publisher provides him for selling books in the first place. We�d bet that Nature, or whatever Sullivan wants to call his next book (how about Blogging Was More Fun and Lucrative Than Actually Fulfilling My Contractual Obligations as High Hopes and Milky Loads has been done) won�t sell as many copies in a century as Moore does in a week.
And you might want to pay attention to this Sullivan ... the man has never been so pathetic that he lived out of a begging bowl set up on the Internet. Who, indeed, is the one getting rich off suckers here?
posted by Sully 10/31/2003 01:59:00 AM
AS OPPOSED TO PROVINCETOWN:
So several bombings of their headquarters and constant attacks on their foreign staff over months constitute �the slightest whiff of danger�? We�d hate to imagine the circumstances under which war apologists would consider it justified for the U.N. to leave.
In any case, the question is moot. The reply any Democrat should give is �And would the U.N. be attacked if there were not so many American troops in the country in the first place?� For this has not happened to the U.N. on this scale before.
posted by Sully 10/31/2003 01:52:00 AM
SKY FALLS; FILM AT 11:
Sullivan links to Atrios for the first time ever and supports him against Luskin.
posted by Sully 10/31/2003 01:47:00 AM
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Deep in the comments at Eschaton we find this little nugget, from an �Egg�:
Just one more little piece of bullshit exaggeration from Sully. On his �date me! site he says he squats �eight plates.� I power lifted for quite a few years and nobody says it that way unless they are a prick arriviste. If you squat or bench �4 plates� it means you are lifting 405lbs. 4 plates on each side (45lbs each) plus the standard Olympic bar at 45 lbs equals 405 lbs. Nobody says eight plates � it technically is eight plates, but because you couldn�t lift 7 or 9 plates because they would be unbalanced everybody deals with the distinguishing symmetrical number. Of course if Sully is squatting eight plates that means (according to the vernacular)he�s squatting 765lbs. Now, that's some powerful glutes.
Maybe this explains why he thinks the job market is picking up. He�s counting legs instead of bodies.
Also, on this Datalounge thread there�s a discussion of whether or not the better pic linked to above is really Captain Bareback�s glutes.
We also noted that he is hardly as hairy down there, if that�s him, as he claims.
But, of course, as one of the posters memorably notes, he has changed somewhat since then and �these days Sully looks like a muscular woodchuck.�
Hmm. Another one for the nickname file.
posted by Sully 10/30/2003 02:42:00 PM
THE BLOGS HAVE EYES:
Long overdue ... LGFWatch, dedicated to the idea that it�s not OK just because Julius Streicher did it to the Jews.
The reaction from the Goofballers themselves has been the most telling. A watcher-watch blog was immediately set up, a thread (go to �Gettin� Meta Wit� It�) has been set up which resulted in some traffic here because someone decided to call us stupid (never mind that months ago, when someone linked to our first discussion of Ahmad Chalabi�s sticky fingers, nobody had any problem), Johnson immediately showed his love for free expression and criticism by reconfiguring his server so that anyone coming from LGFWatch would go to the Israeli military instead and in general the world�s longest meltdown reaches fascinating new depths.
posted by Sully 10/30/2003 02:06:00 AM
Amy Welborn continues to be surprisingly adept at keeping up a pissing match with Sullivan:
First, Andrew, where have I ever said that you are �no longer a Catholic?� Cite one sentence from anything I�ve written that says I don�t consider you a Catholic. I may have discussed your declaration that you are no longer a Catholic, but I indeed spent a good deal of time, much to the consternation of my readers, in August, reflecting on your situation in what I hoped was the most generous light, trying to utilize your situation as a means for reflecting on the problems many of us have with various aspects of Church teaching, and guiding discussions here and at my old blog about what it means to be Catholic. And in addition, you will find nothing in my own words but hope that you would have found a way to stay, if your conscience in any way allowed you.
So, I think you should retract that statement. It�s not true. It�s a lie.
What I did say is that you�ve rejected the Church�s teaching on sexuality. Is than untrue? Is that inaccurate?
And, one more thing before I take my kid to the sitters so I can work on my manuscript � what the HELL is a �Ratzingerite?� Define it. Cite any moment in anything I�ve written when I have even mentioned Ratzinger, except the time when he slapped that reporter on the wrist. What does that mean? You have a fine, incisive mind � use it on this issue, and tell us how the defense of life is, as you seem to imply, a quirk of the contemporary pontificate, and totally out of synch with the rest of Church tradition. That�s what grouping a position like mine under the moniker of the head of the Congregation of the Defense of the Faith or whatever it is implies. How is that so? How is what the position in defense of life an anomaly?
