Web & Blogs

A Fond Farewell to Andrew Sullivan, Who Is Retiring From Blogging

So long, and thanks for all the links.

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The Daily Dish / Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan, the pioneering blogger whose work set the tone for a generation of online political journalism, announced today that he's retiring from blogging after 15 years.

It's hard to overstate how influential Sullivan's blogging has been over the years. A former editor of The New Republic, he was among the first people with professional journalism credentials to take to the form, and in taking to it he helped define it.

His rapid-fire, idiosyncratic, highly personal, detail obsessed, link-heavy, readable and conversational style became the default for online political commentary. It relied on fast takes, highly charged reactions, detailed research, and an endless stream of arguments and opinions. It was webby and viral before anyone knew what that was.

Sullivan's blogging has always been delightfully, some might say frustratingly, impossible to pin down: He's a gay man who leans conservative and often takes libertarian positions. He's a fervent Obama supporter who spent much of the 2008 campaign writing positively about Ron Paul. He supported the invasion of Iraq under President George W. Bush, but eventually became a vocal opponent of the war and the torture program that came with it.

He wrote a lot about politics, often from the vantage of a knowledgeable lifelong political observer. But just as often he wrote about the rest of his life: about being a gay man and his years-long quest—finally fulfilled in 2007—to get married, about culture and religion, about how much he disliked New York and liked Washington, D.C.

Sullivan's deep embrace of personal obsession sometimes led him to chase odd ideas, most notably the notion that Sarah Palin was not actually the mother of her child Trig.

But that obsessive tendency, combined with Sullivan's prodigious output and unfiltered style, was also part of what made him so successful and so interesting to so many people. Sullivan's writing was bracingly, relentlessly open and honest with readers; it served as an extension of his personality. You not only knew what he thought, you knew how he felt.

Among other things, Sullivan's blogging career proved that a highly idiosyncratic individual could gain an audience on the web, and that, indeed, those idiosyncrasies and personal revelations were often part of the appeal. Sullivan amassed a massive readership as a blogger, but many readers seemed to treat him almost as a personal friend. A community formed around his blog, and Sullivan integrated that community into his posts, with features that spotlighted their lives and opinions and even the views they loved.

Sullivan was also among the first to prove that blogging could be more than a hobby; it could be a profession, and even a part of traditional, mainstream journalism. This was a big deal, especially during those years when skepticism about the Internet and self-starting bloggers was rampant in legacy media.

Sullivan proved the skeptics wrong. His blog, which started as a independent one-man web project, was eventually hosted and published by Time, The Atlantic, and then The Daily Beast. (Sullivan worked with my wife, Megan McArdle, at both The Atlantic and The Daily Beast.) A few years ago, he went independent once again, this time with reader support.

Daily Dish / Andrew Sullivan

Over time, his one-man hobby operation turned into a fully staffed small business, with several other full time editors who shared the space under his name. Sullivan didn't just make a living blogging, he helped prove that it was actually possible to do so.

Along the way, Sullivan helped introduce his many, many readers to new voices and ideas, and, in particular, to young bloggers and journalists, many of whom went on to become successful, influential writers on their own. Some of those young voices included current and former Reason staffers: Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Julian Sanchez, Dave Weigel, and, yes, myself.

Sullivan linked frequently to Reason over the years, sometimes to argue, but often in support. He drove a lot of traffic to Reason's blog, especially early on, and helped introduce large numbers of readers to Reason's work. He wasn't exactly a libertarian himself, but he was heavily influenced by libertarian ideas, and he clearly believed those ideas deserved a prominent place in public debate.

I consider Sullivan a formative influence on the development of my own writing as a journalist; not only did he allow me to guest blog for him on multiple occasions, always with the freedom to say whatever I wanted, he linked to me regularly, argued with me on more than a few occasions, and has been generally supportive of my work. More than that, though Sullivan modeled for me what blogging could be—curious and informative and funny and personal and detailed and reader-friendly and important and enjoyably trivial, often all at the same time—while simultaneously introducing me to a vast array of ideas and voices that I might never have otherwise encountered. I remain incredibly grateful to Sullivan for all that he's done. 

