October 22, 2004

Another Liberal for Bush

Marc Danziger, aka Armed Liberal, endorses the re-election of the president.

UPDATE: Jeff in the comments asks if I can recommend the work of any conservatives who oppose Bush for the sake of balance. Absolutely. Read Andrew Sullivan. Read him every day. I have not, I repeat not, joined the "I hate Andrew" club.

On the right sidebar of this blog I have permanently linked an essay in the New York Observer by Ron Rosenbaum called The Men Who Would be Orwell. It's about Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens. What Rosenbaum said about Sullivan a few years ago is more true today than it was when he wrote it. That's why some on the right won't read him anymore. It's also why I continue to read.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at October 22, 2004 01:41 PM
Comments

Mr. Totten-

Have you seen any well written pieces on former bush supporters for Kerry that you could recommend to add a little balance to the "Liberals" for bush posts? Thanks.

Posted by: Jeff at October 22, 2004 01:47 PM

Also, Spencer Ackermann's article in the New Republic as to why Kerry would do a better job fighting terrorism than Bush is excellent.

Posted by: Mara at October 22, 2004 02:03 PM

Jeff,

Yes. Read Andrew Sullivan. Read him every day. I do.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 22, 2004 02:06 PM

that's probably because Andrew Sullivan's gay.

Posted by: David at October 22, 2004 02:22 PM

David,

What about everything else Sullivan writes? Do you think his sexuality dictates all of his opinions? I certainly don't.

None of my gay friends have ever said I'm voting for Bush because I'm a straight man. I don't know of any gay person who has said this to anyone. I suggest extending the same courtesy. Sullivan voted for Bush last time. And was gay then, too.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 22, 2004 02:29 PM

Michael,

I think his sexuality is a huge issue for Sullivan, so it colors his view on everything else he writes. He wants pro-gay John Kerry to win, so he sees everything else Kerry does in a more favorable light. It's called bias. I think it's normal, and it happens to everybody (except you of course).

Posted by: David at October 22, 2004 02:35 PM

re Andrew Sullivan, it's remarkable what an about turn he made when Bush started talking about the constitutional amendment to define marriage. Oh, but I'm sure that was just a coincidence.

Posted by: David at October 22, 2004 02:45 PM

I think Andrew is getting overly strident in his opposition to Bush and letting it color his analysis of some of the news items, specifically this week, where he put the worst possible spin on something Bush was quoted as saying. On Wednesday he published some comments from Pat Robertson where Roberson quotes Bush as saying the US would not have any casualties in a war with Iraq. He updated this the next day, where Robertson said he warned the president about chemical weapons and large numbers of casuaties. Bush said no, the troops are well protected. This is vastly different than what Sullivan reported the day before, since clearly Bush meant to say the troops have protective gear and there would not be large numbers of casualties due to a chemical weapons attack. In case anyone thinks I'm exaggerating, here is an excerpt from Sullivan -

"It's that he seems to suffer from an inability to see reality. Any president who believed that there would be no casualties in the Iraq liberation is unqualified to be commander-in-chief."

One other point, consider the reaction there would be if the president, any president, took the advice of a religious leader regarding issues about a war. He'd be seen as nut.

(I e mailed Sullivan on this, kind of wonder if someone with his huge readership even has a chance to read all of the e mails he receives)

Posted by: pat at October 22, 2004 02:50 PM

" Read Andrew Sullivan. Read him every day. I have not, I repeat not, joined the "I hate Andrew" club."---MJT

Can I send you a membership application anyway? The man ignored his whole often stated support for the Iraq/Anti-Terror campaign,largely if not solely,because his 'lifestyle'was ever so much more important to his 'being'.I don't think that there was any real impetus to his reversal than that,and he has twisted himself into logical knots ever since trying to convince himself that Kerry is serious about destroying the enemy we face.
I have not read him since and will not in the future.I could not care less about his 'lifestyle',but an individual who takes risks with our future BECAUSE he is more concerned about his specialised tastes,gets no respect or visits from me.

Posted by: dougf at October 22, 2004 03:41 PM

Unfortunately Sullivan has become a parody of what he used to fight against.

As Mr. Rosenbaum stated:

"He’s defended his tactics by arguing that, in the first weeks after Sept. 11, the same kind of defeatist, self-hating rhetoric Orwell railed against needed to be combated with scathing responses. "

Now Sullivan the object of his former ire, adefeatist. I agree with Sullivan on Gay Marriage, but you can not dismiss the fact that his 180 degree turn on Bush started the same day Bush said he was for the marriage amendment.

