Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Silly Shit Andrew Sullivan Says, Ctd.

I’d say it came apart during the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the first sign of madness when the Democrats first truly wielded power after the Southern Strategy bore fruit under Reagan. Remember that Clinton was from the beginning regarded as illegitimate because he didn’t get more than 43 percent of the vote. Let us recall Bob Dole’s wordsafter Clinton’s 1992 clear electoral college victory:
There isn’t any Clinton mandate. Fifty-seven percent didn’t vote for him. I’ll represent the 57 percent.
Or Tommy Thompson with an equally surreal view of the Constitution:
Only 43 percent of the people voted for Bill Clinton — that is not much of a mandate. . . . Republicans won nine legislative houses across the country. . . . Republicans have just as much of a mandate as the Democrats.
When you compare this with the Republican view of the 2000 election when George W Bush lost the popular vote and, undeterred by any sense of restraint, doubled down on massive unfunded tax cuts and pre-emptive wars along with budget-busting new entitlements, you get a better sense of who feels entitled to rule in this country, and who is routinely regarded as “illegitimate.”
-- Andrew Sullivan, 10/2/13, "Is The Shutdown Racist?"

If only one of the last remaining conservatives with brains would get it over with and simply scream at the top of their lungs what everyone else is thinking: “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MINDS?” 
-- Andrew Sullivan, 10/2/13


Really, Andrew?  And other than balming your whiny ego what possible good would that do? 

Who, after all these years, still remains so delicately undecided on the political battlefield that they could possibly be swayed with just one more shout?

Which major media outlet on which you appear regularly will now shift its coverage policy from their long-standing "Both Sides Do It!" psychosis-enabling to "Nope, it's the Right.  They're fucking nuts."? 

After all, what you want shouted from the rooftops today is exactly what Liberals have been shouting from the rooftops for +30 years, using all of our voices, in every venue that would have us.  Sometimes it comes out as a primal scream against the Right's deliberate political weaponization of arrogant stupidity.  Sometimes it come out in cooler, longer essay form.  But overall, we've been fantastically clear for the longest time that, yes, they really are out of their fucking minds. 

And given that after all of our exertions we have nothing to show for it  except a media world full of people like Andrew Sullivan who built entire fucking careers demonizing and dismissing people like us, sorry, but you'll need to find someone else's shoulder to cry on.

Because how ever much you hate us or ignore us or try to "Both Side" us in with Rush Limbaugh and Fox News or pilfer the entire Liberal critique of Conservatism without acknowledging its origins for fear of getting Liberal cooties all over your career, Liberals will remain the Unacknowledged Legislators of our ugly, retrograde political world.

"Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves.

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world"

-- Percy Bysshe Shelley


Anonymous said...

Poor Sully. My question is why are people hanging out with this dirtbag? What does the Bible say? "People can't kick it unless they agree." So Chris Matthews, Bill Maher, Zha Zha Huffington, and many others enjoy the company of overt bigots. Why does the president have that filth around him? Sully's not an elected official. The left doesn't need him. Elected democrats have no real use for him. There are more talented and less embarrassing people to have around. When's he going to have another Charles Murray relapse?


Damian, Pink No More said...

Why the font change?

Deering said...

Eheheh. Can't wait until you deconstruct the eminent M. Friedman's similar cri de coeur in the NYT this past weekend....:)

Jack said...

You usually see these weird fonts when bloggers copy content from other sites. The copy operation brings over style (CSS and HTML) information that then overrides the site's default formatting.

There's a VERY easy solution to this: When copying text from another site:

(1) First, paste the content into a plain text editor that doesn't support rich text. For example, Notepad, which is installed by default on every Windows machine. There are scads and scads of free text editors with advanced features available on the internet. Pasting the content into a plain text editor strips out and removes all that hidden style information.

(2) Copy the now-clean content from the text editor into Blogger. It will take on whatever styles are defined for the site or applied through Blogger's formatting tools.