Sullivan says he's quitting to spend more time in the offline world—apart from the endless demands and distractions of daily online writing. It sounds like he has some health issues as well, which may be related to the stress generated by 15 years of obsessive daily blogging. 

I'll admit I didn't read him nearly as much over the past couple years, but I still checked in occasionally, and I was always happy to see that he was still going. I'll miss knowing that he's writing and arguing and linking. He was enough of a fixture that it's almost hard to imagine the blogosphere, as it used to be called, without him around. I hope he returns every now and then to check in on the online world he helped create, and I wonder if he'll really be able to stay away. Either way, though, he's already done plenty for the Internet and for online journalism; whatever he does next, I wish him well.

NEXT: Congressmen Propose Dumping House Pension Program

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  1. Well that was a nauseatingly long tongue-bath. Why not blow him Mr. Suderman? The correct is “because I am afraid that close proximity with Sullivan will lead me to contract whatever drove him completely insane”.

    1. Indeed. I wonder if Mrs Suderman knows that he fantasizes about Sullivan in bed.

      1. Maybe she knows and likes that kind of thing. NTTAAWWT

  2. I wish him well and hope he checks in somewhere than can give him the psychiatric help he needs and he isn’t doing this to further pursue Sarah Palin’s rogue uterus.

  3. Fucker didn’t have comments. To me that’s not a real blog.

    1. He did at first. He only stopped after he went insane.

      1. And then when Ron Paul’s online minions were banned from some conservative site (maybe Redstate?) he proclaimed that they were all welcome at his site…where he had no comments.

        A brave hero, that one.

        1. They were free to come an bask in the light of his brilliance, so long as they stayed quiet and knew their place.

  4. ClarkHat ?@ClarkHat 4m4 minutes ago
    1/ “Sullivan’s deep embrace…sometimes led him to chase odd ideas most notably notion that Sarah Palin was not actually the mother of Trig”

    2/ I guess @reason wanted to be classy and so avoided the phrase “bat-shit insane meth-addled histrionics”?

    1. What is is about bat droppings which are more insane than other droppings?

      1. Rabies

      2. Two words. Flying. Mammals.

    2. Now, now.

      I know of no evidence at all that Sullivan’s histrionics have anything at all to do with amphetamines.

      1. That is not fair to amphetamines. Sullivan was and is just fucking nuts.

      2. Keep classy, Sigi.

        1. Please stop blogging. He is not dead you half wit. It’s perfectly fine to point out what an idiot and I will not Andrew Sullivan is.

  5. Well, he gave us the term “South Park Republican.” Whatever I think of Sullivan, that term is probably the most apt description of my political philosophy.

    1. Yeah, he’s they guy that everyone loves to hate.

  6. He supported the invasion of Iraq under President George W. Bush, but eventually became a vocal opponent of the war and the torture program that came with it

    You omitted that his opposition to the War and Bush was triggered by Bush’s support for DOMA.

    1. Sullivan certainly brings out the batshit in certain people, eh, Marsh?

      1. Its true. Sullivan supported the war until Bush signed DOMA. Then literally overnight his views totally changed.

    2. Um, except that DOMA was signed into law by Clinton. But don’t let the facts get in the way of your Sully-bashing.

      1. I didn’t say he signed it, I said he supported it.

        Bush had previously been silent on the issue of a federal amendment effectively raising DOMA to constitutional status. Immediately after Bush announced his support Sullivan changed his position on the War in Iraq.

  7. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out, Mr. Sullivan.

  8. leans conservative and often takes libertarian positions. He’s a fervent Obama supporter

    You inadvertently identified the exact moment and reason I stopped reading Sullivan.

    1. WE HAVE FOUND SHRIEK’S IDENTITY

  9. It’s an egg with a beard.

    1. I actually LOL’d.

  10. Trig is Sarah Palin’s son, not daughter.

    It’s entirely possible that I discovered reason.com through Sullivan’s blog.

    1. Didn’t refresh before posting.

  11. Sullivan’s deep embrace of personal obsession sometimes led him to chase odd ideas, most notably the notion that Sarah Palin was not actually the mother of her daughter Trig.

    Uh, Suderman, Trig is her son. Unless this is some sort of bizarre, Sullivanesque, gender conspiracy theory.

