It is reasonable to ask we spend so much time on Sullivan. The other front pagers have their own reason; you can find mine right here. Two weeks after he wanted to crown Paul Ryan king, Sullivan seems to fully understand the rot at the core of Ryan’s plan.
The process matters. Although he did not articulate it clearly enough at first, his overriding concern was long-term Medicare cost expansion. When people pressed him he reiterated the point more explicitly. When people (presumably including me) pointed out logical holes Sullivan absorbed their argument and slowly migrated towards reality. In other words Sullivan acknowledges criticism and responds to it appropriately. You may not realize how unusual this is but believe me, I make a point out of engaging with people who will engage and it is rare as hell. James Joyner is another example, and it’s no coincidence that he found himself alienated and anathematized from the conservative borg. In his Republican days John Cole accommodated new ideas better than most people on any side of the internetosphere, and look what happened to him.
The point is not that that Sullivan will ever become Markos Moulitsas. No sense waiting for a train that won’t come. The point is that intelligent and openminded people are a precious commodity on the internet. We do well to engage with people like that, even when they’re being so openminded (as with the Bell Curve crapola) that their brains fall out.
Since I swore an oath about no more Sullivan posts and I did kind of break it, here’s a picture of Max.
though i disagree with him 75 percent of the time, Sullivan is a gifted writer, and i enjoy him immensely.
xoxo to you sully.
The problem with Sullivan is that he has decided to appoint himself as Eternal Guardian of the Intertubes. All those “awards” are so self-important as to be completely disgusting. This guy is just another British shmuck trying to convince Americans that he is important. If you think that he, Tina Brown, and Christopher Hitchens haven’t coasted on their accents, you’re fooling yourself. Who cares if he changes his mind over time? We would be better off without him at all.
IF Max ever takes off, you prolly won’t be able to catch him. What a great dog.
Cole being open to new ideas got him Rosie.
well get back to us when he decides to hoist himself on his own petard publicly and renounce the concept of believing what the last person he spoke to as gospel.
@Maude: Probably hell. If Max took off for real I would count on the numbers on his collar to get him back. Fortunately I don’t have to worry about that. Dobermans cannot stand to be out of sight of their owner.
What’s most disconcerting about Sully is that he allows his emotions to rule him, and does it publicly. He’d be a lot further ahead if he gave himself 24 hours before hitting “Post.”
Nice post, in both the explanation of why you were posting on Sully, and the dog pic. Both are appreciated.
I enjoy reading Sullivan’s posts most of the time. I may not agree with his interpretation of events or solutions to problems, but most of the time he has logic and thought behind him.
Two events, though, have failed that test.
1) Although I could appreciate his appreciation for the fact that somebody on the right set out a budget “plan”, I could not get past his insistence that it was “serious”. Any plan that depended on 2.8% unemployment, and then came out with the same numbers when that 2.8% figure was “corrected” to a more reasonable 4+%, is not serious. And we cannot ignore the failure of that “plan” to support our neediest and give to those who have.
2) Sully’s failure to tear the catholic church a new one. To Sully’s credit, after realizing his mistake in acting as a neocon with Iraq he blasted into W’s administration as hard as any other. The catholic church deserves that same vitriol, yet he had failed to deliver. I am disappointed.
Sully is just another conservative shill. He just moved to the Beast to get more bubba eyeballs in advance of the 2012 election. He still links Reihan, Conor, McMegan and Douthat. He still believes in “real” conservatism and “real” catholicism. He wrote his dissertation on Oakeshott and he has never stopped defending it.
I’m waaay more interested in why so many juicers continue to be obsessed with a dumbass 16 year old book written by a political “scientist”.
Just Some Fuckhead
Maybe you could post a pic of Max ripping Sully’s throat out.
I’m with you on the Sully issue, Tim. As long as we are plagued by pundits and as long as I have to see this particular one on my tv at least twice in the past two weeks (Maher and Matthews), I want to keep pushing him to use his brain. He’s one of the few who actually has one and he’s shown an ability to learn. Sad that the likes of him is at the top of the class among the Villagers, but you work with what you have.
@Just Some Fuckhead:
I’m down with this. Though it would tend to burgeon the unfair reputation Dobies have of being violent. And methinks the only thing Max actually bites is his food.
Oops, fergot: obligatory PUPPEH!!
Looks like max has an Orange ball in his mouth; did Boehner drop by for a visit?
The problem with Sullivan is that he shows his Tory roots when he first speaks and then people think they’ll change his mind by calling him out on it. He didn’t change his mind, he just moved the goalposts until he gets people to stop screaming at him.
And I haven’t found him that gifted a writer, either, to be honest.
Say what? E.D. became Markos Moulitsas, right?
The Ancient Randonneur (formerly known as The Grand Panjandrum)
Balloon Juice on The Dish. Again. Starting posting about beards and we really won’t have to read Sully anymore.
Sorry. Giving the man this much attention validates all his prejudices — which, in spite of all the backtracking he does when people start hammering on him, never change. The next time there’s a stupid opinion to be held, Mr. Sullivan will be there, holding it.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
I love that Max has natural ears, and he’s so handsome. Thanks for both his picture and for the post about why process matters. It’s easy to bitch about the Sullivan commentary without having an appreciation of why it can be effective.
I’ve read enough of the guy over the years to realize that what you call “openminded” is really an amazing ability to tack with shifting political fortunes in order to stay “relevant”.
I have no doubt–none–that the “fifth columns”, the “decadent left”, all of it, will return with the next authoritarian administration he finds arousing. Dick Cheney will not be the last prick who’ll make him “purr”.
Max may just be the most interesting doggie in the world, next to Charlie of course. :)
FWIW, as someone who is not a fan, his columns in the (UK) Sunday Times are actually pretty good and well thought out compared to the blog posts, probably because he only has to write one per week. Otherwise, Green Balloons!
EDK is Kos? well…..Kowal and Kuznicki ain’t no Darksyde, thats for sure.
Sully’s arguments are better explained by a reflexive tendency to side with conservatives, no matter what the subject. The words he types in support of any position are just window dressing.
Why would any thinking person automatically praise Ryan’s goofball plan, let alone the Iraq invasion (sorry John Cole)? Neither had a decent supporting rationale, so I’m left with the conclusion that Sully et al. just fight for the home team no matter what.
It’s a credit to Sully (and John) that he’ll change his views after being forced to reconsider. But unlike John, he’s stuck in reflexive conservatism.
That tendency is a source of much Republican strength, without a doubt. We liberals should be so lucky. But can’t we just call Sully a dumb fool from now on? How many of these mistakes will be too many?
what does “green balloons” mean exactly? what does it reference?
agree. Sully’s dissertation/thesis (i dunno which actually) was on Dead-White-Guy-Phail-osopher Oakshotte. He has never stopped defending it.
Its a reflex, like a Hayekian or Burkean reflex.
Chag kosher v’sameach
I’m not entirely sure what “Markos Moulitsas” represents here. He’s just as locked in to certain views and concerned to propagate his “brand” as Sullivan.
@Marmot: Sullivan has a major case of Daddy Conservativism (protect me from those godless decadent liberals), except in this case Daddy is abusive, and Sully keeps running back every time he thinks Dad has changed his ways, only to be smacked once more.
And it’s so ridiculous when he talks about the Left like it’s still 1979. And really, “decadent”? From the guy who once posted about a foursome he was a part of (and not the golf kind)? Pot, Kettle. Kettle, Pot.
@Hermione Granger-Weasley: IIRC, “green balloons” was someone’s safeword in a sub/dom (Republican? Christofascist?) sex scandal from a few years back.
Tim, your post sums up my feelings about Sullivan perfectly. With all the truly hateful nitwits out there, I’m always surprised at the invective directed at him, obtuse though he can sometimes be. Those who claim he is a ‘conservative shill’ should check in with one of the real rightwing blogs out there and see what they have to say about him; as far as I can tell they hate him even more than BJ’ers do.
I started reading both The Dish and Balloon Juice at the same time, back in 2004. In both cases I was looking to be challenged by opinions I disagreed with (I’m weird that way, apparently), specifically from conservative bloggers who weren’t total douchebags.
Ironically both began moving to the left almost as soon as I started following them– Cole just swung a little further than Sully. Seven years later The Dish and BJ remain 2 of the 4 blogs I read every day (the other 2 being TPM and Eschaton).
When last I looked, sully still loves the Ryan plan best because somebody has to suffer, dammit! Not him or his, of course. And despite the fact that the suffering will not address his Great Concern over Medical Costs. He is at heart unchanged and unchanging–a selfish bastard upholding the elite.
In other words Sullivan acknowledges criticism and responds to it appropriately.
It’s been pointed out millions of times that the first thing Silly Sully writes is always wrong, but yet he persists in thinking the world needs to hear his opinion. If he were to respond appropriately he would be running a beagle-walking service, not polluting the world with his stupid opinions.
Sullivan doesn’t have comments and BJ does. That alone is reason enough to link to his more comment-worthy posts.
Yeah, but he’s a minority contrarian and that alone makes his work so refreshing, irrespective of quality.
To summarize: Sullivan is a dillweed, but open-minded, so harping on him serves a larger purpose. Sounds good to me, but I wonder if there is a forum other than the Balloon Juice front page where he could be worked over? Maybe some of you hotshot bloggers could set up something like Ezra Klein’s listserv and berate him all day there? To spare those of us who don’t care about Trig Palin or photos of Mongolia or religious neurosis or healthy dollops of conventional wisdom we can get a hundred other places, so we don’t read him in the first place?
The Moar You Know
@FlipYrWhig: I’ll tell you exactly what Markos Moulitsas is and represents.
He’s a former Republican, subsequently a former Democrat, who now aspires to be nothing more than one of the Bay Area monied elite, who espouse vaugely liberal platitudes while staying the hell away from anyone that smacks of being poor. Just like everyone else who lives in the Berkeley hills.
He doesn’t make nearly the kind of money to be the player he wants to be, but for a while longer he’ll prove to be an entertaining diversion for those who do. And when it’s all over he’ll have a nice little house with a view of the Bay. Not a bad way to end it.
@Angry Lurker: Yeah, exactly, me too on everything (except I was reading Sullivan, and disagreeing with him, in the late nineties, and found Balloon Juice through his blog).
This quality of being able to change one’s mind, it is rare, and attractive, and to the extent that any of the haters even address it here in their responses to you, if you can call them that, they miss the point:
@PeakVT: Yes. Yes his first opinion is many times wrong. Then I get to see the conversion in real time, and I like it (plus it’s nice that it goes in that direction). I don’t go to his blog for Someone Who Agrees With Me Always. Or someone whose opinion I can take as tablets inscribed by God.
The quality of needing someone to be either one of those? Very unattractive.
I think he’s like memory foam. Retreats when pressed, but always returns back to his original shape.
Are our expectations so low that him simply acknowledging his logical disconnects is enough to champion?
Until about a month ago, I’d read every word on Sullivan’s (three?) blogs he has had. All of them.
So I don’t mind if you discuss his work/rip it apart. Keeps me from having to read it as his biggest problem is he is innumerate. He even posted one of my emails where I talked about the debt/deficit a few years ago using actual numbers to back up the fact that we had a revenue problem, not a spending problem under Bush.
Also, too. TPM, Eschaton are great. Also Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly. But I’ll take the commenters here over all other sites I read.
He’s so “open minded” that our influence lasts as long as the next shiny Republican talking point. That’s the problem.
@maus: Exactly. He can change his mind, but he doesn’t change the lack of thinking that leads him to go all in on something like the Ryan plan. Nor does he seem to do a good job of thinking things through.
Post first, ask questions later, seems to be his mode of operation.
@The Moar You Know: I have a similar view (although I won’t deny that his vision of a blog _community_ was innovative and constructive, at least until it got too widely used and the conversations became impossible).
But Tim F. in the OP seems to be using “Markos Moulitsas” to mean “flaming lefty,” which is why I asked. Like you, I don’t see vast difference between Sullivan and Moulitsas.
@guachi: I burned out on Eschaton years ago, and Digby soon after that. I think TPM is waning too. Other than here, Benen is the best. Yglesias I still check in on, but if Sullivan’s problem is that his first instinct is never right and he slowly comes around, Yglesias’s problem is that he’s prone to keep repeating the same things. Atrios does that to an excessive degree, but I think that’s his shtick, which recalls David Letterman’s deliberately half-assed renditions of old bits.
@Phoebe: I think it’s stupid to waste time reading someone who is consistently wrong. But hey, if you’re time isn’t worth anything, knock yourself out.
That’s why I say Sullivan is a talented writer – he cons people into thinking can be open-minded and that he’s listening to them. He’s like Brooks, but more accessible on a personal level.
I agree with most of what you say and that is why I kept reading Daily Dish for a long time.
But you miss out the part that every time you thought you have finally made him change his mind on something, he would come back a month later with a post trumping his old ideas, e.g., the flat tax shit, completely forgetting about the debate you just had. Then you would have to start over to work on changing his mind again. It is just tiresome.
This is why this time I decide to be smart and will not fall back on reading him again.
Sully is the ultimate wanker who only gets stuff right after everyone else in the room did ten to thirty years earlier, yet he always makes a point to congratulate himself for being so correct. His latest anti-deficit/debt crap is no exception. He gleefully supported the Cheney Tax Cuts, just as he gleefully supported the Cheney Invasions. Wrong then, wrong now, wanking all the way.
“even when they’re being so openminded (as with the Bell Curve crapola) that their brains fall out.”
The part that baffles me is the racism. It has shit to do with an open mind. The idea that blacks are genetically inferior is something he actually believes. It pops up every few years, the last time was a year or two ago, a “Bell Curve” type article in Slate that he approvingly linked to. You guys want to keep covering and mocking him, hey, whatever. But it is fucking infuriating to see supposed liberals constantly making excuses for his racism.
Sometimes the wrongness is infuriating, sure. I’ll give you that, allowing for variance of mileage in how much you find wrong and also infuriating.
@PeakVT: This is why I go back: I care less about wrongness than lots of people do. I care much more about style, basic good-heartedness, and the ability to make me laugh. One might respond that #2 is off the table; how can anyone who believes (fill in the blank) be good-hearted?!? Well, good-hearted people have the capacity to be as wrong as anyone. The fact that he is crawling from wrong to right is good enough for me, even if he backslides occasionally. Don’t care. Like him. Matter of taste.
Which is why this whole argument among ourselves will likely never resolve: Tastes differ and are not subject to logic. But what I wish is that you people could just acknowledge that and not freak the fuck out when someone links to Sullivan, or argues/responds to Sullivan. Why do you all care?
This is what I don’t get. Why it’s such a tender sore. Or, in fact, why someone has to “promise” never to write about him again. Nobody says that about McMegan, Bobo, Chunky Bobo, etc. What is the special problem here?
And write about what interests you — for whatever reason — front pagers; if people don’t like it they can scroll on by.
Why write about Sullivan?
I can think of 40 reasons, distilled down into one, very important one: http://driftglass.blogspot.com/2011/04/why-no-comments.html
this blog just shoved its collective head further up its collective ass.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Why does it have to take so farking long? If he’s as open-minded as we like to think, why does he have to be confronted with readily-available facts and empirical evidence several hundred times before he backs off his original horeshit position?
I think, as others do, it’s out of self-preservation more than a “Eureka” moment. When a critical mass of other “serious people” point out that, for example, Paul Ryan is a hacktacular buffoon whose “budget” is less serious than a pile of elephant shit, he’ll grudgingly move towards the sane position. Oh happy day. He’s still a clown whose reflexive solution to any economic issue is to stick it to the poor. F him.
