Friday, September 12, 2008

Andrew Sullivan's Quotes

So other people are noticing it, too: Something happened earlier this week with Sullivan. He stopped writing without notice. Then mysteriously reversed his position on the parentage of Trig Palin, without explanation or retraction of his earlier insistence that there was no reason to believe for certain that Trig was Sarah Palin's son.

And throughout all of this, Sullivan has been posting "Quotes of the Day" which seemed designed to function as a sort of Greek Chorus. During his period of radio silence, he posted the German "About which one cannot speak, one must be silent."

Today he publishes a quote reading, "It may be false. It may be true. But nothing has been proved."

For whatever reason, Sullivan seems to have backed away from smearing Sarah Palin, but his heart just doesn't seem to be in it. He's like Col. Nathan Jessep, just dying to tell us exactly who ordered the code red.

Update: Galley Friend Dean Barnett makes a fairly important point:

[The left] smeared Sarah Palin with a host of - um - imaginative charges like she wore a fat suit to fake a pregnancy that had actually visited itself upon her daughter. Even the chief disseminator of that rumor from his perch at the Atlantic has since bethought himself of that smear, publicly crediting Palin for bringing her fifth child to term on Wednesday (although of course neither admitting error nor apologizing for his role in spreading the rumor).

If Sullivan and The Atlantic are now walking back from their charge--and don't get me wrong, this is a good thing--don't they need to issue either an explanation or a retraction of the earlier stuff? Otherwise, how are we to know which is the real position?


Anonymous said...

What is more intriguing is why you are so obsessed with Andrew Sullivan. (How dare he have an opinion that differs from yours!) Hard to believe that you really care that much about the reputation of the Atlantic.

Jonathan V. Last said...

Is it really that impossible to believe that I honestly care about old, elitist, liberal general-interest journals?

Do I not make the point often enough that publications like The Atlantic and The New Yorker are worth more than the entire internet put together?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:13-

Sullivan is easily one of the most influential and famous bloggers around, if not the MOST. He is omnipresent, appearing on Maher's show, cable news, UK papers, Gap commercials (yes, long time ago, still, what other pundit can make this claim?) and in The Atlantic Monthly as Senior fracking Editor (they don't give those away). He is the go-to guy for the MSM to gauge what the blogosphere is saying. He's also considered the #1 "conservative" for Obama, though nobody who actually follows him believes him to be conservative. The closest counterpart he might have on the left would be Mickey Kaus, though Kaus is not nearly as known, read, or respected as Sullivan.
Considering all that, here is what Sullivan has written or implied in the past 2-3 weeks:

- Sarah Palin is not Trig Palin's mother (since semi-retracted)
- John McCain and Sarah Palin would drop out of the race for President
- Sarah Palin is a "pathological liar"
- John McCain is evil
- Sarah Palin is a Manchurian Candidate (and by extension, McCain)
- Sarah Palin had an affair with a business partner of Todd Palin and sought to cover it up by having the business partner file an emergency motion in AK courts to seal the divorce records (never retracted)

Now imagine for a second that Mickey Kaus or Jamie Kirchik or another center-left blogger wrote for the NYTimes, or The Atlantic Monthly, or hell, even National Review, the following items WITHOUT ANY PROOF:

- Barack Obama was evil
- Joe Biden was not the father of his children
- Joe Biden had an affair and sought to cover it up
- Obama/Biden were Manchurian Candidates
-Obama/Biden would drop out of the race

Do you, for one second, think that someone who wrote that crap would still have a job? Would they ever be employable at a respectable publication again?
Sullivan isn't some fringe Kos diarist (even if there is nothing substantially different between what they write). HE'S ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WRITERS AROUND.

Drew80 said...

After taking Monday and Tuesday off, Sullivan is back at it, as demented as ever.

Here are two quotes from Sullivan from today alone: "The McCain camp is in a death spiral" and "The interview just destroyed McCain's candidacy".

There is no longer any point in mincing words in describing Sullivan--the guy, in all seriousness, is insane.


Anonymous said...

I've now read the Sullivan praise for Palin's decision to have Trig (the recent one, not the "bring up" one) about 10 times. The more and more I read it, the more I believe he:

a- does not believe it for a second and was forced to write it, or...
b- didn't write it.

This story (Sullivan, not Palin) is far from over.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me, Jonathan, that you're more than a little interested in this topic. Kind of heated on the point. Perhaps flushed.

I think we all know what I'm driving at!



Anonymous said...

Poor Andrew has simply fucking lost it. Today he posts 2 pictures strangely within his post on Palin. 1 from an early pregnancy and another from her most recent pregnancy. They are supposed to indicate she was not pregnant with Trig. He's fucking lost his mind.

