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

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


Saturday, November 20, 2004


Shorter John P. Normanson:

Although I’ve swallowed hook, line and sinker every Republican justification for the DeLay Rule, I nonetheless think I should oppose it so I can still pretend I’m not a partisan hack who would be lucky to be laying carpet at the Post’s offices if my dad weren’t who he once was.

Really, even by Normanson’s standards, this is rich. We particularly like the way he avoids passing up an opportunity to tar the Democrats as the party whose “message” is “gay marriage, abortion rights and affirmative action” ... no John, that’s what Republicans keep saying it is, and regardless of whether they win elections or not by saying that that’s just partisan spin.

UPDATE: And never mind that Brooks calls DeLay the Republican Boss Tweed. Most of his column is an ass-covering sloppy wet kiss in the Mexican-whore-lovin’ Bug Boy’s direction:

But there's also the fact that most House Republicans
like DeLay. It’s always important to remember that most of the mythology that surrounds the Hammer is total nonsense. He is not the behind-the-scenes power who controls the House. Speaker Dennis Hastert controls the House and feels free to overrule DeLay.

He is not the vicious strongman who terrorizes members and reduces them to tears to get their vote. Roy Blunt and Eric Cantor are the whips, not DeLay, and they are anything but vicious.

He’s not even a terror to his peers. He can be firm, but he and his staff are noted for their graciousness. Connecticut moderate Chris Shays, who has tangled with DeLay more than anyone else, believes that DeLay is actually uncomfortable with personal confrontations. He’s much better at offering carrots than wielding sticks.

In fact, DeLay has been a thoughtful majority leader. He rarely keeps the House in session beyond its scheduled hours. That means members, especially those with young families or marginal seats, can spend more time in their districts. That is deeply appreciated.

Yeah, that’s why all but a handful know that DeLay will thoughtfully appreciate their decision to retain the rule that requires him to step down.

UPDATE 11/22 (Happy Kennedy Assassination Remembrance and Conspiracy Theorizing Day!): Sam Rosenfeld over at TAPped points out that Brooks conveniently forgot to explain how it is that DeLay’s weakening power got his fellow Republican members to pony up 200 large to his legal defense fund even though now his lawyers don’t think he’s going to be indicted (thanks Josh, who has his own take on how seriously to take that report).

posted by Sully 11/20/2004 01:11:00 AM

Friday, November 19, 2004


If it were just that he suddenly seemed to notice what Lou Dobbs has been doing for well over year and announce it to the rest of us as though without him and his superior powers of perception we would never have noticed (“Has anyone else noticed ...” well, Andy Rooney, just the whole fucking blogosphere, or at least that part that still cares what CNN says), that would be hysterically funny enough.

But that he follows it up with this:
... the distinction between CNN and Fox has been narrowing a little of late.

then it gets to some realm where laughter and astonishment merge into some emotion which perhaps humans do not have a word for.

ADDENDUM: “... after a while, it's like listening to the bar bore after one too many drinks.” You don’t say, Andrew, you don’t say.


As Sullivan was eager to remind us at the time, Brad DeLong came to that realization about Hillary Clinton over a year ago.

As Jim Capozzola’s latest poll, a presently statistically-insignificant sample of Democrats already understand the same thing.

So it occurs to us to (unlike Sullivan) make a dramatic observation that is genuinely insightful (well, we think so).

That Republicans want Hillary to run is obvious, as is why (and thus why more Republicans support her running than Democrats). What the media doesn’t delve into all that much (because it doesn’t delve into this much at all) is why the aforementioned Republicans actually believe it’s likely that Hillary would run.

What that belief does is show us more about how their minds work than anything else. And they work along the unofficial, yet unbreakable, rule of Republican presidential politics ... that of dynasty.

See, they all know that if the wife of the last Republican president had gotten elected to the Senate despite never having held elective political office before, the nomination, any year, would be hers and the primaries a mere formality to battle-test for the real campaign in the fall. They can’t figure out for their political lives just what Democrats are doing thinking of anyone else.

And that, of course, is why while Hillary should not run for president, she should never totally take herself out till the last possible moment, all the better to keep Republicans off balance.

posted by Sully 11/19/2004 11:39:00 PM


Good riddance to bad rubbish.

(Thanks Roger Ailes).

posted by Sully 11/19/2004 11:24:00 AM


So, some Brits have a seminar about blogs and blogging in which nothing beyond the obvious, if anything, was said, and he considers it linkworthy?

posted by Sully 11/19/2004 11:07:00 AM

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Just where do we begin with this afternoon’s Condi Rice post?

First with the sloppy usage.
I guess I should say that Condi Rice’s race and gender are not the most important things about her career and abilities.

How does this sentence make sense? Did you perhaps mean to end without the last three words, or add some interpolating conjunctions? And even if you meant what we think you’re trying to mean (“are not as important as her career and abilities”), why undermine it by going on to make precisely that point?
But I’m still amazed at how little credit this president gets for promoting a black woman to such a position, and, more importantly, by his obvious respect and admiration for her.

Meaning, one supposes, that as an ersatz Texas good ole boy he should be expected to be prejudiced? Just who exactly is the blue-stater engaging in red-state stereotypes here, again?
His management style is clearly post-racial, and his comfort with female peers is impressive.

Well, we suppose that’s an upside to exactly the same sort of management style that, in literally the same breath, he rightly critiqued thus: “[its] habitual response to internal criticism is to fire someone ...”

Hey, after all, any racial or gender combination is acceptable when you expect spineless sycophancy, and nothing but, from your subordinates. Which is all Condi Rice’s “abilities” consist of at this point in her “career.” (we also have it on good inside authority that her Russian-language skills are shockingly lacking for someone who made their early rep as a Russia specialist).You know, Bill Clinton was celebrated for his progressiveness, and ease with African-Americans. But it's inconceivable that he would have given so much power and authority to a black female peer.
Again, just why is it inconcievable? On what authority does Sullivan claim to make this statement besides his own pathological hatred for Bill Clinton, which leads him to deduce that Clinton is and always shall be some Arkansas cracker-barrel hick? Huh?

And, conceivable or not is utterly beside the point, because he’s wrong. Hazel O’Leary was Clinton’s Energy Secretary for a long time. That’s a Cabinet-level position, the equal of Secretary of State. She sure isn’t white.
Why does Bush get no respect on this score? I guess it reveals that much of the left’s diversity mania is about the upholding of a certain political ideology, rather than ethnic or gender variety itself.

We guess that it’s because even Bush’s staunchest defenders (a group that no longer includes Sullivan, to be sure) can’t make an intellectually viable case that Bush’s high-level cabinet appointments have to do with anything greater than fealty to Bush and his interests.

UPDATE: Jo Fish is of a similar mind on this:

There he goes again, making sure that everyone knows how disappointed he is that Bill Clinton did not appoint Condi to the Secretary of State job instead of someone competant, like someone else of similar gender ... like, you know; Madeline Albright. Or does Andrew know something about Condi’s gender that he’s not sharing? Some — ahem — chromosomal abnormality perhaps? Just askin’.

All this is beside the fact that had the Big Dog appointed an black female to the position, Sullivan would have had the next issue of TNR after the appointment bearing a cover with a picture captioned “Pander Bear” with Bill Clinton's face morphed into that of a panda at the National Zoo.

FURTHER UPDATE: Anonymous Blogger adds to the list of African-American Clinton appointees:

Obviously, not all those positions are “Sec’y of State” level, but what is,really, other than, say, VP? In any case, is it really that “inconceivable”? Please. And nevermind the fact that, for example, many of these appointments were “firsts” for the Black community. That is, Terry Edmonds was the first Black speechwriter in the White House. See? I told you Sullivan was a jackass.

Read the rest of the article I linked to above to get an idea of how goddamn clueless Sullivan is when it comes to why “Bill Clinton was celebrated for his progressiveness, and ease with African-Americans.”

posted by Sully 11/18/2004 04:15:00 PM

Yeah, right. That's why we're dragooning retirees to the front.

