Saturday, April 03, 2004
BACK IN THE KAUS:
Even when he wanders back on the reservation, Mickey Kaus can’t help but be wildly wrong again. Days after he congratulated Sullivan on finally understanding the blowback potential in Iraq with the arrests of the young Muslims of East Sussex and elsewhere in the greater London area, Sullivan disappoints his hope that he will “drop the facile charge of appeasement.”
And Logan Circle Guy notes that if Fox News is to be trusted (a big if, we know), this may have nothing to do with al-Qaa‘idah. “But,” he snorts, “we wouldn’t want Andrew to let an inconvenient possibility like that let him miss a chance to heap scorn on Spain.”).
posted by Sully 4/03/2004 11:32:00 AM
Friday, April 02, 2004
BUT HEY, IF THE RICH CAN’T SLEEP UNDER BRIDGES EITHER ...:
Lucianne’s I Tried To Flush It But Then I Saw It Didn’t Have A String Attached can’t suppress a chuckle at Sullivan’s support of a higher gas tax.
But what I do like is Andrew’s claim that “A gas tax for the war would be a great idea: it would mean a real general sacrifice...” coming just days after he admitted he does not drive and never has.
Which leads us to think a tax on steroids to pay for the war would be pretty cool, too.
UPDATE: Jo Fish adds:
Not seeing that this again leaves him open to exactly what he accuses Kerry of doing: being on both sides of an issue. Not that that’s a new one; but it again underscores his dogmatic belief in Fearless Leader & Co, right or wrong ... even when they contradict themselves he makes excuses for them. But then that’s what makes him consistent, isn’t it?: irrational discourse and pixie-dust possibilities.
It’s funny that even when Sullivan is close to right, he’s out in left field ... and remaining there without any idea what position he’s playing.
posted by Sully 4/02/2004 02:31:00 PM
Thursday, April 01, 2004
I KNOW IT HAPPENED, BECAUSE I SAW IT ON TV ...:
TBogg puts splinters in Sullivan’s ass like no one in some time:
First of all, Andrew, you didn’t get a taste of anything except a vanilla latte with a bit too much foam on top. Watching the news doesn’t make you a part of what happened in Falluja, just like watching baseball on TV doesn’t mean you have to start thinking about warming your arm up. Sitting safely at home and thinking “How very sad” isn’t participating. Check your clothes and see if any of them have a hint of Eau de Burned Flesh.
Secondly, isn’t the fact that the Iraqi people wouldn’t want us occupying their country one of the main reasons that those of us who didn’t want this stupid war cited back in those days prior to Shock & Awe & Bluster & Death? As someone once said: an attack on a sovereign country will make the people of that country support their leader no matter how horrible, evil, or inept that person is.
Just look at what happened after 9/11.
posted by Sully 4/01/2004 11:47:00 AM
OUT OF THE KAUS:
Max Sawicky on why Mickey Kaus needs remedial economics, too:
1. The data do not prove that welfare reform upheld LFP rates;
2. Even if this is true, it does not prove that welfare reform is desirable.
1. There is no way to separate the effects of the overall shape of the labor market, the EITC, and welfare reform in two data points. Even less can you show that the controversial, illiberal components of welfare reform — work requirements and time limits — were the cause. Work-conditioned benefits which many on the left have always supported increased significantly after 1992.
2. Doubtless, welfare reform — the nasty kind — could have a positive effect on LFP, but LFP is not the same as well-being. If we allow ourselves to fall back on the quaint notion that the purpose of welfare reform is to enhance the well-being of dependent children, that goes to the changes in the family’s leisure time and income, not LFP, and even less, to caseload reduction.
MK lauds the heroism of moms working, or at least looking for work, through the recession. HHS says the total persons in the caseload (average monthly) from January to December of 2001 decreased, from 5,563,832 to 5,276,089. MaxSpeak would call this a failure of the safety net. During a recession, external constraints on employment would increase, not decrease, putting a greater obligation on authorities to compensate. In the actual event, the opposite policy was enforced. Aid was made less available, not more available.
Here’s a couple of stats for you. How was poverty in the bad old days of indulgent welfare, wanton black women, the Great Society, and Woodstock? In 1973, a business cycle peak, the rate was 11.1 percent. How was it after the 1996 reform and the fabulous decade, say, for the business cycle peak of 2001? Why, it was 11.7 percent.
posted by Sully 4/01/2004 11:39:00 AM
MOVE ALONG HERE, NOTHING TO SEE HERE FOLKS, SHOW’S OVER:
I don’t get the political controversy, I really don’t (although I appreciate the need to get to the bottom of what failed).
