Wednesday, December 02, 2009

"Here is a Revised List..."

"This is your captain speaking.
There is no need for not rush for the lifeboats ...
Women, children, Red Indians, spacemen
and a sort of idealized version of a gay Republican
expatriate Libertarianish papist Renaissance Man
(but definitely NOT a Liberal) first!"

(h/t Monty Python for the lingo, and Internet Weekly for the a time-saving graphic.)

So Andrew Sullivan ("Daily Dish") and Charles Johnson ("Little Green Footballs") are sharing the last lifeboat leaving the shattered hull of the Party of God before it slides beneath the waves.

(Of course that ship has been sinking into the Mariana Trench of Crazy for, what, 30 years now? Well I guess the shark-infested water and the sounds of the alarm bell are only now reaching the First Class cabins…)

Sullivan delivered his “Tis a far, far better place I go” speech here, which said, in part:
For these reasons, I found it intolerable after 2003 to support the movement that goes by the name "conservative" in America. I still do, even though I am much more of a limited government type than almost any Democrat and cannot bring myself to call myself a liberal (because I'm not). My reasons were not dissimilar to Charles Johnson, who, like me, was horrified by 9/11, loathes Jihadism, and wants to defeat it as effectively as possible. And his little manifesto prompts me to write my own (the full version is in "The Conservative Soul").
Now in the whole of Mr. Sullivan's text, I could not help but notice that he italicized-for-emphasis only twice, one of which he deployed here -- "cannot bring myself to call myself a liberal (because I'm not)" -- to underscore how very much NOT a Liberal he is.

And yet in his enumerated reasons for leaving the Right I see nothing that would freak a Liberal out. I see no point-of-view that wouldn’t find a cozy, conversational corner at one of our Sekrit America-Hating Box Socials.

In fact there is virtually nothing in the whole, Lutheranesque list of grievances digitally spiked into the front door of the Party of God (May it forever be Holy, Reagan and Apostolic, amen!) that Liberals haven't been warning people like Mr. Sullivan about -- in ever-more urgent tones -- for the last 30 years.

Perhaps a small illustration would make things clearer (some of Mr. Sullivan’s comments on the Right; my helpful interlineal notes on the Left.)
I cannot support a movement that claims to believe
in limited government but backed an unlimited domestic
and foreign policy presidency that assumed illegal,
extra-constitutional dictatorial powers until forced
by the system to return to the rule of law.

Are you referring to Nixon’s Watergate?
Or Reagan/Bush’s Iran/Contra?

I cannot support a movement that exploded
spending and borrowing and blames its
successor for the debt.

You forgot to add
“…unless Reagan does it.”

I cannot support a movement that so abandoned
government's minimal and vital role to police
markets and address natural disasters that
it gave us Katrina and the financial meltdown of 2008.

The radical, mass-deregulation
of everything regardless of consequences
was built right into the DNA of the
Conservative movement from the
moment of its birth.

And you damn well know it.

I cannot support a movement that holds
that purely religious doctrine should govern
civil political decisions and that uses the sacredness
of religious faith for the pursuit of worldly power.

Perhaps you should take it up
with Jerry Falwell’s ghost.
Or Pat Robertson?
Or Phyllis Schafly?
Or Ralph Reed?
Do I need to go on?

I cannot support a movement that is deeply
homophobic, cynically deploys fear of homosexuals
to win votes, and gives off such a racist vibe that
its share of the minority vote remains pitiful.

You forgot to add,
“…unless Reagan does it.”

I cannot support a movement which has
no real respect for the institutions of government
and is prepared to use any tactic and any means
to fight political warfare rather than conduct
a political conversation.

Like, say,
impeaching Bill Clinton?


I cannot support a movement that
criminalizes private behavior in the war on drugs.

Does the name “Reagan” ring a bell?

I cannot support a movement that would back
a vice-presidential candidate manifestly unqualified
and duplicitous because of identity politics
and electoral cynicism.

Andrew Sullivan,
Mr. J. Danforth Quayle.

I cannot support a movement that regards
gay people as threats to their own families.


I cannot support a movement
that does not accept evolution as a fact.

Any bell at all?