Funny, shortly after a long post by us gettin’ medieval on his buttocks about this in light of his continued call for “more troops” in Iraq as if he were some gentleman at a club displeased with the gin content in his martini, in which we linked and quoted extensively from stories about exactly this, he makes his first mention, in a fashion that suggests he assumes his readers know what he’s talking about.

And in all likelihood they do. But it sure isn’t from the Daily Dish.

posted by Sully 11/18/2004 04:08:00 PM


It’s been far too long since we checked into Bob Somerby, whose acid critiques of Sullivan’s early-Bush era excesses were one of the reasons we decided this blog was necessary.

Today he takes aim at Sullivan’s flat-tax proselytizing:

But what does it mean to say that Forbes proposed “a single, flat rate of tax for everyone?” Under Forbes’ plan, many families of four would pay no income tax; others would pay up to seventeen percent. What makes that system “flat?”

Decency starts with accurate statements. What does Sully mean by that highlighted statement? Does he know he’s pimping propaganda — a poll-tested phrase — or does he still fail to understand?

posted by Sully 11/18/2004 10:54:00 AM

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

It’s that Orwellian moment when you realize that ten years after the Republicans pledged to overturn the self-serving corruption and complacency of the majority Democrats, they have become indistinguishable from the people they once targeted.

Have become? Have become?

posted by Sully 11/17/2004 11:57:00 PM


Abu Aardvark has a couple of posts about extremists complaining about al-Jazeera being horrendously biased in its coverage of the Iraq insurgency.

No, not neocons in Foggy Bottom. Jihadists in Riyadh.
The jihadist website al Qala‘ah has a post today reporting on an ‘opinion survey’ about the Arab media carried out by some Islamist group. Its findings (based on about 8,000 responses): 81% of the participants think that the Arab media is biased in favor of the American side in its coverage of “the second Fallujah war,” while only 8% think that the Arab media is siding with the “Iraqi resistance.”


Meanwhile, one of the posters at the jihadist chatroom Al Islah has his/her own bones to pick with Al Jazeera: Ghassan Bin Jadu, the level-headed, polite, and extremely smart host of the popular talk show Open Dialogue, must have been imposed on the station by “outside agents”! Because the man is obviously biased against Sunni Islam — you'd think you were watching Hizbollah’s al Manar, complains this bitterly (and typically) anti-Shia jihadi. As the poster complains, bin Jadu keeps presenting Shia personalities, and even Maronite Christians, on his program — that dastardly dastard. “And the way he asks questions.. he pretends to be objective and to present multiple points of view (most of them hostile to the mujahidin), and whenever he talks to defenders of the mujahidin you’ll notice that he tries to hurt them and put them in a corner or pretend that they have no argument.” Once again, the nerve of the guy — presenting multiple points of view. You can see why al Jazeera is such a problem! One of the commenters points out that it isn’t just one guy — whenever al Jazeera as a whole talks about the mujahideen, complains the second poster, it is full of hate for the noble mujahideen. Al Jazeera is just like the others — part of the Crusader army.

Don’t expect this to register on the hawks any time soon. Because it would make it all too clear to the rest of us who in this war is their real countryman.

posted by Sully 11/17/2004 08:03:00 PM

Franly, I’m grateful for what this man, half my age, is doing with his fellows in unspeakably terrifying circumstances.

Franly Mr. Shanly I’m a sickening wreck,
I’ve got the 21st Century breathing down my neck.
I want to leave; you will not miss me.
I want to go down in Internet history.
Oh, we do too many Smiths’ in-jokes. We weren’t that big fans of theirs ... honest.

posted by Sully 11/17/2004 05:20:00 PM

Franly, I’m grateful for what this man, half my age, is doing with his fellows in unspeakably terrifying circumstances.

Cf. everything just below.

posted by Sully 11/17/2004 05:17:00 PM

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


It takes a seemingly counterintuitive post like the one calling for more troops to really expose Smalltown Boy’s twit pretensions so thoroughly.

If you just read “MORE TROOPS, PLEASE,” and nothing else published on Planet Earth in the last couple of weeks, you could be forgiven for thinking it pretty reasonable. After all, we don’t disagree that the present U.S. troop level in Iraq is not sufficient to guarantee security for the forthcoming elections.

But then you go to Daily Kos, and learn there of the ugly reality of where those troops are coming from:

Pistorius was honorably discharged from the Army in July 20, 2001. His certificate of release attests to his accomplishments: Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Sharpshooter qualification.

The upper corner is the spot in which the military lists a departing member’s reserve obligation, the amount of time discharged soldiers, sailors and Marines remain subject to recall. For Pistorius, the boxes contain a succession of zeroes.

Because he was discharged well after his prior reserve obligation had passed, the Army laid no further claim to him, until someone in St. Louis ignored those zeroes and went hunting for a fresh body to fill a manpower shortage that grows more painful with every Iraqi sunset.
“They basically told me that my Marine Corps time doesn’t count as military service,” Pistorius said. Faced with a threat of AWOL charges, and worried that a spotless military record was about to be stained, Pistorius headed last month to Camp McGrady in South Carolina. “The first thing they did was thank us for showing up,” Pistorius said. “They had 150 that were supposed to show up and about 75 did. Of those 75 maybe only 40 or 50 are medically fit.”


Pistorius spoke with his captain. “He said everybody here’s going to Iraq,” Pistorius said. “It’s unbelievable some of the guys they're bringing down there.”

One man arrived with a hospital identification band still on his wrist. He'd just had knee surgery. One 48-year-old from Alabama had a hip replacement and fused vertebrae in his back.

“He showed them the documents, but they still made him come down to be examined by their doctors,” Pistorius said. Pistorius spoke of a man called back from upstate New York. “He had no teeth and he had arthritis in his leg,” he said.


He said at one point an Army lawyer in South Carolina held out the receiver so he could hear the person on the other end explain that his big problem was showing up. So many people had either moved or ignored their orders to report that the Army was loath to part with a reasonably healthy one that had.

We have not been in the military ourselves. But like many Americans, we have family and friends who did, and we respect them and see what good their career choices did for them. They do but honor to the service in our eyes.

And to see something like this happening ... one of these people suffered a permanently disabling injury in Vietnam, yet went on to a very high rank in the Army before his recent retirement. Like all people who’ve served that long, he loves the Army. He is proud of what he did to help rebuild it after Vietnam.

And all to watch it pissed away in a few short years by some rich-boy drunk who couldn’t even meet his own IRR commitments from the fucking Air Guard without being let out early to go get C’s at Harvard Business School.

If it pains us this much to see this shit happening again in an Army we still have so many reasons to be proud of, can you imagine how he feels about it?

Oh ... this isn’t just a onetime screwup. Many people have blogged this article from today’s Times already; in this context let us join them.

The Army has encountered resistance from more than 2,000 former soldiers it has ordered back to military work, complicating its efforts to fill gaps in the regular troops.

Many of these former soldiers — some of whom say they have not trained, held a gun, worn a uniform or even gone for a jog in years — object to being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan now, after they thought they were through with life on active duty.

They are seeking exemptions, filing court cases or simply failing to report for duty, moves that will be watched closely by approximately 110,000 other members of the Individual Ready Reserve, a corps of soldiers who are no longer on active duty but still are eligible for call-up.


And, of about 2,500 who were due to arrive on military bases for refresher training by Nov. 7, 733 had not shown up.

(Emphasis ours). Oh, by the way, these are not people who decided to this after deconstructionism seminars at Oberlin where they dropped acid and watched Fahrenheit 9/11/. These are red-meat red-state types.

As the court fight has continued, Mr. Parrish’s date to report to Fort Sill, Okla., has been pushed back, again and again, one month at a time. Instead of thinking about long-term plans, for his wife and their future family, he is living in 30-day increments.

He said he always looked back on his service years fondly, and with a deep sense of patriotism.