    1. You trans-shaming cis-shitlord!

  12. Andrew Sullivan, the pioneering blogger whose work set the tone for a generation of online political journalism, announced today that he’s retiring from blogging after 15 years.

    To do what?

    1. To find Trig’s real mother.

      And then Nicole Brown’s real killer.

      1. Tuesdays on Bravo!

      2. Then find out who planted the weed on him that got him arrested.

    2. Suderman’s post sounded eerily like an obituary.

      1. Well, there was also a certain sepulchral air about Sullivan’s post.

  13. Sullivan is like a Hitchens. He’s right enough of the time for me to like him (somewhat), but wrong enough of the time to feel uneasy calling him an ally.

    1. Sullivan is like a Hitchens

      Well, they both could pee standing up I guess. Hitchens was a jerk and wrong about a lot of things but he was an immensely talented writer. Sullivan has always been a no talent hack. Just because he occasionally hacked for yours or my side, doesn’t make him less of a hack.

      1. Hitchens sure as hell wasn’t a hack…

        1. No he wasn’t. I didn’t always like him. But I never doubted his talent as a writer.

      2. Fair enough. But he has a contrarian spirit about him that I find fun. A devout Roman Catholic, socially liberal, fiscally conservative, Republican Brit. Even if he wasn’t a quality writer, from an intellectual perspective, it’s nice to know that he doesn’t fit into any one box.

        1. The funny thing about Sullivan is that he is at heart a social conservative. He got cross with the gay left because he was such a scold about casual sex and immorality. He supported gay marriage because he wants gay men giving up their wicked ways and settling down.

          1. He got cross with the gay left because he was such a scold about casual sex and immorality.

            And they fucking crucified him for it. That is not a popular stance among that crowd.

            1. No it is not. And frankly I don’t blame them. Sullivan wanted to turn them into nice Volvo Driving suburbanites. Fuck him. Who the hell is he to tell people how to live.

              1. So, the “*real* conservatives should support gay marriage” meme will basically end with Sullivan?

              2. Enh, it’s just an opinion. Frankly I think the gay left could dial it down a bit.

                1. I think they could dial down their leftism. The Sodom and Gomorrah stuff is their business.

                  1. Ha, fair enough.

          2. except that in reality he spent a good deal of time seeking out AIDs infected gays to havd unprotected sex with. He wasn’t social conservative he was just an old gay guy that was tired of all the young gays having all the fun.

        2. He is in no way a devout Catholic.

    2. I’m pretty sure that if he heard you calling him “a Hitchens”, Hitchens would demand to be “the Hitchens”.

      1. I never thought too highly of Hitchens after the 2008 Presidential elections. He basically admitted that he voted for Obama only because of his race.

        Hitch 22 is was good read though.

        1. He didn’t vote for Obama for his race, he voted for Obama because he hated Sarah Palin.

          Hitchens was very critical of Obama early in the run, but then magically became much more supportive when the Palin announcement occurred.

          In that regard, I guess he does have something in common with Sullivan.

          1. In an interview he gave in October 2008, Hitchens stated he would vote for Obama for two reasons:

            1) He thought Obama was more supportive of the War on Terror than McCain.

            2) He thought it was “about time” for a person of color to become president.

            He always made unsubstantiated statements that Obama was a secret atheist.

            In truth, Obama might have actually been a bigger support of the War on Terror. But not by that much.

            1. Huh, I didn’t know that.

              Wait, he thought Obama was more supportive of the War on Terror than John “100 Years in Iraq” McCain?

              1. Hitchens must’ve been on the sauce when he said that. McCain has won the Most Likely to Become Greg Stillson Award several times now.

              2. Hitchens was a big believer that there was a civilizational war between the West and the Middle East. He thought Obama gave the West the best chance for winning the war.

                He also made unsubstantiated statements that he thought Obama was a secret atheist.

                1. “He thought Obama gave the West the best chance for winning the war.”

                  This is the most woeful misreading of character I’ve ever seen.

                  1. Even back then, before the truth was rubbed in our faces until our faces bled, I was totally flabbergasted by all of the virtues and characteristics projected onto the blank screen that is Obama. At best, most of those had no basis at all in his record, such as it was, or even anything he had ever said. And many were flatly contradictory to the evidence. For instance, it was no secret that he wasn’t a moderate. . .yet so many claimed he was. Even around here, shockingly.

