You Keep Using That Word Accountability

Sullivan responds:

John Cole and ED Kain cannot get their head around my call for Napolitano to be fired. It may be a cultural hangover from my British youth but in my view, when government reveals itself as incompetent in tracing potential terrorists, even when basically handed them on a plate, someone needs to take the fall. That person need not be directly personally responsible for the mistake, but since the error that could have led to the preventable deaths of scores of people comes under Napolitano’s broad responsibility, she should go.

One of the federal government’s core responsibilities is public order.

That isn’t accountability, that is meaningless symbolism and scapegoating. And it doesn’t sound British to me, it sounds like something out of Shogun. Should she just disembowel herself on the Capitol steps so she no longer has to live with the shame?

And what would her quitting accomplish? As we have no idea if she even is at fault, since Sullivan is calling for her head PRIOR to the review, we might be forcing out a competent executive in a time of turmoil for either an unknown entity or, more likely with the way the Republicans are jamming up appointments, no one at all. That would make us all safer, wouldn’t it?

Look, I understand the desire for accountability, but accountability means that someone is responsible for the things they have done. For some reason or another, we have swung from the Bush doctrine of no accountability no matter how bad you have screwed up to pre-emptive firings. Rahm might have done something ten years ago, let’s call for his resignation and then investigate. Napolitano may or may not have made a mistake, let’s fire her then find out. I’m hard pressed to figure out which approach to leadership and accountability is dumber and worse for the nation.

And I would like to add that the public is behaving quite admirably. I haven’t seen any panicking or craziness on the part of the American people. The gibberish and silliness has been left to certain political leaders and the cable news channels. Most Americans are just pissed off flying became a bigger pain in the ass.

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250 replies
  1. 1
    jenniebee says:

    Heckuva job, Andy.

  2. 2
    Zifnab says:

    John Cole and ED Kain cannot get their head around my call for Napolitano Tom Ridge to be fired. It may be a cultural hangover from my British youth but in my view, when government reveals itself as incompetent in tracing potential terrorists, even when basically handed them on a plate, someone needs to take the fall. That person need not be directly personally responsible for the mistake, but since the error that could have led to the preventable deaths of scores of people comes under Napolitano’s Tom Ridge’s broad responsibility, she should go.
    One of the federal government’s core responsibilities is public order.

    Shoe Bomber Fix’d!

    I can’t wait to hear calls for George Bush’s impeachment after the epic security failure that was 9/11.

    Who did he vote for 2004?

  3. 3

    Cole vs Sullivan – It’s on!

  4. 4
    Violet says:

    Thank you, John Cole, for being a voice of sanity.

    I’m still waiting for for Sully to answer the question as to how the Secretary of HOMELAND Security is responsible for security failures in other countries.

  5. 5
    mr. whipple says:

    John Cole and ED Kain cannot get their head around my call for Napolitano to be fired. It may be a cultural hangover from my British youth but in my view, when government reveals itself as incompetent in tracing potential terrorists, even when basically handed them on a plate, someone needs to take the fall.

    If someone needs to be held accountable, wouldn’t that be the head of the CIA?

  6. 6
    scrappled says:

    So basically, Sully wants the appearance of accountability, not actual accountability. Now that’s some good, Bush-style conservatism!

  7. 7
    Zifnab says:

    Also, OT:

    John, you seem to be having trouble with the whole 140 character thing on Twit…

    :-p

  8. 8
    inkadu says:

    Firing Napolitano would be a black eye to the Obama administration and also destabilize the agency, improving the odds of another terror attack.

    It’s a win-win for Republicans.

  9. 9
    A Mom Anon says:

    Oh for fuck’s sake. What the hell? Fire someone when you have no earthly clue whether that person fucked up and deserves firing? This helps how exactly?

    I have a headache from this bullshit.

  10. 10
    John Cole says:

    @Zifnab: Kerry, I believe.

  11. 11
    Waynski says:

    Using Sully’s logic, Hillary should resign too because the warning came into the embassy (under her control) and a Visa was issued, or not revoked. Shouldn’t the Dutch head of security resign as well? I’m with you JC. Let’s find out what happened before we start swinging axes.

  12. 12
    silentbeep says:

    I love Sully, but he has his faults like anyone else and here he’s showing one of his: he has a tendency at times to get a little hysterical. This is one of those “emotional” times it seems.

  13. 13
    Zifnab says:

    @John Cole: That totally doesn’t help my point. :-(

  14. 14

    Since the open thread is dead and this has more to do with this I’ll paste it here:

    It might make you feel better to know David Schuster was just pushing back against the GOP talking points on underpants with Rep Chris Rogers (R-MI) regarding particularly Heokstra. Pretty fun watching Shoe Bomber Reid and his federal trial brought to bear.

    Rogers kept his composure and somehow maintained a reasonable tone while being eviscerated. Schuster did call him too classy a guy to send out a fundraising letter based on a bombing attempt within days, as Peter did. (Rogers chuckled) I have to wonder what it is like to be somewhat sane and have to repeat the GOP crap lines?

    Funny stuff sometimes – unless you take it seriously.

  15. 15
    inkadu says:

    @mr. whipple: If anyone should be fired, it is Jan Peter Balkenende, prime minister of the Netherlands.

  16. 16
    Brian J says:

    As I’ve said before, Andrew Sullivan will not, as others might, be classified as demur and laid back. He definitely has passion for the issues. It’s just not clear what side he’s going to come down on from day to day.

    It seriously seems like he’s going to cling to most positions as if a dog might cling to a piece of steak that falls from a dinner table, evidence be damned.

  17. 17
    soonergrunt says:

    OT–
    OK National Guard Officials to Discuss Possible Deployment to Afghanistan.
    Fuck me.
    Again.
    I KNEW I should’ve passed up the big re-up bonus in 2006, but I figured with the brigade reorganization scheduled, we’d be in the clear before my retirement in 2012. Well, OK then.

  18. 18
    Lisa K. says:

    I stopped reading Andrew Sullivan when he said that Al Gore was just as bad as George Bush because Andrew Sullivan just *knew* Al Gore would have started a useless war in Iraq, too.

    The guy is just a load of bullshit, getting deeper every day. Nobody over at the Atlantic is worth the time it takes to click on them.

  19. 19
    Stefan says:

    It may be a cultural hangover from my British youth but in my view, when government reveals itself as incompetent in tracing potential terrorists, even when basically handed them on a plate, someone needs to take the fall.

    Sure, someone needs to take the fall. Not necessarily the person responsible, just…someone. Anyone, really. Because nothing says “accountability” like meaningless scapegoating…..

  20. 20
    trollhattan says:

    I say they don’t let Dutch Boy bid the next time the White House is painted. That’ll show ’em.

  21. 21
    KCinDC says:

    Clearly Obama himself should resign. Isn’t he responsible for appointing Napolitano in the first place? Also, all senators who voted to confirm her should resign so we can have real accountability.

  22. 22
    Sentient Puddle says:

    One other thing that I can’t grasp is why there’s this hangup on the buck stopping at Napolitano. It’s sort of an arbitrary point. She reports to Obama, so why doesn’t the buck stop with him? Or we can get a little more granular and say this was a TSA issue, and throw it on the acting TSA head. Or maybe this was a problem in the state department, and we should get Hillary to resign. Or countless other permutations.

    But yeah, whichever arbitrary person we pick to throw under the bus, the fact remains that we don’t know whether or not the magnitude of this failure warrants someone high on the totem pole getting strung up. I’m just not sure Sully can comprehend that thought.

  23. 23
    Lisa K. says:

    @Brian J:

    It seriously seems like he’s going to cling to most positions as if a dog might cling to a piece of steak that falls from a dinner table, evidence be damned.

    Or blame other people when he can no longer seriously claim to being right and still maintain any shred of cdignity.

  24. 24
    Violet says:

    Someone on the plane was carrying a copy of The Atlantic. Sully should resign!

  25. 25
    soonergrunt says:

    @Sentient Puddle:
    because Napolitano is a woman. SATSQ.

  26. 26
    Stefan says:

    That person need not be directly personally responsible for the mistake,

    Well, it might be kinda nice if they actually were.

    but since the error that could have led to the preventable deaths of scores of people comes under Napolitano’s broad responsibility, she should go.

    Well, since Napolitano comes under Obama’s broad responsibility, doesn’t that also mean that Obama should go….?

    One of the federal government’s core responsibilities is public order.

    And nothing contributes to public order more than panicky over-reaction….

  27. 27
    Lisa K. says:

    @Violet:

    Someone on the plane was carrying a copy of The Atlantic. Sully should resign!

    That person should be detained just for being an idiot.

  28. 28
    Punchy says:

    That person need not be directly personally responsible for the mistake, but since the error that could have led to the preventable deaths of scores of people comes under Napolitano’s broad responsibility, she should go.

    So certainly Sullivan was vociferously advocating that Rumsfeld be fired on Sept 12, 2001, right? Right?

    Andy Sullivan wouldn’t be a hypocritical, inconsistent, and two-faced douchebag, would he?

  29. 29

    It may be a cultural hangover from my British youth but in my view, when government reveals itself as incompetent in tracing potential terrorists, even when basically handed them on a plate, someone needs to take the fall a woman allegedly gives birth in what might be regarded as suspicious circumstances someone needs to launch a full-scale investigation.

    Makes just as much sense.

    I’m not giving that asshole any traffic. Does he provide examples of this type of “accountability” or is “waah, I’m a foreigner you dirty yanks” his lame assed excuse for wheeling another cart of manure through the internons and then getting mad when people complain about the smell?

  30. 30
    Face says:

    That person need not be directly personally responsible for the mistake, but since the error that could have led to the preventable deaths of scores of people comes under Napolitano’s broad responsibility, she should go.

    By this standard, does this mean he wants the head of the FAA fired every time two planes have a near-collision?

    How about the head of Transportation canned every time there’s a rear-end wreck in Walla Walla?

  31. 31
    Jamey says:

    If Sullivan fails to consider the basic differences between the English and American electoral processes then he’s an even bigger fucking half-wit than I thought. But if Sully IGNORES the basic differences, then he’s a douche.

