Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Final Solution to Understanding Andrew Sullivan

This essay is a genuine masterpiece, "Through the Looking Glass With Andrew Sullivan."

It desperately needs more links than the two now up at a Memeorandum, Patterico's Pontifications and RedState. A third I found while searching for the author, Christopher Badeaux.

I am unaware of Mr. Badeaux. I'm pleased to come across his work. I'm also extremely fascinated by
this comment at Solomonia, which mentions that part of the essay which is indeed most compelling:
Oh bravo. This is priceless, a must read.

I've been following the Iran story on Sullivan's blog, which otherwise makes me nervous - and couldn't help but encounter his piece on Froomkin and other references to "neocons".

I love the paragraphs in the linked story about his disdain for Bush, The Big Spender, juxtaposed with his admiration for President Obama, the Even Bigger Spender.

Great stuff.

Yes, great stuff, magisterial even.

I've noted lately that I'm in the middle of two of Sullivan's books, Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality and The Conservative Soul: Fundamentalism, Freedom, and the Future of the Right.

Yet, I'm still figuring out Andrew Sullivan. The woman's comment above offers an excuse to excerpt the a hefty portion of the passage in question. The key is Sullivan's anti-Semitism. I've blogged on this a couple of times recently. Only only Ace of Spades HQ has offered as comprehense an explication of Sullivan's Jew-hating as Badeaux here:

More than his fascination with the delivery of Trig Palin, more than his quixotic quest to convince anyone other than himself that the Catholic Church is a Protestant denomination, perhaps the largest image for which Andrew Sullivan has been known these last fifteen years is a political wanderer. A Brit unable to vote in this country, its governance ranks up there with his obsession with the Pet Shop Boys (in fairness, topics of roughly equal gravity) in the volume and intensity of his writings. Long-time readers of Sullivan – those who do not speak seriously of the Elder Gods – note that he was an iconoclastic supporter of Bill Clinton, who was disgusted by the Clintons by the time they left office; then an iconoclastic supporter of George W. Bush, who was disgusted with Bush by the time he left office; and is now a fairly open, unabashed, gushing admirer of President Obama. What’s interesting, though, is how his politics have changed in just four years.

Here he is discussing George W. Bush’s 2004 Convention speech:

THE END OF CONSERVATISM: But conservatism as we have known it is now over. People like me who became conservatives because of the appeal of smaller government and more domestic freedom are now marginalized in a big-government party, bent on using the power of the state to direct people’s lives, give them meaning and protect them from all dangers. Just remember all that Bush promised last night: an astonishingly expensive bid to spend much more money to help people in ways that conservatives once abjured. He pledged to provide record levels of education funding, colleges and healthcare centers in poor towns, more Pell grants, seven million more affordable homes, expensive new HSAs, and a phenomenally expensive bid to reform the social security system. I look forward to someone adding it all up, but it’s easily in the trillions ....

Barely four years later, here he is discussing Barack Obama’s Convention speech:

It was a deeply substantive speech, full of policy detail, full of people other than the candidate, centered overwhelmingly on domestic economic anxiety. It was a liberal speech, more unabashedly, unashamedly liberal than any Democratic acceptance speech since the great era of American liberalism. But it made the case for that liberalism - in the context of the decline of the American dream, and the rise of cynicism and the collapse of cultural unity. His ability to portray that liberalism as a patriotic, unifying, ennobling tradition makes him the most lethal and remarkable Democratic figure since John F Kennedy….

I’ve said it before - months and months ago. I should say it again tonight. This is a remarkable man at a vital moment. America would be crazy to throw this opportunity away. America must not throw this opportunity away.

Know hope.

What’s remarkable here is what’s missing: Talk of tax reform, talk of control over rampant spending, talk of prudence. Remarkably, at the height of the Iraq War, Sullivan seemed fixated on spending, and with Iraq under control and terrorism muted and spending through the roof, his first focus was on the war powers of the Presidency. A cynic might say that Sullivan could only see Bush’s weaknesses and was inordinately blind to Obama’s.

But we’re not cynics here. Instead, we are devotees trying to track our way through Sullivan’s mental progression, disciples whose only hope lies in understanding how so great a man could so completely whipsaw from a critical view of a man he’d once supported to a sycophantic lay worshiper of another, equally obvious politician.

Some attribute this to President Obama’s pretty face. That’s demeaning. Some attribute it to George W. Bush’s stance on gay marriage – but that would be ridiculous, not merely because it would suggest that Sullivan is a one-dimensional writer obsessed with sex, but also because it would make Sullivan seem like an utter nutter for hating former Vice President Dick Cheney (a proponent of gay marriage and federalism) with the intensity of a thousand suns. (It would also raise questions about the man’s sanity in another way: Candidate Obama was clear that he opposed gay marriage, and occasionally likes to have a good laugh about angry, protesting gays. Yet Sullivan’s admiration continues.)

No. These are too prosaic, too common, too easy to destroy. What could drive a man from admiration and defense for a governor from Texas who hewed to Sullivan’s then-preferred doctrine of subsidiarity to calling him a war criminal? What could so completely rearrange a man’s entire view of the world – other, of course, than some terrible disease afflicting his mind?

