Double Von Hoffman Award

|

Andrew Sullivan bequeaths the "Von Hoffman Award" for crappy prognostication to Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer for this 2004 sloppy kiss to George W. Bush:

"What has happened in Afghanistan is nothing short of a miracle. Who is responsible for it? The New York Times gives the major credit to "the Afghan people" with their "courage and commitment." Courage and commitment there was, but that courage and commitment was curiously imperceptible until this administration conceived a radical war plan, executed it brilliantly, liberated the country and created from scratch the structures of democracy … Against all expectations, Afghanistan is the first graduate of the Bush Doctrine of spreading democracy in rather hostile places. We should take a moment to celebrate a remarkable success that had long seemed so improbable,"— Charles Krauthammer, December 10, 2004.

On that very same day in 2004, Sullivan made a similar, albeit less breathless, declaration about the war in Afghanistan:

Here's some great news from the real success story of the war on terror: Afghanistan.

I don't fault Sullivan for making such a prediction—Afghanistan, in comparison to what was then happening on the ground in Iraq, did indeed look like a moderate success in 2004, and the conventional wisdom suggested that America wasn't fighting a war, but maintaining the peace. And for the record, Sullivan too gave all "credit" to George W. Bush for the war's progress, having written in 2004 that success in Afghanistan was "Bush and Blair's legacy. And they deserve every credit for it." So yes, Krauthammer's enthusiasm for the nascent democracy in Afghanistan seems pretty far off base in hindsight, but Sullivan should admit that he too, back in 2004, had a similarly optimistic view of the war.

Advertisement

NEXT: Rockefeller Drug Laws Closer to Gone

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. But that would require Sullivan to admit he’s an insufferable hack.

  2. Too be fair and objective here, hindsight is 20/20.

  3. To be fair, Sullivan is one of the few public hawks on Iraq who has repeatedly admitted to being wrong.

  4. Here’s a confident statemnt. Check up on me on March 27 2015:

    War is best enjoyed from the comfort of one’s desk. And it will still be that way in the future, no matter which side of the Sullihammer divide you fall on.

  5. The real irony (if I’m remembering correctly): Didn’t the Von Hoffman Award get its name because Nicholas Von Hoffman predicted…disaster in Afghanistan?

  6. Sullivan is the web’s most histrionic blogger.

    Prepare to have your character attacked for pointing out his inconsistencies.

  7. Since the media is telling me everything is going to hell, I’m thinking things must be going ok over there.

  8. How about some casualty numbers, Tim and Jesse? Like you used to love to post in the bad days in Iraq?

  9. What did Moynihan predict about Gaza?

  10. crimethink | March 27, 2009, 8:15pm | #
    What did Moynihan predict about Gaza?

    By 2021 every Gazan will own a flying car.

  11. If the cars fly from explosives, does that count?

  12. Only in the case of the 50’s era cars imported from Cuba with the huge tail fins.

  13. Why do we even give a rat’s ass about what Andrew Sullivan thinks? I mean, like, seriously. For real. Come on.

  14. I hate to break it to you guys, but Sullivan admits he was wrong about a lot of stuff on at least a daily basis. The notion that conservatives have to periodically adapt to real conditions on the ground and own up to being wrong and in denial about stuff is his stock in trade. Thing is, he is actually capable of evolving in his views. That I think is why these days I find him to be a way more interesting stop on my daily surfing rounds than Reason. It didn’t used to be that way.

  15. That I think is why these days I find him to be a way more interesting stop on my daily surfing rounds than Reason. It didn’t used to be that way.

    Oh how I search the world over searching for a liberal who is not an insufferable jackass.

  16. Sullivan is still being Sullivan. This place has just taken a major drop in quality in the last few years. Mostly due to good writers leaving and being replaced with well Michael Monyhihans and Katherine Mangu-Wards. Is there anyone left here than can actually engage in any sort of real policy debate? Or does the whole magazine now take its policy cues from amateurish C list celebrity videos?

  17. But, but Sullivan is excitable. And excitable people don’t have to apologize. They just get excited and move onto the next thing they are wrong about. And like, yeah, clap your hands!

  18. Oh how I search the world over searching for a liberal who is not an insufferable jackass.

    They are rare. About 1 out of 100. I met one once who said: “Most liberals are extremely close-minded.” My mouth hung open to have a liberal recognize that fact.

  19. I hate to break it to you guys, but Sullivan admits he was wrong about a lot of stuff on at least a daily basis.

    Admitting to making lots of mistakes on a regular basis doesn’t make him less of a hack. If anything, he’s trying to prove otherwise by admitting mistakes, while still making many more through his hackery…making him some kind of super-hack, capable of endless repeat cycles.

    I though Sullivan was interesting for about a month, and then I realized quickly that he emotionally responds to stimuli much like women do.

  20. …one more thing though. To be fair, Hit and Run has also dropped of my reading list considerably lately because (with a few exceptions) Reason has lost the principles it at least seemed to have when I first started reading at 17 (11 years ago). There’s a reason that many now find more interesting topics at sites like Lew Rockwell’s…we’re smarter than we used to be, and Reason seems almost like a baby book primer for winning over Democrats to a weak libertarian streak. Yawn.

  21. Why do we even give a rat’s ass about what Andrew Sullivan thinks? I mean, like, seriously. For real. Come on.

    Are you kidding? Moynihan rarely writes about people who actually matter in this world. His articles have the feel of a conservative People magazine more than anything.

    Admitting to making lots of mistakes on a regular basis doesn’t make him less of a hack.

    I’m wondering if this isn’t a bit unfair. How does he fare in comparison on this issue to Krauthammer? I suppose sometimes the mark of a reasonable blogger can be measured by the willingness to admit mistakes, except for when it can’t.

  22. I’m wondering if this isn’t a bit unfair. How does he fare in comparison on this issue to Krauthammer? I suppose sometimes the mark of a reasonable blogger can be measured by the willingness to admit mistakes, except for when it can’t.

    No, because he’s using his willingness to admit mistakes as some kind of personal quality that bolsters his image and somehow makes the mistakes OK. We can read his nonsense knowing that, if proven wrong down the line, he’ll ‘fess up and all will be fine ‘n dandy.

  23. No, because he’s using his willingness to admit mistakes as some kind of personal quality that bolsters his image and somehow makes the mistakes OK. We can read his nonsense knowing that, if proven wrong down the line, he’ll ‘fess up and all will be fine ‘n dandy.

    I find that style still more appealing than that of most pundits. Generally those who make predictions and are wrong just go on to make other, also wrong predictions, ultimately putting them into a seemingly alternate reality, a la Friedman or Kristol.

    That said, Moynihan has him dead to rights here, and Matt Welch makes a great (and hilarious) point about the original meaning of the Van Hoffman award being completely contrary to how Sullivan is currently using it. I’ve been checking Sullivan’s site habitually since this post first went up, and I’m surprised there hasn’t been a mea culpa yet.

  24. It was Jesse Walker who made the point, not Matt Welch. Admit your mistake! Admit it!

  25. Never!

    A Van Hoffman award to Tim Cavanaugh for forum belligerence. This is just like the nazis!

  26. Raivo Pommer-Estonia-www.google.ee
    raimo1@hot.ee

    BILLIG LEBEN in POLEN F?R DEUTSCHEN

    Sie hei?en “Elegance”, “Jola” oder “Malgorzata” und werben erfolgreich um deutsche Kundschaft: In die mehr als 30 Frisiersalons in dem polnischen Grenzdorf Osinow Dolny zieht es angesichts des gefallenen Zloty-Kurses vermehrt deutsche Kunden.

    In dem Ort mit seinen rund 200 Einwohnern seien etwa 100 Friseure t?tig, sagt Ortsvorsteherin Wladyslawa Stefanowicz, die selbst einen Salon an der Stra?e betreibt, die ins deutsche Hohenwutzen bei Bad Freienwalde (M?rkisch-Oderland) f?hrt. Im Moment liefen die Gesch?fte gut, beide Seiten profitierten: Die Polen verdienten sich ihren Lebensunterhalt mit den Deutschen, die wiederum wegen niedriger Preise sparen k?nnten. Gab es im Sommer 2008 f?r 1 Euro nicht einmal 3,30 Zloty, sind es derzeit deutlich ?ber 4 Zloty.

    Im “Salon Teresa” am Ende der Dorfstra?e kostet ein Damenhaarschnitt – waschen und frisieren – zurzeit um die 9 Euro, f?r Herrenfrisuren werden 4 Euro f?llig. Auch aus finanziellen Erw?gungen f?hrt das Rentnerehepaar Margit und Dieter Walkhoff aus Serwest (Barnim) regelm??ig ?ber die Grenze nach Polen – zum Einkaufen und zum Haareschneiden. Die polnische Handwerkskunst habe sie derart ?berzeugt, dass sie sich seit Jahren in Osinow Dolny frisieren lasse, sagt Margit Walkhoff. “Frau Teresa macht das sehr gut.”

