Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Who Cares What Andrew Sullivan Thinks?

One annoying habit of my liberal brethren in the blogosphere is to seize on any harsh denunciation of the Bush administration by Andrew Sullivan as a breath of fresh air, or something. Look, there are moderates and open minded Republicans whose opinions we can respect and whose opposition to the Bush administration is more than welcome, but Andrew Sullivan is not one of those people. Andrew Sullivan is one of those people who, as Charles Pierce has suggested, should simply be shunned by all decent people.

In the immediate aftermath of September 11th, Sullivan wrote this:

The middle part of the country - the great red zone that voted for Bush - is clearly ready for war. The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead - and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column.

This is something he's so proud of that he's included it in the "greatest hits" section of his blog.

Sullivan was literally concerned that the "decadent Left" was plotting treason against the country, desiring to aid and abet terrorists. And, with this began the mission by armchair warriors everywhere to do what they imagined was their duty - to hunt down and destroy anyone who was insufficiently enthusiastic about whatever the latest Bush administration policy was. This warblogger mission was, in their eyes, a noble mission. At least as noble as, say, enlisting. Thus began the process of the marginalization of anyone who would seriously question the course of this "war on terror." Disagreement with the Bush administration became disagreement with "America." People who were "anti Bush" became "anti America" and "pro terrorist."

You reap what you sow. If the patriotically correct police had been a bit more concerned with the actual battle against terrorism, instead of whatever Susan Sontag wrote that week, they may have noticed that the administration was diverting money and resources away from Afghanistan and towards Iraq. They may have noticed that the desire to go to war in Iraq - something the warbloggers such as Sullivan who, having been disappointed by the premature ejaculation of the conflict in Afghanistan eagerly joined - would ensure that their first pet war would be a disaster both for us and for the people of Afghanistan.

Then we got to pet war two. Sullivan and ilk called us appeasers. Compared us to Chamberlain. Said we were "objectively pro-Saddam." The 101st Fighting Keyboarders had their second mission - to take us to war in Iraq. Let's remember the climate they helped foster. Remember the shit-storm which erupted when Natalie Maines said the following:

So you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.

If their fans hate them for that, fine. But this attitude was mainstreamed by the media, as if such a statement was truly outside the bounds of polite discourse. This culminated in the ridiculuous Diane Sawyer interview. Oddly, Maines actually hadn't said a damn thing about Iraq, but in that climate Iraq was everything.

Once again, if we hadn't been living in that climate, nursed by Sullivan and propagated by our mainstream media, we may have had more people asking tough questions about Afghanistan. Asking tough questions about the reasons for war. Asking tough questions about the disastrous handling of post-Saddam Iraq.

None of these things concerned Sullivan. His mission was to tar dissenters as treasonous supporters of dictators.

So, who the fuck cares what Andrew Sullivan thinks about anything?

...In response to Matthew, it isn't all people who have come around that I object to (although, I'm admittedly a bit harsh on them at times if they're still up to the same old crap), it's McCarthyite posers I object to.

There's a difference between waging and winning arguments on their merits, and trying to monopolize the discourse. Even as Andy criticizes Bush, he's still doing it in such a way which implies that only He and His Kind have have the right to criticize Bush and only they are doing it "honestly," or "appropriately," or whatever. It's just a more subtle version of O'Reilly's "I'm a non-partisan independent and you should just SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP."