"You're a funny man, Sully ...

that's why I'm going to kill you last."


Friday, January 23, 2004


Warming up readers with this jab at Sullivan’s praise of Brit Hume, Capozzola craps splendidly as he has not in a long time all over Sullivan and the Log Cabin Republicans for their timidity stand against the Bush Administration:

This is just too precious. The inimitable — and I mean that — Andrew Sullivan hits the blog with praises for the fringistas who comprise the Log Cabin Republicans for opting not to endorse Sullivan’s beloved President George W. Bush “after his pandering to the far right in his State of the Union,” the same “pandering,” you may recall, that Sullivan went out of his way to emphasize did not include backing the federal marriage amendment.

“Good for LCR,” wrote the Princess of Provincetown. “Their new leader, Patrick Guerrerio,” he continued, “is one of the most decent and skilled political leaders I know. He will take some flak for this, but it matters. The president must know that dressing up discrimination in ‘tolerant’ language is still discrimination.”

Does that mean the Log Cabin Republicans have ditched Rich Tafel, easily the most socially encumbered man with the worst table manners I have met in my life? (Invitation to dinner with Tafel? All I can say is, bring an umbrella.)

Regardless, despite his own eagerness to jump the gun, Sullivan later is all too happy to report that the New York Times, the newspaper that fired him a while back — and may I just say, “Get over it, pal!”? — and the very same paper he decided was worthy enough to warrant his blog post without an independent confirmation, “got it wrong.”

According to Sullivan, the right-wing gay Republicans haven’t yet decided whether or nor to endorse the President’s reelection campaign.

Oh, so that’s, what? Really wise of them? Rather sudden change of heart, wouldn’t you say, old chap?

What are we supposed to think? For a chance to try to slime a former employer Andy casts aside a brief moment of principle?

There’s also a great addendum on why Sullivan is so ticked at the Times (and that would explain Krugman, too).


Then, Atrios puts us wise to today’s Rush & Molloy in which Sullivan at long last responds to the oft-asked question of why he allows his work to be published in the Washington Times despite that paper’s ownership by the rabidly homophobic (and weird in so many other ways) Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

After so much perjoration, this is all he has to say for himself:

When you’re a tiny minority, purism isn’t an option.


[clutch chin]

[sigh again more deeply]

[shake head sadly]

By this point, comparisons to the state of Jews in Nazi Germany are just so overdone and counterproductive, as the collective decided way back when “blog” was something your kid said that you needed to bring to his speech therapist’s attention, that we won’t even try. Let’s just say that he may have been doing more than he realized on Monday when he observed MLK Day by reprinting that quote by Debra Dickerson defending Uncle Tom.

And we’ll reprint selected comments:

Makes me wonder... Is Sullivan a closeted straight person?

Think about it he supports the party who hates gays, writes for a paper whose owner hates gays, and then tries to spin it to the positive.

What he's really saying is that the Times pays his rent, so he doesn't care what their owner believes.

Hurray for Principles and Honor!

Anyone consider the possibility that Reverend "Make the Gays into Lampshades" thinks that allowing Sully to write for his paper only underscores his hateful position?

Take a look at the Tech Central Station scandal. Just because the amoral/dishonest people who are paying you let you print whatever you want doesn’t change the fact that they know what you’re going to write, and they’re using it for their own purposes.

Yeah, but I thought Sullivan was raising tens of thousands of dollars for himself on his blog, at least by his boast.

Why is it he has to take money from the Moonie Times? This is no Wall Street Journal.

Enough. You get the point. We need add nothing.

UPDATE: The new DC-franchise of Gawker, Wonkette, (edited, we should add, by the inimitable Ana Marie Cox) touches base here:

We’re with Andrew on this; in fact, this is the exact same reasoning that prompted us to wear an “Equal Pay for Equal Work” button on our Hooters uniform.

posted by Sully 1/23/2004 12:38:00 PM


Who do you think Krugman was aiming at when he said this?

Ignore the inevitable charges of “conspiracy theory.” (Although some conspiracies are real: as yesterday’s Boston Globe reports, “Republican staff members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media.”)

In short: Fuck you, Andrew.

posted by Sully 1/23/2004 12:30:00 PM

Thursday, January 22, 2004


According to Sebastian, we shouldn’t be surprised by the TNR piece on Kerry.

posted by Sully 1/22/2004 06:19:00 PM


TBogg is struck by the same thing in Sullivan’s little fit as we were ... that when it’s him caught in between, suddenly nuance is a good thing and absolute polar opposites not. As he suggests, why can’t Sully apply this to the war critics and certain Democratic presidential candidates?

And does this mean that a politician can have a complicated position on an issue that won’t fit into a Drudge headline and Andy won’t jump on it like a duck on a June bug?

Not likely...

posted by Sully 1/22/2004 06:11:00 PM


Dan Radosh, whose reaction to Tom Friedman’s gift to his synagogue was noted and linked here yesterday, clarifies himself and mildly criticizes both us and Sullivan.

posted by Sully 1/22/2004 01:20:00 AM


Sebastian on his political gyrations:

Does the man not realize we all laugh hysterically when he writes such crap? Wesley Clark is out because he's a Rhodes scholar (and you know how those people are!) and because Michael Moore endorsed him. Howard Dean? Do we need to say anything?


Yet now he acts as though he might vote for one of these guys? At this rate Sully will be writing he’d consider marrying a woman if Bush pushes for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He may be able to fool even himself, but he’s quite mistaken if he thinks anyone else is going to be taken in.

posted by Sully 1/22/2004 01:12:00 AM


Jo Fish wonders if Sully might be able to have his way with Bush.

posted by Sully 1/22/2004 01:07:00 AM


Yup. He linked to Riverbend’s concerns about the creeping shaari‘ah-fication of Iraqi domestic-relations law under the GC, several days after we used it to show him up.

posted by Sully 1/22/2004 01:04:00 AM


As we expected it would, Sullivan’s increased willingness to take on Bush in the last week or so has gotten him email from all sides and he’s reacting in his usual fashion — throwing a mild tantrum about everyone else’s immaturity.

Interestingly though, he dares offer for the first time we can remember in quite some time criticism of the Pickering nomination.

He also reminds us that he opposed impeachment ... yes, but he also called Clinton a sociopath and called quite loudly for his resignation in a New Republic cover piece. Most of us see a distinction without difference in opposing impeachment but calling for a resignation, since they had the same end goal.

We also find his sentence “The war made my support for Bush stronger than I ever expected,” an amusing choice of words. You’d think he was pitching Viagra or Levitra or something.

But we also remember that before 9/11 Sully was pushing hard for the tax cut and savaging its foes, to the point of defending Bush’s right to lie in the Spinsansity piece linked on our blogroll, and later quoted by Joe Conason to devastating effect in Big Lies. Given his current state of mind, we’d do well to reprint them yet again:

The fact that Bush has to obfuscate his real goals of reducing spending with the smoke screen of “compassionate conservatism” shows how uphill the struggle is.

Yes, some of the time he is full of it on his economic policies. But a certain amount of B.S. is necessary for any vaguely successful retrenchment of government power in an insatiable entitlement state. Conservatives learned that lesson twice. They learned it when Ronald Reagan’s deficits proved to be an effective drag on federal spending (Stockman was right!) — in fact the only effective drag human beings have ever found. And they learned it when they tried to be honest about taking on the federal leviathan in 1994 and got creamed by Democrats striking the fear of God into every senior, child, and parent in America. Bush and Karl Rove are no dummies. They have rightly judged that, in a culture of ineluctable government expansion, where every new plateau of public spending is simply the baseline for the next expansion, a rhetorical smoke screen is sometimes necessary. I just hope the smoke doesn’t clear before the spenders get their hands on our wallets again.

Guess what, Andy? They did ... and you helped them all the way.

posted by Sully 1/22/2004 12:58:00 AM

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


A report on a pre-Christmas encounter with Sullivan.