And further, I am enraged that Andrew Sullivan in his widely read blog implies and characterizes me as a person closed to debate. If he even ever read this blog for five minutes, he would see that most of my job is not opining but hosting debates, and giving a place for people to disagree with me to sound off, much to the consternation of some readers. I have taken heat for my willingness to entertain debate and reflection on knotty questions of sexuality, including artificial contraception and homosexuality, as well as on the Iraq war. It is simply unfair.
Further, if he had read this blog he would know that the distinctions about end-of-life care that he seems to think he is the only person who discerns have been brought out and teased apart here, and repeatedly stated by me. The point is that in THIS CASE, there are questions. NO ONE who supports feeding Terri Schiavo adheres to physical life at all costs, least of all me. And if Andrew Sullivan had actually taken the time to read everything I�ve written on this situation for the past month, and followed the debates in the comments sections, he would know this.
But I guess that�s just too hard.
You GO, girl.
Is that what I said? No, it�s not. I said don�t come quoting the Catechism at me. I didn�t say don't talk about the issue. Another misstatement, another lie, and once again, I demand a retraction and apology.
So here�s the list so far. Sullivan needs to retract his assertions that:
1) I said he wasn�t Catholic.
2) I said that one who disagrees with the Church�s teaching on sexuality shouldn�t talk about life and death ethics
3) I am a �Ratzingerite,� because frankly, I don�t know what that means. At all.
People are a lot more complex that punditry will allow, it seems.
And she comes back for more!:
I�m receiving hints that I should calm down. Oh, I�m calm. I�m simply appalled that one of the most widely-read bloggers has posted assertions about me that are point blank untrue. This is not a matter of differing opinions on an issue. Andrew Sullivan has �printed� untruths about me. I have a right to fight back.
Wow! Would that Sullivan�s targets on the left showed this much spunk (well, they let us do it for them).
posted by Sully 10/30/2003 01:59:00 AM
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
WE MEET AT LAST:
While Luskin�s lawyers were busy trying to harass Atrios, Sullivan for the first time acknowledged, or was forced to acknowledge, our existence.
Right Wing News, that site which has done some interesting things like polling bloggers on both sides as to their favorite or least favorite Americans, interviewed Sullivan today.
Midway down, he is asked:
Do you find it flattering or annoying that websites like "Sullywatch" and the now defunct "Smarter Andrew Sullivan" think you're so dangerous that they need to spend time trying to refute what you say?
And he answers:
Flattering, of course. But they really should get a life.
That was the sort of response we expected, to be honest, but it�s so unoriginal. �Get a life�? Please. It was funny when William Shatner didn�t really say it. Not since.
The more you think about it, though, the more we have to smile.
We need to get a life?
News flash, Smalltown Boy: Very few bloggers have the luxury of being able to do all the freelance writing you do and still afford nice big beach houses on Commercial Street (fitting, we know?), which aren�t even their primary residences. And beg $80,000 a year off their viewers.
We do this on top of having a life. Notice that most of these posts come not around the clock but, usually, in short little blogbursts (as, with great reliability, do Sullivan�s, once in the early afternoon and once after midnight? We have a lot of opportunities to blog but cannot always take them. We�d all like to be Sullivan and have blogging be our life, but most of us realize just how impossible that is.
Isn�t that the great thing of blogging? You can get the views of not only a Tennessee law professor, an anonymous Philadelphia-area substitute gym teacher, an anonymous Detroit-area Jewish guy, a woman who used to be the executive assistant copy girl (her exact words) at Ground Zero, a couple of Iraqis ... all fresh from real life.
Tell you what ... you think we should get a life? Talk to Marty, talk to the Times, talk to David, and persuade them give us just one equivalent of your freelance gigs (we won�t disappoint your readers, we promise). Then you go out and actually work for a living (you know, that thing you do with your hands that doesn�t involve wanking?) and try to keep up your blogging pace. Then you can tell us to get a life.
Of course, one senses that he knows he couldn�t do that:
John Hawkins: Can you tell us a little bit about your book �Nature� and when you expect it to be released?
Andrew Sullivan: Oy. My deadline is December 1, 2005. The blog killed much progress ...
Sounds like the pot-belly calling the kettle black, we�d say.
Or like people who live in beach houses that they are too disorganized to get renovation efforts together for despite spending all winter in dead beach towns.