    The vote of no-confidence/parliamentary elections at the PM’s discretion is the fundamental difference to which I’m referring. A lot of dismissals/resignations in English political life are the result of scandal–one isolated controversy of this sort can more easily pull down the entire party if the loyal opposition threatens no-confidence call.

    Here in the Colonies, notsomuch (Vitter, Jefferson, Foley, et. al.)

    Fucking Sully. Again. And, yes, Soonergrunt, I believe you’re onto something there…

  32. 32
    MikeJ says:

    Shouldn’t the senator with the hold on the nomination of the head of TSA resign?

  33. 33
    Martin says:

    @mr. whipple:

    This wasn’t a ‘head of agency’ screwup. Yes it was a screwup, but it’s not the kind of thing that a head of agency should even have been directly involved in. And nobody was hurt. Now, if the plane had been destroyed, I might feel differently, but firing an agency head over an act that had virtually no consequences of its own is silly and counterproductive.

    Now, whoever dropped the ball with that intel *should* be fired. Someone at some level must have been responsible for doing that and it didn’t get done. Find out where that failure took place, and address the problem there.

  34. 34
    freelancer says:

    lol, Re: what sully wants to see, I can’t help but thinking of the phrase “Kabuki Seppuku”.

  35. 35
    MattR says:

    @Stefan:

    Well, since Napolitano comes under Obama’s broad responsibility, doesn’t that also mean that Obama should go….?

    And since the American public was broadly responsible for the election of Obama, doesn’t that mean that we all have to go?

  36. 36
    BTD says:

    Not that anyone cares, but John, I agree 100% with this post.

  37. 37
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @soonergrunt: Ah, but what about Hillary? Should we expect Sully to start calling for her resignation within a few days?

  38. 38
    Anya says:

    There you go again, John Cole expecting bloggers and politicians to act reasonably and to understand some outdated ideas like accountability and responsibility. Symbolism is what matters. Get with the program, Cole.

  39. 39
    Dreggas says:

    And I would like to add that the public is behaving quite admirably. I haven’t seen any panicking or craziness on the part of the American people. The gibberish and silliness has been left to certain political leaders and the cable news channels. Most Americans are just pissed off flying became a bigger pain in the ass.

    of course they’re behaving admirably because there isn’t some admin flack on TV warning of mushroom clouds and screaming the sky is falling. As has been said we have an adult in charge and thank the FSM for that.

  40. 40
    freelancer says:

    @Martin:

    via Ackermann:

    Here’s a post about the actual procedures State has to go through to unilaterally revoke a visa. The bottom line: they simply don’t realistically allow consular officers to do that. What’s supposed to happen — and did happen, in Abdulmutallab’s case — is that State reports concerns like the one provided by Abdulmutallab’s father to a database run by TIDE out of the National Counterterrorism Center. But!

    Daddy Mutallab’s information just wasn’t specific enough to do anything with, according to a U.S. intelligence official. The standard for passing such information along to a more-punitive database — one that would have compelled State to revoke Abdulmutallab’s visa and land him on the no-fly list — is “specific derogatory information leading to reasonable suspicion” of involvement in terrorism. Dad’s information doesn’t make the grade. If the standard sinks to that level, the official told me, “We’d probably shut down air traffic.”

    These are going to be some fun congressional hearings.

  41. 41
    RSA says:

    I’m at a loss. You fire someone when that someone has done something wrong. I think it’s a little bit telling that Sullivan hasn’t pointed to anything Napolitano has done wrong. Where’s the analysis? What actually did go wrong? Was it airport security in Shiphol? (Kinda beyond Napolitano’s reach.) Was it that someone added the bomber’s name to one list with over a million entries on it but not to a smaller list? (I haven’t seen any talk about there being a hole in the procedures, only that there’s a lot of data, but it’s not even clear that anyone made a bad judgment.)

    In general, Sullivan seems to be saying, “Things went wrong, and someone must be blamed.” But things always go wrong. That’s the nature of reality. And actually figuring out what went wrong should precede casting blame.

  42. 42
    Butch says:

    I gotta say I’ve been creeped out for a long time that we, or someone who resembles us, decided to call it the “homeland.” Uber alles, I guess.

  43. 43
    inkadu says:

    @Martin: And if a ground-level worker is fired, it will be a quantum leap (of one) from 9/11.

    We need to hold intelligence workers to the same standards as social workers.

  44. 44
    LT says:

    And he’s changing his reason-horse midstream. He wanted her fired before because of her supposed horrible comment about how the system worked. Now it’s something else. Vintage Sullivan.

  45. 45
    licensed to kill time says:

    __

    That isn’t accountability, that is meaningless symbolism and scapegoating. And it doesn’t sound British to me, it sounds like something out of Shogun. Should she just disembowel herself on the Capitol steps so she no longer has to live with the shame?

    John, you just made me snortle. That’s a snort and a chortle – you very funny guy!

  46. 46

    Very well, three other paths are open to you. Three cunning plans to cure thy ailment.

    Oh good.

    First, kill Bob!

    Never!

    Very well then. Kill yourself.

    Nooo. And the third?

    The third will ensure no one ever knows. Kill everyone in the WHOLE WORLD, HA HA HA!

  47. 47
    Kennedy says:

    Sullivan can be a prat and makes wide, sweeping, overly passionate, exaggerated, and sometimes false or misguided claims.

    Clearly the editor of the Atlantic needs to step down. I mean, someone has to take the blame.

    Oh wait.

  48. 48
    pillsy says:

    Eh, I think Sullivan is being ridiculous for the same reason Sullivan is often ridiculous. He likes sweeping, dramatic gestures and boldly symbolic action way, way too much. Such boldly symbolic action-packed gesturing has a tendency to be very, very silly.

    Sometimes I appreciate Sullivan taking this role. He writes clearly and engagingly, and as a result he often sheds just the light needed to highlight how preposterous his position is.

    This is less important when the position he’s taking is that there was a sinister conspiracy to conceal Bristol Palin’s first pregnancy, since he was the only person I remember advocating for that one. Now, Sully is doing us a service by making it transcendentally obvious just how dumb he’s being, and, by extension, how dumb all the other people calling for Napolitano’s head are being.

  49. 49
    Ash says:

    @Butch: Francis Scott Key, all that home of the brave, land of the free jazz. Just without all the crap in the middle.

  50. 50
    Cat says:

    That isn’t accountability, that is meaningless symbolism and scapegoating. And it doesn’t sound British to me, it sounds like something out of Shogun.

    The “symbolism and scapegoating” actually describes British political culture very well.

  51. 51
    Brian J says:

    @Jamey:

    Well, he lectured at Harvard, so there.

  52. 52
    Eric U. says:

    I don’t think that I’m the only person that thinks we over-reacted to 9/11. Granted, the Bush administration was horribly inept, but basically the realization that terrorists could attack us in the U.S. would have saved us from the whole thing. That, and having passengers that realized that passive acceptance of hijackings was possibly a good way to die.

  53. 53
    mr. whipple says:

    @Martin:

    “Now, whoever dropped the ball with that intel should be fired. Someone at some level must have been responsible for doing that and it didn’t get done. Find out where that failure took place, and address the problem there.”

    I totally agree with you. I just don’t understand how Napolitano got singled out, when there are others who might be more directly related.

  54. 54
    MattR says:

    @freelancer: Thanks. I was looking for something like this. I actually disagree with Obama’s statement that this was a systemic failure. I think it is just a result of the reality that there are billions of people in the world and we cannot expect to find all the bad guys in that haystack.

  55. 55
    Violet says:

    @pillsy:

    Eh, I think Sullivan is being ridiculous for the same reason Sullivan is often ridiculous. He likes sweeping, dramatic gestures and boldly symbolic action way, way too much. Such boldly symbolic action-packed gesturing has a tendency to be very, very silly.

    Yep. Like this gem from the Iranian demonstrations in June:

    Oh, and the president should wear a green tie from now on. Every day. He need say nothing more.

    We are all EmoPants bombers now!

  56. 56

    It’s the usual suspects with their Fruit of the Booms all bunched up over this.

    Should airport security be reviewed? Constantly. But considering that DeMint has been blocking the confirmation of the head of the TSA maybe HE should resign for weakening the hierarchy of the TSA.

    I don’t mind rational criticism from the Right. In fact, I’d love to see it.

  57. 57
    Malron says:

    RAHHHMMMMM!!!!!!

    I feel much better now.

  58. 58
    Brian J says:

    @pillsy:

    This.

    Case in point: people who were against the Iraq war, even those who supported the war vocally but didn’t agree with Sullivan on other issues, constituting a fifth column.

  59. 59
    mr. whipple says:

    @MattR:

    And since the American public was broadly responsible for the election of Obama, doesn’t that mean that we all have to go?

    I am sorry, but I will not stand by while you besmirch the good name of the American people!

  60. 60
    ploeg says:

    @Cat:

    It is indeed very British.

    “In this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to give courage to the others.” – Voltaire

  61. 61
    LT says:

    @LT: I’m responding to myself to refute myself. Sullivan didn’t give the “system worked” comment as his reason at first. It was about responsibility.

    Her latest interview on the Today show again reveals a total obtuseness. Yes, as was obvious from the original clip, it was clear she was referring to what happened after the incident occurred and the system does seem to have worked from then on. But before that? This was a massive failure by DHS, and you will notice she takes not a smidgen of personal responsibility for it.

    I don’t agree with that; what was she supposed to do – run around the room with her hair on fire? But I was wrong. My bad.

  62. 62
    Alex S. says:

    Since Obama appointed Napolitano and the voters appointed Obama – clearly, the voters should resign.

  63. 63
    justcorbly says:

    Sacking ministers when some underling does something stupid is a British tradition, and not a very useful one. So, yes, Sullivan is suffering from cultural hangever.

    In retrospect, the key sin here was the failure to put this guy on the no-fly list. That may be due to someone’s mistake, or it may be due to lack of information, or it may be because he did not cross the threshold for inclusion. But, to imagine that firing a Cabinet secretary will prevent future errors is absurd.