Anhow, this woofy beartrap was there [at Duplex], but I didn’t feel justified flirting as I had just bashed gay Republicans earlier that day and I haven’t been looking very bearish myself lately anyway.

posted by Sully 1/21/2004 01:39:00 PM


It’s a bit old, but George Cerny has fine history of how Sullivan has gradually abandoned the flypaper theory he once clutched so tightly.

posted by Sully 1/21/2004 01:32:00 PM


Christian takes bets on how Sullivan will justify supporting Bush come November.

My favorite part is when he pretends not to know what the President meant when he said it was time to use “the constitutional process” in defense of marriage.

UPDATE: Roger Ailes elaborates on this:

Dream on, Sully. Bush is giving a State of the Union Address. He’s talking about federal action; he’s not micromanaging state politics.

More fundamentally, what difference would it make if Bush was talking about “a State constitutional amendment” or “The constitutional attempt to remove or elect judges.” Would Bush's view be any less loathsome if he was urging states to amend their constitutions to prohibit gay marriage, or urging federal or state legislators to remove judges and/or oppose judicial nominees who recognized a right to same-sex marriage?

And don’t forget, Sully, when Bush talks about abstinence, in your case he’s talking a lifelong commitment.

posted by Sully 1/21/2004 01:20:00 PM


Steve Mussina on the dishonesty and hypocrisy of Sullivan’s lather about the supposedly biased Times poll.

posted by Sully 1/21/2004 01:17:00 PM


Sullivan is finally there with his speech wrapup, but as we read this, not only does he do his best Comic Book Guy impression, we have trouble containing ourselves because the entire text of his blog is in boldface deep blue, even more unreadable than usual. Since the links are white, it seems that he got something fundamental screwed up in his rush to get online first.

Doubtless this will be corrected before the cock crows even once (UPDATE 10:30 EST: it has been indeed), but it’s something we’ll heartily remember the next time he rhapsodizes about the power of blogs over old media.

And to be fair, we were genuinely surprised that he wasn’t the obsequious idiot he has been for the last few SOTUs, and did indeed make a snippy reference to the steroid crusade as well as his favorite hoity-toity cuss word, “insouciance,” to characterize Bush’s attitude toward not onyl the deficit but those whom he gingerly describes as “those who have not yet benefited from the economic recovery.” The gloves are getting looser.

We too thought the camera’s focus on Tom Brady to be absolutely the last thing he needs right now (actually, we think the last thing he needs right now is to be invited to watch the speech in person. Did Jake Del’homme get the same invite? Although we like the Pats for the Super Bowl, this would definitely impact our betting if we bet. And why invite the QB from the team from the blue state that gave us the Kennedys, instead of the guy from the team that plays in the red state that gave us Jesse Helms).

Then he goes so far as to fisk the sections of the speech on the sanctity of marriage (we’re sure this is just giving them conniption fits down at 1600). He’s so mad he misses the chance to take a dig at Clinton for signing DOMA in the first place, which to us was surely the point of the only by-name mention of his predecessor in Bush’s speech (And does anyone think that 41 will be happy to hear his son’s implied criticism of him, in the line about how 12 years of diplomacy failed to contain Saddam? That should erase any doubts you have about this guy’s drive to upstage his father being a prime motivator, even unconsciously, in thousands of Americans marooned in the Fertile Crescent and 500 of them dead).

ANOTHER UPDATE: TBogg lets loose:

That screaming you hear from P-Town is just Andy trying to contort himself into an assortment of positions that would have gotten him a lot of dates back when he was young and virile.

posted by Sully 1/21/2004 12:17:00 AM

Tuesday, January 20, 2004


Before Sullivan can get on with his SOTU commentary, Atrios is there with this reminder of Bush’s strong hint of support for FMA with the implied challenge of “What are you gonna say to that?”

This led, naturally, to some real gems in the comment section, such as this:

Look, if Bush decided that it would make good policy to burn Sullivan at the stake, while God-bothering GOPPers danced in glee around the pyre, Crazy Andy would find a way to rationalise it on his blog.


Besides, if the Log Cabin Militia isn’t up to the task, I’m sure that Andy's unit of the Bareback Brigade will come though with flying colors.