Posted by: Dave at October 22, 2004 03:48 PM

In all fairness to Sully, what he sees as Bush's fiscal irresponsibility has also been a huge factor in his disillusion with Bush. That plus the gay marriage thing plus what he sees as incompetence in handling post-war Iraq. His disappointment may be keener in fact because he was such a cheer-leader initially. Me - I'm the opposite - voted for Gore and so can afford to be pleasantly surprised that in so many respects Bush turns out to be a closet quasi-liberal (or should that be a quasi-closet liberal?).

Posted by: Caroline at October 22, 2004 04:02 PM

Over at Marc Cooper's lefty blog his readers are throwing an "I hate Hitchens" tantrum in the comments because Marc approvingly linked to his piece in The Nation. Is my comments section going to be a mirror of his? On the same day? Against Rosenbaum's other "Orwell"? Say it ain't so.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 22, 2004 04:04 PM

And try saying that last (closet-quasi, quasi closet, closet-quasi, quasi-closet...) 10 times fast.!

Posted by: Caroline at October 22, 2004 04:05 PM

Over at Marc Cooper's lefty blog his readers are throwing an "I hate Hitchens" tantrum in the comments because Marc approvingly linked to his piece in The Nation.

Hey, that's quite the dogfight, and they're all fairly good writers. Thanks for the link, Michael, I may visit a few more times.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 22, 2004 04:32 PM

Sully makes complete sense. The whole war was wrong, but he supported the whole thing, therefore he is still right. He is a real conservative because real conservatives support overthrowing the constitution to impose gay marriage, those who oppose him (like Jonah Goldburg) are fake conseravatives. He isn't a liberal wackjob, but Bush really invaded iraq for the oil (even though it was the right thing to do) even though it wasn't. Anyone who supports Bush is a partisan hack, but since he supports Kerry he isn't a partisan hack.

Get it? read Sully every day and you still won't.

Posted by: Barone at October 22, 2004 05:32 PM

When will this all be over? I just can't muster enthusiasm for it anymore. Liberals for Bush, Conservatives for Kerry. Everyone's essentially making the same arguments over and over again. Can somebody make it stop? I don't know how anyone can still be interested in this crap at this point.

Anyway, I still scan Sullivan's blog every day, but his analysis has gotten increasingly shrill. Worse for a blogger, he's become way too predictable. The FMA is only a tiny part of it, and some conservatives go way over-the-top in their denuciations of him (similar to their denunciations of McCain), but he frankly deserves the huge drop off in traffic he's described getting. He's failing to provide interesting, non-partisan content on the level he used to. That's all there is to it. Hitchens is still stimulating and always will be, OTOH.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at October 22, 2004 06:01 PM

I'm sorry Michael, but Andrew Sullivan is either intellectually dishonest or else has the blinders on so tight he can't see straight. He's gone through a complete 180 on the Bush administration and the clear and obvious pivot point is when one week he wrote that Bush was going to diss DOMA, the next week he wrote that he couldn't believe that Bush supported DOMA and his world had been turned upside down.

He's gone over to the other side because he is so furious with Bush over DOMA.

I don't know how you can call him a "centrist" when his website basically cites every bit of dirt from Kos, Juan Cole, and the rest of the fringe left, with glee and approval.

Personally I think Andrew is just too moody and emotional to have any sort of rigorous intellectual perspective about politics. He seems fundamentally unable to understand the current war from a historical, realistic perspective. Many people today simply have no stomach for reality -- that we live in a world where whole countries and regions are dominated by monstrous evil that can and will eventually threaten civilization, and that evil must be confronted and destroyed in battle and these areas have to be brought into modern civilization or we will never be safe. There is no negotiated settlement possible with men who saw off heads on videotape, only death for them.

Kerry clearly doesn't have the stomach to deal with these existential truths, and Andrew has lost his bearings if he thinks that the "daily Kos" is on the side of truth.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at October 22, 2004 06:19 PM

I stopped reading Sullivan when I felt his writing evolved into arrogance.

Posted by: syn at October 22, 2004 06:21 PM

"...but you can not dismiss the fact that his 180 degree turn on Bush started the same day Bush said he was for the marriage amendment."

No, you most certainly cannot. Andrew Sullivan argues backwards. The gay issues dominate his thinking---and everything else must fit into this procrustean bed of sexual identity. Sullivan’s indeed did turn radically against Bush immediately after the marriage amendment was proposed. You are not imagining anything. That’s exactly how I remember the situation.

Posted by: David Thomson at October 22, 2004 06:27 PM

Matthew Cromer: I don't know how you can call him a "centrist" when his website basically cites every bit of dirt from Kos, Juan Cole, and the rest of the fringe left, with glee and approval.

Wow, you don't read his blog much. I can tell. That's way off.

Eric Deamer: he frankly deserves the huge drop off in traffic he's described getting.

His Site Meter is public. You can go look at his traffic yourself. It has never been higher.

I remember when I first left the left I was told by lots of conservatives that the right doesn't burn its heretics. I didn't quite believe it. Now I definitely don't believe it. How could it be any other way? Andrew is "on the other side" now. He's a persona non grata. Eh. Not to me he isn't.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 22, 2004 06:35 PM

I’m an ex- Sullivan reader too. I find statements from Sullivan that "Bush is in total denial" rather childish. There are dozens of extremely bright people focused on Iraq right now and to think that none of these people can get thru to Bush as to what is taking place in Iraq is just plain stupid.

Perhaps the Bushies have made what appear to be bad decisions but it is not because they are completely unaware of what is taking place in Iraq. It is more likely a function of the difficulty of the task at hand, the wickedness of our enemies tactics, and the closeness of the election.

Further, Sullivan seems to expect Bush to lay out his battle plan for public scrutiny. As Victor Davis Hanson has said, "predictability is not a virtue in war."

Posted by: Joe Marino at October 22, 2004 06:43 PM

9/11 totally changed how I looked at the application of American military power. Sullivan seems to have had a similar worldview-shattering moment when Bush came out in support of the FMA. The way he analysed data fundamentally changed. Priorities jumped their tracks. To coin a phrase, no one is more zealous than a convert, and Sullivan converted from a Bush fan to a foe.

I'm voting for Bush because he seems to share my views of what are the existential threats to this country. I think Sullivan argues against Bush for the same reason. We just don't agree on what the greatest existential threat is.

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 23, 2004 09:54 AM

I remember when I first left the left I was told by lots of conservatives that the right doesn't burn its heretics. I didn't quite believe it. Now I definitely don't believe it. How could it be any other way? Andrew is "on the other side" now. He's a persona non grata. Eh. Not to me he isn't.

It's not a matter of burning heretics. It's a matter of priorities. As near as I can tell, Sullivan's priorities are:
1) Gay Issues
50)Everything else

There is nothing wrong with that. I favor some sort of gay marriage as well, but it's not that high on my priority list. We can work on it after we fight the war on terror.

The problem with Sullivan is, as others have said, his views on gay issues are at odds with Bush's and that taints everything else he thinks about Bush. It's not that he's unimportant, but his motives in analysis are in question.

Imagine this: say you have an issues that is very important to you. Kerry decided (!) to come out in favor of it. Would that taint your view of Kerry's other decisions? That's what happened to Sullivan. He let his problems with Bush on gay issues taint everything else.

I believe that deep down, he still agrees with Bush on most things but he can't admit that because he disagrees so fiercely with Bush on one issue.

When Sullivan decides that DOMA and FMA aren't as important as security, Iraq, etc... he will be welcomed back with open arms because he will likely agree with conservatives again. Until then though, he is arguing against most of us. But not because his mind changed on Iraq, but because of gay issues. And I think that's why most people are dismissive about him today. If he had changed his mind about Iraq legitamtely, it would be one thing, but he didn't. He changed his mind about Iraq because of his and Bush's stance on gay marriage.

Posted by: Court at October 23, 2004 01:16 PM

"I have not, I repeat not, joined the "I hate Andrew" club."

Perhaps not yet. But you shouldn't read him anymore. The man is a complete fraud and a total reactionary prissy hyperventiating moron.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at October 23, 2004 02:41 PM

On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?

Posted by: British Leftie at October 23, 2004 04:18 PM

I read Sully every day and I find every prat huffing indignation in every comments section over his "change" to be insufferable, just insufferable. Especially the attempts to make it a gay-only thing.

Grow up, people, and accept a little honorable opposition. You don't need 100% agreement in what you think and how you act.

Posted by: Undertoad at October 23, 2004 05:03 PM

Court -- you don't think it is possible that Sullivan "changed his mind" on Iraq for the same reason that William F. Buckley, George Will, and Sen. Richard Lugar, a bunch of lesser known former supporters have?

