Saturday, January 7, 2006


I'm a lover not a hater. Really. Sure, I have a special loathing for Jimmy Carter but it's just so darn fun to hate the guy. When I was a kid I never taunted geeks, or gave out swirlies, and any nuclear wedgies that I may have initiated were only for the truly deserving.

If I had been in school with Jimmy Carter I probably would have been unable to restrain myself and would have been driven to take swirlie action. However lets face it, if I had been on the scene perhaps I could have stopped the whole Carter era before it ever had a chance to get started. So, we could say that he was deserving in a future sort of sense.

But this isn't about Jimmy Carter, this about a man for whom I am beginning to develop a real sort of dislike. This is about Andy Sullivan. I don't even know why I go over and read his awful blog anymore, but I do. Over the holidays it actually became kind of interesting for a while, and I thought, "gosh Andy must be back on the tranquilizers". I didn't agree with much that was written there, but for the most part it was reasoned and tolerant of other opinions. Of course, as I continued reading I noticed that Sully had been replaced by two superior guest bloggers.

It hasn't always been this way either. When I first started reading Andy four or five years ago I enjoyed his blog. It was interesting, thought provoking and not only acknowledged other opinions, but treated those opinions with respect. This all started to change with the run-up to the Iraq war. A subject on which I agreed for the most part with Sullivan, I was increasingly troubled by his intolerance and demonization of those who were not of a like mind. So I started looking elsewhere for information, and for the most part found it.

Still, I kept coming back to Sully's blog. The problem is really two-fold. First, the guy can write. I like his command of the language, and when he is on I like the way he can get it all said with an economy of words, yet use that economy to multiply the overall force of his message. Secondly, the guy has so much promise. So I keep returning to his blog each new time hoping that perhaps his writing will not devolve into a bitchy intolerant screed.

It is a rare day though when I am thusly rewarded, and it just gets worse. Take a look at the linked post from yesterday. You can almost see Andy sitting on the couch seething at George Bush for some new transgression, and instead of taking a breather like most even keeled folks, our pal grabs the laptop and posts that beaute. If you don't click over, here is an exerpt:

Two points worth noting: the president has defined the theater of war as including the territory of the United States and including citizens of the United States; he has also defined the war as without end. So his war powers, although moderate in effect compared to what, say, Lincoln and FDR got away with, are exponentially more far-reaching. Because this war is forever, as Jon Rauch explains in his latest National Journal column (not online yet). And countless future presidents will be given the right to ignore, flout or finesse domestic law if they so wish.

Amazing don't you think? So much wrong in one little post. Worse still, Andy knows it's wrong, he just can't get over his hatred long enough to prevent himself from doing something stupid.

Did the president really define the theater of war as including the United States, or was it the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Towers - twice? Was it the president who included the citizens of the U.S. or was it the terrorists who killed the innocents in those towers as well as our armed services members at Riyadh, Kohbar, and on the Cole to name just three attacks? Did Bush define these things, or did Osama when he declared jihad on the United States?

This is an important question, because people like Sullivan have influence in our society. He appears on the news shows, writes in major publications both in the U.S. and England, and has one of the more highly read blogs. Yet he thinks nothing of making the dangerous suggestion that it was President Bush, and by logical extension the citizens who voted for him, that are responsible for defining the theater of war to include our land and people.

He then goes on to suggest that somehow President Bush has defined this war as "war without end" which reveals Sully's true motivations; he wants to scare us. Bush has done no such thing, and has said that we will fight until we defeat the Islamic fanatics. I will agree that this is a difficult end point to define, but we did not pick this enemy, they chose us and we must win.
While this win will not come with a formal surrender, we will be able to define it in reduced terror attacks, the capture or death of most of the leadership, and scaled back electronic traffic around the world.

Not an easy definition, and yes, we will have to rely our leaders to let us know when we get there. It seems though that Sullivan would like us to believe that we live in some sort of Huxleyesque Brave New World, where we are kept in a false state of war by leaders that only wish to control us through fear. This, of course, couldn't be further from the truth. That is unless, Sullivan wants to make the case that the tower attack wasn't real, that the London subway bombings weren't real, that the be-headings aren't real, that Spain wasn't real, that Bali wasn't real, or that the recently thwarted Australian attacks weren't real.

Further, we have a little something call democracy. Andy may have forgotten, but every four years we vote for a new president, so that if we come to agree that our leadership isn't winding down the war at the appropriate time we can do a little something called Vote For The Other Guy. It works pretty well. Just ask John Kerry who, by the way, made a big deal out of his thought that maybe this whole war on terror thing was over blown. Maybe that's the point though; perhaps Andy didn't forget about the vote, so much as he disagreed with it's outcome.

Which leads to the final hysterical premise in Andy's post.

I wonder how many Republicans will object when president Hillary is wiretapping their private conversations. They'd better speak up now, hadn't they?

This one is good. Really good. Remember I said Andy was trying to scare us? Here, my friends is the proof. Andy is trying to reach across political lines to build fear on both sides. See by suggesting that Hil will use these rules to spy on Republicans, he is also planting the idea that Bush is already doing it to spy on Democrats.

Lets review. The NSA taps have been used exclusively to listen in on conversations made from phone numbers here in the U.S. that have been associated with known terrorists, either through calls or through numbers found on terrorists. Nowhere in there is anything about tapping the lines of Democrats, which would be illegal, same with Andy's little Hillary scenario. See the problem for Andy is that he has seen the public's ho-hum response to the NSA revelations and now believes that he must do something to try get us to come over to his side even if it includes distorting the real picture. The only important thing is that we believe Andy.

So, my loathing for Sullivan grows. In a way, he is becoming the Pat Robertson of the intellectual set. Reliably hysterical and generally foolish, it really is time to stop reading this guy. Perhaps he can join Pat back under his rock; they can have a good old time there deciding which one of them is holier than Thou.

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