(Link added)

and finally:

Alterman has Andy pegged, the guy never fails to live up/down to the title “Little Roy Cohn.”

UPDATE: Even more zingers overnight:

It's a bit funny to read Sullivan’s take on Tuesday’s Krugman column (shorter Andy: Krugman’s a shrill) and then try to square it with Andy’s own take on the SOTU at TNR. Krugman notes that Bush is pandering to the far right, that some of his decisions are a calculated appeal to the Republican party extremists who aren't often talked about. Krugman argues that Bush is pushing programs without the backing, blithely ignoring fiscal responsibility.

Tonight, Andy wrote the same thing, in practically the same tone — except he used the word “insouciant” (one of Andy's favorites, it seems).

We also noted there this passage in the speech:

President Bush called on America’s major sports leagues and athletes to end the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Their use by even a minority of elite athletes sets a dangerous example for the millions of young Americans, encouraging young people to take dangerous risks with their health and safety.

For our part, we wonder (as does Wyeth Ruthven, will Sullivan choose to express his disappointment that Commander Flightsuit hasn’t grasped the wonders of being real buff?

posted by Sully 1/20/2004 11:34:00 PM


What Sullivan doesn’t tell you about in the Cotts column is that she wasn’t the only one who took note (she pays due heed to former Spy writer Daniel Radosh (any relationship to anticommunist historian Ronald?) who took first note here. UPDATE: We should add that he disagrees with Cotts’ take)

And what is there to take note of? First, that the synagogue’s founding rabbi has a somewhat checkered past, having left a previous congregation after he was accused of pocketing thousands of dollars meant for charity (he returned most of it, but exactly what and how it was spent remains, at least from the Cotts piece, a mystery) and that the synagogue has links to political movements in Israel.

So, the nut graf: Tom Friedman may be donating his journalism prize money to the oversight of someone who may not use it for its stated purpose and may be advancing, with Friedman’s knowledge, a political agenda.

Now there’s nothing illegal about all this. But it leads Cotts to the question that Friedman may be advancing an agenda through his columns and quite possibly being less impartial than he claims to be. Friedman is the one who can best clear this up, not others carrying his spears for him.

To cast this as an example of leftist antisemitism just because someone is apparently being criticized merely for giving money to a synagogue is the height of disingenuousness. It certainly won’t win you any journalism awards.

posted by Sully 1/20/2004 04:28:00 PM


The FrontPage interview is almost comical in the way the questions sound like nothing so much as the setup lines the Soviet press would give friendly subjects to allow them to promote the Party line:

What do you think of the tragedy of how leaders of the gay community in San Francisco allowed the deadly virus to spread in the name of “gay liberation”? ... Horowitz took a lot of flack for pointing this out back then, but now we know that he was 100% right.

What do you think of all this? We see an analogy here to the leftist romance itself — how humans are sacrificed on the altar of utopian ideals. Correct?

Geez, you’d think Horowitz was, like, Kim Jong Il or something.

Note the exaggerations there. You’d think, from that question, that the gay leadership of early 1980s San Fran sat down and said "Aha! We will let this virus spread unchecked throughout the population and kill scores of our best friends and lovers so that gay men will become saintly victims in the eyes of the public! Then they’ll give us all the freedom we want!”

The reality, as documented in parts of And the Band Played On that we haven’t seen refuted anywhere, is that gay leaders were a) handstrung by the dependence of gay organizations and newspapers on the largesse and advertising dollars of gay bathhouses, and b) more importantly, had to deal with a (larger than it ultimately seemed) segment of the community that considered the existence of the bathhouses themselves to be one of the few tangible achievements of gay liberation, and feared that giving them up would lead only to lower visibility and heightened persecution. At that time it was a legitimate reaction to events unfolding; time changed and the folly became apparent by the mid-’80s.

And let’s not forget, too, that the “traditional public health methods,” if it is condom distribution Horowitz is referring to, were viciously and quite successfully opposed by the same right under whose auspices he is today writing. If not, do the traditional health methods recall William F. Buckley’s infamous suggestion that all carriers of HIV be forcibly tattooed as such?