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 23, 2004 05:41 PM

British Leftie,

if you're going to slander our president using somebody else's material, at least have the common decency to cite it:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguide/columnists/story/0,,1333748,00.html

Posted by: David at October 23, 2004 06:00 PM

Yes Marcus, it's called weak stomachs for a tough fight.

Same reason that many people preferred Chamberlain to Churchill.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at October 23, 2004 06:18 PM

As per my comment to the post above, just thought I'd let everyone know that due to whatever weird technical difficulties this blog was having this morning, a lot of comments on this post were lost. A pity, because they comprised a discussion of Sully that was unusually non-shrill, by which I mean mostly that I came off better with my follow-ups to my first comment, which I'm not that happy to have left up here for everyone to see.

Cheers.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at October 23, 2004 07:14 PM

Court -- you don't think it is possible that Sullivan "changed his mind" on Iraq for the same reason that William F. Buckley, George Will, and Sen. Richard Lugar, a bunch of lesser known former supporters have?

Of course it's possible. But look at the timing. And the complete 180-ness of it. If it had been gradual, or at a different time, it would seem more likely. I can't be sure of his true motives, but I can guess at them with the evidence I hav and that evidence leads me to believe that this is not about Iraq but about being gay.

Posted by: Court at October 23, 2004 08:50 PM

Andrew Sullivan is no Orwell. Remember how Sullivan quoted Orwell's remark that "Objectively the pacifist is pro-Nazi," implying that anti-war Leftists are guilty of a similar sin?

Even though I am (and was then) a Bush supporter who wholeheartedly agrees with the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, I found the Orwell quote revolting and stupid. I happily discovered later that Orwell himself repudiated the argument after the war ended:

We are told that it is only people’s objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort, are ‘objectively’ aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. . . . And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated. . . . In my opinion a few pacifists are inwardly pro-Nazi, and extremist left-wing parties will inevitably contain Fascist spies. The important thing is to discover which individuals are honest and which are not, and the usual blanket accusation merely makes this more difficult. The atmosphere of hatred in which controversy is conducted blinds people to considerations of this kind. To admit that an opponent might be both honest and intelligent is felt to be intolerable. It is more immediately satisfying to shout that he is a fool or a scoundrel, or both, than to find out what he is really like. It is this habit of mind, among other things, that has made political prediction in our time so remarkably unsuccessful.

Why did Sullivan never mention Orwell's change of heart? Because he didn't want to spoil the earlier, politically convenient Saint George quote.

Sullivan is an intellectually dishonest demagogue.

Posted by: MDP at October 24, 2004 12:45 PM

Sully DID always complain about the big-spending gov't; and DID often complain about Bush Admin lies ("admin" not quite the same as out of his mouth, but often treated as such by the Bush-hating media); and Sully was NOT happy that WMDs were not found and the not-finding was not well explained by Bush or Rumsfeld or Condi. So he was enthusiastic pro-Iraqi Freedom, but willing to offer friendly criticism to Bush; as well as withering criticism to many Dems.

Then he was surprised by the Mass court elites legalizing gay marriage, and the frustrated anti-abortion Christian forces mobilizing ogainst gay marriage to be imposed by unelected elites. And he's particularly unhappy that the gay-marriage debate, which he knows Bush knows is not gonna pass as an amendment, is being used by Christian Reps to do some purging of the pro-gay Reps.

So he's become a bit more tedious on his anti- gay bashing anti-Rep posts; with almost no Kerry bashing. (Marc Cooper MUCH better balanced in a 'both suck, big time!' kind of way). But Sully writes very well, still.

Yet he can't conceive of a gay-neutral, gay-union -accepting pro-life person who opposes gay-marriage. He lumps opposition to gay-marriage as gay-bashing. Despite the obvious child related biological differences.

Whereas he was mildly critical of Bush, always pro-gay, and fiercely pro-war; he has become fiercely pro-gay, and strongly anti-Bush, with little to say on Kerry.

Yet Kerry is the big question mark, NOT Bush. Will Kerry wimpo out on Iraq? How will Kerry Iranian nukes? Talk, followed by resolutions, violations, and more resolutions with threats of even more talk? Or what? Sully doesn't say. Niether do other eagles (that Sully lists; haven't read them all though.)