The answer is obvious: The Jews.

One sign of a writer’s mental disfigurement, laziness, undiagnosed psychoses, or, obviously in the case of Sullivan, inhuman insight, is the gradual realization that the term “neoconservative” is a useful stand-in for “Jews whose loyalty belongs first to Israel, and then to the United States, if at all.” Sullivan has clearly reached this point, as one can note from some of his most recent thoughts.

Putting to the side that Danielle Pletka is not, actually, a neoconservative in the traditional sense of the word — she’s been a mainstream conservative, along the lines of John Bolton (who, despite all the boxes drawn online, also rejects the neocon label), for years — this really is a remarkable foray. It’s impressive not only for the acceptance of the blood libel to which the Left has grown too accustomed the last eight years; not only for the implicit suggestion that Sullivan and President Obama have the freedom of the Middle East at heart (a suggestion belied by every word from President Obama’s mouth since he accused the Jews of driving the U.S. into the Iraq War in 2002); but also for the conclusion summed up in the title of the post — “Neocons For Ahmadinejad.” A man who once praised the virtues of incremental change and guarded optimism now sees the public expression of these things as proof of support for a murderous puppet for a dictatorial regime, and therefore for the regime itself – so that America will be forced into a war against Iran.

We who only dwell in an I.Q. range between 100 and 200 would be disturbed were our writing to seem appropriate at The American Conservative or Mother Jones; indeed, for many of us, that would be a signal moment, the point at which we sit down, take a deep breath, and ask a physician for some mind-altering medication. Sullivan transcends such petty concerns, and adopts – presumably because no writing form, no matter how dipped in madness, can remain beyond his formidable talents – the paranoid style so beloved of chlorpromazine recipients the world over, in writing on the Washington Post’s decision to fire its disturbed columnist/blogger/hack, Dan Froomkin:

A simply astounding move by the paper - getting rid of the one blogger, Dan Froomkin, who kept it real and kept it interesting. Dan’s work on torture may be one reason he is now gone. The way in which the WaPo has been coopted by the neocon right, especially in its editorial pages, is getting more and more disturbing. This purge will prompt a real revolt in the blogosphere. And it should.

But this descent into anti-Semitic madness — a case of using indirects to find direction out, certainly — cannot be real. After all, Sullivan denies this canard as being unworthy of response. After all, many of his best friends are Jewish ....


smitty1e said...

I propose a revival of the term warlording to cover such thorough floggings as this.
My cheap attempt at finding a date for Conor last Sunday is but a bit of lint stuck between the first two sections of this splendid outing.

Rusty Walker said...

This brilliant writer and his articulate, psychologically insightful and intellectual discrediting of this pitiable scum was necessary. Sullivan is a gifted idiot. He is a worthless pseudo-conservative liberal in lust with Obama and is not worthy of attention.

AmPowerBlog said...

I'm not worthy either, Smitty!

AmPowerBlog said...

Well said, Rusty. But, he's influential, so I'll be smacking him down, for what it's worth...

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Douglas: I'm reminded of Robert Townsend's dictum, that the Establishment may be pure lard inside, but is covered by 24 inch armor outside. So with Sullivan. This piece will bounce off his armor. The savage assaults on AS as "pitiable scum" are way off target. AS is a sharp writer, though a poor thinker, and cares precious little what others think about him. He won't be shamed into mending his ways. Nor will he be boycotted. The scale of traffic he brings to THE ATLANTIC guarantees that (it also shows how much THE ATLANTIC has declined when he brings in as much traffic as all the other "Voices" combined.) Nor can his merits be denied as Rusty Walker tries to do. AS is a steady producer of posts, not far beneath the Instapundit. That will bring traffic. So too, will his journalistic gifts. His roundups of what has been going on in Iran in the last fortnight have been excellent. Denying these merits only denies the Right a true picture of AS.

Nor need "lust" be invoked as the reason he worships The One. That comes from AS's HIV+ status. AS has said that all his visa extensions will expire in March 2011, and he will have to leave the US, not to return until the law is changed. AS knows that the only man who can change this is The One. Hence watch the endless swallowings of The One's indifference if not contempt, until that day comes, and he has to leave. Then the fireworks will erupt.

To be sure, AS can continue blogging from anywhere in the globe. Nor need he stay in the UK. He may try to settle in Canada. But a forced leaving, an exile, will mark him, in the same way he has tried to mark the Palins. He likes living in America, knowing dam well that gays living outside America face real peril from Islamic extremism. His name in on the mullahs's lists, though not so high as he wishes it were.

AS's future depends entirely on The One's waving the magic wand and opening the golden door. To that end, I suggest bombarding AS with polite emails showing The One's latest aloofness to gays. Or prominent posts on blogs such as this showing the same. AS does read his email and Right blogs. This will force a dissonance between his cortical and his limbic thinking. The odds are no more than even that the cortex could stand a prolonged dissonance. Let him blast The One as he did Geo. W., and he is away from these shores, something that will hit him far harder than any insults or takedowns anyone could concoct.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster