Further to The Sullivan File

Ah, Andrew.

Sullivan is at it again.

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I don’t often write about Andrew Sullivan, in part because the two parts of his work I dislike the most — his propensity for “man on a horse” hero-worship and his difficulties with science and numbers — are both dealt with more than capably by others, including front pagers here.

On the affirmative side, I keep quiet about him in part because he’s been right on some big things, at times when a lot of others weren’t — I’m thinking particularly of his torture posts.

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But he’s got an item up now that got to me, an awesome mix of intellectual laziness and simple wrongness contained within just four words of a one-paragraph long piece.  Of the possibility of revolt at the hostage ransom to be paid to those who hate America, he writes (under the headline “Pelosi’s Pique”):

The threat not to bring the tax cut deal to the floor of the House seems particularly dumb to me…this is presumably a vent rather than a determined strategy for obstruction. At least I hope so. Between Pelosi and McCain, [emphasis added] the sheer difficulty of getting anything done in this polarized climate, even stuff supported by hefty margins among the public, is beyond depressing.

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What gravels me most, is (a) the insult to Pelosi by comparing her to McCain in any way and (b) the awesome stupidity of the suggestion that it is Pelosi (or the House Democrats) who are to blame for gridlock.

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On the McCain juxtaposition:

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Recall that the senior Senator from Arizona has an almost impossibly thin legislative record for someone who has been in Congress for 28 years.

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Pelosi on the other hand?  Here’s a tally of the major legislation passed in the 111th Congress.  Every one of those bills was passed under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, of course; nearly every one was opposed and obstructed by that waste of valuable Congressional stationery, John McCain.  He’s been great for his Indian gaming friends, but he has stood by as the GOP-selected activist Supremes gutted his signature (shared) accomplishment:  the McCain Feingold campaign finance law.

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Sullivan, of course, knows this.  I’m assuming he’s pissed at McCain for his grotesque anti-gay bigotry on DADT.  I am too.  But that ain’t Pelosi’s fault.

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And all that frames the obvious second point.  The Democrats have been trying hard, as we all know, actually to get things done.  They may not have been nearly as effective as we would like, but that is not, in the end, really their/our fault.  As noted today right here, that outcome is baked into the difference of aims and incentives between the Grotesque Old Party and that circular firing squad in which I am proud to be a member.

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And of all the possible legislators to pick on, a leader of the House of Representatives who whipped her caucus into vote after vote on legislation known to be doomed in the McCain-infested Senate has to be the last one you’d choose.  For FSM’s sake:  Pelosi’s House passed the extension of the Bush middle class tax cuts already.  Oy.

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I’m just venting.  Everyone reading this knows all of what I’ve just said.  But when someone like Sullivan, who has in fact mostly figured out that  that everytime the GOP wins something these days, America loses, can’t break that  “both sides do it” b.s. reflex it gives you a sense of how wired for stupid our political discourse is.

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Rule number one:  Don’t give cover to the folks who are holding you, Andrew — and all the rest of us — as hostages.

Images:  Jean Louis Théodore Géricault, The Wounded Cuirassier, 1814.

Édouard Manet, The Execution of Emperor Maximilian, 1867. (added, because I just love this painting.)

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90 replies
  1. 1
    Tom Hilton says:

    I agree on the broader point, but…that temper tantrum the House Democrats threw today was just unforgivably irresponsible. Nobody likes this deal, but unless someone has a plausible path to a preferable alternative it’s just completely insane to do anything but hold your nose and vote for it.

  2. 2
    Zifnab says:

    his propensity for “man on a horse” hero-worship

    Sorry. I read that as “man on horse” and thought we’d switched topics to Rick Santorum.

  3. 3
    fourlegsgood says:

    Andrew is a schmuck.

  4. 4
    JMC_in_the_ATL says:

    One of Sully’s major shortfalls is his inability to give proper credit to women.

  5. 5
    noncarborundum says:

    . . . that waste of valuable Congressional stationary, John McCain.

    Unless this is some sort of clever reference to the Senate’s standing still while the House moves forward, you probably mean “Congressional stationery“.