Posted by: Tom Grey at October 24, 2004 04:39 PM

The problem with Sullivan is, as others have said, his views on gay issues are at odds with Bush's and that taints everything else he thinks about Bush. It's not that he's unimportant, but his motives in analysis are in question.
----------------------------------
Wow, that's ridiculous. I'm at odds with Kerry over abortion, but I realize that there's nothing I can do about that. Everything on Kerry's views list is right on to me except for that. Four years ago it was enough for me to be against Gore, but I realize that I can no longer afford to be a one-issue voter.

Posted by: Greg at October 24, 2004 06:36 PM

Tom Grey, you're very hypocritical in your last paragraph. How will Bush handle Iran? he hasn't told us. He hasn't said word one. He hasn't said anything about North Korea other than he thinks unilateral talks are bad.

So why should Kerry have to tip his hand if Bush doesn't?

Posted by: Greg at October 24, 2004 06:39 PM

A lot of comments were accidently deleted from this thread. There was a server crash, but it's fixed now.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 24, 2004 09:42 PM

I used to be a big fan of Andrew's but I do think he's let one issue color his whole thinking. It's unfortunate, because the FMA is not going anywhere, so Andrew will end up supporting Kerry based on style, not substance.

Posted by: Brainster at October 25, 2004 10:06 AM

Worth a read:

THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS AND THE GREAT CALIPHATE

http://www.insiderreport.net/index.html)

Posted by: Barney at October 25, 2004 01:32 PM

Here's why I went from a 10 times a day reader of Andrew to someone who never reads his site. He's become a knee-jerk spouter of anti-Bush propaganda, regardless of the truth.

Andrew Sullivan is trumpeting "criminal incompetence" in the Bush Administration that 380 tons of high explosive disappeared from a weapons dump. This was of course reported as an "October Surprise" hit piece in the NYT. The only problem is the material was removed before soldiers got to the ammo dump in the course of fighting Saddam. When the soldiers got there, the explosives were missing.

The fact that Andrew is a conduit of every manner of nonsense attacking the Bush administration is the reason I don't read him any more.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at October 25, 2004 02:36 PM

Well I let Andrew know about the inaccuracy in his post "Criminal Incompetence" and now I'm holding my breath waiting for him to correct his post. Hope I don't pass out.

more info

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at October 25, 2004 06:33 PM

Never join a club like the "I hate Andrew Sullivan Club."

There are too few, like yourself, who continue to explore all ideas and.....shocked amazement.......are not afraid to modify or even......really horrible......change their position.

Or possibly we need more super glue to keep such folks under control. ;)

Posted by: Steve at October 25, 2004 10:59 PM

Well Andrew has not posted a retraction to his "Criminal Incompetence" post. I'm gobsmacked!

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at October 26, 2004 03:47 AM

“The fact that Andrew is a conduit of every manner of nonsense attacking the Bush administration is the reason I don't read him any more.”

And you are being very fair. Andrew Sullivan is now unreliable when it comes to George W. Bush. His intense dislikes blinds him to reality. Still, I continue to take a quick peep at his writings. He occasionally offers a bit of wisdom.

Posted by: David Thomson at October 26, 2004 06:32 AM

Andrew Sullivan is a conservative? And there's great snow skiing in hell to.

Posted by: phil at October 26, 2004 09:12 AM

Oh and one more thing, the next time I hear about Andrew defecting from Bush because Bush's fiscal record (fine, agreed as far as that goes) and will now be voting for Kerry who's proposals would be a far greater fiscal disaster than Bush's, I'm going to puke a freakin' class IV river.

For Andy it's all about the gay thing 24/7 - PERIOD.

Steve Sailer probably has the best diagnosis of Anderew's wild emotional mood swings...'roid rage. Mr. Anabolic Steriod has become a bit unhinged.

Posted by: phil at October 26, 2004 09:35 AM

Andrew Sullivan is pretty over the top on the gay issue: there is no room in his worldview for anything other than wholesale uncritical acceptance of homosexuality, or the depths of bigotry. I still read him occasionally: I'm just very aware of his limitations on this issue.

Posted by: David at October 26, 2004 10:41 AM

"there is no room in his worldview for anything other than wholesale uncritical acceptance of homosexuality"

Ya don't say? No room for intolerance against his court protected sexual lifestyle? I can't believe an unapologetically gay man would take offense to such a thing. What a radical concept. Welcome to Western Liberal Democracy.

Posted by: Epitome at October 26, 2004 03:24 PM

Thanks for the link to the Hitch/Sully story.

Posted by: Asher Abrams - Dreams Into Lightning at October 31, 2004 05:55 PM
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