Someone�s publisher is going to say someone needs to get a life. Or he can go take his book contract somewhere else.
Real life, after all, is not like doing your doctoral dissertation.
posted by Sully 10/29/2003 09:18:00 PM
TELLING IT TR?S LENTEMENT:
TBogg also reports on Sullivan�s increasingly evident humor impairment.
posted by Sully 10/29/2003 09:01:00 PM
THE UNKINDEST NETHERCUTT:
TBogg agrees, quoting the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that Nethercutt�s qualification is so inadequate as to be moot:
Let�s concede that Nethercutt believes the death of U.S. soldiers is, heaven forbid, awful.
But that does not change the notion that Nethercutt wants the news media to concentrate on painting Iraq in wonderful pastels. We�re making progress, don't you know? (Please ignore today's headlines.)
Sorry, George. You want it both ways. You want citizens to know that you care about their sons and daughters who are overseas in harm�s way � but the story you want told is not about the dangers and chaos troops face. No. You want the news to report the steady progress in Iraq as reported by the Bush administration.
Consider, again, the quote in question � fleshed out a bit more.
�The story of what we have done in the postwar period ... is remarkable,� Nethercutt said, because the coalition has been rebuilding power plants, police stations, schools and other infrastructure, as well as taking early steps toward self-governance. �So the story is better than we might be led to believe in the news. I�m indicting the news people. It�s a bigger and better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day, which, which, heaven forbid, is awful.�
A bigger and better story? Thank you, George, for clarifying your callow, shallow position.
Basically, it was better to be quite and thought a fool than to speak and prove it.
posted by Sully 10/29/2003 08:59:00 PM
THE SOLIDARITY OF THE ANONYMOUS:
Donald Luskin, the Terribly Unsuccessful Fund Manager who took over from Sullivan as Paul Krugman�s chief stalker (yeah, Mr. Upton, we said it, and fuck you) has actually threatened to sue Atrios over comments made in the latter�s comment section.
You�d the right would have learned from the Franken-O�Reilly affair. And apparently they did: go after anonymous leftwingers with popular blogs instead of well-known comedy writers with deep-pocketed publishers.
Obviously we feel for Atrios here ... because we could be in the same position ourselves, theoretically. We think the real goal here is to try to unmask him, rather than restore Mr. Luskin�s dubious reputation (Without any legal help yet, Atrios has already defended himself quite well).
We urge you all to do what you can to support him if he needs it. Right now, we�re urging people at least to follow our example above and link to Luskin�s website with the phrase we used, anywhere and everywhere you can, to drive that to the top of the Google rankings.
posted by Sully 10/29/2003 08:54:00 PM
This was a long time coming. Shea and others have constantly taken pains to take shots at Sullivan�s thoughts on Catholic issues while often carefully saying that they agree with his politics as a whole. How it must have relieved him to finally take a swipe back.
But, as usual, he castrates his opponent by omitting any response to their strongest argument against him. In Amy�s case, this is:
Now just remember, the issue is not the suitability of using a traditional source to support an argument, but the use of it by people who reject those same sources as having any importance in regard to other issues.
We seem to have to admit that Amy has a point. Smalltown Boy cannot, so he pretends she doesn�t.
And at least she has discovered what most of those who oppose him on just about every level knew a long time ago:
And I have to say, Sullivan�s entry this morning really ticked me off, in its shallow understanding of the argument and almost deliberate mischaracterization of the nature of the arguments involved. This is definitely a case of Pundititis here � a superficial, snappy retort on a complex issue. I�m not saying that if he were willing to engage the issue fully he�d agree with me, but this �Everybody reads me so I can opine on anything without doing research� attitude tiresome.
Hey Amy! Come over here and sit down next to us!
UPDATE: Shea gets his licks in too:
I�ve never read Ratzinger. I suppose I should if I�m going to live up to my rep as one of his worshipers.
Amy responds to Andrew with pertinent facts and direct questions. I wonder if he will reply.
Amy, sorry for making you cringe. I can be tactless (though not, I think, substantially wrong in my analysis of what constitutes what Fr. Neuhaus has called the �pole star of Sullivan�s journalism�). But you are right, we are not a monolith and Sullivan�s attempts to claim such reveal how his agenda drives the way in which he has tried to portray you in order to dismiss you.
