Monday, January 16, 2012

Here's Andrew Sullivan's 'Why Are Obama's Critics So Dumb?' Piece at Newsweek

ICYMI, here's the earlier entry with the "dumb" cover shot: "Andrew 'Milky Loads' Sullivan Smears Obama Critics as 'Dumb' in Newsweek Cover Story."

And here's the moment you've all been waiting for, "How Obama's Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics."

When reading this, I'm reminding of Sullivan's piece from December 2007 at The Atlantic, "Why Obama Matters." The kind of emotional attachment Sullivan invests in Barack Obama is unique in all of journalism, and apposite of Sullivan's parallel and literally deranged obsession with Sarah Palin's uterus, it's obviously psychologically unhealthy. But he indeed speaks for all of those who saw in Obama the messiah candidate, and this tendency's a deviance that's been evident in wider media reporting now for years: Barack Obama as the "Lightworker" repeatedly portrayed in photography and art as the miracle man with the halo. Such political deification is the essence of the cult of personality built around leaders in totalitarian regimes. That it happened here should make people think again about political partisans calling their enemies "dumb."

At the Newsweek piece, Sullivan deploys his showmanship as a writer, but fails badly at any semblance of evenhandedness --- a disgraceful situation, considering Newsweek continues to bill itself as an objective news source practicing professional journalism. Here's a flavor, from the introduction:
A president in the last year of his first term will always get attacked mercilessly by his partisan opponents, and also, often, by the feistier members of his base. And when unemployment is at remarkably high levels, and with the national debt setting records, the criticism will—and should be—even fiercer. But this time, with this president, something different has happened. It’s not that I don’t understand the critiques of Barack Obama from the enraged right and the demoralized left. It’s that I don’t even recognize their description of Obama’s first term in any way. The attacks from both the right and the left on the man and his policies aren’t out of bounds. They’re simply—empirically—wrong.

A caveat: I write this as an unabashed supporter of Obama from early 2007 on. I did so not as a liberal, but as a conservative-minded independent appalled by the Bush administration’s record of war, debt, spending, and torture. I did not expect, or want, a messiah. I have one already, thank you very much. And there have been many times when I have disagreed with decisions Obama has made—to drop the Bowles-Simpson debt commission, to ignore the war crimes of the recent past, and to launch a war in Libya without Congress’s sanction, to cite three. But given the enormity of what he inherited, and given what he explicitly promised, it remains simply a fact that Obama has delivered in a way that the unhinged right and purist left have yet to understand or absorb. Their short-term outbursts have missed Obama’s long game—and why his reelection remains, in my view, as essential for this country’s future as his original election in 2008.
I have highlighted Sullivan's dishonesty. The 2007 Atlantic piece was a paean to Obama as a supernatural being, the personification of a new kind of intellectual faith. It struck me as bizarre at the time, and after all that's happened in three years of Democrat Party lies, corruption, scandal, and incompetence, the reader is once again forced to ask if Andrew Sullivan is in his right mind.

Sullivan at the Newsweek "dumb" piece aims his ire and vindictiveness at the "unhinged right," as he calls conservative opponents of the administration. And his style is something of an argumentative Gatling gun: he spews out an endless stream of purported achievements and facts whiles simultaneously omitting even the slightest bit of dis-confirming evidence. We hear, yet again, that Obama inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression, but we then get comparisons to the George W. Bush years that are completely removed from the context of that administration's crises (recession, September 11). Sullivan posits that Bush added over $5 trillion in news spending? But Obama added only $1.2 trillion (projected for two terms total), so it's really George W. Bush who is the fiscal socialist, not Obama. Right. Meanwhile, Sullivan neatly ignores the Obama administration's unprecedented deficits and debt and insists again and again on calling the president "moderate" --- even, he "dare says," conservative. ObamaCare is pooh-poohed as a trivial health care reform that "crosses the Rubicon" toward universal access. Not mentioned are the literally thousands of waivers that have been given to companies large and small, especially those belonging to well-connected Democrat Party cronies. This is why Republicans say it should be repealed. It's the biggest farce of social policy since at least the Great Society's "war on poverty."

And don't even get me going on foreign policy. Sullivan trumpets the killing of Osama bin Laden as Barack Obama's personal success (it is not) and he praises the president for America's precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, which was the result of a negotiation blunder of historic proportions. And for some reason Sullivan thinks "leading from behind" is a phrase that deserves praise. The fact is the Obama administration's policy on Libya demonstrated the most amateur conduct of American foreign policy in the last fifty years. Obama was, on the one hand, demanding Muammar Gaddafi's removal from power while, on the other, insisting that regime change wasn't America's end game in Libya. The administration's ineptitude has been replayed over and over again, in the Middle East and beyond, and one foreign policy pledge after another has been broken and disregarded, with virtually the entire national security architecture established during the previous Bush administration retained and expanded --- completely the exact opposite of that promised during the "Lightworker's" campaign in 2008.

Barack Obama's foreign and national security policies have left America both weaker and less secure. Seriously, it's Andrew Sullivan who's looking thoroughly "dumb" here, and this is just the tip of the iceberg of this nasty, partisan hack job piece of journalism. Yep, Newsweek's has done it again with a disastrous cover story and disgraceful example of fluff reporting attempting to leverage a failed administration back in power for four more years. I think I'm going to puke.


JBW said...

Shorter Don: Sullivan's crazy; Obama sucks. I'd say this analysis is typical of you Don except that you did manage to get through it without mentioning cum, butt sex or AIDS so I'll give you a C-. Cheers.

Donald Douglas said...

Shorter JBW: I can't actually engage on an intellectual level, so I'll just continue to mock since that's all I really know how to do.


JBW said...

You're funny, Don. But then so is butt sex, so there you go.

Alan W. Wright said...

Hey, Andrew, smell your own farts much?