  64. 64
    inkadu says:

    @soonergrunt: That sucks. I never understood how the National Guard got railroaded into foreign wars in the first place, or why anyone thinks its a good idea or how it is obviously a sign that our military is radically undermanned.

    I hope you spent some of that re-up money on a hand-held pocket computer with a full keyboard so you can keep in touch.

  65. 65
    Sasha says:

    My e-mail I just sent to Andy Sully:

    Your cultural hangover seems to extend to embracing unfortunate aspects of British nonsense as well:

    `Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.
    `No, no!’ said the Queen. `Sentence first – verdict afterwards.’

    Obama has already proved he’s not Bush, otherwise he would be clubbing down the press and political opponents by suggesting that any critique of government would embolden “the enemy”. Rather, Obama has conceded to a breakdown in the system and vowed to correct it. Can you conceive of Bush ever admitting to a mistake on his watch?

    Demanding the immediate sacking of Napolitano as a symbolic gesture of accountability is akin to requiring idiotic new airline screening procedures – it provides the illusion of decisive action and does nothing except create a false sense of “something is being done”. If an investigation shows that she utterly failed at her job, then by all means she needs to go. However, to fire Napolitano without evidence of incompetence would be opportunistic, craven, and foolish (also trademarks of the Bush administration).

  66. 66
    Ana Gama says:

    It may be a cultural hangover from my British youth but in my view…

    Tell Sully to go wet his pants in Britain then.

  67. 67
    MikeJ says:

    how it is obviously a sign that are military is radically undermanned.

    You say undermanned, I say overwarred.

  68. 68
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @freelancer: Unless further investigation turns up any gaping holes in the process, that explanation actually sounds quite plausible. Which would mean there’s not a lot that could’ve realistically been done to screen this guy out.

    In a just world, this would mean that we as a nation would take a look at our security protocols, realize they’re woefully misdirected, start dismantling the security theater, and look into actually effective means of security. But realistically, it probably means Cheney and his ilk get to spew shit, and the media force-feeds it to us. Joy.

  69. 69
    silentbeep says:

    @sasha

    woo hoo! saw your comment as dissent of the day at daily dish!

  70. 70
    Brian J says:

    @Violet:

    And didn’t the plane at some point fly over the Atlantic ocean, maybe even over British airspace?

  71. 71

    It’s always worth taking a look at Sully’s language (since he can’t be bothered):

    …but since the error that could have led to the preventable deaths of scores of people comes under Napolitano’s broad responsibility…

    In other words, in the Republic of Sullivanstan, it doesn’t take an actual disaster to trigger the ritual sacrifice. All it takes is a near miss. In other words, if Sully gets scared, someone must suffer.

    I just don’t understand how Napolitano got singled out, when there are others who might be more directly related.

    Simple. By the time some mid- or low-level drone gets fired for a fuck up Sully won’t know about it and get to waste electrons blogging about it. Plus, nothing sharpens up a work force like knowing personal fuck ups will result in the shit canning of the head of your organization!

  72. 72
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Sasha: Damn, that was fast.

  73. 73
    Dreggas says:

    @justcorbly:

    now i get the whole idea of the sacking gag in Monty Python and the holy grail (i think it was that one)

  74. 74
    Tom says:

    I HATE when people call for politicians to resign. There are probably some instances when it’s called for, but not that many.

    Heck, I don’t even think Larry Craig should have resigned (which he didn’t). It’s just knee-jerk political gamesmanship from people who are in no position to deem whether the person they’re calling on to resign is fit for the position.

    It’s just a lazy way to show how OUTRAGED they are with certain politicians.

    We need to set up some rules about calling for someone’s resignation. Number one on the list (which wouldn’t apply in this case because director of DHS is a federal position) would be that only people who live in that politician’s district are allowed to call on them to step down.

    So Michelle Malkin, you’re not allowed to say William Jefferson should resign. Kos is not allowed to say Larry Craig should resign. (I don’t know if either did call on these people to resign, just using as examples.)

    And, in general, people needs to stop acting like idiots.

  75. 75
    donovong says:

    @BTD: Yep. You got that right.

  76. 76
    Ana Gama says:

    @Sasha: Congrats! He just put it up.

  77. 77
    Jules says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Dissent of the Day even…

  78. 78
    eastriver says:

    This is good, JC. This is a fight worth fighting. Keep at him. Take it public, as much as possible. Find the overlaps of where your disagreement with Sully match the meta fight. Hint: it’s the accountability issue. That’s at the root of it. And dovetails nicely with the Firebagger fight. No more shit about the pet pics. You’re on a fucking roll. Go. Rock ‘n’ roll.

  79. 79
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Tom: Mostly agree, but I reserve the right to call for the resignation of people like Rumsfeld who are continuous fuck-ups.

  80. 80
    jwb says:

    “Most Americans are just pissed off flying became a bigger pain in the ass.”

    The travel restrictions are the only aspect of this that the vast majority of Americans are paying any attention to.

  81. 81
    psychobroad says:

    I quit reading Sullivan when he proclaimed that he could NEVER support abortion, under any circumstances. What a dick.

  82. 82
    jwb says:

    @jenniebee: Clearly, Sully is incompetent and should be fired.

  83. 83
    Tom says:

    @Sentient Puddle

    Well, Rumsfeld represented the entire country, so you’re good!

  84. 84
    jwb says:

    @Zifnab: And John C. should be fired from Twitter for not being able to keep his tweets within the 140 character limit.

  85. 85
    Jules says:

    As always, the freak out from the chattering class and Republicans always amazes me.

    Do these guys live in constant fear?
    The makers of adult diapers must be raking in a fortune at the moment….

  86. 86
    Sasha says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Heh. Less than a 5 minute turnaround.

    I suspect it was the judicious use of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” that did it. :)

  87. 87
    bobbo says:

    You can take the Sully out of Wingnuttia, but you can’t take the Wignuttia out of Sully.

  88. 88
    MikeJ says:

    @jwb: I just want to know when Tunch was arrested and had that picture taken.

  89. 89
  90. 90
    E.D. Kain says:

    Really, John, Obama and his entire cabinet should resign over this. Immediately. And Tiger Woods should forswear golf ad infinitum.

  91. 91
    Ash says:

    Jesus Fucking Christ. CNN right now has James Carville going up against………..Erick Erickson.

  92. 92
    Tomlinson says:

    @Jules:

    Do these guys live in constant fear?

    In a word: yes.

  93. 93
    Ann B. Nonymous says:

    Andrew Sullivan: no hope.

  94. 94
    Martin says:

    @freelancer:

    Good to see that it wasn’t totally bungled. Hopefully they’ll at least review how information gets graded and acted upon.

    Thanks for the update.

    @inkadu:

    Agreed. Though the information via Ackermann suggests that nobody screwed up, so perhaps some process adjustments are in order instead.

  95. 95

    And I would like to add that the public is behaving quite admirably.

    I was in the blood red heart of RealAmerica when this story broke. The general reaction was a big yawn followed by huge amounts of snark at CNN’s expense.

  96. 96
    pillsy says:

    Are there any Republicans capable of making a lick of sense?

  97. 97
    Remember November says:

    Sully, where’s your US passport. OTW stfu, wanker. How many times did he call for Bush’s appointees to be fired. The wingers have a giant railroad tie on their shoulder. It’s a wonder they can walk and talk at the same time.

  98. 98
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Sentient Puddle: Third this, completely. But, alas, the knee-jerk response is to force more security theater upon a weary traveling crowd, all for the sake of saying, “Look, we did something.”

    Sully was a prat, is a prat, and most likely, will always be a prat. TNC is the only reason to read The Atlantic.

    @soonergrunt: Shit, damn, and fuck. Sigh. I hope you don’t have to deploy.

    Oh, and since I can focus on more than one thing at a time, TUUUUUNCH!

  99. 99

    That isn’t accountability, that is meaningless symbolism and scapegoating. And it doesn’t sound British to me, it sounds like something out of Shogun. Should she just disembowel herself on the Capitol steps so she no longer has to live with the shame?

    I am pretty sure that is my favorite paragraph you have ever written.

    OMG, that is so great. I hope Sullivan chokes on it.

  100. 100
    Violet says:

    @Sasha:
    Well done, Sasha! I loved the “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” quote. Always a good choice.

    And that was fast. I figured he took a day to get through his inbox.

  101. 101
  102. 102
    Alfie says:

    Two words: Power Glutes.

  103. 103
    Jules says:

    @Ash:

    well pout, neither is bringing teh!crazy….
    Hell, Erickson just defended Obama staying on vacation.

  104. 104
    georgia pig says:

    Forgive the pun, but Sullivan tends to be drama queen, and is wrong as often as (or more than) he is right. This is the guy who came up with “decadent Fifth Column” for those who dared oppose Bush’s WOT. He also brought us Betsey McCaughey. The haze of memory sometimes causes us to forget who the assclowns are.

  105. 105
  106. 106
    jwb says:

    @RSA: “In general, Sullivan seems to be saying, “Things went wrong, and someone must be blamed.” But things always go wrong. That’s the nature of reality. And actually figuring out what went wrong should precede casting blame.”

    Killjoy. Blaming people is fun; demanding scapegoats is satisfying. Figuring out what actually went wrong—that sounds like work. Besides it will take too long, and by the time they figure it out no one will even remember what we were all bent out of shape about. Hey, look, squirrels!

  107. 107

    I love Sully, but he has his faults like anyone else and here he’s showing one of his: he has a tendency at times to get a little hysterical.

    I love smallpox, but it has those unsightly eruptions.

    ( eyes roll like reels on a slot machine )

    Good lord, Sully is a blithering fucking world class idiot. an intellectual train wreck.

    “He has his faults.”

    Hey, you know who else had faults?

  108. 108
    mandarama says:

    @Lisa K.:

    Nobody over at the Atlantic is worth the time it takes to click on them.

    I really like Coates, and can’t think of another voice like his out there. And Fallows. But I agree that the scale is weighted pretty heavily towards fail over there.

  109. 109
    mandarama says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I’m sorry. I really hope you don’t end up having to go…and if you do, I know it’s not much consolation, but I’ve really learned a lot from your posts and feel a lot better knowing guys like you are representing us.