The point is that intelligent and openminded people are a precious commodity on the internet. We do well to engage with people like that, even when they’re being so openminded (as with the Bell Curve crapola) that their brains fall out.
First, if Sullivan were intelligent for any useful definition of the word, he would not have made all the mistakes of the last 2 weeks, much less of the last 10 years. Go ahead, tell me why I’m wrong.
Second, value what is valuable: intelligence and openminded-ness are overrated compared to wisdom and humanistic morality.
Sullivan is neither wise (wise men recognize when they are uninformed) nor is he remotely moral (see his comments on nuking Iraq in October of 2001, as well as promoting Ryan’s plan at all).
@Phoebe, just to be specific: someone who recommends nuking an entire country based on no evidence (Sullivan on Iraq, October 2001) is not “good-hearted”.
The suggestion that we might nuke a whole country – killing perhaps a million civilians in the process – based on no evidence: that’s not about being “wrong”. That’s not a “mistake”. That’s a sociopathic disregard for human life. It is, fundamentally and totally incompatible with having a good heart.
As you may have gleaned from my post above, I don’t particularly mind that so many posts here are about Sullivan. I just wish he’d get the same treatment as McMegan, Bobo, etc. – ie merciless mocking and pointing-and-laughing at his rambling inanity. That’s what he deserves. The difference is that everyone here realizes that McMegan is a clown and fraud who can’t handle basic arithmetic. Sully gets a lot more respect than that, and I don’t understand why.
The premise seems to be an assumption that he’s fundamentally sane and we’re oh-so-disappointed with his latest serving of crazy. At this point, why is anyone surprised? And why does he get all this “open-mindedness” cred for the fact that he occasionally, sometimes, shows that he is teathered to reality and his opinions sometimes evolve to acknowledge reality? Is the bar that low? Egad.
So, in closing, sure, post about Sullivan. But do so in order to mock him, as is done to other clowns of his magnitude.
also too, I denounce Stalin.
edit: block quote fail. The 2nd paragraph should be in the blockquote too.
I can’t tell whether you’re insulting the writers, us, saying we’re all navel-gazing, myopic, or simply full of shit.
I’m not worried about the insult, but it was pretty open-ended and confusing.
I don’t read him anymore. It took a little while to break the habit, but I don’t feel as if I’m missing anything. For me, it was Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. The fact is Andrew Sullivan doesn’t know one thing about any of those places, and he weighed in. That’s just stupid. He doesn’t have to comment on everything.
Ultimately, I think the bar’s too low for conservatives. He opposed torture, sure, but that wouldn’t ordinarily be a particularly noble thing to do, without the fact that so few conservatives opposed torture.
I think that liberals (unlike conservatives) are so pleased when any conservative agrees with them on anything that they aren’t choosy enough.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that he has huge issues with women, and as a woman, I simply don’t need to read people that can’t grapple with what I see as an obvious personal issue. Why would I volunteer to read that? I think it’s his job to deal with his bias on women, not mine.
So I quit him.
Quite right. And I view his hearty heh-indeeding of Ryan’s plan to nuke Medicare in a similar light, although it’s certainly a more attenuated disregard for human life. It’s still a “I don’t know em and they’re [poor leeches]/[Iraqi Saddam agents of doom], so fuck em” mindset.
Why the BJ bloggers feel the need to constantly make excuses for his inexcusable behavior is unfathomable.
What positions has Sully changed on? It seems none that I can think of. Cole has changed almost every view point. Sully has not. People have to keep beating him over the head and at some point he will capitulate a point. But he doesn’t change it. He comes back to it at a later date. I don’t care if he stands in the middle ground between stark batshit crazy and normal humans. He always runs back towards the crazy side.
He may listen, but he doesn’t learn.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@kay: I wanted to say what kay said. She did it better, so I’ll just agree.*
Which is not to say that there shouldn’t be pushback against him, just that I’ll assist by commenting here, and let the front pagers do the reading for me. Thank you for that, heh.
*I also managed to quit during our SB5 initial outcry. King John I of Ohio was in the town where I live last week, where he announced that he’d support his good buddy Haley Barber for GOP presidential candidate. I think it was the same day he called developers WATBs for suggesting that Kasich policies will are delaying their financing which will delay ca$ino openings, thus delaying jobs. He said those WATB developers could too get financing, or build without it if they could be bothered to stop being so lazy. Because shut, that’s why.
@Emma: This. A thousand times.
@Ruckus: This, too.
I actually find him more annoying, frustrating, loathsome, whatever, because he plays out the same stupid drama every dingdang time. If he ever changes his mind at all, it’s only after being cudgeled into submission. And, he never transfers that knowledge to another area.
This Paul Ryan bullsheetrock is the perfect example. He goes all in on Ryan when Ryan’s plan first comes out, calls the man serious and says whatever else, Ryan started the conversation on whatever or the other such thing, and only after the facts piled up at an alarming rate, did he back down. But, the very next time a conservative proffers a ‘very serious plan’ to do whatnot, Sully will be right back slavering over his/her boots. Probably his.
And now, I’ve commented on Sully, breaking my own vow not to give him any attention, but it’s only because I got drawn in by the picture of the very handsome Max.
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
It’s Pelosi and Napolitano and Clinton. Is there a single Democratic or liberal women that he approves of? I think all of those women are competent and hard-working. How does Andrew Sullivan know better? I like women. I am one. I’m going to spend 20 minutes a day reading someone who doesn’t?