To Sullivan’s credit, he refuses to take the bait, citing Shilts to point out that, as conservatives who eagerly seized upon this aspect of the book failed to, there is as much blame to fall on the Reagan administration as the San Francisco gay leadership.

We also learn about more of the sort of kooky little stunts that go hand in hand with walking out of a Harvard cafeteria over someone’s beret:

I was so psyched when Thatcher won office that I stopped my calendar on the day — May 3, 1979 — and left it on the wall at that date. And at Oxford, I enraged my peers by celebrating the arrival of Pershing missiles with a champagne party.

It would be interesting to know how many actually attended. You can buy five or six bottles of Perrier-Jouet and down them all yourself if you can. That doesn’t make it a party.

In fact, perhaps there is some other dynamic going on:

Well, I am a loner. My early childhood involved living in a troubled home. My mother has long had bipolar depression and growing up with her in and out of mental hospitals forced me to rely on myself probably more than other kids. I was also a Catholic in a protestant country; I was gay in a Catholic sub-culture; I was a conservative among liberal peers; I am a social and cultural liberal among conservatives; and a Bush-supporter among liberals; I’m a right-winger among gays.

I was a conservative running a liberal magazine; and an English person in an American citadel. I’ve never really had a home I could call home, a place where someone didn’t dispute my right to be there.

Andrew, darling, you don’t need a blog, you need a therapist. Or OxyContin.

My [psyche] is permanently damaged.


On the blog, I've deliberately taken on people I like and know a bit, just so as not to sink into beltwayitis.

In other words, I have this compulsive need to be an outsider, as I pretty much just admitted.

Believe it or not, Maureen Dowd and I were once good friends.

Oh, we believe, don’t you worry.

Of course, I separate the criticism of someone’s writing or editing from their person but not everyone can. It pains me sometimes to think I may have hurt someone’s feelings.

Not that you would ever dare apologize to them. Amy Welborn’s still waiting.

As long as it doesn't get into people's personal lives, I think their work is fair game.

Or involve passing along snarky rumors about things Bill Clinton reportedly did in England.

So I have many fewer friends in DC now than when I started the blog.

Hmm ... so he doesn’t live in P-Town just for the bleak winters, then.

UPDATE: Jo takes this one on, too:

Now I know why Andy hates America, because when he looks out the window, at the end of the day, he does not see a country filled with right-thinking Andrew Sullivans.

LATER UPDATE: Roger Ailes wonders if this is further proof that the December pledge drive didn't meet expectations.

posted by Sully 1/20/2004 04:10:00 PM


Brooks’ column actually is rather empathetic, and we give him credit for differentiating, as few conservatives do, between the early and late 1960s. But he nevertheless does his duty with this dig:

I’m struck by how oblivious this campaign has been to the consequences of 9/11.

Brooks knows damn well that that’s all he has to say.

Apparently Sullivan’s fixation on Krugman requires that Krugman report on exactly the same thing that Brooks does. As if a column on the State of the Union speech (not yet given) could be compared straight up with a report from the Iowa caucus focused on an apparently hypothetical voter. What we think truly revealing is the way Sullivan equates an attack on the Bush administration’s rhetorical and fiscal strategies (or lack thereof) with an attack on conservatives as a whole (Those of you not yet convinced that conservatism has become Bushism, look no further).

But what was The Krugster’s real sin? You guessed it ... he insinuated that Drudge was a liar!

Meanwhile, the lying has already begun, with the Republican National Committee's willful misrepresentation of Wesley Clark's prewar statements. (Why are news organizations letting them get away with this?)

Sullivan should just stop trying to be Drudge’s big brother. It’s become that obvious.

posted by Sully 1/20/2004 03:45:00 PM


Sebastian on how Sullivan misrepresents Al Gore’s record, and Jo Fish on the same thing.

posted by Sully 1/20/2004 01:29:00 PM


The Horse gets on Sullivan over his collaboration in Drudge’s clumsy smear:

Poor, simple, black and white Andy. Clark’s was a position shared by the vast majority of Americans — one that is both pro- and anti-war. It is pro-legitimate war, and anti-Bush War.