    Die derart gelobte Teresa Szuszakiewicz betreibt seit 2005 ihren eigenen Salon und hat zuvor acht Jahre als Angestellte in einem anderen Friseurgesch?ft in Osinow Dolny gearbeitet. Im Laufe der Jahre lernte sie soviel deutsch, dass sie sich mit ihren Kunden von jenseits der Grenze einigerma?en verst?ndigen kann. Die meisten ihrer t?glich 15 bis 20 Kunden k?men aus Deutschland, berichtet Szuszakiewicz. Viele von ihnen reisten aus dem gut 70 Kilometer entfernten Berlin an. “Nur f?r uns Polen br?uchten wir hier nicht so viele Friseure.”

    Dass Deutsche gern in Polen zum Friseur gehen, sei f?r die m?rkischen Friseure deutlich sp?rbar, berichtet die Brandenburger Landesinnungsmeisterin der Friseure, Gabriele Eichler. “Das macht den Friseuren in der Grenzregion schon zu schaffen.” Der stellvertretende Obermeister der Friseur-Innung Frankfurt (Oder)-S?d, Klaus-Peter F?rber, f?hrt die getr?bte Stimmung in der Branche dennoch eher auf die angespannte wirtschaftliche Lage in Ostbrandenburg als auf die polnische Konkurrenz zur?ck. Den Friseuren bleibe nat?rlich nicht verborgen, dass sich so mancher Frankfurter in der polnischen Nachbarstadt Slubice frisieren lasse. “Wer sparen muss, nutzt das nat?rlich. Doch auch in Polen werden die Preise steigen. Und wir versuchen, uns zu arrangieren.”

    F?r die Ostbrandenburger Friseure hei?t das unter anderem, dass sie seit Jahren mit ihren Kollegen aus dem Nachbarland kooperieren. So stellten gerade beim Oderlandpokal, der j?hrlichen Leistungsschau des Friseurhandwerks, auch wieder Teilnehmer aus Polen ihr K?nnen unter Beweis. Teresa Szuszakiewicz und ihre Angestellte Danuta Makuch haben von dem Wettbewerb geh?rt, der am vergangenen Sonntag in Frankfurt (Oder) ausgetragen wurde. Eine Teilnahme kam f?r sie jedoch nicht in Frage. Der “Salon Teresa” ist an sieben Tagen in der Woche ge?ffnet.

  27. Terrorific wrote:

    “I though Sullivan was interesting for about a month, and then I realized quickly that he emotionally responds to stimuli much like women do.”

    Just as Godwin’s Law states, “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1,” I propose “Kaus’s Law”: As a discussion of Andrew Sullivan grows longer, the probability of his ideas being dismissed through thinly-veiled homophobia approaches 1.”

    But I am impressed that no Sully-bashers on this thread have yet called him “hysterical,” with its uterine connotations. It’s been three days already; this must be a record.

  28. Oops, I missed Duderman’s “histrionic.” Cancel the call to the Guinness Book.

  29. “So yes, Krauthammer’s enthusiasm for the nascent democracy in Afghanistan seems pretty far off base in hindsight, but Sullivan should admit that he too, back in 2004, had a similarly optimistic view of the war.”

    Yeah, and the editors on this site should admit that as late as last summer, they were claiming the surge was a failure and all reports to the contrary were nothing but propaganda.


  30. “I though Sullivan was interesting for about a month, and then I realized quickly that he emotionally responds to stimuli much like women do.”

    Just as Godwin’s Law states, “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1,” I propose “Kaus’s Law”: As a discussion of Andrew Sullivan grows longer, the probability of his ideas being dismissed through thinly-veiled homophobia approaches 1.”

    OK, so maybe that was a bit unfair of me, but it’s honestly what I feel whenever I’m reading his stuff.

    Perhaps he’s just behaving the same way that enlightened, straight, “progressive” males do these days…which is basically like women!

  31. The problem that many have with Sullivan is that he changed his views around the time that Dubya pronounced on the gay marriage issue. Try as he might, but there always struck me as something a bit phony about Sullivan’s justification for transforming from a hawk into a spluttering dove in 2003/4. He has lacked credibility ever since.

  32. Here’s the mea culpa from Sullivan http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/03/a-double-von-hoffmann.html

    And he’s right you know. if he’s wrong, he’ll admit it, how many of you have the balls to do that?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.