  110. 110
    Brett says:

    @inkadu:

    If anyone should be fired, it is Jan Peter Balkenende, prime minister of the Netherlands.

    I think that the Netherlands should resign. It would send a powerful signal.

  111. 111
    Tsulagi says:

    Don’t think she should be fired, but don’t think this incident was a moment of glory for her department. Napolitano said the plane landed safely and no casualties because “the system worked.” Umm, bullshit. The plane landed because PETN nuts was incompetent. You can’t always depend on incompetence.

    Obama correctly stated after Napolitano’s “Mission Accomplished” the incident was able to occur due to a “systemic failure.” 100% correct. Christ, about the only thing this guy was lacking was a front neon sign flashing “I got BOOM! for Allah” and a rear one flashing “72 virgins here I come.” While we might get taken down in a chokehold in Topeka if found to be smuggling four ounces of shampoo.

    We do screen international flights terminating in the U.S. Remember uber-terrorist Cat Stevens? The plane he was traveling on from London was diverted in flight when his name triggered an alert.

    Yet numbnuts who couldn’t light them up properly was allowed onto a plane traveling to the U.S. without even a freaking passport or visa. Not Napolitano’s personal fault, but DHS needs to let airlines know they need to tighten up or face heavy fines potentially leading to loss of landing rights for serious lapses. I would think they will.

  112. 112
    J.D. says:

    That isn’t accountability, that is meaningless symbolism and scapegoating. And it doesn’t sound British to me, it sounds like something out of Shogun.

    Oh, it’s very British. It’s an doctrine called “ministerial responsibility” that has long been a traditional component of the Parliamentary system (though recently it seems a custom more honored in the breach than the observance): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.....onsibility

    Quoting from the wikipedia article: “This means that if waste, corruption, or any other misbehaviour is found to have occurred within a ministry, the minister is responsible even if the minister had no knowledge of the actions. A minister is ultimately responsible for all actions by a ministry. Even without knowledge of an infraction by subordinates the minister approved the hiring and continued employment of those civil servants. If misdeeds are found to have occurred in a ministry the minister is expected to resign.”

    So is it “meaningless symbolism and scapegoating”? Oh my yes. But never let it be said that the British are strangers to meaningless symbolism and scapegoating…

  113. 113
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Dreggas: Ooooh, nice. I like it when the White House gets feisty, especially as they have the truth on their side.

  114. 114
    freelancer says:

    I’m guessing that the conversation between emopantsbomber’s dad and some temp at the US Embassy went something like this:

    “Hello, I’m calling to inform you that I regret my son has become a threat to your country. He has become radicalized and has spoken openly about wishing to plot some kind of act of terror against the US.”
    “Okay, sir, let me take down your information.”
    […]
    “Okay now, sir, is there any information you can give me specifically about a potental act that your son intends on committing? Any specific plans?”
    “No, he just speaks about Jihad an awful lot.”
    “Thank you very much for the call, we will keep this information on file.”

    If we fired every gatekeeper for not tracking every person who has ever said something bad about the US, no one would have a job. AQ used this kid as a rube for their own ends, it’s not like they gave him a security clearance and showed them their 5 year plan.

  115. 115
    themann1086 says:

    Time to hit the Time Machine…

    “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 a fifth column.” -Sully

    And for shits and giggles, another blast from the past from Sully’s colleage:

    “Domestic political dissent is immoral without a prior statement of national solidarity, a choosing of sides.” -Peter Beinart

    ETA @georgia pig: damn, beat me to it!

  116. 116
    Violet says:

    @Tsulagi:

    Yet numbnuts who couldn’t light them up properly was allowed onto a plane traveling to the U.S. without even a freaking passport or visa.

    Huh? He had a multiple-entry visa to the US. He got it in June, 2008. That was during the Bush administration, just for reference.

  117. 117

    I’m waiting for Sully to give himself his Malkin Award for this shite reasoning.

  118. 118
    Sasha says:

    @Violet:

    Lewis Carrol makes everything sparkle better.

  119. 119
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Dreggas:

    Thanks for that link. Very nice indeed. I was in a fury earlier reading what President Cheney (sorry, Tweety, I meant President Cheeeeney) had to say about the dusky imposter in the Whiter-Than-White House.

  120. 120
    MattR says:

    @freelancer: You forgot the part where the father says “And I don’t like the people he has been hanging out with since he left for college”.

    What percentage of American parents do you think say something similar at some point?

  121. 121
    JMY says:

    Clearly, whoever is running Al-Qaeda these days needs to resign.

  122. 122
    Seanly says:

    American officials have no responsibility in this. A guy boarded a privately owned plane in another country and then set his crotch on fire a few hours before landing. The following Sunday, the head of Homeland Security made a factual statement that was blatantly and stupidly quoted way out of context. So now she should resign.

    The only way American officials are to blame is in regards to the crotch-burner being on the TIDE list but not having his visa revoked.

  123. 123
    Xanthippas says:

    And it doesn’t sound British to me, it sounds like something out of Shogun.

    Ha. Though to be fair to the Shoguns, it was also required of those who personally failed, so it wasn’t totally symbolic.

  124. 124
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Violet: Thanks for the link. I was confuzzled because I had read that the crotchbomber had gotten his visa under the W. regime.

    Look, people, shit happens. In this case, I don’t think there was much to be done to prevent this guy from getting on the plane. Other than full-body searches, and do we really want to go down that road? I certainly don’t.

    ETA: The Dutch are beginning to implement this for passengers flying into the US, but I highly doubt Americans will put up with it.

  125. 125
    freelancer says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    What if we could draft Polamalu into the TSA?

  126. 126
    MikeAdamson says:

    Sullivan is referring to the parliamentary principle of ministerial responsibility i.e. the Minister is ultimately accountable and responsible for briefs within his or her purview. Had this happened in Canada or the UK then opposition members would be howling for the Minister’s head but the American system is so different that I don’t see how it could apply.

  127. 127
    Mike Kay says:

    Meanwhile, watching CNN last night I noticed media whores Larry King, and perhaps the biggest media whore, ever, Anderson Cooper were on vacation.

    Now, can you imagine if Lindsey Lohan had committed suicide, would they have remained on vacation? No.

    That just shows you how no body is tuning in. No eye balls, no Anderson.

  128. 128
    John O says:

    Precisely, John.

    My e-mail to Andrew:

    Sorry, Andrew, I don’t know ED, but I read John Cole a lot and there’s this thing we have in common. We’re both sports fans.

    Sometimes, even usually in any team athletic competition, it is the coach’s fault when things go bad. But overseeing a bureaucracy of bazillions? No coach ever had to do that.

    As best I can tell, CIA dropped the ball by not talking to anyone about the information they had. (Hint to CIA: When the dude’s father expresses concerns, at minimum a mild general alarm should be sounded.)

    So go after Panetta, which would be at least slightly less stupid. SOMEONE made the decision not to pass the information along, ultimately, and it is THAT person who should be held accountable.

    The attack was an Epic Fail. Is that all ya got, AQ?

    Your blog is one seriously interesting read. We disagree on a lot of things, but you have the courage to post dissent, and the faith to hold true to your wacky views. Can’t go a day without you, for the most part.

    Sincerely,

    John O

  129. 129
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @freelancer: I’m nekkid as I type this! Yeah, baby! Or, Alan Rickman. Or, Helen Mirren. Or, Maggie Cheung. Is it hot in here?

  130. 130
    John O says:

    FYWP.

    The whole thing should be in blockquote.

  131. 131
    Lisa K. says:

    @mandarama:

    I really like Coates, and can’t think of another voice like his out there. And Fallows. But I agree that the scale is weighted pretty heavily towards fail over there.

    Coates spends too much time fellating Peyton Manning for my taste.

  132. 132
    soonergrunt says:

    @inkadu: it all goes back to the end of the Viet Nam war. The Army and the National Guard were re-structured by the then-Chief of Staff, GEN Creighton Abrams in order that the Army needed the National Guard to do anything other than defend Europe from the Soviets. The idea here was that if every community in the country were suffering, the American people would be more involved than they were in the earlier stages of the war in Viet Nam, when it was just a bunch of poor draftees being killed.
    Of course, that was still predicated on the draft still existing and the rich like GW Bush still getting themselves positions in the Guard which would no longer be safe as it were. Abrams figured that if every community had skin in the game, that Congress would theoretically be more involved. Of course, I don’t think he counted on an administration like the Cheney-Bush admin, that didn’t give a fuck about anything but power.

  133. 133
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Tsulagi:

    Don’t think she should be fired, but don’t think this incident was a moment of glory for her department. Napolitano said the plane landed safely and no casualties because “the system worked.” Umm, bullshit. The plane landed because PETN nuts was incompetent. You can’t always depend on incompetence.

    New rule: If you’re going to critique Napolitano on that “the system worked” quote, you must show that you’re actually aware of the context of the quote.

  134. 134
    Violet says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    I don’t care much about the body scanners. Go ahead and look. It’s not that exciting. But here’s where it falls down:

    But the 15 scanners will not cover the 25-30 flights a day that leave Amsterdam for U.S. destinations, and passengers at gates without one will be patted down.

    A standard pat down wouldn’t have found these explosives. A tiny amount of powder in the underwear won’t be noticed during a standard pat down. The pat downs will have to be really invasive for stuff like that to be found. Terrorists can just ask for pat downs.

    Unless they are also swabbed for explosives – their bodies, not just their carry on luggage – or have explosives-sniffing dogs or something, the pat downs won’t work.

  135. 135
    freelancer says:

    @Lisa K.:

    In the past two weeks, I’ve read exactly 1 post on this year’s Colts and Manning by TNC. “Fellating” is kinda overdoing it. Not as bad as eastriver’s whinging about pet pics, but still. Just sayin.

  136. 136
    tavella says:

    I’m mostly amused that the Republicans are in full throated FEAR FEAR FEAR YOU SHOULD CRINGE AND QUAIL mode, when every actual person I know is making cracks about granny underwear and setting your balls on fire instead. I flew two days after the attempt, and the only thing I feared was that they would have shut down curb side checking and I would have to stand in one of those awful lines.