Could be because we have to know that the people who made mistakes in the first eight months have learned from them, especially now when they purposely raised the stakes.
Who believed the Bush administration was fully on the case in its first eight months?
You, for starters (No-link rule waived), at least in early 2002:
A thorough and interesting piece by Bart Gellmann in Sunday’s Washington Post. You can see it as either a more or less continuation of Clinton’s caution — or something much better. You won’t be surprised to see I think the latter. Clearly the Bush administration didn’t do enough in eight months to deter or detect the September 11 outbreak of war. They deserve some of the responsibility for our vulnerability alongside Clinton. But to say the two administrations were interchangeable strikes me as wrong.
The difference was that the Bushies began to see al Qaeda as a systemic threat requiring a broad strategy for the region. They say Bush himself expressed frustration at inaction.
The administration ratcheted up its objectives regarding al Qaeda to ‘elimination’ of the organization – far more profound than anything Clinton had done. Further, the Taliban were formally warned that the United States would make no distinction between them and al Qaeda. Options for actual invasion of Afghanistan were on the table by September 4 – if far from being implemented. None of this was enough, of course. But any comparison of this record with Clinton’s eight long years of swatting at flies seems to me to the great advantage of Bush.
OK, so he did say even then that he didn’t think the administration did enough ... obviously he would have had to, because 9/11 happened. But in that post we just quoted there are at least several concrete examples of him contrasting Bush actions favorably with what Clinton did or didn’t do.
This is, of course, all based on a Post article we particularly love and have quoted and linked to in the past, because the bits Sullivan likes pale in comparison to the parts that talk about how Bush a) canceled a weekly meeting on al-Qaa‘idah that the Clinton people had started having, b) pulled off the Predator drones that were searching for bin Laden,and may have found him once or twice and c) stood down two Navy missile ships assigned to the sea off Pakistan for a quick retaliatory strike (Think those might have made a difference on Sept. 11?).
Argue, if you want, and as Richard Clarke does, that Clinton’s people didn’t do enough to confront bin Laden (but also note his caveat that due to Republican harassment of Clinton, he didn’t have the political clout to drag the CIA along). But this does not and should not neutralize, no matter how much odious and disingenuous spin the right puts on it, the fact that Bush did even less. If Clinton was trying to get guys on base and steal, and succeeding a couple of times, Bush told every batter to swing for the fences on the first, second and third pitches.
To speak less metaphorically, what the last two weeks has revealed is an administration afraid to admit a fundamental concept underlying its national-security policy was dead wrong, dead almost 3,000 times wrong. Raised on the Cold War and further suckled by the Israelis they were close to, they believed no terrorism of any consequence could exist without a state sponsor (the pro-private sector economic rhetoric of their administration notwithstanding). In that context, every action of the Bushies prior to 9/11, and the Iraq war, makes sense. They can in all honestly defend themselves because, in their minds, doing something about Iraq was doing something about al-Qaa‘idah. They can dismiss what Clinton did do as “swatting flies,” no matter how successful, because they were going to make the big, bold move that would kill many birds with one stone.
They just forgot to tell al-Qaa‘idah to wait until they were ready (In fact, one does have to wonder if that group picked up on what was happening, and not happening, in Washington and the Middle East and was — dare we say it? — emboldened by the signals it got. The 9/11 panel may not get to it, but it is a fair question).
And just because they may have been, at the macro level, in good-faith wrong does not excuse them one iota their complete abdication of the defensive and law-enforcement responsibilities they so sneered at until recently. Hardening a target at home may not make terrorists feel miserable and hunted, but it does tend to protect that target and the lives and economic value it represents. Trying terrorists as criminals (and thus, we add, not validating their self-conceptions as warriors) may pose all sorts of intelligence risks, but not trying them at all is not a terribly effective way of deterring terrorists. They may well have thought the Clinton strategy shortsighted ... but that is no excuse for failing to keep your guard up while you plan and implement a new one.
For, in the world of international terrorism, you see, there are no whistles, much less TV timeouts.
UPDATE: Josh Marshall takes up Condi’s undelivered 9/11 speech and comes to a similar conclusion:
In any case, this is just another example that they simply failed to understand where the real threat was coming from.
That in itself is forgivable. The problem is that they tried to shoehorn 9/11 into their existing paradigm rather than rethink that flawed analysis.