                2. Well, it doesn’t get much wronger than that.

  14. Writing an Obit of Sullivan’s blogging career without mentioning his years long obsession with proving that Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy is like writing an obit of John Hinkley without mentioning that whole Jodi Foster, Reagan assassination attempt thing.

    1. You mean like this (from the article):

      Sullivan’s deep embrace of personal obsession sometimes led him to chase odd ideas, most notably the notion that Sarah Palin was not actually the mother of her daughter Trig.

      1. Okay, so it got a sentence. So it is like writing one of Hinkley and mentioning that whole Foster thing as a single sentence reference to how sometimes Hinkley’s obsessions got in his way.

        Yeah, you could say that. Sullivan went bat shit insane and spent several years obsessing about a conspiracy theory involving a woman faking the birth of her child. That pretty much defines his career or certainly deserves more than a single clause in reference.

        1. What it did more than anything was to cause a great many people to instantly discount anything he said or endorsed from that point forward. Maybe he didn’t give a fig about those people but if your goal is to persuade you don’t get far permanently offending/scaring people away.

          1. Yeah. obsessing about crazy shit tends to make people less likely to believe the less crazy things you say.

            The Trig Palin thing wasn’t just crazy, it was vicious. I don’t care what you think of Sarah Palin, but what did she do to deserve some nut accusing her of lying about her son’s paternity? What purpose did Sullivan’s obsession serve other than be unnecessarily nasty and awful? Why did he continue it other than out of some blind hatred of her? It just said so many horrible things about his character and personality. It is not some personality quirk or eccentricity.

        2. Since everyone remembers it the episode doesn’t seem to need much explanation.

          I think the bigger omission is Sullivan’s reaction to DOMA since it undermined his entire public brand and has seemingly been memory-holed in the decade since.

          He was prone to substantial breaks from reality, and not just on Trig.

          1. What was his reaction to DOMA?

            1. Coming out against the Iraq War.

              1. …what? WAT

              2. Ah, now I see. When Bush wouldn’t give him his pony on gay marriage, he turned on the Iraq War.

                Yes, that was insane. He was the biggest war supporter on the web and then totally changed over night. And yes, it was in reaction to DOMA. I had forgotten about that.

                1. That’s crazier than the Trig Chronicles.

                  Reason always makes a big fuss over partisan hacks and how much they suck (for good reason) and here they seem to be hagiographing a man who WAS ALL THE WORST OF PARTISAN HACKERY IN THE AUGHTS.

  15. He was a one of the post 9/11 warbloggers I’d always read. He was intriguing and maddening and occasionally right, until he went off the cliff with his Palin genitals obsession. Glad he’s going out like this instead of flouncing.

  16. How anyone would hold up Sullivan as a leading authority in the blog world baffles me. The guy refused to admit when he was wrong, contradicted himself repeatedly and literally went clinically insane over the whole Trig thing.

    He is a shining beacon of what can happen when you take yourself too seriously. I don’t see how he added anything to the debate other than as a showcase of how not to defend yourself in a debate without looking liking a deceitful huckster.

    1. Tman,

      That is the best summation of Sullivan’s career I have ever read. In fact, it is probably the best that could be written in under a thousand words. That is exactly what Sullivan was.

      1. I am pretty sure I moved on before he went nuts because I don’t remember him that way at all. I remember he had his own site, with comments, and lots of refreshing debate. He frequently showed up on Maher when that was still bearable and the audience didn’t know what to make of him.

        1. I remember him like that too. But that was long before he switched sides on Iraq or went all in on the Palin thing or Obama.

          The fact that he has been so crazy and so dishonest on the other side, makes me wonder if he wasn’t like that all along and I just didn’t notice because I agreed with him.

        2. The good old days….?

          1. Ye Cytoxic. I think that is exactly what it is. People didn’t notice how nuts Sullivan was because they agreed with him.

    2. He is a shining beacon of what can happen when you take yourself too seriously.

      Much like you, Tman.

          1. I’m not your friend, pal.

            1. Who asked you to be?

      1. I’m surprised you’re a fan of Sullivan, Tonio. I’d have figured he’d have annoyed you for the same reasons he annoys most of the rest of us.

        1. Oh, he did annoy me mightily at times, as do the rest of you, but credit where due.

          And that’s what really surprises me is all the churlish resentment towards Sullivan from people of whom I thought better.

          1. Mocking idiots is not ‘churlish resentment.’

            I don’t understand why you’re getting so irritated by people mocking Sullivan.

            1. Well, Irish, this is the best response I can give you to that.

          2. from people of whom I thought better.

            Uh huh.

            One of the nastiest, most disingenuous posters here complaining about churlishness? Fucking. Irony.

        2. And more to the point he made an elegant, persuasive and ultimately conservative case for gay marriage. I’d say his writing did more to advance the cause than that of any other single person. For that he will go down (!) as a hero in some circles.

          That is also the reason you see the bitter-in-defeat SoCons lashing out at him. Sore loserism is never pretty, people.

          1. Okay, fair enough, as far as championing liberties goes. But he’s got a long list on the liabilities side of the column, including indecent praise of the idiot-in-chief. That, I do not forgive.

          2. That is also the reason you see the bitter-in-defeat SoCons lashing out at him. Sore loserism is never pretty, people

            Hmm, I wonder if this explains why all the most stridently anti-Sullivan posters in this very thread all choose to lash out at him with crude sexual insults and innuendo…probably just a coincidence, surely…

            1. “Hmm, I wonder if this explains why all the most stridently anti-Sullivan posters in this very thread all choose to lash out at him with crude sexual insults and innuendo…probably just a coincidence, surely…”

              Yeah, when has H&R ever lashed out at anyone else with crude sexual insults?

              It must be because he was gay.

              1. PA living up to his name.

            2. And Sullivan was the darling of the conservatives when he was pro war blogging after 911. Back then his support of gay marriage was considered a quirk.

              Conservatives hate Sullivan because he turned on Bush and the Iraq war and because of his disgusting obsession with Palin.

              Tonio is really letting his tribe flow here.

          3. HAHAHAHA!

            The reason gay marriage is advancing has nothing to do with Andrew Sullivan. Gay marriage began to advance long after Sullivan’s importance had begun to wane.

            Gay marriage has picked up support entirely because younger people are more pro-gay and the generational shift has progressively changed the way most Americans view the subject. Unless Sullivan personally fathered 8 million pro-gay millenials (which, I have it on good authority, is unlikely) I don’t think he had much to do with it.

          4. You know what’s worse than sore-loserism? Sore winner-ism.

            You’d think that those who believed themselves to be the winning side would foam at the mouth a little bit less at their supposedly vanquished adversaries.

          5. That is also the reason you see the bitter-in-defeat SoCons lashing out at him. Sore loserism is never pretty, people.

            But I thought you thought better of them….?

      2. ITT, Sullivan’s fanboys deliver lame comebacks.

    3. See, that’s sort of what I think most bloggers are actually like.

    4. The guy refused to admit when he was wrong, contradicted himself repeatedly and literally went clinically insane over the whole Trig thing.

      Sounds like he is a perfect representation of the blog world, then.

      I don’t know if I’ve ever read anything he wrote, so I don’t have much to add. The Trig Palin thing does sound absolutely nuts, though. What an odd thing to obsess about. Even if it were true (which it clearly isn’t), what difference does it make to anything?

      1. Good quesstion. He was convinced that Trig was really her daughter’s child and that she faked her pregnancy to cover up the fact that her daughter got knocked up. He continued to maintain this theory even after Palin’s daughter really did get knocked up and Palin made no effort to hide it. He also continued to write thousands of words about it long after the 08 election.

        There was a point in late 2009 when the Atlantic was just exploiting him. He was obviously deranged, yet they kept publishing him instead of intervening and telling him to stop it or get some help because he brought them ad revenue. As nasty and vicious as he was, I honestly started to feel sorry for him, because he had and has some really deep issues and problems.

    5. “The guy refused to admit when he was wrong”

      If you can say this, then you clearly do not read his blog with any regularity at all. Go look up the first long form piece he submitted after going to paysite. Hint: it was called “I was wrong”.

