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December 01, 2005

Andrew Sullivan Vs. Andrew Sullivan

The Best of the Web notes that Sullivan has finally responded to the charge that his growing, hysterical opposition to the war (and to "torture") is colored by Bush's stance on the FMA.

A charge I've made dozens of times, but the dickhead avoids me and instead links a cat named Mark Shea.

Shea makes the rather inarguable point that, had Bush opposed FMA, Sullivan would be his greatest apologist on the war, and torture, rather than one of his shrillest critics.

Sullivan has a hissy fit:

Not a word of this with respect to my motives is true; and all of it is deeply offensive. . . . My opposition to the conduct of the war began very early--almost as soon as looting took place and Rumsfeld embraced the chaos his terribly-managed occupation had begun to foster. I'm used to these slurs, and the record shows they are baseless. But the notion that I would be finding excuses for torture if Bush had refused to back the FMA [Federal Marriage Amendment] is so vile an attack on my integrity it deserves a response. My position on this question has been the same my whole life.

Taranto notes that Sullivan has not, in fact, been quite so against "torture" in the past -- before Bush announced his support for the FMA -- as he is now, and quotes him defending tough tactics. He also notes that Sullivan himself linked Bush's embrace of FMA to the feeling of betrayal among gay war supporters.

But Sullivan has also previously admitted that his views on politics have been shaped by Bush's FMA position. As Sullivan endorsed Kerry drip-by-drip, he wrote:

But am I the only one who is far less enthusiastic about Bush's war leadership now than I was a year ago? I supported the war in Afghanistan and Iraq; I support pre-emption as a policy; I believe in taking the fight to the Jihadists at every possible opportunity. But hasn't the last year changed things somewhat? From the fall of Baghdad on, we have seen little but setbacks. Our goals in Iraq now are limited to making the place less dangerous and oppressive than it was under Saddam. If a Democrat had this record, do you think National Review would let it pass? Look, I am far from being persuaded that Kerry can do any better in the war. But I cannot support this president on the war as enthusiastically as I once did - because the mounting evidence suggests a much more mixed record.

THE MARRIAGE THING: And yes, of course, the president's support for the FMA has colored this. How could it not? If you had spent much of your life arguing a) that gay people deserve civil equality and b) that civil marriage is the fundamental mark of that equality, it would require Herculean masochism to endorse a president who wants to enshrine the denial of marriage to gays in the very Constitution itself. I could live with disagreement on the issue of marriage - but not the amendment. Pace Jonah, I have been quite clear in this blog that, in my judgment, no self-respecting gay person could vote for Bush; and I consider myself a self-respecting gay person.

One of the pitfalls of blogging is that, it being a medium of immediate and often unguarded writing, the truth sometimes accidentally slips out.

Saint Sullivan of the Sacred "Heart-Ache" can hardly complain that it is "The Lowest Blow" (as he titles his rebuttal) to suggest his views on the war are colored by his views on FMA when he himself expressly admitted that more than a year ago.

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posted by Ace at 05:45 PM

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