LATER UPDATE: George Cerny links to this post and adds more examples showing just how eager Sullivan has been in the past to lay all this at Clinton’s doorstep.
posted by Sully 4/01/2004 12:47:00 AM
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
George Cerny gets upset at Sullivan’s invocation of Hayek and Havel as intellectual godparents:
Sullivan has, at times at least, a graceful style and a gift for rhetoric. But he is merely a hack, a propagandist, more interested in defending the positions that he has taken than in probing for flaws in his positions. When even he can’t defend them anymore, he changes the subject, attacks motives, and obfuscates.
When the NY Times was embroiled in scandal, no one gave it more play than he did. Last week, when it came out that Times columnist David Brooks’ reporting for The Atlantic had something of the fantastic to it, Sullivan was silent. Would he have ignored a similar story about, say, Paul Krugman?
And don’t forget this post, too.
posted by Sully 3/31/2004 06:02:00 PM
MAYBE IT’S WEARING A HAT SO NO ONE WILL NOTICE:
Roger Ailes on just how the hell gay marriage is like welfare reform.
From the comments:
Yeah, I can see how this makes perfect sense — if you’re totally insane.
So that means Miss Andrew Sullivan wouldn’t have been caught with her ass up in the air on the internet a few years back if gay marriage had been legal? Or is it only other queens who need to be civilized?
posted by Sully 3/31/2004 05:58:00 PM
EVERYBODY’S DESIGNATED DRINKER:
We’d like to think we, and we alone, were responsible for Sullivan having to explain why he doesn’t drive, but the sad fact of the matter is that there actually probably are enough people who follow his work as ravenously as we do yet think it’s all just so super there is no need to start a blog about it to have generated that email.
Now we know just what sort of person contributes the equivalent of a 7-11 clerk’s weekly take-home so Sullivan can take even more vacations. If this is the sort of person likely to maintain that level of disposable income in the future, we fear for it. We won’t even get into the hyperbole about Sullivan having “pioneered the political blog” and the conflation of “being HIV-positive” with “having AIDS.”
By the way guys, if as your remark about “bungholes of the blogosphere” suggests, as well as your consideration of the same possible answers that we did last night, you’re reading this, Art Buchwald had a much more succinct statement of the same point.
As for Sullivan’s answer, it is sort of amusing to read him blather about the benefits of mountain-biking (albeit without the proviso that it’s a great way to stay behind your boyfriend). He almost sounds like some wild-eyed radical California environmentalist (yes, we know there’s a certain irony in linking to that page to suggest common cause with someone who rides a mountain bike).
But then he betrays the elitism we’ve always suspected lay beneath: “[C]abs exist for a reason; cars bore me ...” And then the kicker, “I have enough friends to help me out in a pinch.” So, in other words, if you’re Andrew Sullivan’s friend, prepare to be hit up for a ride.
Kinda reminds us of a line from Dennis Miller, back in that distant time when he was actually good, anticipating what turned out to be a perfectly valid criticism of the emphasis at that time (the mid-’80s) on designating a driver when you went out, that the world was now divided into types: people who got stinking drunk in public, “and the rest of us poor slobs who are expected to drive these people home. Maybe the slogan should be ‘Friends don’t let friends walk all over them.’”
Also, for a guy who appeals to all the so-called red states, it’s not only a very blue-state attitude, it’s a lifestyle choice only sustainable in a number of blue-state cities.
Oh well, he’s only got himself to blame when he doesn’t realize why high gas prices are tanking Bush this summer ...
UPDATE: Surprise surprise, he now thinks the gas tax is too low. Wonder how The Corner will take that?
And Jo Fish comes up with a better hed than we did:
I have only one question: where does the beagle fit on a Mountain Bike? One of those Wizard of Oz handlebar baskets? Does Sullivan see himself as Judy Garland?
posted by Sully 3/31/2004 05:54:00 PM
DON’T KNOW MUCH ’BOUT ECONOMICS:
Logan Circle Guy corrects Sullivan on the anti-Kerry Bush ads:
This is the kind of statement that leaves you convinced that the writer is the most mindless type of partisan, afflicted with unquestioning loyalty to their leader, unhampered by any consideration of reality.
The ads (as noted in the USA Today piece Andrew links to) portray Kerry as a taxi-hiking[Sounds interesting! – SW], flip-flopping liberal. Ads like this, coming from an administration that from day one has lied to the public about economic policy and national finances — promising to simultaneously pay Social Security benefits and privatize the system using the very same funds, claiming that tax cuts would provide economic stimulus when even conservative economists said that the idea was nonsensical, and so on — expose nothing but the massive dishonesty of the Bush administration.
