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

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


Thursday, September 08, 2005


We wondered how Sullivan would react to being betrayed by Schwarzenegger; the fact that he wasn’t really all that surprised says as much about the current state of the GOP as it does about Sullivan’s personal growth in the last year and a half.

But we think he should walk back his rhetoric about this being the first time a state legislature approved gay marriage without being prompted by a court. Because there are two big qualifiers here that if we don’t point out, conservatives will.

1) Politics. Der Gubernator had made it absolutely crystal-clear that he would veto the bill. That gave legislators a chance to fence-sit. They could win points with voters for being gay-friendly by voting for it while not alienating at least enough right-wingers to keep their votes because legalized gay marriage in California wouldn’t be on them. It was a win-win situation for them, and Californians should try to make every one who voted for it say whether they would have done so if they knew it would be signed.

2) In a larger sense, is it really correct to say that this vote was unprompted by a court? We call that literally accurate but technically misleading. We should say “no court in its own state.”

The cold, unpleasant fact is the gay marriage debate would be as theoretical today as it was when Love Undetectable was written had it not been for courts in Hawaii, Vermont and Massachusetts. Their decisions forced the issue into the national conversation; the ensuing legislative votes made California’s thinkable.

Directly, no this was not due to any judge. Indirectly, you can’t make this claim with a straight face.

Now, as has happened many other times in our history, it’s not a bad thing that courts took it upon themselves to do this. When the other two branches of government fail to step up and make our principles good, it falls to the judiciary. If we had to rely on legislatures and executives for desegregation, most African-Americans would still have separate waiting rooms at airports.

Advocates of gay rights and gay marriage are entitled to take any victory, moral or otherwise, any way they can get it. But unfortunately this claim is shaky enough that waving it around in the air will do little good for the cause, as one need not be a social conservative to see through it.

posted by Sully 9/08/2005 04:31:00 PM

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


John Whiteside takes aim at Sullivan’s still-annoying habit of announcing old news as if it were something he had only recently managed to uncover through his blogger superpowers.
I suppose it’s better to come to some semblance of awareness later rather than not at all. But having watched Sullivan be a cheerleader for the “free markets conquer all” nonsense that’s contributed to the current mess, his self-righteousness now is a little much to handle. Not to mention his wide eyed discovery — years after many of us knew of this, a week after most of America discovered it, and apparently a month before Mike Brown and George W. Bush are expected to make the discovery — that flooding in New Orleans was an anticipated problem, not “something no one could have imagined,” does put me over the edge a little bit.

At least I’m reminded of why I don’t read his blog daily. Watch today’s headlines; presumably, Andrew will discover them sometime around Halloween.

posted by Sully 9/07/2005 05:24:00 PM

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Among those “Only With The Party Can We Be Right” defenders of Brown (and of course by extension the overgrown frat boy who appointed him) are those lovable wags at Powerline, whom Sullivan implacably hates because they filled his market niche of instinctive, knee-jerk defending of Bush after he abandoned it. Silly right-wingers ... don’t they actually mean it when they say they listen to or read this or that commentator, pundit or gibbering loudmouth because he (and it’s invariably a he, as Ann Coulter daily demonstrates) is such a great thinker that they value their opinions, rather than the other way around?

Americans should honestly sit down and ask conservatives whether they’re loyal to Bush because he embodies their ideological values, or (as it increasingly seems) they choose the ideology they have chosen because it gives them the chance to indulge so frequently this deep-seated need to make such vulgar displays of loyalty?

Of course, one of the things you have to love about our new Stalinists of the right is, unlike their namesakes, they actually do believe that not just one individual is indispensable to the success of the revolution, but every other individual that individual counts as a friend or supporter (Or should we admire instead the real Stalinists for their consistency on this issue? We forget). You can practically hear their vertebrae snapping in this Hinderaker post on Brown.

It was suggested, when Sullivan kinda-sorta gave up blogging earlier this year, that we turn our attentions to these twerps. Until now, we have not been tempted, and have found others more than up to the job.

But just look at the way Moonraker (how you like that nick, huh?) handles the report about the fall of Qaim:
It is not clear to me why the terrorists would deem it a good idea to surface in force like this; one would think it makes them easier to kill. But perhaps they think they need to grab a headline or two and let Iraqis know they are still formidable, despite ongoing losses.
Oh. My. God.

You don’t need to be Steve Gilliard to tear this one to shreds.

“It is not clear to me ...” — well of course it wouldn’t be John, because you’ve spent your whole life lawyering for right-wing think tanks and supporting wars when not only you wouldn’t have a clue as to how a real war, with real tanks (as opposed to, say, Halo) ebbs and flows, you demonstrate with this one sentence that trying to give you the germ of one is a hopeless cause from the get-go.

We have never seen the truth that neocons love the idea of the Iraq war to the point of conflating it with the reality so convincingly proved.

Why would the terrorists “deem it a good idea to surface in force like this”?

Why do dogs lick their balls?

Because they can.

That would seem obvious, but of course conservatives have long been inoculated from this by instruction in revisionist histories of Vietnam in which Tet is treated as a military defeat for the VC that nevertheless the U.S. failed to capitalize on (could it have? But that’s not the instant question). Instead, the VC broke America’s will to fight, conservatives have it, and if we all just believe hard enough the next time (and all those ’80s action movies that supposedly liberal Hollywood put out and Mr. Hinderaker, we’re certain, eagerly lapped up, were all about making sure there would be a next time) it won’t ever happen again.

But the Wikipedia article reminds us there’s another dimension there:

That the Communists were able to mount a major assault at all was a blow to U.S. hopes of winning the war rapidly, and starkly called into question General Westmoreland’s now-infamous public reports of the previous progress in the War: highly fictionalized and exaggerated to appear positive for the American public and often using exaggerated body counts and other inflated numbers.

Developing reports of the Tet Offensive severely undercut the upbeat war propaganda of the Johnson administration and The Pentagon, and served to undermine public support for continuing the war.

Anyway, back to Qaim. If, as Steve Gilliard pointed out a long time ago, the insurgents attack in company strength (and you are allowed to say that makes them “easier to kill” when you’ve faced down a company-strength attack yourself), what does that tell us about how secure they feel? And about whether we’re winning the war?

Hinderaker is right, however, that the terrorists are sending a message too. That message is that we can never drain the swamp (impolitic metaphor given current events, but it’s the only one), only lower it, and it gets all wet again the minute we leave. Even the Brits, Gilliard recently reminded us, took twelve years to pacify Malaya — and they’re remembered as having done it right from the very start (they were also helped by a fractious and divided opposition leadership.

And if you can’t drain the swamp, you can’t win the war.

Of course, to Hinderaker, this is just a sign of growing desperation on the terrorists’ part. All we can say about this interpretation with a straight face is that he must be auditioning to be the new Iraqi Information Minister.

Come to think of it, we can imagine some past situations where this talent of Hinderaker’s might prove useful. Japan about sixty years ago, for starters:

I can’t imagine why the Americans would send planes to drop just two bombs on us, even if they were nuclear. Perhaps they need to let us know they’re still there.
Or South Carolina 1864:

I can’t imagine why Sherman would waste his time burning down houses and ripping up railways; one would think he would want to engage our Confederate troops on the battlefield. He must be desperate.
You get the point. Enough.

But in closing we propose the first of what we might want to refer to as the Neoconservative Laws of Combat:

When the enemy attacks you in small, isolated groups, he is almost defeated.
When he attacks you in great numbers, he is desperate for publicity,

posted by Sully 9/06/2005 11:31:00 PM


Fire Mike Brown!

posted by Sully 9/06/2005 11:27:00 PM

Sunday, September 04, 2005


We have to give Sullivan some credit here, without sarcasm, for this:
I guess some of us pundits bear the blame.
Perhaps this is just a backhand way of admitting to the point of this article in the The American Prospect. And we think the “I guess” is too weasely ... you do bear some of the blame, Andrew, for cheering so loudly for Bush you forgot to notice. You are enablers here, letting Bush think he could get away with anything, any appointment of an unqualified crony.

But, in a larger sense, it is but another symptom of the slow fall of scales from eyes that has been talking place among Republicans and conservatives in the wake of Katrina and a nightmare scenario becoming a horrifying, shocking reality (We can add nothing except affirmation to Sullivan’s comments, in which he is not alone, that this is not what Americans expect of America).

