Patterico's Pontifications


Andrew Sullivan: An Anti-Clinton Compilation

Filed under: 2008 Election,Politics — Justin Levine @ 11:06 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

Like many, I have become exasperated over much of Andrew Sullivan’s writings in recent years for reasons that will be familiar to many. (I choose not to specifically list them here in the hopes of minimizing sidetracked debates that would be best tackled at another time.)

Still, I would argue that in recent months, Sullivan’s pluses outweigh his minuses in such a way that demands repeated visits to his blog.

First, there is the fact that his views remain genuine (regardless of what you may think of them). He clearly isn’t writing to pander to a political party, partisan aims, or some reader constituency. That remains refreshing. Plus, he makes an honest attempt to at least air or link to dissenting views.

Second, he remains a great critic of pop culture, humor and aesthetics which comes out in his blog entries. [You can insert the obligatory, “Well of course he is. He’s gay.” But that would be a well-worn and tiresome observation.]

Third, and most importantly, he remains an unapologetic and unabashed Clinton hater – As am I.

I respectfully submit that Sullivan remains the best figure out there right now to articulate why good old-fashioned Clinton hating is not an irrational response as Clinton apologists would try to have some believe, but that there are instead very real and rational reasons behind it. It goes beyond policy disagreements. It even goes beyond the specifics of Lewinsky and the other sexual escapades (including what I believe is a credible allegation of rape by Juanita Broaddrick). It simply goes to the issue of a level of blatant lying, political calculation and emotional immaturity/insecurity that no head of state should embody (though certainly the sexual scandals from Bill, and Hillary’s cynical ‘forgiveness’ of them are a strong symptom of these qualities).

Many Democrats are now waking up to this reality, now that the Clinton machine is aimed against their preferred candidate. If Hillary wins the Democratic primary, it will re-focus back on the Republicans and most Democrats will forgive Team Clinton. But be forewarned, Democrats: If Hillary wins the Presidency with a Democratic Congress, the Clinton sleaze machine will still re-target many many of who oppose their will since there will be no Republican majority bogeyman to oppose.

Sullivan understands that a return to 90’s partisanship stemming from a Clinton dynasty would be inevitable and disastrous for this country.

Emotional maturity and a non-arrogant form of self-security remain among the great important qualities that people crave in a leader – though it is a particular craving that most are rarely able to articulate to pollsters. Though I jumped off the Bush bandwagon some time ago from a policy standpoint, the one thing I still greatly admire him for is that he has held on to these qualities, while many of his critics have never displayed them in the slightest. Same dynamic with Reagan.

With those thoughts in mind, I give you a compilation of wonderful and deeply satisfying anti-Clinton posts from Andrew Sullivan during the last few weeks alone. After reading them, I suspect you will agree that Sullivan remains a writer that should not be dismissed.

Links below –

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39

40 41 42 43

— Justin Levine

24 Responses to “Andrew Sullivan: An Anti-Clinton Compilation”

  1. Oh, please.
    ” (He) understands that a return to 90’s partisanship stemming from a Clinton dynasty would be inevitable and disastrous for this country.”

    Not abandoning the ME to internecine bickering, anarchy and nuclear proliferation, not attempting to nationalize another 1/7th of the economy, not disastrous economic and tax policy, but ‘partisanship’ would destroy us.

    Yeah, sure.

    I could throw darts at an ‘issues’ dartboard and be more consistent and logical than Sully, and that would be with my back turned.

    As far as critics of pop culture, etc., etc. go, I need them like I need another excretory orifice.

    All I can say about this post is that you are a much more generous person than I.

    You get points. None of them transfer to Sully.

    West (d3756b)

  2. Is excitable Andy still supporting Ron Paul as his preferred republican candidate or has he slithered off his recommendation in light of recent events? While I enjoy the Clinton bashing by democrats and pseudoconservatives such as Andy, his indefensible Ron Paul position alone puts him in the category of commentators to ignore.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  3. i have never read you before and was trying to maintain an open mind because I too like Andrew Sullivan although I rarely agree with him. But when I got to your assessment that Bush has emotional maturity and a non-arrogant form of self-security, I stopped reading. I don’t much agree with observers ability to tell such things about politicians or public figures. But Bush’s lack of emotional maturity and self-security are so palpable to me (you can see it in his insecure walk, in his unsure swager, in his petulant responses when challenged) that your contrary view just totally gives me no confidence in your opinion.

    cdh (d671ab)

  4. Dayum, a self-refuting post. Bravo, cdh!

    Thank god that you can see so deeply into others’ character, when no one else can.

    West (d3756b)

  5. I have become exacerbated…

    Are you sure you don’t mean “exasperated?” Although I guess it is technically true that, the more one reads Sully, the worse one gets.

    Xrlq (b65a72)

  6. X –

    I think exacerbated is an acceptable synonym for ‘aggravated’ (in addition to the definition you provide). My own edition of the dictionary backs this up, so I’ll let the word stand.

