Once again, it has only taken 20 years for America's Second Greatest Conservative Public Intellectual to catch up with where Liberals were 20 years ago.
From Andrew Sullivan, May 10, 2013:
First, for those of you who are new to this bar or who may have spelt through the last 20 years of political and cultural history, here a quick primer on the sort of wingnut slander-mongering which Mr. Sullivan now casually dismisses as his attempt to prove his "independence" back in his salad days when he was building a profession and an international reputation out of trashing people like me:...
All of this is a grotesque over-reaction – for transparently political purposes. The GOP does not know any more how to propose constructive policies that actually might improve the lives of Americans. But they sure know how to construct a “scandal” into a mountain when it is only a bump in the tarmac.
It all reminds me of Whitewater.At its core, there really was nothing of anything there. God knows we tried to find something – and as editor of a pro-Clinton magazine, I probably went too far in proving our independence. But it is also true – as we discovered in the 1990s – that the Clintons cannot resist giving their enemies a slim reed of fact upon which to build their demonization machine. In the end, all perspective is lost altogether – and you end up impeaching a president. I think this is the context in which to understand this. The Obama administration has been remarkably scandal-free. Former Secretary of State and possible presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is now Fox News’ path to even more money, and GOP’s path to appearing relevant and destructive to an Obama second term. An opposition legitimately exists to find venial sins like Nuland’s, but when they are then transformed by a massive media campaign into something that is worse than Watergate and Iran-Contra combined, it becomes a farce...
Here us Mr. Sullivan in 1998 still going flat-out with the "Clinton is a degenerate monster" thing:
Mr. Sullivan in 1999. still bitching that Bill Clinton exists in the world, and taking some sort of gloaty pleasure that Clinton was at least wounded and that his moral stank did not "debase the currency of impeachment".The Lewinsky saga, in this sense, is a distillation of everything we already knew about Clinton, the purest proof yet of the moral nihilism that drives him forward. From the beginning, Clinton has lied with indiscriminate abandon. He has lied about genocide and he has lied about his golf scores. Every label he has attached to himself, every public position he has taken, has smacked of opportunism, not conviction, self-interested deceit, not public-interested candor. Very little of it can be taken at face value. He claims to be a feminist and yet treats the women around him as fools, tokens, or sexual objects. He claimed to be a New Democrat and yet embarked first and foremost on instituting semi-socialized medicine. He claimed to be a social liberal, and yet he signed the Defense of Marriage Act and boasted about it on Christian talk radio. He claimed to be in favor of making abortion "safe, legal, and rare," and yet he vetoed a measure to outlaw the most violent of late-term procedures. He claimed he wanted to end welfare as we know it and to balance the budget, and yet he failed to do either until forced to on Republican terms. Like a Visa card, he is everywhere you want him to be, which is to say he is nowhere reliable, nowhere dependable, and nowhere in the slightest bit honest.And, more important, he has never taken responsibility for any of this. In Clinton's moral universe, the truth is whatever he can get away with, and a lie is always somebody else's fault. He therefore hardly struggles with the truth, because, where there is no responsibility, there can be no struggle. He can analogize the Bosnian conflict as another Holocaust, take a poll to see whether he should intervene, stand by while tens of thousands of civilians are murdered, and then take credit for world peace when he sends American soldiers to police the aggressor's gains. He can publicly weep for people with AIDS, and empathize with homosexuals, and then sign a bill that would have thrown every HIV-positive person out of the military and almost double the rate of gay discharges from the service. He can advocate women's rights, and then expose himself to a stranger, and molest a distraught staffer in the Oval Office. (Yes, I believe Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey.) And then he can go to gay fund-raisers, and NOW rallies, and Bosnia itself, and pretend he is still a crusader for morality, civil rights, and peace, all the while corrupting anyone who comes into contact with him along the way.
A HAPPY ENDINGMr. Sullivan, again in 1999, still pretending that a failed Republican coup d'etat was, somehow, a moral victory, and still deluding himself that the "The Kulturkampf of the far right" did not, in fact, wholly own the Movement into which he had poured his skill and energy, and to which he owed his entire career:
By Andrew Sullivan
I suppose I could best describe my view of the impeachment of Bill Clinton this way: a constitutional error that couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Impeachment clearly shouldn't have gone forward. The president's crimes never approached a serious attack on the nation itself; he never constituted a grave danger to the Republic. Nothing about him--let alone his crimes and misdemeanors--is high in any sense of the word.
But it is also true that he behaved with a reckless disregard for the law, the presidency, and the country. Even those of us who supported Dole over Clinton in 1996 because of Clinton's moral unfitness for the presidency were surprised at how low he sank. He should have resigned last fall. But, short of resignation, he was right to resist impeachment. It is something of a relief that, having debased the currency of the presidency, Bill Clinton did not, in the end, debase the currency of impeachment. Removal from office, I'm relieved to see proved, was too good for him...
...And then, as always happens, America's Second Most Oblivious Conservative Public Intellectual started to notice that he had gotten way out over his skis and sloooooowly began Moonwalking away from his staunch position:
For in retrospect, Congress's pragmatic decision to impeach Bill Clinton, while not convict him, was an inspired solution. The rule of law was not undermined, as it would have been if impeachment had been abandoned. Clinton's historical reputation is deservedly darkened. The Kulturkampf of the far right was mercifully foiled.
Mr. Sullivan in 2003:
And now, Mr. Sullivan in the Year of Our Lord 2013:Now an extraordinary thing has happened. Journalists from across the political spectrum are finally acknowledging that impeachment was mostly a partisan crusade on trumped-up charges to bring down a popular president. “From the viewpoint of history,” the conservative Andrew Sullivan wrote recently in the New York Observer, “it’s going to seem deranged.” They have conceded that numerous allegations noisily leveled against Clinton and repeated endlessly in the news media of which they are a part have turned out to be bogus.
It all reminds me of Whitewater.And America's Second Greatest Conservative Public Intellectual did it all without missing a beat, a meal or a Newsweek cover story.
At its core, there really was nothing of anything there...
Meanwhile, America's Greatest Conservative Public Intellectual -- who has been every bit as horribly wrong for every bit as long as America's Second Greatest Conservative Public Intellectual -- will be on "Meet the Press" this weekend, no doubt reading aloud from his own New York Times column to the satisfied thrum of his fellow panelists.
Have I mentioned lately that there is a Club?
Have I mentioned lately that you are not in it?