Almost everyone agreed in September of 2002 that war might be necessary at some point and under certain circumstances. Those circumstances did not include “unilateral action in the absence of a finding of any finding of an imminent threat.”

Whether to go to war without a legitimate coalition, with inspectors in Iraq already, and with no evidence of WMDs was a judgment call — and an easy one at that, for a leader of integrity and qualification.

The Unelected Fraud failed miserably in making the call.

Clueless Andy dances around that central point, and dishonestly attempts to convince his rube readers the issue is no more complex than “General Clark believed there was a WMD threat and therefore supported the invasion at the time and under the circumstances it occurred, and therefore is pro-war.”

posted by Sully 1/20/2004 01:09:00 PM


For the record, Ismail Broyer wrote exactly one piece for Referring to him thusly as an writer on that basis is as misleading as it would be to describe Benazir Bhutto as a writer for Slate over the two pieces she wrote for that journal in the last seven years.

And here’s what Justin had to say about this whole affair back in July when Royer was initially arrested.

Oh yes, and I was also supposed to be intimately involved with a terrorist group known as Jamat al-Fuqra. This time, it’s Lashkar-i-Taiba, an obscure anti-Indian group, and Ismail Royer, an American citizen whom I have never met, and who was recently arrested for allegedly supporting terrorist activities.

posted by Sully 1/20/2004 01:00:00 PM


Who do you like, Sully? Last fall you wrote with grudging admiration of Howard Dean’s use of the Internet to build an organization and raise funds, then Wesley Clark came along and you were suddenly high on him, then you fell for Republican talking points and of course Matty-Watt would never do something so dishonest as manipulate quoted material, would he? then he was endorsed by Michael Moore and that was that (oh, like anyone should take anything you say on gay rights seriously when you’re so in love with the most virulently gay-bashing president in years?) and now Iowa has come and gone and Kerry pulled a rabbit out of a hat and you’re suddenly all high on John Edwards ... we now await your falling-out with him, too.

And here’s another tip: Even if Dean up and quits the race today, Dems will still be upset with Bush, when every day is pretty much guaranteed to bring another fresh outrage into our inboxes. Losing in 1996 did not in the slightest “vent and dissipate” Republican fury against Clinton, as history will tell. If Dean doesn’t snag the nomination, we wouldn’t be surprised if two years hence Republicans will have wished he had.

ADDENDUM: Noting that his precaucus scenario panned out, Matthew Yglesias suggests that the Iowa results may indeed be bad news for Clark ... but not in the way that Sullivan thinks, and good news for Dean.


Sullivan’s rhetoric about the campaign is puzzling (how, exactly, can Democrats “commit suicide” when they would not be risking a majority in Congress or the White House in the process?) until you realize what his and all the other conservative babbling about the campaign and this or that candidate is about.

What conservatives see in the choice of the Democratic nominee is not so much which guy can or can’t beat Bush or not but the chance to continue framing the national debate about policy options so that the moderately left-of-center is represented as the extreme left, to completely shut out what was once respectable. That’s why their preferred candidate (in terms of “who can best beat Bush”) would have been a center-leaning southerner like, as they intimated yesterday, Zell “Democrat in Name Only” Miller or John Breaux (thanks Hesiod). See, they wouldn’t mind if he beat Bush, because they wouldn’t have to worry about too much changing, or anything truly radical that might challenge the consensus among conservatives who increasingly confuse talking to themselves and their bases with talking to America at large.

And that’s why they like Joe Lieberman so much in the present campaign, despite his subterranean performance in Iowa last night, to likely be repeated in a week’s time, because he would leave a lot of their fundamental assumptions, at least on foreign policy, stand unchallenged, preferring instead to tinker with the details (and, in this light, we find it curious indeed that there was no howl of protest among conservatives earlier this week when Lieberman told the Times that he’d replace Bremer with “an experienced administrator from an Arab country”).