And this started it off:
When you reject and attack the Faith, Andrew, you should expect people who don�t reject it to disagree with you.
posted by Sully 10/29/2003 02:49:00 PM
TBogg on Hurricane Camille:
Camille Paglia is back at Salon and she�s just as vital and important to our great national discourse as she was two years ago, which is to say that she�s not.
Fortunately we are spared her usual reference to her partner Heather, intended to remind us that she is still loved and desirable. But then who needs to be desirable to others when you�ve got a big fat love affair with yourself to tend to ...
No wonder Sullivan is among the one or two people who still considers her to be timely, vital and relevant. Otherwise he couldn�t have dared unleash this corker:
Oh, and she�s dead right about the genius of Drudge.
UPDATE: Veteran Paglia-basher Jim Capozzola took note, too.
posted by Sully 10/29/2003 02:39:00 PM
If we recall correctly (and, it seems we do), Smith�s gay-adoption problem wasn�t so much over his opposition to it per se but the fact that, at the last minute, he changed from allowing the expected free vote (i.e., no party loyalty demanded), as Tony Blair�s Labor Party did for its members, on the issue when the bill came up to imposing a three-line whip, a condition which if defied is basically a glove flung in front of the party leadership (and which he further complicated by then letting on that it wouldn�t be enforced).
Oh, and, by the way, one of the likely contenders to replace him is David Davis, one of the shadow cabinet members reportedly most behind making it a three-line whip.
posted by Sully 10/29/2003 02:35:00 PM
DISTINCTION WITHOUT DIFFERENCE:
The PI�s only error was technical, in not including the concluding qualifier. Had they done so, we think, the foot would still be in the mouth as the sentiment was callous enough in and of itself. Conservatives should realize this and stop trying to make a media-bias molehill out of it.
But they won�t, which of course only makes it worse.
posted by Sully 10/29/2003 02:22:00 PM
Jo Fish again with the cudgel:
Let�s do something unique here for a moment and pretend that I find Andrew Sullivan an offensive little twit. Why?
Is it because he�s gay? Nope.
Is it because he�s HIV+, and has no qualms about sharing the �love.� Nope, again.
Is it because he�s a Republican? Again, no.
Is it because he�s a (lapsed) Catholic? Again, I have to answer no.
It'�s because everytime he opens his yap, touches his keyboard or uses any other form of communication, he somehow seems to equate the position of being against the war in Iraq with being Pro-Saddam, Anti-Troops, Anti-American and Pro-Communist. It doesn�t matter the time or context, all those points seem to pop up, directly or indirectly. He goes to great pains to endorse the viewpoints of those who would call me and others who share my viewpoint �communists.� Fuck you Sullivan, said it before, say it again ... many of us out here stood lonely vigils against Communism while you were taking it up the ass and living large in the UK and in my country. The blithe assertion that somehow we�re all communist sympathizers, communsts-in-fact, or that our loyalties lie somewhere other than to the United States makes me want to take a trip to P-Town and discuss this up close and personal ... one American to whatever you are. But I really don�t want to waste the price of a plane ticket ... I�d rather donate it to some charity that supports folks with AIDS, instead of wasting my time and money on your worthless hide.
posted by Sully 10/29/2003 02:18:00 PM
CAPTAIN HAIRBACK, CONTINUED:
In the face of lively and scabrous discussion (examples too numerous at this point to reprint) of Sullivan on the comment thread to his post linked below, Atrios feels compelled to explain why this is relevant:
Like everything else he writes about, Sullivan�s imaginings of the �gay image� has evolved over time. He never acknowledges that his opinion has changed, and more importantly he�s always on the attack. Once upon a time he attacked �muscle queens� until he became one. He attacked �leather queens� until he became one. And, he�s always barking about the media image of gay people � not to make some reasonable general point about stereotypes, but simply because it doesn�t conform to what he is at that moment.
It�s dishonest narcissism posing as social commentary. It�s how he is on every issue. Once upon a time (and still does) he blasted certain media people for violating people�s �sexual privacy� by outing them, and then one day he himself outed a few public figures in a NYT Magazine article.
(Emphasis in original).
Well said. But we�d change �until he became one� to �until it became so overt that he could no longer deny it.�
posted by Sully 10/29/2003 02:14:00 PM
It would be a good thing if the Democrats were to be the uncool squares, we think. That would mean they were more in touch with the great unwashed masses than their I�m-too-sexy-for-my-shirt opponents.