    Why do the Republicans want Americans to be cowards?

  137. 137

    Sullivan is referring to the parliamentary principle of ministerial responsibility i.e. the Minister is ultimately accountable and responsible for briefs within his or her purview.

    Well there is a reason why Britain declined from being a world power into being a tourist attraction.

    What is the single most important thing to know about the USA? It’s not Britain. We got rid of their asinine kings and queens. Their whole country rests on a self view and worldview that is mired in pieces of the 15th century.

    Just the fact that he would say something as grotesque as this:

    It may be a cultural hangover from my British youth but in my view, when government reveals itself as incompetent in tracing potential terrorists, even when basically handed them on a plate, someone needs to take the fall.

    … then it’s time to stop reading him. Yeah, the British government is all about competance. Always has been. We should adopt their whole model.

    Oh wait … we had it once and told them to shove it up their asses. Ergo, we were able to save them from WWII and also invent the electric guitar for their amusement. We really don’t need them to tell us how to be a country. And if we did, Sully would not be the instructor.

  138. 138
    Citizen Alan says:

    Personally, I think it’s because Napolitano’s a woman and Sully is the most overtly misogynistic pundit who is not an unabashed right-winger. He hates Palin and Hillary equally, and they have virtually nothing in common except being female, and the only women I ever remember him speaking favorably of are Thatcher, Mother Theresa and Neda Soltan (the latter of whom are dead).

  139. 139
    MattR says:

    @asiangrrlMN: I know strippers are not considered too bright, but how difficult can it be to do a full body search. I’m sure all the doughy white Americans will shut up about the invasiveness if it is being done by a hottie of the appropriate sex.

  140. 140
    Lisa K. says:

    @freelancer:

    Go back a couple more weeks.

    I do not read *him* anymore, either. Wonder if he plotzed and made excuses for that epic fail of a Colts game this week…

  141. 141
    MattR says:

    @DonBelacquaDelPurgatorio:

    What is the single most important thing to know about the USA? It’s not Britain.

    I say this to my friend’s English wife all the time :)

  142. 142
    Dave C says:

    I believe that Andrew Sullivan, as much as I like him, may be contractually obligated to put forth at minimum one ridiculously stupid idea per week.

  143. 143
    John O says:

    @MattR:

    Great idea, Matt, since it has the potential to solve several problems and bring in some much needed jobs and revenue all at the same time: The airlines could compete for charging a little extra, for…uh, say, “additional services.”

  144. 144
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Lisa K.:

    Coates spends too much time fellating Peyton Manning for my taste.

    I love me some Coates, but wow, did you nail it with that one.

  145. 145
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Violet: Ah, crap. I skimmed instead of scanned. You are correct. This is shit. I would take it back if I could. Full body cavity searches and stripdowns are the only things that could possibly prevent such attempted acts. Again, Americans wouldn’t stand for it.

    @MattR: LOVE IT! And, I bet strippers are a lot smarter than people give them credit for.

  146. 146
    sgwhiteinfla says:

    Just want to point out late in this thread that Sullivan is calling for accountability while he is pretty much the only blogger at the Atlantic that still doesn’t allow comments.

    Yeah, he is REAL big on accountability except when it comes to himself

  147. 147
    SGEW says:

    @MattR:

    I know strippers are not considered too bright. . . .

    Actually, I’ve known almost half a dozen individuals who had worked as exotic dancers at one point or another, and they were all of at least above-average intelligence. Additionally, they all had bachelor’s degrees, four of them had finished their master’s programs, and one of them is now a PhD. [But this is may be sampling bias.]

  148. 148

    Why do the Republicans want Americans to be cowards?

    A. Misery loves company.

    B. A frightened populace won’t ask inconvenient questions like “Where the fuck did all the money and jobs go?”

    C. The only thing they have … is fear itself.

    Take your pick.

  149. 149
    evinfuilt says:

    So someone must be held accountable for allowing someone who boarded a plane in 2 counties, and put his pants on fire above detroit?

    I know, how about the nimwits who pissed off half the world so they wanted to try and suicide bomb, people like Sullivan.

  150. 150
    Tsulagi says:

    @Violet:

    Huh? He had a multiple-entry visa to the US. He got it in June, 2008.

    Was going by reporting like this that he was allowed to board in Amsterdam without a passport. Briefly looked now to see if there was also any report mentioning that he also wasn’t actually carrying the visa document issued, but couldn’t find one. Any rate, not a moment of glory for the system.

  151. 151
    freelancer says:

    @Lisa K.:

    I did an advanced google search of his blog, you were right. I apologize.

    Doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop reading him, though.

  152. 152
    mcd410x says:

    @Ash: I’m pretty sure this proves my point in an earlier thread that there’s not enough news to fill 24 hours so … clowns!

  153. 153
    robertdsc says:

    Or, Maggie Cheung

    Yummy with a capital Y.

  154. 154
    Ravi J says:

    Sullivan “It may be a cultural hangover from my British youth”
    Cole “And it doesn’t sound British to me”

    That indeed is British. Unfortunately, also prevalent in their former colonies. Govt stability in a parliamentary democracy is fragile. Ministers are made to resign for reason that have absolutely nothing to do with the core issue.

  155. 155
    Lisa K. says:

    @sgwhiteinfla:

    Just want to point out late in this thread that Sullivan is calling for accountability while he is pretty much the only blogger at the Atlantic that still doesn’t allow comments.

    He claimed he polls his readers and they don’t want them.

  156. 156
    Paris says:

    I would like the guy who helped Mr. Fire DownBelow get on the plane in Amsterdam without a passport held accountable. You know, the well dressed Indian looking gentleman? It seems like that was the security breach right there.

  157. 157
    Lisa K. says:

    @freelancer:

    I did an advanced google search of his blog, you were right. I apologize. Doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop reading him, though.

    Well, no, I wouldn’t expect you to. And anyway, he is not a complete moron like Sullivan or McArdle, that’s for sure.

  158. 158
    AhabTRuler says:

    Well there is a reason why Britain declined from being a world power into being a tourist attraction.

    Yes, they spent too much money on the military and fought too many imperial wars.

  159. 159
    freelancer says:

    @Paris:

    Mr. Fire DownBelow

    Oh the WIN, it is succulent.

  160. 160
    Dreggas says:

    @Violet:

    At Albany International Airport (har har) in Albany NY they have an exlosives detector that most have to pass through…with their shoes on. It detects gun powder (which can be a headache if you flew in to hunt during hunting season) as well as other explosives. It seems to me these could be installed elsewhere and not need to x-ray people.

  161. 161
    Adrienne says:

    @Sasha: OMG. Sasha, you are totally published! Congrats on being a “Dissent of the Day” on his site. That’s one thing you gotta respect about Sully. He puts counter-arguments and criticisms of his arguments front and center.

  162. 162
    Violet says:

    @Tsulagi:

    The “report” you cite is just a repetition of a claim by someone that they heard someone say he didn’t have a passport.

    Then there are reports like this:

    There was nothing suspicious about a man alleged to have carried an explosive device onto a Detroit-bound flight in Amsterdam on Christmas Day, the Dutch government said Wednesday.

    Interior Minister Guusje Ter Horst spoke to reporters as her government released the results of its investigation into how 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253 while allegedly having an explosive device strapped to his leg and despite his being on a terror watch list.

    Abdulmutallab was carrying a valid Nigerian passport and a valid U.S. travel visa and did not appear on any Dutch lists of terror suspects.

    According to the Dutch government, he had a valid Nigerian passport and a valid U.S. visa.

  163. 163
    John O says:

    @AhabTRuler:

    Perfect.

    I would add that this is the consistent mistake of every #1 Superpower throughout all of History.

    You’d think…never mind.

  164. 164
    Lisa K. says:

    @Adrienne:

    He puts counter-arguments and criticisms of his arguments front and center.

    That must be why he doesn’t allow a comments section.

  165. 165
    Adrienne says:

    @psychobroad:

    I quit reading Sullivan when he proclaimed that he could NEVER support abortion, under any circumstances. What a dick.

    Maybe you should give him another shot then, because following Dr. Tillman’s murder, he very publicly wrestled with his stance on the issue, posting story after story of women and couples who have had to make the gutwrenching decision to terminate late term. It definitely seemed to soften his stance.

  166. 166
    Violet says:

    @Dreggas:
    It seems like those sorts of explosives detectors should be easy enough to install. I don’t know anything about them – never seen one. Are they expensive? I’ve seen the handheld ones – where they have some swab that they run over your carry on bags and then test. I’ve had that done to my bags a few times.

    I wonder if the walk-through explosives detectors would pick up the small amount this guy had in his undies?

  167. 167
    John O says:

    @Adrienne:

    That is true, and since I’ve read Andrew for so long, was quite something.

    I don’t know if Sullivan got further than, “Maybe it isn’t as clear-cut as I thought,” but it was intellectually credible for him to publicly consider he might not quite be right.

  168. 168
    SGEW says:

    @sgwhiteinfla: Aw jeez, sgw, fellow Ambinder commenter, don’t make me have to defend Andrew “Have I Mentioned That I’ve Actually Read Oakeshott?” Sullivan here, again, but: a) Fallows and Goldberg don’t have comments either (as do many other bloggers whom I admire, such as Wolcott and Horton), b) Sully had a reader poll, c) he reads (and responds to and posts remarkably rapidly!) many of his readers’ emails, especially when they disagree, and d) comment threads there would be a monstrous cesspool of trolls – they would be the WORST THREADS EVER (even worse than at Yglesias’ or The Economist!). So I actually am rather glad that he doesn’t have them.

    There! My requisite Atlantic apologia for the day!

  169. 169
    Adrienne says:

    @Lisa K.:

    That must be why he doesn’t allow a comments section.

    Actually, I understand his decision. He has WAY too many readers and he posts too much for a comments section to be feasible for him. Also, many of his posts are essentially short form essays which require longer, more reasoned, and well thought out responses than blog comments are typically suited for. If I were Sully, I wouldn’t have comments either.