    Justin Levine (a0f83e)

  7. Sullivan “should not be dismissed”? What faint praise. I think he’s the most refreshing voice on the web, so much more independent and honest than all the pre-determined, anti-libertarian ‘mainstream base conservative’ writing. His anti-Clinton writing is good for the same reasons that his anti-Bush writing are: simply laying out the facts, and insightful interpretations of same.

    jack (1afea2)

  8. exacerbated is only aggravated in the sense of intensifying. It does not imply an emotional response. Xrlq called it right.

    Eg. The addition of gas to the fire only exacerbated (aggravated, intensified) the problem.

    Sorry to be so nit-picky but it’s one of those thinks that drives my up the wall.

    Dr T (340565)

  9. Another vote with Xrlq. It’s really minor, unless you dig in your heels.

    Attila (Pillage Idiot) (bafbcb)

  10. I am exercising my prerogative as editor to change the word to “exasperated.” I agree it’s a minor issue — not even worth an update.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  11. I can’t even say for 100% certain whether Justin’s usage is incorrect, although I can say I’ve never seen the word used that way before. What I can say is that, even if a usage is technically correct, it’s distracting if it’s unusual, and enough people notice how unusual it is to comment on it.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  12. I’m certainly glad we got that settled. I wouldn’t want to exacerbate any preexisting anxieties over proper language usage on this blog and lead any readers to leave in exasperation.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  13. Daley Rocks!

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  14. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the – Web Reconnaissance for 01/25/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

    David M (447675)

  15. How did we get from Sully to “exacerbate” (which sounds kinky)? What a waste!

    Sue (39753a)

  16. Your comment that “Sullivan remains a writer that should not be dismissed” brings to mind one of my favorite Dorothy Parker (an entirely underappreciated wit) quotes:

    “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

    Frankly, in my opinion, Sully should be “thrown with great force.”


    David J Harr (084080)

  17. Robert Reich is also exasperated with Bill Clinton, but what I found most interesting is the agreement from many of his commenters who claim to be Democrats and *former* Clinton supporters.

    DRJ (517d26)

  18. Another thing to give Sullivan credit for: he’s still anti-jihadi. Even though he reversed his Iraq War opinion, and sympathizes with jihadis tortured by the USA, he still regards jihadism/IslamoFascism as a serious threat. Most other lefties (yes, Sullivan is a lefty, despite his self-identification) either discount the threat, or actually side with the jihadis.

    gp (72be5d)

  19. If you want to change it because you feel the word is a distraction – fair enough. But since I have no intention of giving up the word and will likely be using it again in the future, I feel the need to have this on the record:

    From the American Hertiage College Dictionary, Fourth Edition – tr.v -bat.ed,, -batesTo increase the severity, violence, or bitterness of; aggravate [Lat. ex-, intensive pref; see ex- +acerbare, to make harsh]

    Some examples of it being used in a similar context as I have used it –

    I have no problems with having my vocabulary corrected. But I honestly feel this is an instance of others who simply need to broaden their own.

    Justin Levine (a0f83e)

  20. This is a great blog and I’ve learned much from reading the posts and comments over time. But seriously, Sully? I used to read the guy religiously until he jumped the shark over gay marriage. He’s a single issue partisan who chose a politically opportune moment to get back into the good graces of the chattering class.

    Still, on the off chance that Sully might truly have become worth reading again, I clicked on and read the last eleven links you provided. He’s still cliche’d, hysterical and entirely predictable. So he doesn’t like the Clintons. Get in line. That isn’t a redeeming characteristic by itself.

    This is the guy who banged the war drums louder and longer than almost anybody only to stab the troops in the back when he didn’t get a government sanction of his particular lifestyle choice.

    Here is the quote where I stopped reading. It comes from link #33:

    It really is time to acknowledge that Clinton is running for a third term – in flagrant violation of the 22d Amendment. He’s fighting for unelected power by proxy – just as his wife fought for hers in 1992 and 1996. Their deal is now explicit. And their goal – four terms between them – is in their grasp.

    I’m sorry. I can’t stand the Clintons but they aren’t violating the Constitution by campaigning for the presidency. Sully’s just as hysterical and wrong as he has been for the last four years. His is an emotionally based appeal to whatever constituency he’s decided he’ll pander to at the moment. He’s hitched his wagon to Obambi right now but rest assured, he’ll be trashing him very soon.

    Chris (8270f7)

  21. This dictionary entry appears to confirm Justin’s argument.

    I still think it throws people off. Where in the heck did you first see or hear that word used that way, Justin?

    By the way, I think you’re all wet re: Sully. IMHO.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  22. I think Justin is technically right that “exacerbate” can be a synonym for “aggravate,” but ultimately, wrong. The reason the two can be synonyms is that “aggravate” has a second sense that also doesn’t apply here, e.g., heavy smoking may aggravate/exacerbate/*exasperate the effects of many diseases.

    Xrlq (995633)

  23. Oh yeah, almost forgot: Sully sucks, too. Figuratively, that is, not lit… oh, never mind.

    Xrlq (995633)

  24. You might have already run across this, and perhaps I’m sidetracking, but Christopher Hitchens too makes a strong case for Clinton-hating in this Slate article:

    EngGirl (168161)

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