“I guess I feel disillusioned now,” he said. “This isn’t about being for or against the war. It’s not about Democrats or Republicans. It’s just a contract, and I don’t think this is right. If they need more people, shouldn’t they get them the right way? How many more like me are there?”


Some of the soldiers said they were worried, though, about the prospect and safety of trying to get up to speed in a few months.

“These guys like me are basically untrained civilians now,” said Mr. Howell, the former helicopter test pilot. Mr. Howell said he left the Army years ago with an injured back, knee and elbow, leaving him wondering about his own physical condition.

“I don’t even have a uniform anymore," he said. "But they don’t have any more reserves left, so we’re it. All they want is some bodies to go to Iraq, just someone to be there, to sit on the ground.”

Quiz: If you are sitting out there in Fallujah, in the shit, reading this, are you buoyed by the prospect of having guys like these ordered to watch your back?

Let the Blog Queen think about this while he sits on the sands of P-town fondly scruffing his beagle between the ears. While those he once called his servants go out and die for his right to write gossipy name-dropping columns about trying to decide who should be Man of the Year.

It’s almost enough to make us want to go out somewhere, find a place we can cast a vote against gay marriage — just one — just to piss him off and get his attention.

Really, he should be thankful there aren’t many more gay conservatives.

posted by Sully 11/16/2004 04:31:00 PM


Jo Fish, without a link to whom no week on this blog feels right, scores Sullivan one for his hypocrisy.

posted by Sully 11/16/2004 04:26:00 PM


Excuse for this being a bit late, but it deserves to be published.

Sullivan, in his latest bit of patting himself on the back, claims that the election spiked his traffic up (understandably) and suggests that his readership keeps growing by “100,000 a day.”


That can’t be possible. His numbers for the year show no such increase, only his usual pattern of relatively stable readership from January, when he began making stats publicly viewable, a trough in August when he went on vacation, and then an upward spike coincident with the election campaign — a pattern relatively similar to ours.

So, did he misphrase? Is it possible he meant to praise his new readers, and then brag about having 100,000 readers a day?

While it certainly wouldn’t surprise us if he did have a couple of good ones betwen Labor Day and 11/2, according to his own stats he is currently pulling in about 64,000 readers a day. That either suggests a huge falloff, or that his average daily hits very rarely poked above six figures during that period.

posted by Sully 11/16/2004 04:14:00 PM


Don’t blame us for the recent dearth of posts. It’s Pyra’s fault.

posted by Sully 11/16/2004 04:12:00 PM

Monday, November 15, 2004


Matthew Yglesias at TAPped is not convinced that Bush didn’t make any gains among Latin voters.

What he doesn’t allude to much (and what Sullivan touches on not at all) is Sailer’s strongly anti-immigration agenda, which, as the end of his post makes clear, is why he’s doing this.

Ygelsias also focuses too much on the Texas numbers, where we think Sailer makes his most salient point in noting Matthew Dowd’s early comments about how pleasantly surprised he was at the Hispanic numbers nationwide and also about how few Latin-heavy counties nationwide actually went for Bush that had gone for Gore (of course, the

It is sort of ugly. But there’s no reason that this fight should be stopped. Just as the potential intraparty squabble brewing over amending the Constitution to let foreign-born governors become president can only be good for Democrats, this can only help our side too whoever wins on the amnesty issue.

ADDENDUM: Granted, this map of counties that changed colors doesn’t tell the whole story .... perhaps someone can put together a map that shows where either candidate made significant gains over 2000 whether they lost or not. And, as this other TAPster suggests, you may have to go down to the precinct level to answer this.

But we still think Republicans overestimate the gains Bush made among Latinos (but it is still a good thing for Democrats to look closely and see how they can better play to that vote next time).

Anecdotal evidence for what it’s worth: One of us has a family member who owns some rental property. Many of this family member’s tenants are working-class immigrants from various Central American countries.

The family member told our person that given the tenants’ devout Catholicism, it seemed more likely that they would go for Bush and his values message.

But instead the tenants voted for Kerry ... out of fears that Bush would reinstitute the draft, for which they considered themselves and/or their children to be sitting ducks.

Perhaps someone should look at that as a factor among Latin voters, at least in this election.

posted by Sully 11/15/2004 03:27:00 PM

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Via John Whiteside, we found this post by Jeff Epperly that brings a personal point of view to the discussion.

I’m sort of with Rall in that I grew up in one of the reddest states around: Nebraska. I’ll second Rall’s notions about why so many of us leave those places the first chance we get. Not only that, but I went back for a year recently and can say that it’s even more stifling and conformist than I remember it being.

But even as we call the red state denizens on their intellectual dishonesty, I think braying about how much better we are because we watch better movies — whatever that means — is excessive and intellectually bankrupt. It as silly as red staters who think they’re better because they wake up and smell cow shit every morning.

posted by Sully 11/14/2004 11:19:00 PM


P O’Neill, alert to the British press in ways we could never be, finds a new instance of an embarassing sex scandal (that’s the respectable-boradsheet version; the snarky tabloid version is here (but remember the paper in question speaks for the Liverpudlians, who have a major grudge against Johnson at the moment) befalling one of Sullivan’s friends and tanking a once-promising political career (although, in fairness, the friend in question had not exactly been squeaky-clean up to this point).

It seems that Sullivan’s onetime Tory and Oxford pal Boris Johnson, to whom the Blog Queen often refers without failing to note that he’s an MP and editor of the Spectator (and also a panelist on a popular British quiz show) started doing the old in out in out with a woman not his wife but rather someone else’s.

Pretty ho-hum, and we probably wouldn’t know about it ... until, when they got together again, she got herself into a little trouble and had to go get an abortion. Ooops.

Boris at first denied this, but then it was confirmed and it cost him his party position as a frontbench speaker.

Will Sullivan report on this? Nothing illegal took place; but as P asks:
A toxic set of circumstances for the principals, for sure, but what will the self-styled Catholic Tory pro-privacy anti-hypocrisy pro-life pro-Boris media rebel make of it?

posted by Sully 11/14/2004 06:13:00 PM


Roger Ailes is skeptical about the supposed 20/20 piece exonerating Matthew Shepard’s killers of a hate crime, and Sullivan’s hype for it.

Something — quite a few things — stink here. Most obviously, it’s not clear how Sully knows the “documentary” will be an important, thorough debunking since he doesn’t know what ABC’s key findings are, and only “has a feeling” what the program might reveal.

The New York Post article to which Sully links claim that Shepard’s killers now deny the killing was motivated by bias. Case closed. If you can’t take the word of murdering, crank-dealing muggers who are seeking to make themselves look good and who are contradicting their earlier admissions, who can you trust? As described, this whole project has the whiff of John “Make Shit Up” Stossel and his right-wing agenda.

And the fact that Sully claims he was “tangentially involved” in the report makes it sound even more questionable. Sully has no first-hand knowledge of the circumstances of the crime or the participants’ motivations. His only purported contribution is his vehement opposition to hate crimes laws (and his willingess to misrepresent them). If the program’s focus is “what happened,” the question of what the law should be is totally irrelevant. Unless the program is wingnut propaganda passing as news.

posted by Sully 11/14/2004 06:07:00 PM


If, as Atrios notes, even David Brooks can be man enough to apologize to Kerry for mischaracterizing him, when will Sullivan follow suit?

posted by Sully 11/14/2004 06:04:00 PM

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Excerpts from Lee Siegel's 2001 Harper's piece

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Who Was That Masked Man?

The Horse remembered.


How the media lynched O.J. Simpson

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Eve Tushnet's classic zinger

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Diane E. goes digging through the memory hole and finds a Times of London column Sullivan would prefer be forgotten.


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"The Princess of Provincetown"

Jim Capozzola goes further in that direction than we would ever dare.


Sullivan urges the Bush Administration to lie to the public

Brendan and Ben catch him in the act.


The Washington Times: An irredeemably left-wing rag

Bob Somerby shows the consequences of Sullivan's own logic of media bias


The Central Tenets of the Blogosphere

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