  170. 170
    AhabTRuler says:

    I don’t know if Sullivan got further than, “Maybe it isn’t as clear-cut as I thought,” but it was intellectually credible for him to publicly consider he might not quite be right.

    As long as he didn’t strain himself.

    ETA: Ya’ll are all-day suckers. Sullivan will burn you time and time again. He lacks intellectual consistency and discipline.

  171. 171
    Lisa K. says:

    @Adrienne:

    “Actually, I understand his decision. He has WAY too many readers and he posts too much for a comments section to be feasible for him. Also, many of his posts are essentially short form essays which require longer, more reasoned, and well thought out responses than blog comments are typically suited for. If I were Sully, I wouldn’t have comments either.”

    Nope. He is just an enormous coward who doesn’t want to be shown up by his readers.

    IMO, Sullivan is nothing but a big bag of hot air in love with the sound of his own voice. I’ve almost nothing good to say about him or his writing.

  172. 172
    Violet says:

    @Adrienne:

    I don’t mind Sully not having a comments section either. I think there’s advantages and disadvantages of having them. Sully does post dissents and other comments from his readers, so it’s not like he’s living in a complete vacuum.

  173. 173
    les says:

    @Adrienne:

    Hmm. Saw some of the public wrestling, sure missed the stance softening; unless “I can kinda sorta see how some other people might think that there could possibly be mitigating circumstances” counts. Amazingly, no such issues with his own little deviation from Catholic doctrine.

  174. 174
    John O says:

    I have no issues whatsoever with Sully’s comments position, at least as long as he keeps his e-mail lines open, and has the stones to publish usually well-written dissents, often via e-mail.

    He’s personally responded to me a coupla times, and I know he gets zillions of e-mails, and I believe he’s doing his best inside his own twisted paradigm.

    Much like we all do, though not quite so out of the closet, as it were.

    Personally, I’m glad his Man, The Atlantic, lets him decide.

  175. 175
    John O says:

    @Lisa K.:

    I guess I don’t consider your position and mine mutually exclusive, in the slightest.

  176. 176
    Adrienne says:

    @John O:

    I don’t know if Sullivan got further than, “Maybe it isn’t as clear-cut as I thought,” but it was intellectually credible for him to publicly consider he might not quite be right.

    I agree 100%. It was remarkable to watch/read the shift in real time. I’m not sure exactly where he ended up on the issue, but you could definitely see his hard stance cracking. It was interesting to see someone who had been so adamant about it publicly acknowledge that they were reconsidering the issue in terms of people’s real world experiences.

  177. 177
    Lisa K. says:

    @John O:

    I guess I don’t consider your position and mine mutually exclusive, in the slightest.

    Well, good. Glad to know *someone* understands…

  178. 178
    tomvox1 says:

    Sully Puzzler du Jour:

    Hold a thorough investigation and fire everyone in the chain of command who let the Jihadist onto a plane.

    Does Sully mean the Dutch airport security apparatus? Because I’m not sure Obama’s authority extends quite that far…unless he was named Caeser Augustus while I was drunk on glug over the holidays.

  179. 179
    les says:

    @Violet:

    It’s clearly and rightly his call on having comments; but to me he gets near zero credit for reposting his hand picked responses, to his hand picked post…which we now know may well not even be his.

  180. 180
    Violet says:

    @John O:
    He’s never responded to me. Ever. Or posted anything of mine that I have sent him. I saw something a little while back where he said he tried to respond to most emails. I guess mine must end up in the spam filter or something.

  181. 181
    MattR says:

    @Violet: By “most” he probably means those that he can rebut in some way.

  182. 182
    Violet says:

    @les:
    Yeah, I agree with the hand picking issue. But at least he puts dissenters, even if hand picked, on the front page so they get seen. If all your dissent is in the comments, not everyone will see that. So I guess I see both sides.

  183. 183
    freelancer says:

    @Violet:

    A while back, he wrote something about his theology that was damn close to atheistic, so I emailed him and let him know that his position is the closest he’s ever come to having my full agreement on the subject of spirituality and I linked him to Hemant Mehta’s post about questions that can be posed to have a constructive dialogue between atheists and religious people. He posted an exerpt from that post, and sent a thank you email to me. I do think that he responds to most emails that he ends up utilizing.

  184. 184
    tomvox1 says:

    @Lisa K.:

    Nobody over at the Atlantic is worth the time it takes to click on them.

    Disagree mildly. Fallows has been good lately, especially re: the incredible black hole of ignorance that is print and broadcast journalism these days. His “Manufactured Failure” series on Obama’s China visit was bang on the money, IMHO.

    http://jamesfallows.theatlanti.....a.php#more

    Sorry for the link… ;)

  185. 185
    Lisa K. says:

    @MattR:

    By “most” he probably means those that he can rebut in some way.

    Yup. And nobody gets to respond to Andrew’s rebuttals, because he is always right.

  186. 186
    John O says:

    @Violet:

    Well, that’s because you suck and are clearly not as cool as I am in the lottery that is Andrew’s reply list. ;-)

    I was SHOCKED when I got a reply. And more so subsequently.

    I’m not talking out of school at all by saying that I’ve told Andrew, “by definition–gay devout Catholic–you’re weird, but I sure appreciate [your humanity].”

  187. 187
    tomvox1 says:

    @Tsulagi:

    Napolitano said the plane landed safely and no casualties because “the system worked.” Umm, bullshit.

    That is bullshit because that’s not what Napolitano said. This is what she said in toto:

    “Once this incident occurred, everything went according to clockwork, not only sharing throughout the air industry, but also sharing with state and local law enforcement. Products were going out on Christmas Day, they went out yesterday, and also to the industry to make sure that the traveling public remains safe. I would leave you with that message. The traveling public is safe. We have instituted some additional screening and security measures, in light of this incident, but, again, everyone reacted as they should. The system, once the incident occurred, the system worked.”

  188. 188
    Lisa K. says:

    @tomvox1:

    Disagree mildly. Fallows has been good lately, especially re: the incredible black hole of ignorance that is print and broadcast journalism these days. His “Manufactured Failure” series on Obama’s China visit was bang on the money, IMHO. http://jamesfallows.theatlanti…..a.php#more
    Sorry for the link… ;)

    That is quite ok. If I am missing something worth reading, I appreciate being informed.

  189. 189
    Violet says:

    @freelancer: @John O:
    I’m actually kind of glad to hear that he really does reply. I wondered if he was just trying to make himself look good by making such a claim. It’s not like anyone could really find out if he wasn’t telling the truth.

    I use a yahoo address, so really do wonder if my emails have gotten lost in the spam filter.

  190. 190
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Two people today have mentioned that there are reports that Sullivan signs off on posts that he didn’t write, and yet provided no links. Where is this coming from?

  191. 191
    Adrienne says:

    @les:

    unless “I can kinda sorta see how some other people might think that there could possibly be mitigating circumstances” counts

    In my book, going from the mega hardline stance of “No abortions, EVER for any reason and I don’t give a damn what other arguments are out there” to “I can kinda sorta see how other people think” is a HUGE softening. It’s sorta the equivalent to going from “Homosexuality is NEVER acceptable, it’s gonna kill your kids and ruin our country and people who engage in it should be thrown in jail” to “Homosexuality makes me uncomfortable and I still think its wrong, but people should be able to live their own lives”. HUGE difference.

    @Lisa K.:

    Nope. He is just an enormous coward who doesn’t want to be shown up by his readers

    If that were truly the case, why does he bother to put up reader e-mails excoriating him? And it’s not like he puts up bullshit emails just to knock them down. He puts up e-mails like Sasha’s where people make reasoned, and well thought out arguments (there that phrase goes again…) against his views. You may not like it, but it’s his blog and his decision. He clearly reads and considers what people send to him and if a reader makes a good point, he acknowledges that by sharing the e-mail. He’s clearly engaged with his readership which is the larger point. It’s not about the comments/no comments, it’s about engaging and Sully clearly does that.

  192. 192
    MattR says:

    @tomvox1: She did use the phrase “the system worked” more inelegantly in another interview on CNN, but her point was basically the same: that once the attack failed, the various systems that were in place did what they were supposed to – other aircraft in the air were notified, investigations began, etc, etc.

  193. 193
    John O says:

    @Violet:

    Yeah. I didn’t think about it much because I knew it would be safe, and sent it from my personal addy.

    Trust me, if he responds to me, he’ll respond to anything he considers worthy.

  194. 194
    John O says:

    @Adrienne:

    Nicely put. Those are indeed big jumps.

  195. 195
    Adrienne says:

    @Lisa K.:

    By “most” he probably means those that he can rebut in some way.

    Yup. And nobody gets to respond to Andrew’s rebuttals, because he is always right

    I know I’m sounding like a Sully-bot, but it must be nice to live in your own parallel universe. Most of the time when he posts “Dissent of the Day” he posts them free of any extra comments. He mostly lets them stand on their own so that his readers can make their own connections. Sometimes Sully infuriates me as well with his hard-headed streak, (his calling for Napolitano’s head is one such time) but at least criticize him on legit points.

  196. 196
    Violet says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:
    When he took his recent holiday, Patrick, who works for him, mentioned that he often writes the posts even when Andrew is there. This created a bit of a brouhaha. When Andrew returned, he explained it further. I don’t have links but it shouldn’t be too hard to find. It was just a week or two ago.

  197. 197
    John O says:

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/?.....nt-1510619

    Yeah, I don’t see how anyone can criticize Sully for at the very minimum trying to understand things. (Again, as twisted as his poor paradigm is.)

    I read him a lot, and he pisses me off a lot. But he’s consistent to my way of thinking, and that’s usually OK with me.

  198. 198
    Violet says:

    Can’t seem to get edit to work, but here’s the post from Patrick explaining how he writes half the posts, or thereabouts.

  199. 199
    AhabTRuler says:

    Cheeney is a coward. A very rich one. And that was his only goal. He’s a republican.

    Let’s be clear: he wasn’t very rich until late in his life. As Wikipedia states:

    Cheney’s net worth, estimated to be between $30 million and $100 million, is largely derived from his post at Halliburton, as well as the Cheneys’ gross income of nearly $8.82 million.