  6. 6
    Violet says:

    Ruh roh. A Sully post. Guess I need to get some popcorn. And something to hide behind.

  7. 7
    freelancer says:

    This pissed me off too.

    “Goddamn I hate John McCain on this issue, but I can’t slam him without finding some ‘balance’ and pointing the finger at a liberal I dislike too. Uhm, Pelosi. Yeah, that’ll do it. She’s such a partisan, being all effective with legislation and not trusting the loons in the GOP.”

    You could almost see him thinking it.

  8. 8
    mr. whipple says:

    @JMC_in_the_ATL:

    One of Sully’s major shortfalls is his inability to give proper credit to women.

    I thought he found Thatcher to be almost a God, but I may be remembering wrong.

  9. 9
    beltane says:

    On a somewhat related note, Sullivan also blamed today’s riots in London solely on the LibDems with no mention of his beloved Tories. As someone who loves conservatism but who dislikes most conservatives, Sullivan often makes no sense when discussing politics.

  10. 10
    Ozymandias, King of Ants says:

    Somehow, I think Sullivan’s issue with Pelosi is that she had the audacity–I mean the audacity–to be born female.

    He treats all women that way.

  11. 11
    Ozymandias, King of Ants says:

    @JMC_in_the_ATL: Beat me to it.

  12. 12
    Silver says:

    Rule number one: Don’t give cover to the folks who are holding you, Andrew—and all the rest of us—as hostages.

    That would be Mr. Sullivan’s raison d’etre, I’m afraid.

  13. 13
    Zifnab says:

    @beltane:

    On a somewhat related note, Sullivan also blamed today’s riots in London solely on the LibDems with no mention of his beloved Tories.

    Weren’t they… uh… student riots?
    As a student at the University of Texas at Austin, I knew my fair share of liberal and conservative students. Strangely, none of them liked watching class costs and student fees double over four years. I guess when your tuition gets spiked, suddenly everyone is a Democrat.

    If only it showed in the polls. :-p

  14. 14
    Texas Dem says:

    I agree with the broader point about the injustice of any comparisons between McCain and Pelosi, but insofar as the Obama-McConnell tax deal is concerned, Peliosi and the House Dems are just plain stupid. The time to take a firm stand on the tax cuts was BEFORE THEY LOST THE HOUSE, not in a post-shellacking lame duck session. If the House Dems succeed in blowing up this deal they will only guarantee that the Bush tax cuts will be extended next year anyway, and that any future deal will be much, much worse for Dem spending priorities. More importantly, they will deal a crippling blow to whatever is left of the President’s credibility, and the only person that helps is Sarah Palin. Does anyone out there really think that a GOP controlled House is going to give Obama the same deal he has right now? If you do, you’re delusional. The Obama-McConnell deal is the best they’re going to get. End of story. Take the deal and live to fight another day. Why is that so hard to understand?

  15. 15
    IrishGirl says:

    Tom, don’t feel bad about the rant. I read Sullivan regularly and saw that little bs meme too. No one, not even the Dems give Pelosi any credit.

    In re: to McCain, perhaps you had a Freudian slip using the word stationary. Indeed, he hasn’t moved any legislation through since Jesus rode on the back of a T-Rex. /snark And he is indeed a waste of paper. The punny works for me.

    I rail against Sen. McCan’t on a regular basis on my blog (https://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/)

  16. 16
    John W. says:

    Agree with your criticisms of Sullivan …

    … but the House is the one that fucked the Dems in the first place on taxes by not wanting a vote before the election, and Pelosi as the leader should take responsibility for that. And secondly, there’s no better deal on the table. So if it’s this or nothing, rejecting it most definitely is pique.

  17. 17
    JPL says:

    @freelancer: Does this make Sullivan fair and unbalanced? He might be practicing for a gig on Fox News.

  18. 18
    beltane says:

    @Zifnab: It is certainly showing in the polls in England, which seems to be what is making him pissy. Sully was hoping David Cameron was “the one” who would usher in an era of popular, Sully-style conservatism. Instead, only a few months after takin power, their numbers are in the crapper. He gets to be disillusioned on both sides of the Atlantic and all for the wrong reasons.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Tom Levenson says:

    @noncarborundum: @IrishGirl: ) And this, my friends, is another lesson in the perils of spell check.
    (Fixed.)