The key is that you have to paste the content into a plain text editor -- not a rich text editor -- like Word. A plain text editor has no formatting tools of any kind; it deals strictly with text. (Actually, come to think of it, the comments field that we type our comments into is a plain text editor, of sorts. You can't adjust font face, color, or size in this window.)

If you want to see a great example of a site whose formatting has gone completely haywire because of this problem, go check out No More Mister Nice Blog. Normally the formatting is perfect. But this week the main blogger (the invaluable Steve M.) is on vacation, and he has some guest bloggers who don't understand the perils of copying and pasting from other sites. The result is a dizzying array of different font faces, colors, and sizes.

The worst symptom of this problem is incompatible character sets. This actually causes some characters to get converted into funny squiggles or boxes, because the site being copied FROM has a different character set than the site being copied TO. Fortunately, I've never seen that at Driftglass's blog, but it is fairly common at another outstanding blog, Gin and Tacos.

Jack said...

I pretty much agree with you about everything. And, more than that, I am eternally grateful to you for the incredibly effective way you give voice to ideas that I agree with. But the one thing I don't quite get is the bashing of Andrew Sullivan.

Don't get me wrong: I used to hate the man -- not starting when he said that the left were traitors for doubting the Iraq War, but certainly intensifying at that point. But that was a long time ago. There's a lot of water under the bridge, including six or seven straight years of his blogging in defense of Obama and the causes we are fighting for.

I totally get the point that you and BG make that there is an honest, responsible way to break with one's past, like John Cole and Charles Johnson have done. And you're right: Sully has never done that and probably never will; he clings to his delusions about "true conservatives" and still refuses to admit the left was right and the right was wrong about everything for decades.

Furthermore, he still has some problematic ideas. He promotes The Bell Curve and the pseudo-science attached thereto. He continues to call for slashing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. To the extent he pushes those arguments, I will vocally oppose him and support you for doing the same.

Still: Those things now represent the barest fraction of what he does. Most days, he's one of the most effective and diligent spokesmen we have in the rhetorical war against the GOP. He's one of the most effective advocates for the President and the Democrats we have. And he explains with crystal clarity the exact, true nature of today's conservatives, in a way that very few other people are able to do. (Those others include you, Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog, Doug J. at Balloon Juice, Digby, Ed at Gin & Tacos, Bob & Chez, and a few others.) Bottom line: Sullivan is an ally, and an effective one. I think you should cut him some slack. Just look at the stuff he has posted in the past 48 hours about the GOP plan to crash the nation into a brick wall. He's written a lot of really good stuff.

And don't we tolerate dissent on the left? Look at Digby: She's been doing far, far more to damage and destroy Obama and shore up the far right that Sullivan has ever done. Why is it acceptable for Digby to constantly knee-cap the president and undermine the fight to keep this country out of the hands of the American Taliban, but it's not okay for Sullivan to be a 99% dependable advocate for the causes we believe in? If we're going to be criticizing Sullivan, we should be doing so triply for Digby, who has devoted enormous energy in the recent past to damaging Obama and the Democrats, helping to pave the way for a Cruz or Paul presidency.

In case it's not clear: I don't think we should be going after Digby. I love her and her blog, despite the concerns I have that she's going to get more Republicans elected in 2014 and 2016 by destroying Democratic unity and morale. She's not nearly the friend and ally to our cause that Sullivan is, and if he doesn't warrant some respect, I don't know why she does. Sullivan believes some things that we disagree with, but we hardly ever hear about them. Digby believes a whole lot of stuff I don't believe, and she harps on them constantly. Plus she gives a platform to that near-wingnut David Atkins, who is one of the most tendentious and careless writers to be found anywhere in the blogosphere, an Obama-hater who operates just like a Fox News pundit: willing to say *anything,* no matter how unhinged or untrue, as long as it's sufficiently vitriolic towards Obama and people who support him.

Geese Howard said...


I'd be very careful at trying to recruit or brand Sullivan as liberal. As a beltway brat I know his type.

Here is the thing, there is very little difference between a Democrat and a Republican here (you can add NYC, Silicon Valley, and any other cosmopolitan power center to that list). We essentially agree on just about everything. There is a debt and deficit issue and entitlements must be slashed to deal with it. Neoliberal economics, free trade, and globalization are the new economic reality and the old New Deal style economics are dead and should be buried. Gays should have the right to be married, abortion should remain legal and accessible. America is the premier power in the world and that status must be maintained.

The only difference is how important you rate those things. For Sullivan the grand bargain and curtailing of entitlements rate way higher than making advancements on gay rights and fighting the theocrats, because he's a conservative. For a liberal taking an axe to the theocrats and defending abortion rights are more pressing than globalizing our economy and slowing the growth of entitlements.

It's one of those reasons why people from areas like DC and NY don't live in the same reality as the rest of the country. But one of the reasons the Democratic party now represents plutocrats are social liberals from well off areas who's economic views are essentially Republican are now Democrats and have taken over the parties old economic agenda full sail as the price of our votes.

Adding the Sullivan style conservatives may grow the party vote wise, but it's going to suck in more tax cutting and entitlement reducing voices that hold a fair amount of power.

It's up to you, but making common cause with people who agree on some issues but want the New Deal shrunk or killed is why we now have a "progressive" president who really wants to cut social security and impose a grand bargain. Pulling in more Sullivans only increases that death gripe on the party. Like it or not the Democratic party cares far more what NY, LA, DC, and the people there want compared to the working class struggling to get by. Why give us more power?

driftglass said...

Fonts: I usually copy/past into notepad which strips out all the markup code. Problem is, it also strips out the links, the embedding, etc. I wanted to preserve all that this time and tried to work around it but my efforts failed.

Sullivan: To this day, every time he mentions Liberals it is with disdain. Virtually every time me mentions MSNBC, it is to lump them in with Fox News. Sullivan is not a Liberal or a Conservative: he is a careerist. His "brand" is "Conservative" because gay Conservatives are "See! we're not homophobes! We've got a Gay too!" oddities who get to be on TV and in Newsweek and in the Atlantic, whereas gay Liberals (well, all Liberals) get laughed at. So yes, he is quite adept at borrowing Liberal language and framing to slam the Right, but it is always filtered through his Hippie-Punching contempt for the Left (from whom he is now borrowing, uh, liberally pretty much every day) or his insistence that the Conservatism you see ripping the country apart isn't Real Conservatism because No True Scotsman...

I also must admit to a special contempt for gay Conservatives like Sullivan AWA African-American Conservatives like Michael Steele: people who built careers deliberately sucking up to and defending a movement that openly loathed them and bashing Liberals whose views they now grudgingly appropriate but whose existence they still refuse to acknowledge, except to sneer at us.

But hey, the minute Sullivan stops his absurd fan dance about Real Conservatism and starts acknowledging Real Liberals I will stop kicking him in the shins about it.

Geese Howard said...

Sullivan isn't entirely wrong about what a real conservative is though.

He's from DC, I'm from DC. We don't have Palins here, they don't exist. We have.... Sullivans and David Brooks types. Those are as radical as it gets.

On the other hand we do have liberals with Obama as Hitler signs (because drones!!!), saying that legally enforced veganism is the only way to stop global warming, and causing other such bullshit. I run into them going to work or walking to lunch constantly.

So, perception is reality. Where Sullivan exists an extreme conservative is a soft spoken David Brooks, and an extreme liberal is "Obama is Hilter, guns should be illegal, SUVs should be illegal, meat should be illegal" and they are all over the place.

Now granted, that's isolated to places like DC and NYC where Sarah Palins, and well anybody from flyover country, would be laughed away as being a dumb fucking bible banging hick... but that's where Sullivan is coming from.

driftglass said...

