Sunday, January 01, 2006

AndrewSullivan/Andrew'sMulligan.com

I've been tempted over the last few months to create a blog that parodies Andrew Sullivan's and simply call it: Andrew'sMulligan.com. If you're familiar with his writing over the last few years, or the critiques of his writing, the joke is obvious. Anyhow, I'm not going to do it, and to be perfectly honest, he has found, over the last few months, a couple of principles to actually rest his hat on.

Previously, he was notorious for basically flip-flopping along with John Kerry regarding our invasion of Iraq. He supported it wholeheartedly before we invaded, he was very critical of the left/liberal politicians during that period, claiming the left had lost touch with reality, etc. As the bad news from Iraq trickled in through the media (shock! it's a war not a political campaign, with real weapons and casualties!!!) Andrew became notably less pro-war and he gradually used any bad news as a reason to find fault with the President's handling of the post-war planning. At one point, Andrew actually stated that the administration had "no plan whatsoever" for post-war Iraq, but then again, he said the same thing about Katrina. Thus, by the time the 2004 election rolled around, because the administration had, as noted above, not planned whatsoever for post-war Iraq, and because of the Abu Ghraib incidents, Sullivan put his support behind Kerry.

As the years go by, I think many others agree with me, Sullivan's "principled" approach has become more and more transparent. Two things in particular really drive his politics: First and most obvious is his homosexuality; Second, it appears to me, is vendetta.

The first is most understandable. In correspondence I've had with him, he has explained his position as one through the lens of someone who has dealt with discrimination and intimidation throughout his life regading his sexuality. In particular, I had emailed him about his defensive reaction to Mickey Kaus's criticism of his Iraq war posts, but, for my part, failed to appreciate that the use of the word "excitable" by Kaus could easily be construed, and probably should be so, as a perjorative hit on Sullivan relating to his sexuality.

However, this lens should not be so powerful as to distort reality. Many believe that Sullivan left Bush's camp immediately after he entreated his base with mentions of an amendment regarding civil unions and the definition of marriage. In short, Bush indicated he was not going to support gay marriage, and Sullivan exited stage left (pun intended). If he wanted to say he didn't support Bush because of this view, so be it, but don't pretend that you have had new revelations about post-war Iraq, and make hyperbolic statements like "no plan whatsoever...." about the administration simply because you must now change your vote based on an issue that is more dear to you than the war in the middle east.

The second reason, vendetta, relates to scenario depicted above; Bush betrayed Sullivan, Sullivan retaliated in a different venue. But also, other bloggers that have critiqued Sullivan for his seeming wavering on the war in Iraq (with statements to the effect of: the CIA uses waterboarding, thus, the US and the war in Iraq has zero credibility, I paraphrase), have been subject to personal wrath; Glenn Reynolds and Mickey Kaus most particularly.

Mickey Kaus has long been a critic of Sullivan. James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal and Kaus have both used the term excitable for Sullivan (and I even think Taranto called him an "excitable boy" which really got under his skin). Reynolds has not, but he called him some other name, I think it was pompous and vague. Anyhow, Sullivan rarely examines other bloggers except to cite to them, or an email they sent and say: "This guy gets it..." Whatever "it" is (that day). So, suddenly, Kaus, Taranto (less so) and now Reynolds have become targets of Sullivan's pointed analysis. Luckily for them, Sullivan is not very good at such analysis and I still think Reynolds packs more substance in his short sentences than Sullivan does when he cites some overblown email he received and simply states: "this sums up exactly how I feel about the whole conservative movement...."

But now Sullivan has found some real principle.
He hates torture. There is no doubt about this. He really, really hates torture. If he doesn't use the word waterboarding, torture, or Cheney (relating to his view on torture) in a day, I know he's on vacation or "book leave".
Second, he really thinks the Church needs to allow gay priests into the fold. I don't know where he gets this idea, he seems to think the Catholic church is a democracy, and should be subject to "changing social values." I personally think homosexuality is not condemnable, as I don't believe in condemnation generally, but, I do believe religions are what they are, and I have little expectation of changing them. I also have noted to Andrew, and he has never responded to any of those emails, that it is transparent to me that he is not discussing Judaism, Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism in any of these discussions on homosexuality in the higher echelons of those respective institutions. But at least he is consistent about it regarding the Catholic church.

Happy New Year Andrew, and here's to a new year's worth of Mulligans, you'll need them for the upcoming elections, no doubt.

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