We think this is significant. The conservative crack-up most of us have been looking for, waiting for, praying for for so many long dark years is finally slouching toward Heritage. After many false hopes, its shadow appears and grows shorter.

During our enforced vacation, we did keep in touch with blogospheric comings and goings. We were struck by a few things that happened.

First, there was Mithras’s Conservative Blog Taxonomy, which drew a lot of linkage, first from other liberal blogs ... but then, within a week’s time, from a surprising number of conservative blogs who were just outraged.

Never mind that liberal bloggers had been saying similar, and worse, things about our adversaries across the aisle for years. Suddenly, this liberal blog most of them had never even heard of became the bane of their existence. Primarily, they discovered that sexual and ethnic bias do exist, and that their poor gal had been so victimized (and, in fairness, Mithras did get some of this same sort of criticism from the left).

But one of their responses stuck out in our mind. To mithras’s comment that Glenn Reynolds “never met a Democrat he couldn’t casually accuse of treason,” this guy says:
No sense citing an example; everyone KNOWS it’s true.
Is it us, or is there something ... defeatist in this sentence?

Then Malkin herself got into it, with her response to criticism of her attempt to channel Casey Sheehan that raised an eyebrow in our offices. She seemed not only caught off-guard but curiously defensive.

Liberal bloggers have been calling conservative pundits on statements like that all the time. But for so long, they never responded (or if so, with dismissive asides). Malkin does little to actually defend herself against the substance of the charges (and suffice it to say that if the blogger she farmed it out to were right, she would have been saying that herself and from the start) ... instead she runs her hate email as a way of playing for sympathy (and distracting from what seems increasingly obvious to anyone who reads here — she has an issue with being an Asian-American). Poor, put-upon pitiful Michelle, she wants you to think.

More recently, s.z. quotes Charles Johnson at Little Green Goofballs (whom we do not link to) not defending Bush but lamenting the thrust of the criticism against them:
Global warming, Kyoto Protocol, National Guard in Iraq, levee funding cuts—all the fault of President Bush. History began with his presidency, apparently, and anything bad that happens anywhere on Earth can be laid at his feet.
Leaving aside the irony of someone who was no doubt a vicious Clinton-hater in his day tacitly assenting to the notion he criticizes by not at least noting that Clinton-haters seemed to feel the same way about that president, all three of these examples, to a reader long accutomed to following conservatism closely, are lacking in something that’s usually there.

Brass. Even when conservatives found themselves and those they apologize for in similar situations in the past (to the extent that there were any) their responses were always confident and swaggering. Yes, it riled us up even more, but made you feel that much sweeter about winning a point off of them. It never used to bother them at all that liberals didn’t like them.

Today, it seems, conservatives might as well be calling themselves the Pity Party. For God’s sake, they sound like ... well, like we used to, when we threw up our hands as they are doing now and decided it was hopeless to try to bang our heads against the wall that was their perception of Bill Clinton as the omniscient force for change in the universe.

Similarly, they express fears of the “newly” monolithic nature of the “Left,” and pine for civil lefties to exchange pensées with. Not what you’d expect from a movement that has made a hallmark of its own inevitable future triumph.

Have conservatives, as those emails to David Frum and that Professor Bainbridge post suggest, increasingly begun to fret and worry that Bush, instead of being the Second Coming of Reagan, is actually the conservative Antichrist? That his terminally mismanaged and irretrievably broken (Gilliard is right and Djejerian is naïve (No link; his account has been suspended)) Iraq war for which they could never cheer loud enough may actually turn out to be the runaway train whose crash takes out not only their president, but themselves and conservatism as well?

They have to be. Even more so now.

posted by Sully 9/04/2005 11:52:00 PM

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The Alaskan climate graph examined

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The fisking of Norah Vincent

How we drove her out of Blogistan almost all by ourselves.


Excerpts from Lee Siegel's 2001 Harper's piece

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Why we blog the way we blog

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Bush-hating and proud of it

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Who Was That Masked Man?

The Horse remembered.


How the media lynched O.J. Simpson

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Journalists behaving badly, updated.

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Eve Tushnet's classic zinger

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"Bush reveals his poisonous colours"

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


The Datalounge list of potential titles for his memoirs

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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

Derived from Sullivan’s blogging by s.z. of World O’ Crap and posted as a comment at Sadly, No!