  17. Sullivan is an odious twat and if never writes another word again, the world will be better off.

    Someday, in hell, Sullivan will be forced to eat Trig Palin’s afterbirth straight out of Sarah Palin’s bloody vagina, while simultaneously being circumcised by Bibi Netanyahu and sodomized by Stephen Glass. In perpetuity.

    1. That might be what he wants.

  18. Sarah Palin isn’t Trig’s mother. She’s his father.

    1. Don’t tell Andrew Sullivan. The poor man has suffered enough.

  19. That Sullivan gets lots of shit from both the left and the right tells me he’s doing something properly.

    Yeah, the whole Trig thing was embarrassing and unproductive. Everyone makes mistakes.

    1. “That Sullivan gets lots of shit from both the left and the right tells me he’s doing something properly.”

      Hitler gets a lot of shit from the left and right.

      Your ability to annoy the hell out of everyone is not evidence that you’re ‘doing something properly,’ unless the homeless man outside my building who won’t stop talking to himself is ‘doing something properly’ too.

    2. That Sullivan gets lots of shit from both the left and the right tells me he’s doing something properly.

      Well, just remember, the Westboro Baptist Church gets shit from the right and the left, as well.

    3. Tonio,

      That would be true if he ever admitted he made a mistake. He STILL hasn’t. This from the guy who brought in Stephen Glass to TNR to try and make it more honest.

      Jesus man.

    4. I am pretty sure StormFront gets a lot of shit from the left and the right. Are they doing something right?

      And yeah, spending years trying to prove a woman faked the birth of her child is a “mistake”. He was a fucking nut. Just because he was gay doesn’t mean he couldn’t be nuts too.

    5. That’s a.. gentle way to describe a years-long crazed obsession.

      I’ve read the occasional good work from Sullivan, I don’t hate him, (mostly I thought he was funny) agree he did some good things, but whitewashing the Trig thing as a “mistake” is disingenuous.

    6. This is incredibly weak fanboy praise.

      1. Tonio is a tribalist. Gays before everything. Including integrity.

    7. That Sullivan gets lots of shit from both the left and the right tells me he’s doing something properly.

      Because being a nasty little toad is what you aspire to, yes?

      The only thing he for which he got shit that a case can be made to support is the gay marriage thing, but the fact that he was a warmongering fucknugget fucking buried that.

      I suspect you’ll disagree, but human lives matter more than gays being able to get a piece of paper from the state.

  20. Never really had much use for Sullivan, even when I agreed with him. Generally, I found his arguments lacked much in the way of logical progression or analytical depth. They generally reflected his idiosyncratic feelings more than any principled thought process.

    1. he literally went from the most over the top supporter of the Iraq war on the web to being its most over the top critic overnight. Regardless of what your opinion of the relative merits of each side, no thoughtful, stable person changes their opinion that radically that quickly.

      Sullivan only goes to 11. He never holds a middle view on things.

  21. Apparently a full-time position has opened up under Obama’s desk.

  22. Can someone please provide either a one-sentence explanation of why Andrew Sullivan is insane, or a link to some example?

    I never read him much, and am unclear on what the issue is.

    1. The big thing is that he decided sometime in the fall of 2008 that Sarah Palin had faked her last pregnancy to cover up her teenage daughter getting pregnant. He wrote thousands of words about this topic, including analyzing pictures of Palin when she was pregnant and arguing that they didn’t show a real baby bump. Even after the election, he continued to blog about it and try and prove that she had faked her pregnancy. He did this for at least a year or more after the 08 election and after even those on the Left had become embarrassed by it.

      Beyond that, he seems to veer from one extreme position to another. Overnight he went from the Iraq war’s biggest supporter to its most vicious and dishonest critic. He spent the entire decade of the 1990s scolding the gay community about the evils of casual sex and the need to settle down and embrace marriage only to be outed as running personal ads for NSA bareback sex.

      He is just a very odd and trouble man.

      1. Sullivan also hilariously attacked Bush for being too big government (which he was) and then gave Obama tongue bath about how Hopey Changey he was going to be.

        There’s a difference between having your own views which aren’t easily pigeonholed (like Hitchens) and simply having no principles and changing your mind on important subjects every 15 minutes.

        1. Sullivan was frankly a nasty and dishonest supporter of the Iraq war. People on the right didn’t notice or mind as much since he was on their side.