    Re the several folks who have pointed out that the vote shouldn’t have happened before the election:

    Couldn’t agree more.

    But this post isn’t about the politics of tax cuts; it’s about the insufferable and damaging habit of Sullivan and lots within the village to fall back on the Joni Mitchell technique (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcrEqIpi6sg) whenever it becomes necessary to say something a trifle mean about a member of the GOP.

    I could see Sullivan complaining here that he was doing a disservice to McCain by bringing him into a critique of Pelosi — but as noted above, I don’t think that’s the source of this false juxtaposition.

  21. 21
    cd says:

    Andy’s dislike of strong women and lesbians that runs over into misogyny is one of his notorious flaws. His hatred of Hillary Clinton and Obamaphilia, then viciousness to Sarah Palin was/is pathological.

    He’s enamoured of conservatism even though he admits almost all its tenets to be inadequate or wrong. He likes his money and his theism and masculinity/male privilege so much that he’s emotionally incapable of making the final break to liberalism.

    Well, it’s also that his niche as a writer is all about getting to things that interest conservative readers about a week or a month earlier than they do.

  22. 22
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Texas Dem: Well said.

    I think part of what we’re watching is classic institutional irritations. Pelosi & the House stepped up and took some really tough votes on legislation that the Senate didn’t act on. I’m guessing that the House won’t vote until after the Senate acts.

    The Senate has become a disgrace. They have evolved rules and procedures that are profoundly undemocratic.

  23. 23
    RalfW says:

    Whenever I hear NPR say “the Congress today failed to…” I just scream “the Republican’s just voted against…!” But they don’t hear me, they keep reporting it as if there’s this bipartisan agreement to shut down the Senate.

    The GOP has declared war on Obama, and as he is the President of my country, they’ve declared war on me and my nation, and I call that treason (and not the b.s. Assange ‘treason’ crap, either).

  24. 24
    fitzwili says:

    This has been such a heartbreaking evening. The only thing that made me feel better was looking at those gorgeous emotive paintings. I love your posts for that very reason- keep up the mixture of aesthetic reward plus commentary.

  25. 25
    Emma says:

    The only woman Mr. Sullivan has ever approved of is Baroness Thatcher. I shudder to think of the nanny issues.

  26. 26
    Tom Levenson says:

    @fitzwili: I am really grateful to you and all else here for all the art-love. Glad you like it.

  27. 27
    Violet says:

    @Emma:
    He seems to like his mom, judging from the photos of and his comments about his wedding.

    It is very strange how Thatcher holds some vaunted position of political achievement in his mind, one which no other woman appears capable of even approaching.

  28. 28
    fitzwili says:

    I like Sully sometimes but he is incredibly frustrating to read because of his blindspots. He is very problematic in his attitudes towards women, true he loves Thatcher but she herself had a pretty problematic attitude towards women. He was such a strong voice regarding the abuses of torture( as was another writer I am increasingly disillusioned with — GG) but for every clear insight into injustice, he has a backslide into framing all information soley through his passions( that man on a horse thing). For all his yearning to be an intellectual conservative, he is an incurable romantic prone to bouts of hero worship and envious of anything that reeks of a Kipling poem.

  29. 29
    Susan says:

    You miss the point. He was saying Pelosi (and the liberal Democrats in the House) were acting stupidly & throwing a tantrum, based on their being pissed off and NOT on any reasonable evaluation of this compromise (which would show that, although far from ideal, is actually a decent deal for middle-class & unemployed folks), and that this is similar to McCain’s constant fits & tantrums on things like DADT, etc. Not that Pelosi has been ineffective — he wasn’t saying that at all. But she is now, with this stunt, acting like a Republican obstructionist. And frankly, I expect far better from her & the House Dems — she & they have been great, but they totally lose me on this one. They’d better get their act together & get on board with the compromise, or frankly, they’ve lost me & a lot of other very liberal to moderate folks (I am extremely liberal, essentially what is meant by the progressive “base”). Pelosi & the Dems in the House are having an emotional reaction, but they’d better start thinking this through….opposing Obama on this one is just plain dumb, since they have no reasonable alternative plan (besides “fighting” or “standing up to Republicans” which as we know, works really really well).