It just reads like pure knee-jerk bias.”Power!” “Liberals!” “Woman!” “Scary!”
Jesus. Calm down and get over it.
Near as I can tell, Margaret Thatcher is the only woman Sullivan approves of. In the history of our species. I think a woman being liberal is, as an unbending rule, unserious to him.
His idiotic Thatcher-worship explains a lot about his relentlessly wrong and innumerate views of economics and social insurance. She and Ronnie’s partnership in voodoo economics is an ongoing farce, except it’s too tragic to be funny.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
Of course not; they’re not authoritarian enough for him. Or something. He is a racist, misogynistic, bitter, prick. Who has achieved a much higher class status in this country by virtue of his British accent and queenly (intentional lower case) connections than he ever could have managed in his deal Tory land. That dialect that to some here sounds educated, where he’s from sounds as downscale as any cracker drawl would to, say, US eastern seaboard ears, and in the UK it would forever brand him as lesser. He’s got his now, so fuck you though.
I guess I’m insulting anyone who perpetuates the continued obsession with Andrew Sullivan, which imo is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen. But that’s jmo.
Well, for starters the Iraq war, and more generally on the advisability of American military adventurism. For example, he was stridently against our Libya intervention- too stridently, in my opinion, but it’s not at all clear that he won’t turn out to be right on that one.
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
He’s got his biases, I’ll grant you, but then don’t we all? For example, some commenters on this enlightened liberal website make their points using obviously homophobic (“queenly”) and classist (“downscale as any cracker drawl”) language, even as they are attacking someone for supposed racism and sexism.
Phoebe had it exactly right, that kind of blindness to one’s own faults is profoundly unattractive.
The perfect example of his hard-headedness and not a reason to take him seriously. He spent the run-up calling war opponents and liberals traitors. Advocated nuking the frickin place. Paid no initial attention to the vast amount of evidence that the war was always a sick fraud thrust upon a traumatized nation. Needed years, overwhelming evidence, and a bunch of other “serious people” converting first to show him the way, before he changed course. Whoopdie doo.
I don’t think his Iraq War “evolution” is evidence of anything but his stupidity, personally.
licensed to kill time
@driftglass: I’m with driftglass; the lack of comments makes Sullivan’s site a non-blog. There’s no back and forth, only selected emails published generally w/o comment. I find that somewhat cowardly and uninteresting.
But I will always be grateful to him for pointing me here. Once I found Balloon Juice I rarely went back to the Dish and haven’t read him for the last couple years. I get enough of him quoted here.
Viva la Vibrancy!
Agreed that Benen is great, I usually read him on weekends when TPM is asleep and Sully is posting filler.
Also agree that the commenters here are more interesting than most sites. TPM in particular has mostly-terrible commenters who seem to have nothing better to do than trade insults all day with the paid trolls.
Well, you have the right to your opinion. But you were asking for an example of an issue where Sullivan has changed his mind without backsliding to his original position. I was simply providing you with one.
And although he was later than some in turning against the Iraq war, at least he figured it out in time to vote against Bush in ’04. Many other people I respect (including my parents and the proprietor of this blog) didn’t get it until we were already locked in to 4 more years of the worst President in our nation’s history.
@Turgidson Sorry, just realized that it was Ruckus who asked for an example, not you. Think the point still holds tho.
I enjoy reading a variety of opinions on various topics. But one thing that I do require is that arguments are fact-based.
Sully seldom bothers to delve into the facts to support his argument. Instead, he has shown a tendency to write from the gut, which I suppose is necessary when your sole mission is to pump out a number of post in a day. He seems far more interested in getting the product out than he is in the quality of his product. These are the signs of a lazy writer.
After vilifying and mocking individuals and their opposing opinions, Sully eventually discovers that the facts are not on his side. Then he attempts to walk things back, posing as if he is grappling with opposing positions, but never bothering to apologize for his wrong-headed assertions. Some might interpret this as open-mindedness, but others see it as nothing more than Sully trying to cover his own ass.
@asiangrrlMN: Thirding this, and for a weird reason: I think of Sully with one foot out the door already. Two packed suitcases, non-refundable one-way ticket to Heathrow and an up-to-date UK passport. If things get serious, break the lease and back to Blighty (and the NHS). Why not go all in on the ridiculous Ryan budget? He won’t be here.
I enjoy your bitchslaps of Sully. They make me smile.
Thanks for the answer. Did he change his mind on warfare? I don’t think so. Did he change his mind on this point? I’ll give you that one, but what did it take to change his mind? He is still a shrill conservative and still espouses very conservative issues. Like I stated he may not be bat shit crazy but he always looks and points in that direction. And until he changes that, I’m not giving him hits or a good job slap on the backside.
He doesn’t deserve my patronage.
“Sully is the ultimate wanker who only gets stuff right after everyone else in the room did ten to thirty years earlier, yet he always makes a point to congratulate himself for being so correct”
I’ve been thinking that in honor of Sullivan’s “awards,” this blog should institute a “Sullivan Award.” Something along the lines of “For doing an about-face on an originally firmly-held position that was publicly and patently shown to be wrong in the first place, but several months after pretty much everyone else has come to the same realization, and expecting to be roundly lauded as an independent thinker for it.”
Seconded. That’s awesome.