    Prior to that he had worked in various appointed and elected government positions, which ain’t no way to get rich.
    Cheney got into the political arena for the power.

  200. 200
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Violet:
    Thanks. Here’s the link.

    I notice Appel also put up a subsequent post trying to explain it:

    nearly everything I write is a naked link or excerpt. If excerpting without comment seems inappropriate, because I believe Andrew will want to respond to a linked post or because I’m unsure about his position, I make sure that Sullivan sees and edits it before posting. I never pretend to be Andrew (for instance, neither Chris nor I ever use the term “I” or “me” when writing under Andrew’s name).

    BFD. If it’s not Sullivan, he shouldn’t be posting it under his name.

    One reader compared it to a politician’s speechwriter or a ghostwriter or something. I guess Sully has more in common with Sarah Palin than he’d like to think. ;-)

  201. 201
    cokane says:

    this is more of the ridiculous idea that doing something NOW is better than doing nothing while waiting for investigations to finish. It’s the same kind of thinking that led to the Iraq invasion. It’s sad that Sullivan seems to be infected with a light case of it.

  202. 202
    cat48 says:

    Pete Williams, NBC, said she was not responsible for the lists. He said that would be Dennis Blair, Director of Intelligence, where all the info should be sent and listed properly. Williams has been there for yrs so I guess he should know. Is that not the problem? that the little terrorist was allowed to fly is what I’m upset about, not someone’s performance on a talk show.

    Napolitano’s message was “inartful” as her boss would say. I don’t think people should be fired for that. I knew what she meant, but the media went right along with the Repugs with the msg. She was out early the next a.m. and corrected the msg. I sorta feel sorry for her because she had to go on that apology tour after that Homeland Security Report came out that listed right-wing militias and white supremacist as threats to the homeland…..this also included some veterans. So she had to go speak to the VFW & apologize along with another group that was offended. The kicker is this was a Bush report that so inflamed the wingnuts.

  203. 203
    Leelee for Obama says:

    Why do the Republicans want Americans to be cowards?

    Because American cowards regularly vote Republican, from home, absentee. So the trrists cain’t kill em while they sell their souls for a pot of soup.

    Just Sayin”

  204. 204
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Leelee for Obama: I have pissed off the edit function-it wouldn’t let me edit my post? What ever have I done to deserve that?

    If I could have edited the above post, I would have changed souls to birthrights. More biblical, don’tchaknow?

  205. 205
    Violet says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:
    I agree. I don’t like the idea of reading Andrew Sullivan’s blog, as ghostwritten by any number of other people. It smacks of untruth. But I still enjoy his blog, so….I keep reading.

    @cat48: I kind of feel sorry for Napolitano too. I agree – she was “inartful” but that shouldn’t mean her head should be delivered on a platter.

    That whole wingnut apology tour was horrible. The Dems should have stuck to their guns and kept repeating names like Timothy McVeigh, etc. to hammer home why it’s important to keep an eye on all sorts of people, not just scary brown ones.

  206. 206
    sgwhiteinfla says:

    Just a question but why do people actually buy that Sullivan “polled his readers” when he has offered absolutely no evidence that he did? I mean maybe its me but who exactly would vote against a comments section that YOU know of? And how exactly would he poll his readership when he doesn’t have, ya know, comments?

    Aye, evidently I missed my calling as a real estate agent specializing in swamp front property or something, but I have to say its pretty amazing that people believe that.

  207. 207
    Lisa K. says:

    @Adrienne:

    I know I’m sounding like a Sully-bot

    Yup, you do.

    He posts ONE, maybe two dissents-from the multitudes he gets. He chooses what dissent to put out there, most of which is pretty tame. My guess is that he is challenged a lot harder and more forcefully than he cares to let on, but being Andrew Sullivan who cannot be wrong, he hides behind that no comment policy. It is infuriating.

    That is a pretty legitimate point, I think. The man is a self-important buffoon. Enjoy if you must, but don’t expect the rest of us to share your opinion.

  208. 208
    DougL says:

    @trollhattan:

    “No, honey, we don’t call it that anymore. It’s called a ‘Freedom Oven’, now.”

  209. 209
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @sgwhiteinfla: Back in the day, I actually voted in that poll. He ran a graphic for a short while and then said we agreed with no comments. I always thought he fibbed about that.

  210. 210
    Lisa K. says:

    @sgwhiteinfla:

    Just a question but why do people actually buy that Sullivan “polled his readers” when he has offered absolutely no evidence that he did?

    I don’t believe him at all. In fact, I am quite certain he is lying about that.

  211. 211
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @DougL: That is vewwy funny!

  212. 212
    SGEW says:

    @sgwhiteinfla: I voted against having comments on that poll (I selfishly voted against having comments there because I am perversely attracted to bad comment threads, and having them at Sullivan’s would be both tremendously aggravating and a terrible time-waster for me). And it was the same polling software that he always uses (i.e., you can vote any number of times until the countdown runs out; I voted multiple times). Not very objective at all, of course (Sully could have had his coterie of interns frantically clicking away at the poll for all I know, I suppose), but it was relatively out in the open.

    Ok, more apologia: I read Sullivan because he changes his mind when challenged with reality, sometimes. But often enough to make it worthwhile! I mean, we’re in the comment section of fucking Balloon-Juice for fuck’s sake! At least Sully didn’t vote for Bush in 2004 (no really, we forgive you John, honest). I’ll take integrity where I can find it.

    Humans: we are wrong, sometimes (often?). Correcting ourselves is as good as we get.

  213. 213
    Tsulagi says:

    @tomvox1: Okay, got me there with the full quote providing context.

    During the past week haven’t really followed the underwear bomber story in depth as unlike the Depends wearing baggers like Cheney wasn’t that frightened. More interested in having some holiday fun with the kids while they’re out of school. Only heard bits and pieces on cable news.

    Bottom line is, unless I missed the full context on this too, President Obama said the incident was able to occur due to a systemic failure. I’d agree with that statement. DHS is part of that system and the lead agency responsible for security within the U.S. They don’t get to say “but the other guys didn’t do their job.” You don’t always want to depend on the other guy doing his job.

    Napolitano heads that agency. Not a moment of glory for her department as that plane could have been brought down if PETN nuts had just a little more training. But on balance, as I first commented, don’t think Napolitano should be canned. Merely hope she gets her agency to step it up a little. The country craves competence.

  214. 214
    Ella in NM says:

    Yeah, Sully’s gone over the deep end again with his misogyny. And the reason he knows that we all think he’s an idiot is that he reads to comments under John’s posts–an act that his impossible at his site because he requires you write him an email that will be carefully screened by his wanker staff.

    I really hate it when he gets all Drama-Queenish.

  215. 215
    chuck says:

    God allowed this to happen. God has to go.

  216. 216
    Mayken says:

    @Violet: And he traveling on a legitimate Nigerian passport.

  217. 217
    Mike G says:

    This never would have happened if Nigeria had given firecrotch guy a tax cut.

  218. 218
    Sasha says:

    @Adrienne:

    The first step of my 1000-mile journey to become a paid political pundit has just been taken.

    :)

  219. 219
    Trinity says:

    Sullivan is a jackass.

    That is all.

  220. 220
    Hob says:

    @Tsulagi: You’re repeating debunked rumors. He had a passport and a visa – at least the Dutch say so, and the only claim to the contrary came from a random guy who said he overheard a conversation at the ticket counter.

    As for the “system worked” thing, no one seems to give a crap about the context of the original quote now but she absolutely did not say that “the system” stopped the damn bomb from going off– she just said that everything else went OK after the bomb failed to go off, which may be a pretty meaningless statement but doesn’t have anything to do with whatever you’re criticizing her for.

  221. 221
    Hob says:

    @Hob: Sorry, I see that was already addressed upthread. That’s what happens when I keep old browser windows open.

  222. 222
    mo says:

    @sgwhiteinfla:

    I also voted in his poll against comments. There are very few blogs that I think have comment sections worth reading – this one, TNCs, a couple others. It takes a fair amount of effort to build and maintain a thoughtful, constructive commenting community and there is NO way that would happen at his blog – too many posts and too many readers.

    I think his system for publishing email dissents actually encourages people to make more robust arguments and reading those is a more valuable use of my time. Otherwise, there’s too much drivel to sort through.

  223. 223
    Comrade Kevin says:

    You Keep Using That Word

    I watched that movie this afternoon! It never gets old.

  224. 224
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @John O: I’ll tell you how–because he has to go through the same damn fucking ‘wrestling’ every single fucking time. He never makes a connection from issue to issue, and it always has to take SO much fucking angst and self-dramatization to reach ANY point of ‘Huh, maybe you might have a point.’ I saw him on Olbermann after Dr. Tiller’s murder, and he was disgusting. Any respect I had for him up until that point (which was very little) went away. He is a privileged white male who if he didn’t happen to be gay would never fucking question anything about the status quo. Him wrestling with his beliefs is the very bare minimum I expect for any kind of so-called pundit. That is why I criticize him for ‘wrestling’ with his beliefs in such a very dramatic, overwrought, public way every single fucking time. He’ll do the same thing with this incident and maybe at some point he will acknowledge that perhaps some of what he said was a little bit of bullshit, and then he will move on.

    @Trinity: Um, or what she said. Yeah.

  225. 225
    SGEW says:

    I’m just going to say it again:

    Everyone who is criticizing Sullivan for past grievances (e.g., the Bell Curve, Betsy McCaughey, “Fifth Collumn,” etc.) must at least acknowledge that they are frequenters of John “I voted for George W. Bush Twice!” Cole’s blog, who, assumedly, do not despise their blog host.

    People develop. It’s fascinating to watch.

  226. 226
    fraught says:

    @Ella in NM: There must be a way to imply “drama-queen” without making it sound phobic when when we use it about Andrew. We all know he’s always whipping out the hanky he has tucked into his sleeve to stem the vapors but does that necessarily mean it’s a gay trait? Yes? OK, never mind then.

  227. 227
    Lesley says:

    If Sullivan hadn’t written this ghastly open letter romanticizing George Bush in the Atlantic he might have a smidgen of a point, but sorry, NO NO NO.