  30. 30
    Ripley says:

    …the insufferable and damaging habit of Sullivan…

    Which one? The beard fetish?

    By the way, the House hissy fit resulted only in a non-binding statement of no confidence in the tax cut deal, so, ya know: It burns with the heat of a thousand moons.

  31. 31
    freelancer says:

    @fitzwili

    dash dash god dash damn dash you dash dash dash dash

  32. 32
    cleek says:

    @cd:

    His hatred of Hillary Clinton and Obamaphilia, then viciousness to Sarah Palin was/is pathological.

    he’s been nothing but complimentary towards Clinton since she started as SoS.

    Palin’s a fucking disease. who wouldn’t hate her?

  33. 33
    Martin says:

    I would just like to note, for the record, that the story isn’t finished until it is. DADT isn’t finished. The tax cut situation isn’t finished. DREAM, START, etc. aren’t finished.

    There was endless despair before the stimulus, before HCR, before finreg, before pretty much everything that the Dems eventually managed to sort out. I won’t deny that it’s routinely been an ugly process designed to demoralize people, so don’t give into the demoralization. Don’t let them win.

    Don’t give up until Congress finally gives up – and none of them have given up on any of this.

  34. 34
    Lolis says:

    @cd:

    He is actually a big Hillary Clinton fan now.

  35. 35
    John O says:

    I love Andrew (only as friends) but every time I read, “Of no party or clique” I cringe.

    Andrew is ALL ABOUT party and clique. He refuses to leave the warm embrace of the Church even though they officially despise him, he’s got that highly-educated British love of pomp, circumstance, and hierarchy (money), formality, and he loves the Man Club, obviously.

    Still, he does a very good job of presenting thoughtful debate, and when he’s on his high horse on something I agree with him about (torture) I really appreciate his voice.

    Also, what fitzwili said.

  36. 36
    Violet says:

    @cleek:
    Yeah, he was skeptical of Hillary as SoS, but has repeatedly said he’s been impressed by her and has said her performance has changed his view of her.

    Sully has lots of faults, but when he realizes he’s wrong he does seem to be able to admit it. The problem is he doesn’t always see when he’s wrong. I suppose that’s a problem we all have, though.

  37. 37

    This may just be me, but with DADT not being repealed, and the Republicans holding our government hostage, I can’t let myself dedicate one fraction of a second to what Andrew fucking Sullivan thinks about ANYTHING.

    May just be me, though.

  38. 38
    Maody says:

    The Manet is beautiful & so appropriate. As is this Goya, him not really liking the aristocracy he often painted. And which Goya Maja is your favorite, clothed or nude? The duchesse he slept with…

    Sullivan really hates women. How sad for him.

  39. 39
    Triassic Sands says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    …but unless someone has a plausible path to a preferable alternative it’s just completely insane to do anything but hold your nose and vote for it.

    @John W.:

    So if it’s this or nothing, rejecting it most definitely is pique.

    Maybe Pelosi has a “plausible path to a preferable alternative.” She’s been quite effective in the past, why not wait to see what she has to offer, before calling this “unforgivably irresponsible,” which seems like a bit of hyperbole under the circumstances.

  40. 40
    Alex S. says:

    Somewhat related, fuck John Aravosis.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Alex S.: Um, no, thank you.

  42. 42
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Maody: Naked. No question. Looking for an excuse to use it here…

  43. 43
    mr. whipple says:

    @Alex S.:

    Somewhat related, fuck John Aravosis.

    I’ll give him marks for consistency. During the primaries he was totally unhinged by HRC. Since the election, he’s unhinged about BHO. He’s just consistently unhinged.

  44. 44
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Alex S.:

    I thought that Aravosis was something you get from not eating enough fresh vegetables.

  45. 45
    fitzwili says:

    @ freelancer arghh! So sorry about that. Ignores strikethroughs please.

  46. 46
    Ripley says:

    The strike-through crisis eated my comment. I blame fitzwili, and of course Nancy Pelosi as well.

  47. 47
    ed says:

    All anyone needs to know about Sully, as Driftglass coined a while back:

    Repeating as epiphany stuff thoughtful liberals have been saying for the last 30 years

    Sully should have been thrown into public stocks and had rotten fruit thrown at him for his behavior in the run up to the Iraq Invasion. Wanker.

  48. 48
    Martin says:

    @John O:

    I love Andrew (only as friends) but every time I read, “Of no party or clique” I cringe.
    Andrew is ALL ABOUT party and clique. …
    Still, he does a very good job of presenting thoughtful debate, and when he’s on his high horse on something I agree with him about (torture) I really appreciate his voice.

    I think you misunderstand a little. Sully does not profess to be of no party or clique. He professes that The Daily Dish is of no party or clique – that’s intended to be an outcome, rather than an assertion.

    That’s why he has dissenting emails. That’s why he does admit to being wrong (when he recognizes it) and will even go further like he did on the abortion stories series which I really admire him for doing given that I’ve seen few similar efforts even from unabashed liberals. I think that’s a decent goal. I don’t think he’s completely unaware of his shortcomings.

  49. 49
    fitzwili says:

    @ Ripley
    No, my sins are too great to be classed with Pelosi. No evenhandedness for strikethroughs crisis causers!

  50. 50
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Martin:

    I would just like to note, for the record, that the story isn’t finished until it is. DADT isn’t finished. The tax cut situation isn’t finished. DREAM, START, etc. aren’t finished.
    __
    There was endless despair before the stimulus, before HCR, before finreg, before pretty much everything that the Dems eventually managed to sort out. I won’t deny that it’s routinely been an ugly process designed to demoralize people, so don’t give into the demoralization. Don’t let them win.
    __
    Don’t give up until Congress finally gives up – and none of them have given up on any of this.

    Nope, this is all way too logical to accept. I want my despair and I want it NOW!

  51. 51
    Maody says:

    @Tom Levenson: Maybe through comparing some political scene to The Duchess of Malfi?

  52. 52
    HyperIon says:

    Thanks for the post and pics, Tom Levenson.
    (and for trying to keep the comments on target..good luck with that!)

    Cuirasse is a very neat word….pronounced queer-ass.
    I’m surprised someone hasn’t already lept on it (heh).

  53. 53
    Ripley says:

    @fitzwili:

    Partisan!

  54. 54
    Sko Hayes says:

    LOL, fitzwili, this strikethrough business is your fault?
    Love the art, Tom, Sullivan not so much. Sometimes he does hit the nail on the head, but not often enough for me.
    Especially when he says really stupid stuff like you quoted.

  55. 55
    John O says:

    @Martin:

    I don’t disagree with you. He occasionally admits his prejudices and tendencies. But he’s a Club Member through and through.

    Andrew has to be on the inside. That’s not altogether a bad thing.

  56. 56
    freelancer says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    I thought that Aravosis was something you get from not eating enough fresh vegetables.

    Read enough of Americablog, and you’ll probably feel like you have scurvy too.

  57. 57
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @mr. whipple: That’s what happens when you send your hinge-manufacturing capacity offshore. A generation ago Stanley Works was still manufacturing hinges right here, in New Britain, CT, and this being consistently unhinged stuff just didn’t happen.

  58. 58
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Tom Levenson: Because you feel like it is always a good excuse.

  59. 59
    MobiusKlein says:

    So the Senate is the only house of Congress that gets to stamp their feet and say “NO!!!!!”

    Sounds like the House is trying to serve the Senate a bit of their own medicine. The House has a ton of bills waiting for the Senate to move, but somehow the House has to dump all that, and lower taxes on command like a trained seal.

  60. 60
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Martin: Yes. Negotiation is ongoing. And the House Democrats’ resolution is part of that. I support their effort to improve the capitcompromise that Obama reached with the Republicans. One good way to improve it would be to renew the tax cuts for income below $250K for 2 years, but those for income >= $250K for only one year. Can we get that? Who knows. Let’s try.

  61. 61
    Dream On says:

    I remember some wag on this site posting that if Sully ever liked a woman, any woman, she’d look like Margaret Thatcher.

  62. 62
    lllphd says:

    sully loves him some BS commission. he loves him some rich guys. he loves him some authority.

    i will give him that he has thrown flames at the torturers and palin, and he was big enough to admit he was wrong about iraq. and bush. he even recognized obama’s brilliance very early on.

    but. he’s conflicted. he spends so much time defending conservative “values,” he’s completely lost sight of the contradictions these raise with his core beliefs, beliefs he sometimes displays with true grace.

    he’s a very human guy trapped in a self-indulgent intellect that he takes as gospel as catholicism. every so often the human guy wins. more often, he gets disastrously tangled in his own justifications.

    i thoroughly lost interest in him when he presented arguments by some rich guys whining to be recognized for their “sacrifice” for paying so much in taxes. kid you not. it was pretty disgusting; he wanted us to take this crap seriously.

    now i visit occasionally for the bemusement; at some point there will be either an epiphany or a crash&burn; bound to be interesting, either way.

  63. 63
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Tonal Crow: Is that what Dems do? Compitumise?

  64. 64
    JC says:

    that temper tantrum the House Democrats threw today was just unforgivably irresponsible.

    You know what’s funny, is that the Rethugs have been ‘unforgivably irresponsible’ all year. With the help of some Senate Dems.

    You may not AGREE with what they are doing, but to call them ‘unforgivably irresponsible’ is a bit much.

    I’ve laid out why I understand why Obama is doing what he is doing. But I also understand why the House Dems are doing what they are doing. Let us count the ways:

    a. Over 100 House passed bills, not taken up, or failed to pass, in the Senate.
    b. The whole ‘minority hostage’ situation that the Republicans seem to take up, instead of being constructive.
    c. The ENABLING of one of the most irresponsible policy achievements of George Bush.
    d. The disregard that obama has shown to the House Democrats during this.

    The rewarding of hostage takers. as was said above, the republicans are being rewarded for being completely ideological and righteous. What Obama criticized, as an aside, for democrats, although, truthfully, he spent much more time on the intransigence of the Republicans.

  65. 65
    stickler says:

    You know, I’ve been thinking about the Obama compromise and the House frustrations…

    And I wonder if this isn’t just a way to say to the GOP leadership (who’ve broken their promises on just about everything for two years), that they have to carry the water on this one. “Clearly, those crazy liberals in the House aren’t going to vote for your policy, so how’s about you find a whole bunch of Republican votes for this stinking pig of a bill.”

    If Congress passes it with mostly Republican votes, it’s a win because they’re going to be tarred by compromise with a foreign Muslim President.

    If they can’t herd their (admittedly insane) GOP caucus, it’s also a win because the taxes go back to 1999 rates, and Obama can promise to veto any crazy GOP nutbar tax proposals.

    Oh, and thanks to Dr. Levenson for the consistently great art. Poor old Maximilian; I always felt some sympathy for the guy. Probably misplaced, I know, but he really thought he could help the Mexican people, and anyhow as FJ’s brother he’d just have sat around Schönbrunn for decades with nothing to do if he hadn’t gone off to sunny Mexico.

  66. 66
    jwb says:

    @Barb (formerly Gex): I prefer “compitulate” myself.

  67. 67
    Tonal Crow says:

    @jwb: “Repitulate” would work well, too. Thus I’m glad to see the House Democrats fighting back.

  68. 68
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    I agree on the broader point, but…that temper tantrum the House Democrats threw today was just unforgivably irresponsible.

    If it was so durned important to my fellow Democrats take a strong, firm, noisy stand on this… perhaps before the fecking election was the time to do it?

  69. 69
    jwb says:

    @stickler: Yes, I’m pretty sure the Dems won’t let this go through without a shitload of Gooper votes. I’m also wondering if this and the vote on DADT aren’t the visible part of backroom negotiations where basically none of it is going to pass unless all of it does (tax deal, START, DADT, maybe even DREAM).

  70. 70
    agrippa says:

    I have real doubts about those people in Washington.

    So few of them seem to have any sense, common or otherwise.

  71. 71
    stickler says:

    jwb:

    From your lips to … uh, hard to bring God into this sordid mess.

    One of my colleagues keeps saying: “They’ll make a deal; they always do. Nobody will like it, but they’ll make a deal.”

    Hard to imagine today’s Congressional GOP doing something rational, but maybe he’s right.

  72. 72
    Kevin says:

    You’re correct by saying he was intellectually lazy by comparing Pelosi and McCain. I read his blog quite a bit, and he absolutely DETESTS McCain. I don’t believe he has the same venom for Pelosi by a long shot. I think the reason for the comparison was that McCain stopped the DADT repeal, and Pelosi stopped the Tax deal. Admittedly a stupid, lazy comparison…he blog/vents a lot, and I suspect this was a vent post, not a well-thought-out post. Obviously not well-thought-out.

  73. 73
    poicephalus says:

    FWIW (nada), I love Manet.
    Was just thinking of him today.
    But, I still prefer Goya’s “The Third of May, 1808”.
    Thanks Dr. Levenson.

    C

  74. 74
    goblue72 says:

    @Texas Dem: What, does the GOP controlled-House have some magic wand that makes the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Obama pass & sign any legislation to be passed by a GOP House?

    Let’s not act like there aren’t other actors in this process with some responsibility. Pelosi just demonstrated what you can do if you actually fight.m Maybe its time Obama discovered the power of the veto pen. Bush did.

  75. 75
    goblue72 says:

    @stickler: This, this and more this: if this deal is a “compromise” with the GOP, then they need to vote in favor of it – in both the House and the Senate. They do not get to do the usual crap of getting everything they want and then voting no expecting the Dems to carry their water.

    If this is a compromise with McConnell, then he can get his caucus in order and deliver the GOP votes in large numbers.

  76. 76
    fitzwili says:

    @ Tom Levenson
    Do you know the Russian painter Vrubel? I had a student do a paper on him, and I really thought his work was amazing.

  77. 77
    Shade Tail says:

    I hope the House dems stand firm on this. After being fucking idiots about the tax vote prior to the election, they might as well do the right thing now. Too late for their majority, but better late then never.

    The question is, what about the three months of unemployment relief extension that the GOP was forced to concede in this deal? It’s not like that will happen any other way. Personally, I can see why Obama wasn’t willing to shaft the unemployed just to score a victory on tax cuts.

  78. 78
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    I agree on the broader point, but…that temper tantrum the House Democrats threw today was just unforgivably irresponsible.

    Lilly Ledbetter passed the House 17 months before Obama even took office.

    SCHIP passed the House 23 months before Obama even took office.

    Credit card reform passed the House four months before Obama even took office.

    EFCA passed the House 21 months before Obama even took office.

    The Stimulus passed the House in two days, then the conference Stimulus bill passed the House in two days.

    Health Care passed the House a month and a half before it passed the Senate, then the House passed the reconciliation bill in less than a day.

    Financial reform passed the House in December of ’09, six months before the Senate bill.

    An energy bill passed the House in June of ’09.

    A food safety bill passed the House in July of ’09.

    Shall I go on?

  79. 79
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Shade Tail: 13 months, not 3….

  80. 80
    Meg says:

    I have noticed his dislike for women for a while now (except for Thatcher). Other than Pelosi and Clinton, he also would not give Maddow any credit. His complaining about her being smug almost sound like “how dare you think you are smart”.

  81. 81
    Anne Laurie says:

    @mr. whipple:

    I thought he found Thatcher to be almost a God, but I may be remembering wrong.

    Yep, Sullivan revers Thatcher — and, to a lesser degree, Schafly — because they were so strong and manly. If only more political women could get over their dickless obsession with stuff like ‘social justice’ and ‘poor people’ and ‘not breaking stuff just because we can’, then Andrew would be among the first to cheer them on!…

    Unless, of course, those vibrant, care-for-naught women turn out to be low-caste trailer-trash populists like Palin, who just soils the whole concept of the Manly-Hearted Woman.