And sure I think he’s reflexively, foolishly conservative, but that’s no reason for this blog to stop harping on him, eemom’s distaste for the subject notwithstanding. It’s just a reason to hold him in ever lower regard.
OIC. That I agree with, sure.
Sully’s big change:
Except Sully ALWAYS throws in with the wingnuts & the assholes on the first take. Then, long after the public mind has grasped the bullshit & firmly planted it in the main stream of thought THEN, occasionally he admits it was all bullshit all along. By then the parade has moved on and some new rightwing meme needs to be troweled onto the masses & Sully is right there again shoveling as hard as his little bucket will allow.
Don’t be surprised if in a week or two he is not peddling the same garbage about Ryan & his wonder cow. When it is important for the masters of the universe they know they can count on Sully. That is his other constant.
Ha. The prosecution rests. He hasn’t learned a damn thing.
and I VERY heartily endorse Regular Reader’s Sullivan Award idea. Fucking perfect.
And even then, usually it’ll be equivocal and hedging. “Yeah, the conservatives were crooks who lied us into [x] THIS time,” then he goes ahead and gives them the benefit of the doubt the next time they start a scam at the public’s expense. (see: Ryan, Paul)
What was it GWB said about fool me once…shame on…uh, won’t get fooled again? Sully missed that one. He’ll always let these hucksters fool him.
That way he can keep his foot in both the Tory and the “of no party or clique” camps.
Some of his changes are quick, some of them are more like stalagmite formations.
Here’s another reason I like him that nobody’s mentioned at least in this thread: While it’s true he doesn’t have comments (and I’ve bellowed “have comments!” every time he asks us “ok, should I?”) he does post reader responses particularly when they disagree with his post, and often it turns into a whole series, during which he starts actually changing his mind. The one that comes to mind is the one where he comes around to thinking that there are some cases where abortion needs to be legal.
And yeah yeah yeah, a bunch of you might be all: “That’s obvious to anyone with a good heart! Why do you want to give him a medal?!” To which I say, again: I’m not scoring based upon any agreeing-with-me batting average. And I’m not going to complain that his progress is so slow. I also like to watch ants drag a giant piece of tomato into an anthill, what can I say?
Everyone around me is blind and flawed and fucked in so many ways. My beloved aunt is against same-sex marriage. I don’t think it means she has no heart. I think she just doesn’t SEE what the relevant facts are (as I see them); that gay people are the same as us, but flipped, the way left handed people are. Gays still have all the love emotions, and left handeds still have hands. She just does not get it. I think Sullivan just does not get a lot of stuff. But he really does seem to try, regardless of how often he fails or backslides, in your view. You don’t have to like it or read it, but can you understand why I do?
And another thing. He is MOTHERFUCKING RIGHT AS RAIN on a bunch of stuff that matters, like torture, the drug war, and the criminal justice system generally. And, of course, gay marriage. Today he linked to a bit on innocent people confessing to crimes that is fantastic. I am glad his blog traffic is as high as it is for this stuff alone.
But you know what my biggest beef with the beefers is?
If he’s right about something, why not link? I really hate people who don’t at least like it when the stopped clock is right, for those of you who think he’s a stopped clock. It’s like you’re emotionally invested in people either being all good or all bad. Why? This reminds me of the punitive/rehabilitative split in criminal justice. The punitive ones seem to get some kind of boner from calling people monsters and pure evil and garbage, etc. etc.
I’m a rehabilitationist.
Some people enjoy emotionally abusive relationships, but I’m not going to expect their beloved partners to change.
Because i’m not going to pat him on the head condescendingly when he’s just going to disappoint me again and again.
Of course he’s not entirely an asshole, but the bell curve-y racism points at him being an unstable ally and unworthy of our attention.
Oh bullshit. This isn’t polarizing and demonizing, we well see the shades of gray here.
He’s flawed, but if you’re going to go with “rehabilitationist”, consider this a personality disorder. They’re not easy to solve.
@maus: Do you really see me liking him/his blog as an abusive relationship? I don’t feel abused when I read something I disagree with. It’s not a betrayal. It’s not about me, or towards me.
Is the “bell curve-y racism” (which must have been before my time)(and assuming he does think black people are inferior, which I’m not sure is the case, but let’s stipulate it for the sake of arg) any worse than my aunt thinking gay people shouldn’t marry and gayness is inferior? Am I supposed to not talk to or listen to my aunt?
You claim to see shades of gray, but that’s right after saying that he’s unworthy of our attention. I.e., I can’t read his blog and like some things in it (a lot), because he’s an “unstable ally”. This is exactly the kind of purge-y mindset characteristic of the lock-em-up crowd. You do concede that he’s not entirely an asshole, but then seem to think it’s dangerous to even link to him. Because linking = approval and then he’ll say something boneheaded again and you’ll just be disappointed. I don’t consider disappointment a danger, but more like inevitable. I have pets that chew on things and also poop on the floor every so often. And I can’t even scroll past it.
If the Sullivan scales tip to boneheaded > good, then I’ll stop reading simply because it won’t be worth it any more. Like with Politico. I just didn’t feel like it. It wasn’t a boycott or anything. And if it’s not worth it to you, the good/bad ratio he has, then fine with me, it’s a totally subjective decision.
It’s possible that you expect more of people than I do.