I cannot support a movement that sees
climate change as a hoax and offers
domestic oil exploration as the core plank
of an energy policy.

is where I got fucking fed up
with repeating myself.

I cannot support a movement that refuses
ever to raise taxes, while proposing no
meaningful reductions in government spending.

Read. My. Lips.

I cannot support a movement that refuses
to distance itself from a demagogue like
Rush Limbaugh or a nutjob like Glenn Beck.

The 1994 Republican Congress
gave Limbaugh
credit for their victory.
Gave him a fucking plaque.
That's 15 years ago.
Not 15 minutes.
So it turns out that virtually all of Mr. Sullivan's hard-won epiphanies amount to little more than the well-thumbed history and plainsong lore of our Fucked Up Modern Age as it has been long understood and passed down among those awful Liberals. And so when I see statements like this -- "Does this make me a "radical leftist" as Michelle Malkin would say? Emphatically not." -- what I see is a man who might want to distance himself from the appalling actions and despicable outcomes of his former allies, but still wants to continue honoring their idiotic parameters and debased vocabulary.

Yes, Mr. Sullivan, your objections emphatically do make you a "radical leftist", because in the hands of the shitkicker demagogues of the Right like Malkin, phrases like "radical leftist" have long since lost any meaning. They are just the pejorative-du-jour, pulled from a random grab-bag of Limbaugh-words -- socialist, elitist, feminist, Marxist, anti-American, compassionate, cut-and-run, surrender, Liberal, extremist, collectivist, queer, Communist, fascist, atheist, humanist, "New York", "San Francisco", “Chicago”, French, European -- that each used to have discrete and very different meanings, but are now bleated interchangeably by the Pig People and their overlords at anyone with a softer heart than Curtis LeMay and less imperial ambitions than Genghis Khan.

But then again, if Mr. Sullivan simply outed himself as a Liberal, he would instantly lose his place in the food-chain, wouldn’t he? Because like that microscopic number of self-loathing black Conservatives who make their daily bread by serving the interests of the Southern Bigot Party, more than any other single factor, it was always the sheer gawking, oddballness of the brazen self-delusion inherent in being the gay champion of the Christopath Homophobe Party that put Mr. Sullivan in the spotlight.

That was what gave him his unique and lucrative cache.

After all, Liberal gay political writers are a dime a dozen, and so in a strange way we find Andrew Sullivan locked in the same kind of mortal combat over labels -- and for exactly the same reasons -- as Roy Cohn's character in "Angels In America" as he adamantly insisted -- even as he was dying of AIDS -- that he was not a "ho-mo-sex-shall".

(Not Safe For Work)

Because, Cohn reasoned, homosexuals were nobodies; losers who had zero clout and “in 15 years cannot pass a pissant anti-discrimination bill from City Council.” And since Roy Cohn could get the President of the United States (or his wife) on the phone -- could take the man he was fucking to the White House and make Ronald Reagan smile at him and shakes his hand -- it therefore followed that Roy Cohn could not possibly be a homosexual.

That unlike every other person in his position on Earth, Roy Cohn was a heterosexual man, who fucked around with guys.

Likewise, even though Mr. Sullivan now, belatedly comes to believe much of what Liberals believe and finally deigns to notice a horde of grotesque truths about his Conservative Movement about which Liberals have been sounding the alarm for 30 years, Andrew Sullivan nonetheless looks us all straight in that eye and argues that he could not possibly be some mere Liberal.

Because in Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" does not refer to a political ideology, but to an impoverishing political ghetto from which no amount of "being right about everything" will permit you to achieve escape velocity. In Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" is a terrible disease that afflicts losers who do not get invited to spout their views on teevee.

Mr. Sullivan regularly receives such largess, therefore he must not be a Liberal.

He instead must be the lone member be of some rare and singular new species; some miraculous form of haploid political minotaur.

Because if he is not something spontaneously-generated and utterly sui generis, then he is just another Lefty-Come-Very-Lately, showing up at our door at 3:00 A.M., 20 years late and trailing toxic baggage behind him like a Halley Comet.

And who in the world would pay him to do his little dance then?


D. said...

Well, the subcutaneous control device is still in place; he may not be able to utter the word 'liberal' without a reflexive shudder until that comes out.

Unknown said...