[E]ven some well-educated people are quite ignorant about economics — check out Andrew’s cooing about individual economic indicators from time to time (usually as an opportunity to get testy about Paul Krugman), and his inability to see a set of indicators as a whole, and you see the classic example of someone just educated enough to have no idea when he’s got no clue what he's talking about.
So the man who has rapidly destroyed the finances of the US and set us up for economic catastrophe is now smearing his opponent in the next election, and Andrew gets all gushy because he’s exposed the truth.
(Link added). Never thought we’d see the day when liberals would have to remind conservatives about the fundamental laws of economics.
posted by Sully 3/31/2004 11:41:00 AM
Jo catches Sullivan in another one of his bad habits: contradicting what he himself said a week or so before.
The comment is also pretty funny, too.
posted by Sully 3/31/2004 11:21:00 AM
BABY YOU CAN DRIVE MY CAR ...:
Sometimes, in reading some of his longer and more predictable posts, interesting little tidbits emerge like this one, which begins a sudden and entertaining non sequitur in the middle of the Cooke enconium:
Since I still cannot drive a car ...
We think we speak for quite a few people when we say we’d like to know a little bit more about this. Why? Has he just never gotten the time to learn? How did he manage to miss out on this?
Or does he have some physical or ... God forbid ... legal reason for this disability? And if the latter, what’s the story Morning Glory?
Either way, there’s a huge part of the average American experience he’s not able to speak of from firsthand knowledge, putting him in league with a good deal of the population of Manhattan and such luminaries as Robert Moses. It’s odd that he never brought it up before ... perhaps he knows that it would further alienate him from his readers. Shucks, we always thought it was him behind the wheel on those DC-to-Ptown marathons.
And, purely from a writer’s standpoint, it’s extremely confusing for that to be the only present-tense statement in a story taking place 15 years ago that suddenly interrupts an obit pertaining to a newly-reported death. Does he mean he couldn’t then? Then he should just say so. Otherwise, chalk another one up for the “possibly posting stoned” file.
posted by Sully 3/31/2004 12:42:00 AM
OK, now we know for sure that his attempt at Cooke-emulating was deliberate and conscious.
Still, our inner Monty Python was just waiting for some sentences in the vein of “And he got forced out of editing a prestigious opinion journal — just like I did. And then he got caught sexually embarrassing himself on the Internet, like I did. Oops, sorry, he didn’t do that, it was just me. But I still didn’t have to host Masterpiece Theater! Oh, wait, that was a good thing ...”
There are certainly far worse to pattern yourself after than Cooke, and actually it was from Sully we learned of his passing. But all the same, when you write “On the fifteenth floor in New York City, with a changed name and a new accent, he was finally home. I know how he felt,” you reveal, as we’ve noted before, far more about yourself than your subject.
posted by Sully 3/31/2004 12:29:00 AM
TIME CONTINUES TO BE FLEETING:
Once again, we started reading “Wednesday’”s entries while it was still Tuesday in the Eastern Time Zone.
Can’t imagine the time vortex that will open up next weekend ...
posted by Sully 3/31/2004 12:22:00 AM
Finally, apparently, the Sage of South Goodstone (or is that, if Google is to be believed, South Godstone? Yes! ’Tis! God this is embarrassing) can feel some personal connection to the war on Terror — a bunch of Pakis from the London suburbs are hauled in and some even come from West Sussex! Crimony!
But, in the Guardian article (not the one he links to; this one focuses more on the communities where the arrested live), we learn that while one of the addresses in Crawley, West Sussex, (about 12 miles from East Grinstead, where Sully grew up according to his bio ... not really close enough, one suspects, for the alleged terrorists to have stood pints for their mates at the same pubs Sullivan crawled) most of them lived in places like Uxbridge and Slough that the map shows as being decidedly to the west of London, or Ilford to the east ... all a good 40 miles (65 km or so) from his old stomping grounds.
Indeed, many of them lived convenient to London’s two major airports, presumably for a reason, the article suggests. Certainly they may well be places like East Grinstead, but, y’know, they’re not East Grinstead.
posted by Sully 3/31/2004 12:18:00 AM
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
SULLIVAN IN 30 SECONDS OR LESS:
Jo Fish welcomes Sullivan back to work.
posted by Sully 3/30/2004 02:21:00 PM
JOKE’S STILL ON YOU:
No, Sullivan, it is we who laugh at you having to laugh. When people say you’ve gone left, they are only reflecting the rigid dogma that was once American conservatism, the kind of thinking you still persist in attributing especially to the left. You do not understand what they know — that there is no such thing as a “cafeteria conservative.” If you didn’t realize this in late February after the Great Gay Marriage Betrayal, you won’t realize it now.
Of course, once upon a time, when the righteous fires of Varick Street smoldered still, you knew this instinctively. You said that “the decadent left ... in its coastal enclaves ... may well mount a fifth column.” And the same people who now hurl such opprobrium at you then hosanna'ed and drove up your hit counts and crowned you Blog Queen.
Reminds us of yet another Steely Dan song:
You were the best in town
Just by chance you crossed the diamond with the pearl
You turned it on the world
That’s when you turned the world around
Did you feel like Jesus
Did you realize
That you were a champion in their eyes ...
You must have had it all
You’d go to L.A. on a dare
And you’d go it alone
Could you live forever
Could you see the day
Could you feel your whole world fall apart and fade away
Now your patrons have all left you in the red
Your low rent friends are dead
This life can be very strange
All those dayglow freaks who used to paint the face
They’ve joined the human race
Some things will never change
Son you were mistaken
You are obsolete
Look at all the white men on the street
Careful what you carry
’Cause the man is wise
You are still an outlaw in their eyes
Get along ...
Get along Kid Charlemagne ...
And, as if that all weren’t bad enough, his “Quote of the Day” comes from none other than the Son and Heir Of Nothing in Particular hisself, Morrissey!
posted by Sully 3/30/2004 02:15:00 PM
Monday, March 29, 2004
OLD BUSINESS (BUT STILL RELEVANT):
Here’s how Sullivan misread, once again, a Le Monde editorial.
posted by Sully 3/29/2004 08:56:00 PM
A PEG OR TWO?:
Tom Tomorrow on just how timid Okrent’s column really was to the op-ed page pooh-bahs.
posted by Sully 3/29/2004 08:47:00 PM
OH, REALLY NOW?:
It always amazes me how journalists respond when they are the object of inquiry, exposure and questioning.
Or don’t, as the case may be.
posted by Sully 3/29/2004 08:43:00 PM
In our tardiness, Logan Circle Guy got out front and did a nice wrapup on some of Sullivan’s first posts back.
What Andrew never gets specific about, of course, is how the war on Iraq relates to al Qaeda or 9/11. Because he can’t, so he actually mimics the administration by just saying the names in the same breath as often as possible.
He’s having quite a first day back; a bit earlier he complained about the reaction of BBC staff to an internal inquiry, accusing them of hypocrisy because they demand inquiries of public officials. If you follow the link in the story you find something that bears little resemblance to what Andrew says the story is about, and you never really get a sense that the poor guy understands the difference between elected officials carrying out a nation’s business and journalists.
But (ok this is a throwaway), in a whine about conservatives accusing him of planning to later come out as a Kerry supporter, he asks, “Am I supposed to stop thinking at all?” Well, too late, in the opinion of some (including me) but the real point of interest here is that he’s discovering that the conservative press he’s been so fond of us is less a journalistic enterprise than a propaganda machine, and now that’s he's crossed it he’s in line for some good old fashioned right wing smears. Now he can have something in common with Paul Krugman!
posted by Sully 3/29/2004 08:42:00 PM
TIME IS FLEETING ...:
A little late also in saying this, but last night’s post rebuking National Review was viewed by us before 11 p.m. EST Sunday despite having a timestamp of early Monday.
For all the money he raises, Sullivan could at least set his computer clock properly.
posted by Sully 3/29/2004 07:14:00 PM
THE FRUITS OF LOTT:
Sorry to be so long in coming back, we had a busy weekend and we were actually more emotionally affected by the twin whammy of getting written up in a major magazine and losing the Horse than we thought we would be.
Anyway, Quiddity Quack points once again, vis-a-vis Josh Marshall, to what we’ve been saying about l’affaire Lott: if you thought his ouster was due just to genuine outrage among conservatives at his remarks (a hollow-point assertion in any event considering that they were unfazed by more serious lapses along those lines earlier), and had nothing whatsoever to do with growing conservative discontent with his leadership (i.e., outside of social issues he was too much of a pork-barrel distributor and not a hard-line conservative ideologue, and hadn’t rounded up enough votes to remove Clinton from office), you were wrong, as the recent behavior of his successor, Bill Frist, demonstrates.
posted by Sully 3/29/2004 07:12:00 PM