I am now 100% certain he does not believe what he wrote earlier this week.

Anonymous said...


You're right: Sullivan absolutely doesn't believe what he wrote earlier this week. But I don't think he's lost his mind. I think he's placing a high-risk, huge-return, low-downside bet.

Here's what I mean.

Let's just assume, for the moment, that he's right about Trig. (I know, I know.) Let's say that Sarah covered for Bristol, who is Trig's real mother. Now, imagine Sullivan keeps pushing this argument, pushing, pushing, until finally it breaks. Granted, this is highly unlikely--but let's be clear, it hasn't actually been disproven. It remains possible that this scenario is true. That's what makes it highly risky.

What if Sullivan's gamble pays off? What if he leads the charge that exposes Palin's great lie? All hell breaks loose; the GOP will lose in a landslide. Suddenly, Sullivan is the new Woodward, Bernstein, Murrow, and Mencken, all rolled into one. He enters the history books. Terrific upside potential here, you have to admit.

But, you'll say, what about the downside risk? I'm afraid there isn't much. He could be fired. But so what? Worst case scenario, he's back at his blog, holding fundraisers, making $80k twice a year (if memory serves). He'll still have his Times of London column. He's got a "husband" to support him. He won't starve.

Besides, it's not clear that he will be fired. You know exactly what he'll say. "Hey, I'm just asking questions. Why are we suddenly so afraid to do even that? What are we hiding here? There were Legitimate Concerns that Needed To Be Addressed." David Bradley has already caved. What's to say he's suddenly going to develop a backbone?

Besides, there's no real corrective discipline in opinion journalism. In business, if you start losing money, you're done. In politics, if you start losing elections, you're finished. Opinion journalism isn't like that. Once you've made the Bigs, you get to stay there. How else do you explain the lifetime tenure of Bob Herbert, Maureen Dowd, and, well, Andrew Sullivan?

It's like putting a small bet on a long shot. Sure, you could lose, but you know you can afford it.

Anonymous said...

Sully Truther,

i don't disagree with your points re: Sullivan. I do, however, disagree that Trig trutherism hasn't been disproven. The NYTimes did a thorough piece in which the family next door to Palin's hospital room is quoted. The piece was extensively researched, in all likelihood it began as a hit piece to see if there were any truth to the rumors. For people like Sullivan, nothing will prove Sarah is the mother, nothing. A video of Trig emerging from her vagina wouldn't prove anything (I doubt he'd even recognize what he was watching). You could have Sarah hold up a newspaper while the baby emerged to prove the date and he still wouldn't believe. He has said over and over and over:
"In the era of Rove, anything is possible"
This is paranoia on a medication-required level. I say again, A video of Sarah Palin holding up the day's newspaper while Trig emerges from her vagina would prove nothing to Andrew Sullivan. He is, sadly, no different from 9-11 truthers (of which I'm sure he will soon become).

Josh83 said...

Sullivan lost his cache (and his contacts) in the Washington power structure years ago, to his eternal regret. No one in Washington who counts takes Sullivan seriously anymore.

The reason his writing has become so loopy is because the man himself has become so loopy. The most reasonable explanation of a phenomenon is generally the most obvious explanation, and no tortuous theories are needed to explain Sullivan's descent into madness.

Sullivan's pal is no rich fellow (in fact, I am told he is an utter weirdo), and The Times is receiving guff from well-placed people in the States about its ongoing sponsorship of Sullivan. This is not a case of some well-heeled individual throwing caution to the wind because he knows he can fall back on mountains of stocks and bonds. If Sullivan has ANY contact with reality (and it appears that he does not), he must know that his forums in The Atlantic and The Times will soon be taken away from him.

I think Sullivan's descent into madness speaks for itself through his writings. Does he even arise to the level of parody any more?

It is inevitable, barring a miracle recovery on his behalf, that The Atlantic will soon have to tell Sullivan "Hasta La Vista". Nevertheless, I have no confidence that The Atlantic will survive, even after Sullivan is shown the door. The publication has already waited too long to disassociate itself from this fool. The magazine itself is now soiled goods.

Anonymous said...

sully truther, I agree with you one hundred per cent. It's all upside for Sullivan, and he may have information that he is not ready to disclose. The New York Times article on the birth of Trig was just a puff piece, with no real journalism evident. Reading the article, you definitely get the feeling that the Times reporter phoned it in. For example, the so-called witness family is not named. Were there no doctors or nurses willing to go on the record about any aspect of the birth, anonymously or otherwise?