          Sullivan was incapable of half measures or reasoned support. It was either total support by any means necessary or total opposition.

          I don’t think he changed positions like that because he was an opportunist. I think he did it because he is legitimately unstable.

          1. I don’t think he changed positions like that because he was an opportunist. I think he did it because he is legitimately unstable.

            I think someone previously noted that Sullivan’s turn to opposition to the Iraq War coincided almost perfectly with Bush’s support for a Federal Marriage Amendment. It really did strike me that Sullivan tended to personalize the political discourse to a level that was very difficult to distinguish from what you’re calling being unstable. Changing sides was his “punishment” for what he viewed as the administration’s “betrayal”. For Sullivan, it was never a reasoned or principled analysis of the issues, but an extension of his feelings.

            1. Yes. He is most of all a complete narcissist. Bush betrayed him, so therefore Sullivan had to change every opinion of him.

              Whatever you want to call him, there is no reason to take anything he writes seriously. Even when you agree with him, you really don’t want him as an ally.

            2. For Sullivan, it was never a reasoned or principled analysis of the issues, but an extension of his feelings.

              Which is why I suspect Tonyo likes Sullivan so much.

      2. Thanks

        I think I agree with Irish’s view below – that it sounds like (unlike hitch) he doesn’t have the excuse of being ‘nuanced’;

        This may be why I never read him very frequently – I’d see things from him from time to time, and one would make me go, ‘yeah, you have a point’, but then another would have me wondering what the fuck he was even talking about. Inscrutable inconsistency

    2. Sullivan was an early supporter of gay marriage from a conservative perspective and a critic of gay sexual lifestyle. Meanwhile, he had a profile at a gay hook-up site that said he was into all sorts of shit that alcohol has thankfully purged from my memory. A not-rapey Bill Cosby.

    3. What these commenters somehow omit, is what is known as the Wild Ride of Sarah Palin, wherein she traveled from Texas to Alaska while leaking amniotic fluid. Google it, even if you hate conspiracy theories, it’s a helluva read, and no answers have ever been offered because to address them is deemed “insulting”.

      1. You seriously are obsessed with palins ambiotic fluid? The explanation is she wanted to go back to Alaska. Only someone as idiotic or stupid or as insane is Andrew Sullivan would not find that explanation sufficient.

  23. Tomorrow’s the seventh anniversary of my blog. Looking forward to the encomia from Suderman. 😉

    (But yes, it takes a lot of energy to come up with somthing worthwhile to say every day.)

    1. Which one is yours, old movies or old lingerie?

  24. This thread was just as much of a shit flinging party as I expected.

    1. What erudite, piercing observation. Needs more forced cool detachment.

  25. I remember after Obama fucked up (again) and nearly bumbled America into a war with Syria over the ‘red line’, Assad *promised* he would get rid of his WMDs. Sullivan seriously took this as proof of The One’s brilliance. “Meep meep” is the part I most remember.

    1. I just googled ‘Andrew Sullivan Meep Meep’ and found an article that consists of this opening paragraph:

      “I’m sure my Republican readers will wince at that headline ? or mock it. The news narrative of the summer is the floundering of the president in any number of ginned-up stories: he “lost” the Middle East (as if that’s a bad thing)”

      What. How could it not be a ‘bad thing’ to ‘lose’ the Middle East?

      Does Andrew Sullivan know what words mean?

  26. “He supported the invasion of Iraq under President George W. Bush, but eventually became a vocal opponent of the war and the torture program that came with it.”

    nitpicking = but this isn’t exactly an apt characterization of either the Iraq war or the CIA ‘enhanced interrogation’ program. You make it sound as though these were tied-at-the-hip Evils, that they had some necessary connection. They were in fact two entirely different issues with nearly zero relationship with one another.

    There are plenty of people who opposed the war in iraq from before its beginning (*me) who did so because they felt it was not a logical component of the “War on Terror” versus al qaeda etc.

    The ‘torture program’ i think is understood to be part of the latter. All the people who were subject to ‘torture’ were part of that organization, and had zero ties whatsoever to Saddam’s regime or any ‘secondary Arab threat’. It would have happened without Iraq.

    there were people who supported the war on iraq who rejected the ‘torture’ program – because of perhaps an ideological preference for a conventional-warfare approach to security threats. Others may have held the opposite view entirely – that ‘torture’ was OK, but invading and undermining nation-states was not in any way helpful to a war against terrorists.