At the age of 51, lifelong Conservative and public intellectual David Brooks is engaged in a long-game strategy of rewriting Conservative history so that things like the Southern Strategy never happened.

And he'll get away with it too.

At the age of 50, lifelong Conservative and public intellectual Andrew Sullivan is slooowly discovering a few tantalizing clues about the existence of something called "The Southern Strategy."

I can hardly wait until he discovers radium :-)

Geese Howard said...

Sullivan knows about it. It's just that he doesn't care. I get that. My family is liberal and located in DC and NYC. To be honest, we just don't give a shit about the rest of the country. DC, NYC, LA, Seattle. There are the places that count and then there is fly over country. None of us give a rats ass what happens there. To us it's nothing more than an ugly stain of religious, cousin fucking, hick NASCAR fans. Outside of it's impact on stock prices and the ability to extract the natural resources for our cities (and the ability to use it as a waste dump), we don't care.

The entire thing could turn into Saudi Arabia and it still would not represent "conservatism" to most people here. Because it's still flyover country full of morons who just happen to think they are people.

Nobody is getting away with anything. You just need to realize that the places that people like Palin and Bachmann come from... we don't consider them anything more than places to extract votes and cash from. It's cute you think they are people, but nobody in DC or NY thinks they are people.

And that's why there is no crime in this. They aren't conservatives, how can they be, they aren't even human to us.

If you want a split the split is going to come from convincing the rubes no longer to support the people in the urban mechas they hate who are just pumping them for votes. You're never going to convince the village that rednecks are human or that Kansas contains humans either.

Anonymous said...

Sullivan is a particular creature, for certain. As DG has pointed out, his public persona is to some extent a product of deliberate careerist artifice. This doesn't mean Sully's critique of the GOP is feigned or without merit, but it should caution one against regarding Andrew as a blood brother of some sort. It certainly doesn't require DG to be nice to him, particularly when you can be certain that Sully will not return the courtesy.

Metaphorically speaking, I will share a foxhole with Sullivan, but I'm not in love with him.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

I wish liberals would tell Sully to fuck off. What kind of message are you sending when you have a eugenicist in your camp? Not only does he do the Bell Curve thing, he spent his early career undermining liberals. I'm like the guy that taught the Cobra Kai dojo. Don't play with your enemies, show no mercy.

Democrats would win a lot more elections if they exploit their demographic advantages. Stop groveling for village idiot votes and start talking to some of the non whites. That would net Georgia, Arizona, and Texas. They persist in their present fuckery and get what we have now. It's time to move on without the rubes.


Jack said...

Hi Geese,
You make a number of really good points -- especially concerning the way the Democratic Party has grown to include new, more conservative constituencies that have crowded out labor interests and other truly liberal (or some would say leftist) ideas. Neoliberalism is the order of the day. This was the cause of my own brief but emotionally charged defection from the Democratic Party back in 1996, when in reaction to Clinton passing NAFTA, I voted for Nader. (I shudder now at the thought.) I had "sold out" in 1992 by voting for Clinton, and "was never going to make that mistake again." Well, at least until two years later, when in 1998 the GOP was engaged in a jihad to depose Clinton in what was little more than an attempted coup. (I.e., the impeachment.) By 2000, as flawed as I knew Gore to be, there was no way I was going to risk handing the country to that moron George W. Bush, so I was back in the Democratic fold pretty quickly, and haven't considered straying again.

I don't like the compromised nature of the Democratic Party, but we live in a two party system and we don't have any other choice. The two party system is probably the most misunderstood feature of American government. If I had a platform like Drifty and Blue Gal, I'd try to hammer the point that this is our system and we have to work within it. Many people are under the illusion that we can transform a two party system into a multi-party system by ... voting for 3rd parties. But no. Third parties are legal, and we can vote for them, but the Constitutional structure of our government is two party, and this imposes practical constraints that cannot be escaped by casting votes for Greens or libertarians.

Regarding your point about adding people like Sullivan to Democratic ranks: It's a good point. Success in a two party system depends on having a constituency larger than your opponent's, but that means building a coalition that includes more diverse viewpoints.

Take Lieberman: Most of us on the left hate the man and wanted him driven out and humiliated. But for a long time he was the difference between a Democratic and a Republican-controlled US Senate! Imagine the immense power that rested on our willingness -- Obama's willingness -- to tolerate Joe's ridiculous antics. Lots of people in our ranks wanted Joe booted out of the party and out of our governing coalition. But that would have handed control of the Senate to the Republicans, which would have been far worse than putting up with Lieberman. (I think Lieberman provided the necessary vote to pass Obamacare, for one thing.)

As the tea party gets more and more insane, I keep thinking more and more "sane" conservatives are going to defect and join our side. Peter King? John McCain? Chris Christie? The way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised to see guys like them jump ship and join the Democrats. This would be a disaster, but not surprising the way things are going.

So, like you said, it's up to each of us to figure out what our priorities are and who we want to count as allies. Here's how I make that judgement: I'm scared to fucking death of the GOP. I think stopping them -- driving them into the sea, to borrow Driftglass's colorful phrase -- is our nation's top priority. And to that end, I don't think we have any choice but to accept the aid of any potential ally. If we can march the tea party into the sea, then we can find new coalitions with the sane people who are left over. But right now the urgent national priority has to be the absolute destruction of the tea party.

Jack said...

Fonts: Ah, yes, I know what you mean (wanting to preserve links, embedding, and sometimes even things like bulleted lists). It's probably not worth the trouble to you, but Microsoft makes a web page editor called "Expression Web" which includes a "paste as text" feature that will retain some basic formatting, including links. Like I said, it's probably not worth the trouble to install and run a whole program just for the occasonal post, but thought I'd mention in just in case. Apparently you can get Expression Web free. (I have to also say that except for this one decent feature, Expression Web is a pile of trash and Microsoft should be sued for making it. ;-)

Sullivan: Yeah, you make good points. I have no doubt at all about two things:

(1) If Sullivan wasn't gay, he wouldn't be famous. I think he's smart and a good writer, but there are a lot of smart people who write well. As you've always said, his particular ring at the circus is "The Gaaaaay Conservative!!!"

(2) If Sullivan wasn't gay, he wouldn't have abandoned the GOP and wouldn't trash them as constantly and as effectively as he does. Being an ally with Sullivan feels a little like the alliance between the Soviets and the US during World War II: the arrangement can only last as long as he shares the one issue in common with us. What he really wants is a redeemed conservative movement, and if he ever got it he would turn on us in a heartbeat.

That said: I tend to view these things very pragmatically. We are in a life or death struggle with -- and I don't use this word hyperbolically -- pure fascism. The stakes are enormous. Just look at the terrible damage the GOP does to our country from their *minority* position. Stand back in awe at the damage they did with 8 years of Bush and Cheney! We simply can not under andy circumstances let Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or any of those other deranged monsters take over the White House or the Senate.

So as long as Sullivan's pen is turned to the task of exposing and shredding the GOP, he will have my sympathy and appreciation.

And if the blessed day ever comes that we defeat the tea party, he can turn on us and we can turn on him and we can have a good old fashioned political brawl. But right now we got bigger fish to fry. Or, really, millions of lives to save. (If they cut Social Security and Medicare, millions *will* die.)

Jack said...

Yeah, you're definitely right that we should be careful about regarding Sullivan as a blood brother. And in response to something else Geese said: I would never say Sullivan is a liberal, either; like Driftglass said: Sullivan still bashes liberals (and, sigh, MSNBC), and he still pines for a revival of "true conservatives." He's clear that he's not one of us, and we should be clear that we're not one of him.

That said, every time he writes a post eviscerating the GOP, I think "I hope a lot of people see this."