@Phoebe, you still haven’t responded to my post @53 (and @52) specifically refuting your “good-hearted” idea. Unless you do, we should assume you concede the points.
And this is really a very amazingly unconvincing argument:
Am I supposed to not talk to or listen to my aunt?
Do you actually think that your relationship to some guy writing a blog on the internet is comparable to the lifelong blood relationship to your aunt? I can’t even take that position seriously enough to dispute.
Why does this matter? It matters because paying attention to him and quoting him and linking to him gives him legitimacy. Which he does not deserve, because he is a shallow and immoral man whose general attitude toward the less fortunate is well-summed up by his response to the Ryan plan.
@Uplift: Hi Uplift, I did bring in my aunt for that purpose, and I don’t see the relevance of the strength of the connection. In fact, if anything, it’s easier for me to deal with the wrongness of some guy on the internet than it is to deal with the wrongness of my aunt. In a crowded moving vehicle. Sigh.
I don’t concede your point that he isn’t good hearted because of the positions he takes. I anticipated your argument when I originally said I believed him to be good hearted. As with the aunt (again, relationship not relevant), his wrongness (I believe, my opinion, etc.) is a function of his inability to see stuff. The way my aunt doesn’t see stuff, which if she did, if she moved over here and the tree wasn’t in the way, you know, she’d see it and I’m sure we’d agree. And the stuff he doesn’t see is not the same stuff my aunt doesn’t see, it’s just, people are feeling different parts of the elephant and they don’t see everything. The evidence of his good-heartedness is everywhere on the blog. He’s obviously empathetic. He thinks torture is morally wrong, in all cases, apart from the fact that it’s crappy intelligence gathering. For example.
Your points that he is a shallow and immoral man who does not deserve the legitimacy of a link, even when the link is to something goddamawesome, well, I disagree with that fundamentally, as my previous posts have made clear (didn’t they?). I obviously don’t find him immoral, but even if it were Rush Limbaugh, who seems like a sociopath, if he were to say something smart or nice, well, apart from being news in itself, I’d see no problem with linking to it. I’m not a purging/exiling type, as I said before. I hope my views make sense in this light, even if you are the p/e type.
Andrew Sullivan is everyone’s bigoted auntie.
“You claim to see shades of gray, but that’s right after saying that he’s unworthy of our attention.”
What a silly false dilemma.
Besides that- “I can’t read his blog and like some things in it (a lot), because he’s an “unstable ally”.”
Nobody’s telling you you’re not “allowed” to read him. I’m saying enjoy your continuous disappointment and admiration for whatever stopped-clock moments he may have, he’s not getting the idea for the right reasons and continues to make the same willful errors.
“It’s possible that you expect more of people than I do.”
That’s obvious. Consistency is pretty essential to news sources. I need to trust that the information I receive isn’t full of active lies and intentional half-truths.
Why not just watch Bill O’Reilly? Glenn Beck? Beck says things that make sense from time to time, if you’re willing to have sewer-level expectations.
Are you oblivious? You can get new friends, but it’s fairly difficult to get new aunts. Unless you’re cool with bigots for friends, in which case congratulations on the company you keep.
See, that’s the thing. There are tons of other bloggers that aren’t full of shit on a regular basis, why not read them, instead of this unhealthy relationship you have with people that “can change”, but never seem to? Why dirty your mind with all that refuse?
I look at a ton of right-wing sites, and I *do* view them to see if they’re saying anything sensible. I say to myself “oh, that’s nice.” I do not suggest other people bother aside from base research.
We understand viewing people we disagree with. We do not understand the romanticism you have with people who are in the greater scope unreliable and only reachable with extreme effort, and temporarily. Read him all you want, but don’t expect to be taken seriously when you think he can offer his own useful opinions.
Give the Sully bashing a FUCKING REST!
OK I get it: you all think I have to put up with my aunt because she’s my aunt. But I actually like her, a lot. I put up with her wrongnesses because to me, the good outweighs the bad, by a lot, and — this is what I keep repeating to no effect — her wrongnesses don’t make her bad. So: I also like Sullivan, a lot, and (to me!) the good outweighs the bad — or as you might say it, the admiration outweighs the disappointment — and I just do not think he’s a bad person.
Beck and O’Reilly: To me, ahem, the bad outweighs the good, I don’t believe THEY believe half the stuff they say, especially Beck, and I just don’t like them; I think they play to people’s baser instincts and willfully indulge their own, consistently. Do you seriously think Sullivan is just like them? Or do you think that a impurity tolerance that allows Sullivan would also allow them?
Also, I don’t think Sullivan claims to be a news source. He links to news sources and gives his opinion on stuff. What particular active lie or intentional half-truth are you thinking of?
I really do think this comes down to percentages. You find him full of shit, I find traces of shit. Or, more like big fat glaring lumps of shit every so often in an otherwise shitless environment. And then, like clockwork, within 24 hours of the shit ball, he will publish the reader email screeds to him calling him on said shit, and address them; recant or clarify, or defend with a harder little shitball, after conceding part of it, who knows. Varies. And it can go on for days. It’s a good faith exchange, which is absolutely totally missing from the Beck/Limbaughverse. That’s really the hugest difference, quite apart from the big fat gulf between them on policy opinions.
And I don’t find it to be mind-dirtying when I come across one of the lumps. I mean, I guess I can take it.