This is why they really fear Dean, or, more properly, a Dean nomination. He might win. He might well lose. But either way he will bring back to the national conversation ideas that the conservatives had actually convinced themselves they’d banished for good back in 1993 along with health care reform. And they can’t have that.

Again, it’s interesting to us that, as one of Sully’s longtime agonistes, Richard Goldstein, wrote in The Nation recently, Dean is the sole Democrat in the race to have escaped, or be likely to, Republican efforts to stigmatize him through subtle feminization:

Why are Republicans able to get away with the very flaws they pin on Democrats? The answer speaks to the enormous success GOP strategists have had in reaching voters on a symbolic level. The Republicans have adapted their Southern strategy to the new terms of sexual politics. What they once did with race, they are doing today with gender.


After decades of associating Democrats with failed masculinity, the Republicans are faced with an opponent who knows how to put on a butch display. They are trying to get around Dean’s fight-back persona by portraying him as a dyspeptic, impetuous fool. Whether this negative spin will stick remains to be seen, but there’s another a-word that pops up regularly in pieces about Dean: anger. The Republicans and their allies are trying to undercut his brashness by calling him reckless. Still, fist-waving hasn’t exactly hurt Donald Rumsfeld.


... [A] symbol that doesn't meet actual needs soon seems like an empty artifice. That’s what Dean is betting on. He’s out to embody a masculinity that feels substantial rather than ceremonial. In other words, he’s trying to be butch but not macho.

We think Goldstein has a point that the political fear is very real among Republicans:

One reason Dean smells blood in Iraq is that a quagmire there will resonate with what Texans used to say about Dubya: “All hat and no cattle.” In the macho imagination, nothing is worse than a belligerent claim that can’t be supported. This is why the slogan of Bush’s warship visitation — “Mission Accomplished” — is a potential liability for him and a gift to Dean.

We just don’t see John Kerry pulling this off (ahem) in the long term the way Dean could. True, he made himself over as presidential timber to win the hearts of caucusgoers. But the more approachable Kerry many Iowa voters who’d met him in the last couple of weeks won by embracing many of the same flaws that Goldstein aptly noted, that Republicans will use to take him apart, and that Dean has avoided. All those people who think that Kerry, as a former military man and naval combat veteran, will look better than Bush whose Air Guard service is dubious to say the least are forgetting that many of the sort of voters for whom that counts have decided that it doesn’t matter to them where Bush is concerned ... he talks the talk convincingly enough that they’ll give him a pass on not have walked the walk. And as Saletan adroitly noted in Slate last fall, that is more of an issue for Kerry and less of one for Dean than the former’s supporters seem to realize:

I look at him and wonder how such a brave warrior became such a cautious politician.


Take the test yourself. Call up a friend who hasn’t been following the campaign and knows nothing about the candidates. Have your friend watch five minutes of Dean speaking and five minutes of Kerry speaking. Then ask your friend which guy fought in Vietnam. Unless Kerry mentions his war record, I’ll bet your friend picks Dean.

How long, one wonders, before last night’s euphoria wears off and John Kerry goes back to being the frog he was for most of the campaign?

posted by Sully 1/20/2004 12:15:00 PM

Monday, January 19, 2004


Sebastian on how Sullivan danced away from facing the truth about Bush.

posted by Sully 1/19/2004 01:41:00 PM


Read Riverbend’s latest report next time Sullivan talks about what a great thing we’re doing for Islamic women.

posted by Sully 1/19/2004 01:39:00 PM


Sullivan picks up the pace of unintentionally hilarious Sunday Times of London columns right where he left off a few months ago.

The surrepititious Dean-bashing starts with yet another sly Starbucks reference, hilariously boggled when he forgets one of the “c”’s in “macchiato.” Next is the sort of breezy factual error he makes all the time — Braun was not the first candidate to drop out of the race, that dubious honor goes to Bob Graham.

Then, for good measure, Sullivan bashes Clark and repeats his throughly-debunked slur that Clark once supported the war but changed his mind when he became a candidate, hoping, apparently, that his British readers will not look at Josh Marshall’s site. Dean, he suggests even though he has to qualify the assertion several times, has lost steam because Saddam got captured (meanwhile, the US military dead pool shows no signs of slowing down, and of course Iraq is a safer place without Saddam in power) and the economy “boomed” (without producing much in the way of new jobs, of course, as he has to admit). Sullivan represents these as irreversible turns of the wheel, when he should know damn well that you can be up one minute and down the next.