Hey, thirty years ago conservative Republicans were as square as they come. Now, they run the country.
posted by Sully 10/29/2003 12:17:00 AM
IN KIND ... OR IS THAT THE RIGHT WORD?:
Not that Sully took notice, at least not since we�ve last been able to read him (presently, we�re having trouble reaching his site), but Krugman responded today to last week�s attacks on him:
But there�s something broader going on: a sort of willful ignorance, supposedly driven by moral concerns but actually reflecting domestic politics. Surely it�s important to understand how others see us, but a new, post 9/11 version of political correctness has made it difficult even to discuss their points of view. Any American who tries to go beyond �America good, terrorists evil,� who tries to understand � not condone � the growing world backlash against the United States, faces furious attacks delivered in a tone of high moral indignation. The attackers claim to be standing up for moral clarity, and some of them may even believe it. But they are really being used in a domestic political struggle.
Last week I found myself caught up in that struggle. I wrote about why Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia�s prime minister � a clever if loathsome man who adjusts the volume of his anti-Semitism depending on circumstances � chose to include an anti-Jewish diatribe in his speech to an Islamic conference. Sure enough, I was accused in various places not just of �tolerance for anti-Semitism� (yes, I�m Jewish) but of being in Mr. Mahathir�s pay. Smear tactics aside, the thrust of the attacks was that because anti-Semitism is evil, anyone who tries to understand why politicians foment anti-Semitism � and looks for ways other than military force to combat the disease � is an apologist for anti-Semitism and is complicit in evil.
Yet that moral punctiliousness is curiously selective. Last year the Bush administration, in return for a military base in Uzbekistan, gave $500 million to a government that, according to the State Department, uses torture �as a routine investigation technique,� and whose president has killed opponents with boiling water. The moral clarity police were notably quiet.
Nice being on the same channel there, isn�t it?
And note, near the end, this ever-so-slight mockery of The Blog Queen:
�Election Boils Down to a Culture War� was the title of Mr. Fineman�s column. But the analysis was all about abortion and euthanasia, and now we hear that opposition to gay marriage will be a major campaign theme. This isn�t a culture war � it�s a religious war.
(One of Sullivan�s last pieces for the Times magazine was �This Is A Religious War�), in case you�ve forgotten (lucky you)).
posted by Sully 10/29/2003 12:15:00 AM
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
THE ELEPHANT STILL SITTING IN THE ROOM:
Interestingly enough, Josh also begins a discussion of the �where did the Niger documents come from?� question today.
posted by Sully 10/28/2003 11:30:00 PM
BLOGGERS GOOD AND BAD:
Commenting on Josh Marshall�s recent, highly successful fund-raising drive to go blog the New Hampshire primaries, Roger Ailes takes the following swipe:
Plus, Marshall�s not stupid enough to blow his travel wad at Priceline, break his reservation, and then whine when he doesn�t get a refund.
Hmm. Who could he be talking about?
And speaking of raising money, people ... any of you who came today via Hesiod and don�t always stop by on a regular basis, might consider showing some appreciation by clicking the big blue box atop the blogroll.
posted by Sully 10/28/2003 11:29:00 PM
Atrios gets in touch with his inner queer regarding Smalltown Boy�s conveniently changing standards of sexual desirability. Only Vaara could have done better with the closing line. Didn�t know you had it in you, Ate!
The material in question is not online, but the Eschaton excerpt includes the following instant-classic Sully-jism:
And there is nothing more masculine than the weather-pattern of hair-cyclones on a chest leading to a thick, dense trail of hairiness down to the crotch. Anyone who shaves off this natural masterpiece is a vandal.
Really, Sullivan? And just to think it was starting to get boring around here!
We refer you to the comments there for further snark and discussion. This one probably says it all:
andy gets me hot, hot, hot. like bad fanfic, but better.
posted by Sully 10/28/2003 10:56:00 PM
GET READY, GET TET ...:
There�s not much point in sugar-coating what happened.
Translation: I will not be insulting your intelligence with the word �flypaper,� this time around.
It was a great victory for the Baathists and international terror. If they can keep this up, the chances of a peaceful reconstruction in Iraq look more remote than they did last week.
How long before he�s calling it unwinnable?
I�m not an expert but obviously we need a more successful military strategy to defeat these insurgents.
You think? How about curing the Bush Administration of its John Wayne syndrome, for starters?
Sullivan seems to have forgotten to notice that Totten�s post basically makes the point that the organizers of ANSWER are old-school Stalinists who ... think in terms of the objective enemy.