See, that’s the thing. I take opinions as they stand, or one at a time; if it’s true and interesting/well put, then I don’t care who said it. Why should I? And if you don’t take me seriously — if you dismiss anything I say out of hand because it comes from She Who is Wrong About Sullivan — then that’s just weirdly, unnecessarily inaccurate. Very “with me or against me”. Like my friend who hated the Talking Heads (as do I, for the most part), and was really really mad at me when I said, “Yeah but when David Byrne was undulating in that big suit in Stop Making Sense that was hi-larious, and he gets big points for that”. He was furious because he didn’t want me to give David Byrne any points at all, ever. God, why?
On some abstract level, I appreciate that it happens, but it seems like a whole lot of effort that could be better used elsewhere. Why not try and look for someone better? It’s tough, and I generally just grab things piecemeal rather than following one blog or personality. Anyway, I wasn’t trying to say that Sully fans aren’t to be taken seriously when not discussing his debate tactics, apologies if it came off that way. I’d love to have more conservatives saying smart, reality based things consistently, but I prize consistency too much to promote a personality over their content.
Andrew can’t decide if Margaret Thatcher would have had sex with Thomas Aquinas, and how that could be moral since Ronald Reagan was more of a cowboy.
Or if he should have sex with Andrew; (after all, they’re married}.
In the meantime, let’s have a moral war, wonder if Jesus would have given out the loaves and fishes and cut off those depleting social programs when everyone could have just gone fishing themselves.
(Except for the wars. Because it’s all moral in a Vatican/drag queen/abuse kind of way: Damn the barbarians, let’s Beatify someone.)
@Maus: Well, it’s effort others are spending, if you mean the whole dissection-of-the-shitballs activity. I’m just a spectator, and I like watching it. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I know. And it’s true that I could look for someone better, if by better you mean agreeing more with me. Balloon Juice is pretty much that. But I’m kind of lazy. And Andrew Sullivan has a lot of good links. And I’ve “known” him so long that I just roll my eyes when I hit another “Moore Award”. It’s like a speed bump. But honestly: I like him. Like I like my aunt! I like that an emotional post about getting his green card was accompanied by a clip of the song “America: Fuck Yeah!” from Team America. I have a lot of obnoxious loudmouth friends in real life too, because they make me laugh. It really is a matter of taste, which is not defensible. And I argue with them about their wrongnesses. And they can take it, or they wouldn’t be my friends. It’s my idea of fun, and I can absolutely see why it would be a nightmare to somebody else. Could I go out and find friends who agree with me more? Sure. But the most important thing is making me laugh. That’s what has kept me coming back to Balloon Juice, in fact; I can get “news + agreeing with me” from a lot of blogs that I no longer read.
Thanks for arguing! I have to call it a night, because I have to do stuff, and because I’ve been coming back to this page so much now that I’ve hallucinated a pair of wax lips in the mouth of that dog.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@Angry Lurker: The terms were used ironically. That was part of my point, but thanks for noticing.
None of this explains why I should waste one moment reading the man.
If the argument for why he should receive a lot of attention is that he loudly screams nonsense for a while then eventually admits saner opinions as larger and larger numbers of people call bullshit, then, I fail to be convinced.
If blog writers like to use him as a behavioral experiment in hoping for a more rational side of modern conservatism, well, by all means. Sure.
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
um, I don’t think that word means what you think it means…
Speaking for myself, I never argued that anyone should. I was just explaining why I do. You know those old tv commercials for bird nests that you press on to the outside of your window with suction cups, with a two way mirror so you can see them but they can’t see you? I lobbied hard and fruitlessly for one of those as a kid, ditto an ant farm. Some of us like watching his brain doing its thing, moving from a to b; I don’t think he “should receive a lot of attention” for this, it’s just a large part of why he receives mine. I don’t want to make anyone read anything, because I don’t like to be made to read things that bore me or annoy me. I would not wish that on anyone. That said, because he does cover a lot of stuff I care about (drug war, torture, etc.), I’m glad it hits a lot of eyeballs, and the more righty-tighty the eyes, the better.
@Angry Lurker: I think she means “hyperbolically”.
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Is that what you meant?
Barb (formerly Gex)
I would think an open minded pundit would be more considered in his original position and have fewer opportunities to be shown his errors by others who force him to consider points he never bothered to. This is a strange definition of open mindedness.
@Barb (formerly Gex): The most common modern usage means airheaded and drifting with the winds, apparently. This goes doubly with pseudoscience.
What would it take for you to decide that he isn’t good hearted, then? Name an objective standard, and specifically explain why the advocacy for mass murder of a civilian population on zero evidence does not meet your bar.
What would it take for you to decide that he isn’t good hearted, then? Name an objective standard,
I don’t have an objective standard, nor do I feel the need for one. I’m not drafting legislation, or sentencing guidelines. I can judge everyone on a case by case basis, using what’s in front of me. He seems good hearted to me because of the tons of clearly empathetic stuff on his blog.
Because stupid and impulsive does not equal evil. Unless you’re talking about the “banal evil” of, you know, impulsive stupidity. I don’t believe he thought, “Hey, let’s murder a ton of civilians for no reason whatsoever! Because fuck them!” What’s in his head/heart, not the effect of the positions he takes (for however long he takes them) is what is relevant to my decision. You probably don’t agree with this, but I hope it clears up my worldview somewhat, if that was what you were wondering about.