Lieberman, he says, “has yet to take off,” which has to be the understatement of the year. Yet to take off? Yet to even find a plane is more like it. Next Tuesday will be his last as a credible candidate for national office.

Finally, after seven grafs of this, his stunning conclusion is that ... he has no idea what this means. In better days, a pencil-chomping editor would have chewed him out and sent him back to his typewriter to write a real column, one that, you know, has an actual point other than to satisfy the minimum requirements of his contract.

But today, apparently all the Times need do is check the byline.

ADDENDUM: The Dean campaign has its corrections to how the caucus-bashing was played.

posted by Sully 1/19/2004 01:26:00 PM


With all due apologies to Philadelphians Atrios and Capozzola, we’re sort of gloating over the Eagles’ loss, for no other reason than that it spared us the spectacle of Sullivan once again revving up his failed meme, especially in the context of a Super Bowl against the ... Patriots!

posted by Sully 1/19/2004 01:08:00 PM

Sunday, January 18, 2004


With Sullivan incapacitated (just what did he spend all that pledge money on? UPDATE: Jim Capozzola asks this also LATER UPDATE: The Mighty Reason Man finds this proof of God’s existence), Josh Marshall offers another indirect rebuttal on the Clark testimony:

The issue here is what it means to be ‘anti-war.’ I've said I suppose a million times now that Clark was a consistent opponent of the president’s policy. But I’ve also said that calling him ‘anti-war’ misses the mark. I say this because in our politics this phrase ‘anti-war’ has a meaning that goes beyond one’s position on a given use of military force. It signals a general tone — one that simply doesn’t apply to Clark and leads to all sorts of innocent and in other cases not so innocent misunderstandings.


This is priceless on a couple levels. Apparently, if a pundit decides you’re a ‘bush-basher’ and then finds you’ve said something generous about the president, it means you’ve been untrue to your bush-bashing values. I don’t know quite what to make of that.

And then he gets into it directly with Smalltown Boy:

Sullivan doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that Drudge not only took the quotes out of context but actually reordered them to change their meaning. Why no concern over that? That seems like a problem. [You have to understand, Josh. You attacked Andrew’s only real friend in the whole wide world. Sullivan knows that Drudge is reckless with the truth ... and doesn’t care – SW].

Then he goes on to tendentiously misconstrue most everything Clark said. His final judgment is that Clark’s stance was basically identical to Bush’s but that at the key moment he wimped out and got cold feet about the war. He also tosses in the self-justifying canard that the whole issue was one of getting the permission of France.

I’ll leave it to you to read the testimony or not read it and make your own judgments about what Clark says. My read is that it’s pretty clear that Sullivan's readings in several cases are just tendentious misconstruals.

That should be “misconstructions” Josh, but anyway ... that is more than redeemed by this finish:

These are complex questions, ones not easily reasoned through by the standard nah-nah-nah. But there are some folks who can’t get over their 1939-envy, their hunger for the Orwell moment. But this wasn’t one of them. It never was. And the failure to understand that — whether by deception or myopia or an honest mistake or the simple need for drama that is the curse of intellectuals — has done us real harm.

In other words, the curse of history is that we do learn from it ... but always the wrong lesson.

UPDATE: Jo Fish takes a swing:

Let's see, that means that Clark, who’s “Clintonian,” must want a peaceful world, a strong economy and open government. Yeah, I hate it when politicians are like that. War, debt coupled with unemployment and unbridled secrecy is the ticket to a strong, long-lasting democracy.

So with all that in mind, I nominate Andrew Sullivan for the first annual Joseph Goebbels Award. The requirements for nomination are competance at political stenography, blind and obedient regurgitation of all talking points and mindless repetiton of obvious falsehoods daily.

posted by Sully 1/18/2004 06:01:00 PM

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