Thus, under this logic, he and every other supporter of the War on Terror as presently waged must refuse to be critical of an authoritarian military dictator like Pervez Musharraf or, more importantly, bloody-minded autocrats like Iham Aliyev (link from Hesiod).
posted by Sully 10/28/2003 09:24:00 AM
Monday, October 27, 2003
PERHAPS STEPHEN GLASS HAS A FUTURE AT THE CIA:
Behind the sixteen words and the Plame scandal is what Jack Shafer has been saying was the real story behind the hokey WMD intel: where, exactly, those Niger forgeries came from.
Billmon adroitly picked up on (as did a couple of other bloggers) a bit in that Sy Hersh New Yorker story that�s been the latest conservation piece around Left Blogistan, in which supposedly a bunch of pissed-off analysts cooked up the documents themselves and skillfully laundered it through an Italian journalist as a way of showing up the White House, never expecting that it would be taken as seriously as it was.
Although Hersh doesn�t wholeheartedly endorse this theory, it�s certainly worth considering alongside the secret-Likudnik-group theory and the Iraqi-defector theory.
We have our own theory, though, which we meant to share back in August but hopefully will be able to post soon, that no one�s touched on as far as we can tell but would be very intriguing if it were true.
posted by Sully 10/27/2003 08:56:00 PM
Roger Ailes on why Sullivan is wrong about sexual-harassment laws:
What Sully means to say is that now that his hero, the Predator, is charged with sexual assault, he will no longer pretend to be a feminist. (Not that anyone believed he was.)
Laws prohibiting sexual harassment don�t involve a �legal assualt on privacy� or a threat to �sexual privacy.� Sexual harassment and sexual assault involve unwanted sexual abuse, something which is never private because the victim doesn�t consent to the abuse. The Jones case was a bullshit case, funded by the President�s enemies, and the Starr investigation was beyond contempible, but the abuse of the legal system by unethical attorneys and judges doesn't invalidate the need for laws against sexual harassment. By Sully�s standard, laws prohibiting murder �are far worse than the harm they were trying to prevent or ameliorate� because corrupt prosecutors and law enforcement officials can convict an innocent person for a murder he or she did not commit.
The only things Sully learned during the 90s was how to cover his current prejudices and biases with a false front of reasoned thought, and how to convince his employers that shit was shinola.
Also, congrats to Roger for his blogiversary.
posted by Sully 10/27/2003 05:22:00 PM
NEVER FORGET WHO THE REAL ENEMY IS:
Because it seems to me that the far left anti-war message, misguided before the war, is close to obscene today, and tells us something about what we�re up against.
Huh? We always thought the war was about combatting Middle East-based terrorism, not the �far left� which somehow manages to be on the one hand marginal and politically irrelevant yet on the other so intellectually potent that conservatives must expend enough pixels to keep a game of Final Fantasy going for hours slicing and dicing every little slogan and phrase and locating the center of the movement in the incoherent ramblings of college freshmen.
Seems to us that this is very revealing. Smalltown Boy damns these people with minimal evidence; yet faced with the more openly hostile threat to him and his sexual identity represented by the religious right continues to entertain the possibility that these people might respond to a rational argument on behalf of him and his rights.
posted by Sully 10/27/2003 05:18:00 PM
CHICKEN GAME: A SULLYWATCH MINI-FISKING:
This new wave of terrorist violence only underscores how the war is unfinished.
Well, duh. What, pray tell, is your criteria for when the war is finished?
It makes it all the more important that we find and kill Saddam Hussein
And Osama bin Laden, and Mullah Omar, and all those other people conveniently forgotten about. Don�t get your hopes up, Andy.
and that we aim more lethally at the Islamist forces that are desperate to prevent democracy of any kind coming to the Arab world.
By giving them a fresh grievance and target, naturally.
This is no reason to retreat. It�s reason to intensify. These people are testing our will. We have to test their survival skills.
Real easy to say when you�re cooped up in that flashpoint of international conflict, Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA.
ADDENDUM: Jo Fish agrees:
And those would be the survival skills you got playing paintball, or ducking out on old boyfriends at the local clubs? Ready to go to war or is that a mouse in your pocket Andrew? Tell you what Andy, head on over, here�s a quarter, call when you need some help. If you get voicemail, leave a message, we�ll answer ... promise. Survival Skills, indeed. I guess you must have slept through history ... or been flirting.
posted by Sully 10/27/2003 05:10:00 PM
ON THE OTHER HAND ...:
Atrios with a reader�s wildly different secondhand account of how things are going with our boys over there
posted by Sully 10/27/2003 05:06:00 PM