    Sully’s starting to suspect that we Americans just can’t do anything right. All he wants is William F. Buckley with tits — why can’t we meet his standards?

  82. 82
    daveNYC says:

    My Sullivan theory:

    If it weren’t for the fact that he is gay, he would be the most right wing quasi-fascist asshole in the Republican ranks.

    Why, you ask? Does being gay give him some special insight?

    No. What it does do, is that every once in a while, he is forced to look around and realize that the people that he is naturally aligning himself with would be more than happy to light him on fire and then stone him to death. That wakes him up, and forces him to actually think (once in a while).
    If it weren’t for the homophobic hostility coming his way, he’d be shotgunning the kool-aid, and taking in an IV drip too.

  83. 83
    Chris says:

    “Between Pelosi and McCain, [emphasis added] the sheer difficulty of getting anything done in this polarized climate, even stuff supported by hefty margins among the public, is beyond depressing.”

    Are we sure Sullivan meant “McCain”? “McConnell” seems to make a little more sense in that context (McCain has been throwing wrenches into the machinery on a couple issues; McConnell has been playing “not-quite-as-bad-bad-cop” on dozens of issues).

    However, (1) I’m not 100% sure even about *that* argument, and (2) no, I don’t expect Sullivan to make sense when he writes about Democrats/Congress/political dysfunction (he thinks *he* is the only legitimate loyal opposition to Republicans, except he’s happy enough when they get their way most of the time; L’opposition, c’est moi!). Stupid “both sides do it” pseudo-independent poser…

  84. 84
    MobiusKlein says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.): good summary of what’s up between the House & Senate. The House has good reason to not jump at the Senate’s command.

  85. 85
    goblue72 says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.): Thank you. If anyone deserves the “Chill! I got this.” tag its Pelosi. She whips her caucus good & tasty, and you can bet she’ll keep ’em whipped in the minority until she retakes the House in 2012. (hey, a guy has gotta have GOALS.)

  86. 86
    Shade Tail says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Somehow I’d started thinking it was thirteen *weeks*. Thanks for the correction.

  87. 87
    somegayname says:

    put the captions with the images. Edward Tufte is spinning in his grave.

  88. 88
    kay says:

    And of all the possible legislators to pick on, a leader of the House of Representatives who whipped her caucus into vote after vote on legislation known to be doomed in the McCain-infested Senate has to be the last one you’d choose. For FSM’s sake: Pelosi’s House passed the extension of the Bush middle class tax cuts already. Oy.

    Great post, and your point is well-taken. But, honestly, I don’t think Sullivan’s obvious, two-by-four-between-the-eyes disdain for powerful liberal women has one thing to do with 1. their substantive accomplishments or failures 2. who they actually are.

    I’m a regular reader, and I think he cannot reconcile powerful liberal women (who are pro-choice) and his ideas about how mothers are or should be. Sullivan, like most anti-abortion conservatives, has this ridiculous soft-focus greeting card overly-romanticized view of motherhood and mothers. His silly obsession with the fact that Sarah Palin carried a Downs baby to term (he loves that! If in fact she did it! We know because he tells us constantly!) is an example.

    I think he should take a hard look at his work before he publishes anything containing the name “Nancy Pelosi”. He’s irrational and unfair towards her.

    And don’t give me Hillary Clinton as an example of a powerful liberal woman who he treats with basic dignity and respect, or even an acknowledgment that she is an individual and not just a member of a class called “women” or “mothers”. He only came around to tolerating Clinton when she turned out to be a loyal employee. He (barely) tolerates her now because she’s less powerful. She accepted her position gracefully, which of course goes against everything he’s ever alleged about her power-hungry nature, but never mind that.

    Not that Pelosi gives a rat’s ass.

  89. 89
    Pococurante says:

    @JMC_in_the_ATL:

    One of Sully’s major shortfalls is his inability to give proper credit to women.

    “Israel! Israel! Israel!”

    Works better than beetlejuice.

  90. 90
    Tom Levenson says:

    @somegayname: Last time I checked Professor Tufte is fully capable of giving me a slap upside my data visualization himself. No need to perform zombified interred corpse autorotation.

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