You may find Sullivan's curiosity unseemly, but it isn't any crazier than the Palins account of the labor and birth.

Anonymous said...

I don't think people understand why doctors and nurses cannot comment on the birth of Trig Palin:
Patient confidentiality. If they commented on it, they would be fired, or lose their license. Doctors and nurses take it quite seriously. I know that is hard for some people to understand, especially readers of the NYTimes, who seem to get gov officials to illegally disclose secrets all the time.

Jay Raskin said...

In this case, I do not believe that stating that Sarah Palin was not the actual mother of Trig Palin would break any confidentiality laws.

Palin's doctor, Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, has already stated facts about the pregnancy, such as the fact that the labor was induced. She has simply not stated if the pregnancy was Sarah or Bristol Palin's. If Sarah Palin gave her permission to state this, then she has permission to state that she was not referring to Sarah Palin in this case. If Sarah Palin did not give her permission, then she should simply retract the statement.

Anonymous said...

Andrew: Off the deep-end-

"Now I begin to understand the intimidation I have been subjected to for simply asking questions. All I can reassure my readers is: I'm now more determined than ever to reveal the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about this dangerous, vindictive Christianist cipher being foisted on the United States."

Sarah Palin is trying to muzzle Andrew Sullivan, according to Andy. If that is not paranoia on a very serious and institutional level I do not know what is. If I started a blog and criticized a public figure, then received emails critical of my comments, and blamed it on the public figure using their power to silence me, my family would have me committed. Instead he's a Sr. Editor at The Atlantic Monthly.

Anonymous said...

Wow - this obsession thing is fun! Here's the quote from the New York Times, from the only "witnesses" to Trig Palin's birth who have come forth: "Parents who were in the next delivery room said the scene looked like any other, with no security detail in sight. The three Palin daughters came and went, and as Todd Palin passed through the corridors, he stopped to accept congratulations."

In other words, the so-called unnamed witnesses didn't witness anything, except what they could see in the hallway from the room they were in. How do they know the three young girls they saw were the "Palin daughters"? One could have been Levi Johnston's sister, especially since there were pictures on the web of Mercedes Johnston holding Trig in what looks like a birthing room. Why would Bristol Palin's redneck boyfriend's sister be invited to hold Sarah Palin's fragile special needs newborn? 'Tis a mystery!

This article, and the overheated response to it, poses more questions than it answers.

Drew80 said...

Thank you, Anonymous at 12:34 p.m., for that rather bizarre comment.

Please forgive me if I note that you write with Andrew Sullivan's voice.

Anonymous said...

anon 12:34-

What the NYTimes article means is they researched the subject and FOUND NOTHING worthy of the Trig Trutherism. NOTHING. Furthermore, the Anchorage papers researched the topic as well, as their editor admitted to Byron York, and THEY FOUND NOTHING. The people who believe this have a very loose connection to reality. They are no different than people who believe Web Hubbell is Chelsea Clinton's real father. I feel quite terrible for people who believe this because it is indicative of problems in their own life and their willingness to grasp loosely at conspiracies that offer them solace in their troubled mental state.
There are legit concerns about Sarah Palin. A conspiracy theory of the parentage of her son is not one of them. Perhaps if you people spent more time addressing the real issues, people might be more inclined to listen, instead of dismissing the real concerns because they are lumped in with the insanity of conspiracy theorists.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the evidence of the alleged witnesses at the hospital, please read this account which contradicts the both the N.Y. Times and Washington Post article.

This is the full report of the witnesses:

Brett Michael Dykes of Radar Online contacted Haylee’s parents, Jennifer Krueger and Daylen Davison.

"We never saw Sarah before the delivery," said Davison. "I did see her a couple of days after and she didn't look like someone who'd just had a baby."

Haylee's mother believes that the Post's error is all just a simple case of mistaken identity.

"I was the one pacing around trying to induce labor," said Krueger. "We saw Todd in the hall, not Sarah."

Davison and Krueger went on to say that their birthing room at Mat-Su was two doors down from the Palin's and that everything they saw appeared to be completely normal
So we have no witnesses who saw either Sarah Palin pregnant that night at the hospital or Bristol Palin not pregnant.
Since both the NY Times and Washington Post reported on these witnesses, it is clear that the writers were trying to find a witness to collaborate Sarah's birth and could not. One imagines that it would be easy to get the name of the night nurses on duty that night and get them to say that they saw Sarah Palin pregnant. Why was this not done?

Anonymous said...

is it just me, or does Bristol Palin look decidedly LESS pregnant than she was at the convention?