Because in Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" does not refer to a political ideology, but to an impoverishing political ghetto from which no amount of "being right about everything" will permit you to achieve escape velocity. In Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" is a terrible disease that afflicts losers who do not get invited to spout their views on teevee. Bravo! You nailed it dude.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

He instead must be the lone member be of some rare and singular new species; some miraculous form of haploid political minotaur.


Anonymous said...

....nothing Bill Maher's bookers wont forgive him for...

Rehctaw said...

In the realm of self-absorbed, self-centered, pompous, arrogant faux celebrity gits that turn tricks for their media conglomerate pimps, Andy, despite his illusions to the contrary, is an insignificant pustule. Eager to lick anyone's chops to get ahead.

The "clinging to his principles" persona that he has cultivated conveniently ignores the wrongness of all that he "believes".

It seems not to matter how often or thoroughly these boils are lanced by actual reality based thinkers, they simply insist on persistence.

Never got it. Never will. His about face doesn't put him at the head of the line. He doesn't get a mulligan for encouraging and supporting the deconstruction of
200 years of sweat and sacrifice for the amusement of the set to which he aspires. His shared, if slightly less exclusional, loathing of the teeming masses, doesn't make him special, it just makes him dumber than his more intolerant brethren.

"Oops, my bad" can't begin to correct his errors. He thought he could join the club and ride the gravy train. He actually succeeded. Now he's just desperately trying to hang on. Still selfish, self-absorbed and arrogant but hawking for a different pimp that he's conveniently labeled the recovering conservative.

He goes. Through the door or out the window. Back to the end of the line.

(giggle: word verification: dykwish)

darkblack said...

Text dribblers like Sullivan (who could take a long walk off a short sewage outfall, AFAIC) haven't fundamentally overhauled their threadbare principles to keep in step with the New Real, despite their self-penned fiction maintenance.

Rather, they are busily cocooning themselves for the next 'conservative renaissance' to be timed with, say, a cataclysmic terrorist 'oopsie' or a roguish demagogue dredged up from the Right's talent pool who can convincingly gull the public into believing (as Holy St. Reagan did) that they could have their desserts before the yucky main course yet again.


Sandy Underpants said...

brilliant and right fucking on, I am making noise by slapping my hands together over here.

Anonymous said...

You are an awesome and dangerous writer, DG. I am always grateful and horrified at what you are capable of.

StringonaStick said...

Can we have the entire thing engraved on a plaque and delivered to Mr. Andy?

Blader said...

What Sully has achieved here is like Henny Penny suddenly realizing the sky isn't falling, and instead concluding the earth is hurtling at break-neck speed into the clouds.

Cirze said...

Brilliance reigns at the castle as usual. Where are the TV cameras?

I have to agree with DB and say that it's prolly just an interim act released just ahead of the next "terr'ist" plot, leading to the long-expected bombing of Iran (and I'm quoting our much-respected Sec'y of State here - and you know how smart she is - just like the guy who chose her), and the reemergence of the "proud, the true, the brave" (the always-right) Conservaftards!

But maybe I'm getting a little bit cynical in my old age. Or even more.

You call it, Dg.


leaving the shattered hull of the Party of God before it slides beneath the waves.

Interrobang said...

Andrew Sullivan is always true to his core principles, assuming that one defines "core principles" in this case to mean "whatever's best for Andrew Sullivan." When there was wingnut-welfare gravy money in being a "principled moderate" (aka not completely loony right-winger), he was it. When there was wingnut-welfare gravy money in running around like his hair was on fire and his ass was catching shrieking about liberals being a fifth column, he was it. Now that the smart money's on Yoostabee Republicans Who Won't Call Themselves That Nasty Ole L-Word, there he is again. Good old Andrew O'Sullivan -- the O stands for "Opportunist."

RecoveringTexan said...

In the words of Gomer Pyle, "Thank yew, thank yew, thank yew!"

For all the years I have read Sully's missives, I have not had the capacity to so completely and eloquently elucidate my visceral reaction. You did it for me.

I came here by way of Bill in Exile but am now bookmarking your blog. What a find!

double nickel said...

Well done, but why don't you tell us how you really feel :)

Anonymous said...

The Gingrich devolution was 20 years ago, not 15.

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