  228. 228
    budgiephil says:

    I flew home today from Pittsburgh, and I have to say that the screening process wasn’t that different than the times I have previously flown in the past few years. I think there was a little more scrutiny, but not in such a way to be a serious inconvenience. The public behaved admirably–nobody was panicking, or acting testy, or losing their cool. I think the average American is far more sensible and courageous than these craven cable pundits and winger politicians. They are trying to whip the public into hysteria, but from what I can see, most people have gotten wise to this nonsense and are relatively unaffected by it.

  229. 229
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    And it doesn’t sound British to me, it sounds like something out of Shogun. Should she just disembowel herself on the Capitol steps so she no longer has to live with the shame?

    As already said, this is the doctrine of minsterial responsibility. Ministers are held to be responsible for the actions of their department.

    The rationale behind it is to prevent ministers from scapegoating underlings and also to encourage ministers to get on top of their portfolios comprehensively and expeditiously before something actually does go wrong.

    It’s been pretty much dead in most Westminster countries for 30 years or more and the US system of blaming your political enemies, scapegoating underlings or simply ignoring the issue is now usual practice.

    If you want to understand how it all works I would suggest the illustrated text book on British Parliamentary practices, Yes Minister. Hopefully available at your nearest video store.

  230. 230
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @SGEW:

    Well, no. Cole’s transformation was steady but sure. And now he has likely passed me and maybe some others on the trek leftward. Very little lurching to and fro, like Sullivan. And I don’t believe Sully has really renounced the GOP like Cole has. It has been more pick and choose, with more than a few relapses into bugfuck crazy wingnuttery. No comparison IMO.

    Sullivan is still a wingnut I think, with occasional fits of sanity and self effacement. Cole, not so much — pretty much a fait accompli to common sense based hippism. Not the other kind.

  231. 231
    Steeplejack says:

    Just got to this thread, and I apologize in advance, because I’m sure this point has already been made, but where was Sullivan’s finely tuned samurai sense of accountability during the eight years of the Bush-Cheney fuckfest?!

    Okay, I think my head will not explode now.

  232. 232
    SGEW says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: Those are some pretty good points, Mssr. Stuck. There is, indeed, no fair comparison between the “rehabilitation” of Cole and Sullivan (and I’ve been reading both of ’em (and either commenting or emailing them, respectively) since the fever days of, oh, say, 2002 or so (so long ago!)). [But there is still something to be said for the timing (i.e., 2004 vs. 2006), but I’ll leave Mr. Cole’s long twilight of wingnuttery aside for now.]

    However, I would quibble with labeling Sullivan as still being a “wingnut.” Knee-jerk contrarian (a la Slate’s worst impulses) perhaps, and stuck (as it were) in a certain Tory policy mindset (acknowledge the U.S.A.’s own definition of “class,” dammit!), but not full-on wingnut anymore. No wingnut would be so fully and substantively against torture, for instance, or would have such a nuanced view of Obama’s foreign policy (even when he may be wrong; but it is, at least, nuanced).

  233. 233
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @SGEW:

    No wingnut would be so fully and substantively against torture, for instance

    Fair point. I will just call him still basically a republican for the most part. That’s the best I can do.

    The here and now always trumps past indiscretions. But that’s just me.

  234. 234

    Sully for gad’s sake. Ok, terminal stupidity is no bar to readership I guess.

  235. 235
    SGEW says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: I guess I should add that the torture issue has been kind of a really big deal for me, personally. So Andrew Sullivan’s writing on the subject (which has been, let’s face it, pretty outstanding) tends to make me want to forgive (or at least overlook) any other lesser faults he may have.

  236. 236
    Mako says:

    Should she just disembowel herself on the Capitol steps

    Oh dear god yes. Somebody’s got to do it first, might as well be some woman. Can you imagine how great it would be if politicians ritually killed themselves on the Capitol steps? Sweetness. And fire.

  237. 237
    silentbeep says:

    I love smallpox, but it has those unsightly eruptions.

    ( eyes roll like reels on a slot machine )

    Good lord, Sully is a blithering fucking world class idiot. an intellectual train wreck.

    “He has his faults.”

    Hey, you know who else had faults?”

    ———

    Um, I take it you don’t like him? Because I wasn’t quite sure…

    I will read him anyway. Read someone else.

    :)

  238. 238
    silentbeep says:

    oh and another thing: I read Sully precisely because I don’t agree with him a fair amount of the time, and I am not a conservative and he is. I don’t solely read things just to re-inforce what I already think I want to hear different viewpoints. When I want feel-good liberal cheerleading (and this is honestly a compliment) that I largely agree with I come here. Here and Glenzilla for liberal skewering too – J.C and Glen do not fuck around! It’s fun to read.

  239. 239
    Citizen Alan says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Sullivan is still a wingnut I think, with occasional fits of sanity and self effacement.

    There are areas where he is arguably leftist, at least to the extent that a sadistic preference for torturing terrorism suspects instead of using more reliable interrogation methods to gain actionable intelligence is now fundamental to rightwing thinking. That said, I strongly believe that if Hillary had won the Democratic primary and subsequently the election, Sully would have immediately become a hard-core Republican again.

  240. 240
    Citizen Alan says:

    @SGEW:

    I guess I should add that the torture issue has been kind of a really big deal for me, personally. So Andrew Sullivan’s writing on the subject (which has been, let’s face it, pretty outstanding) tends to make me want to forgive (or at least overlook) any other lesser faults he may have.

    Agreed. A lot of my frustration over the state of HCR is that I convinced myself that Obama refused to prosecute the war crimes of the Bush Administration because he thought that doing so was the only way to get a decent health care reform bill passed. And then, we got what I still think is a shitty HCR bill, and all I can think is that we let the bastards get away with it for nothing.

  241. 241
    Nora Carrington says:

    I’ll 2nd the comments by Citizen Alan (and others) about Sully’s misogyny. It’s so deep in the bone with him it’s a reflex. His perverse, nearly sexual obsession with Palin is part of the same syndrome. I don’t get the whole gay Catholic thing, but whatever floats his boat. But every once in a great while, he writes something like and I have to give the man some credit for the clarity of his thought, and his magisterial prose style.

    Then he slams yet another woman for little or no reason, and slams her in a particularly smarmy way, and the glow fades again.

    If Coates would learn to proofread, I’d nominate him for any blogger of the year award out there. Unique voice.

  242. 242
    Mnemosyne says:

    @SGEW:

    Everyone who is criticizing Sullivan for past grievances (e.g., the Bell Curve, Betsy McCaughey, “Fifth Collumn,” etc.) must at least acknowledge that they are frequenters of John “I voted for George W. Bush Twice!” Cole’s blog, who, assumedly, do not despise their blog host.

    I can forgive Sully for everything but the Bell Curve bullshit because that’s not behind him — he continues to pull it out from time to time to this day. If he wants to be forgiven for that, he needs to actually, you know, change his views instead of continuing to insist that it’s all true and he has yet another a new and shiny “expert” to point to.

  243. 243
    Lisa K. says:

    @Trinity:

    Sullivan is a jackass.
    That is all.

    Yes.

    @SGEW:

    I guess I should add that the torture issue has been kind of a really big deal for me, personally. So Andrew Sullivan’s writing on the subject (which has been, let’s face it, pretty outstanding) tends to make me want to forgive (or at least overlook) any other lesser faults he may have.

    It also shows how far we have fallen as an enlightened civilization when simply being against torture-a core value we once all shared, right and left-excuses all all other faults, like trying to deflect criticism for your own actions by deflecting it to others (his statement that Al Gore would certainly have invaded Iraq as well) or by condemning identity politics (Sonia Sotomayor) while being the master of employing them. I mean, John McCain came out against torture, too, but I bet no one gives him a pass for Sarah Palin because of it, or for being a right wing toady.

  244. 244
    mandarama says:

    @Lisa K.:

    Coates spends too much time fellating Peyton Manning for my taste.

    Oh…I guess so. I actually don’t read any sports stuff. When I see that topic I just skim down. But since I live in TN, I’m used to sort of tuning out when I hear Peyton’s name.

  245. 245
    salvage says:

    Andy is an idiot, he’s not as blatant with his idocy as say Jonah Goldberg but he’s certainly in that ballpark.

    I’m not sure why John treats him as if he isn’t.

  246. 246

    […] Wish I Was By Eric Martin, on December 31st, 2009 I tend to come down on the John Cole side of the Cole/Sullivan debate about whether Obama should fire Janet Neopalitano prior to the results […]

  247. 247
    Ed Drone says:

    @Alex S.:

    Since Obama appointed Napolitano and the voters appointed Obama – clearly, the voters should resign.

    Oh, God, don’t give them any ideas! We’re already in permanent 2010 election mode, so getting our voters to resign is not a good thing.

    Also, too:

    Most Americans are just pissed off flying became a bigger pain in the ass.

    Pun noted.

    Ed

  248. 248
    bob h says:

    It is pretty clear that the cockup occurred in the intelligence agencies -NCTC-over which Napolitano has no control. Probably the same individuals who had 9/11 on their hands, since Bush never fired anyone.

    One assumes Obama is going to fire those responsible.

  249. 249
    Mike G says:

    What asiangrrlMN said.
    His ‘grappling with my beliefs’ has become a schtick of his column, a Lucy-holding-the-football tease that repeats over and over that somehow never results in budging an inch of his fucked-up ideology. It’s the kind of mental exercise I’d expect from a thinking college student in their early twenties; in a middle-aged man it is just pathetic. After being massively wrong, over and over, you bravely admit that occasionally there might be a tiny flaw in your thinking that deserves reconsideration at some point in the future that never seems to arrive. What do you want, a cookie?

    Bats Left Throws Right has the final word —
    “…some fat fucking crypto-homicidal Brit who came into my country and called me a Fifth Columnist, after which he belatedly noticed that the Nazi prison guards he was palling around with didn’t care much for his kind, either, and suddenly turned into a rational non-partisan.”

  250. 250
    Badger3k says:

    There’s no need for anyone to resign. Since it doesn’t have to be anybody responsible, Palin proactively resigned to make up for this failure. She was thinking of the country…

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