    I think conflating the two is at best ‘lazy’, and at worst reflects a knee-jerk POV that i’d think isn’t actually accurate for either sullivan or suderman.

    1. Good catch. That is lazy awful writing. One had nothing to do with the other. The interrogation program was up and running well before the Iraq war and would have continued regardless.

      It also makes it sound like the torture story is why he turned against the war. And that is completely untrue. Sullivan supported the war well after the torture stuff was revealed. As Marshal Gill points out above, Sullivan only turned on Bush and the war after Bush signed DOMA. Sullivan changed his opinion about Bush and the war because of Bush not giving into gay marriage.

      That as much as the Palin stuff showed what a clown and hack he is. How the hell do you change your opinion about the Iraq war, one way or another, because you are pissed about gay marriage? And why would anyone take someone who did seriously in any way?

      1. As Marshal Gill points out above, Sullivan only turned on Bush and the war after Bush signed DOMA.

        Actually, Clinton signed DOMA in 1996. Bush backed a Federal Marriage Amendment.

        1. That is right. But you get my point. How do you change your opinion about a war because of gay marriage?

          1. Easy. You don’t, and only insane whackos who still think Iraq was a good idea think you did.

            1. No that’s exactly what he did. Only in same wackos who apologize for Andrew Sullivan think that’s not what he did. So he gave no real compelling reason why he changed his opinion. He still supports intervention support and intervention really wore that Obama supports.

    2. more on this =

      “there were people who supported the war on iraq who rejected the ‘torture’ program – because of perhaps an ideological preference for a conventional-warfare approach to security threats”

      In fact i think the best early arguments against the CIA ‘torture’ program came from former military commanders who pointed out that its very existence undermined the UCMJ and the Geneva Conventions, putting US personnel at risk in wartime environments, and blurring what were/should be standards of responsibility for how US personnel treat POWs in the field.

      When people freak out about the CIA program, i think they sometimes overlook that the real problems were actually with cases like Abu Gharib and Bagram, which weren’t even part of any approved ‘torture’ programs, but were rather the consequence of an erosion of military standards through pressure from intelligence agencies. Few people bother to note that we’ve charged and tried soldiers for conduct that we approved for use at ‘higher levels’.

      Its not that i necessarily agree or disagree with this, but I think very few people who frothed about the horrors of the CIA program ever really fully understood what a lot of the real problems actually were.

      1. ABu Garib had the sexy pictures and was in Iraq. Neither that nor the Bagram cases had anything to do with Bush or Cheney or the “torture program” as you point out. But the left didn’t give a fuck about the facts or the truth.

  27. I was hoping for that “Obama is our first gay president” Newsweek cover picture.

  28. Sullivan supported both TARP and Obamacare. And he wasn’t keen on cutting medicare, if I recall correctly. Reason has called out Republicans as “not libertarian” for doing far less.

    This appreciation is kinda unexpected, because Reason spent years correcting Sullivan, Iglesias and Jonathan Chait. Aren’t they pretty much the same people?
    What makes Sullivan libertarian? Lots of leftists are for pot and privacy – at least on paper.

    1. It’s just one fake libertarian mourning the loss of another.

      There’s a reason why this dipshit’s best friends are Dave Weigel and Matt Yglesias. Don’t overthink this too much.

  29. “Sullivan’s deep embrace of personal obsession sometimes led him to chase odd ideas, most notably the notion that Sarah Palin was not actually the mother of her child Trig.”

    He disclaims that characterization repeatedly. What he wants and has always asked for, is simple documentation establishing some evidence to support her insane journey from Texas to Alaska while, per her own account, heavily pregnant and leaking amniotic fluid. Why she bypassed a major hospital near the Alaska airport with neo-natal facilities in favor of a rural hospital with no special facilities despite knowing Trig was a down syndrome baby with special needs and that he could experience a difficult birth. And he castigated the press for their refusal to ask questions about this tale she told because it seemed ‘improper’ to ask a potential vice-president about such things, despite the fact that she’d be in a strong position to influence public policy on, among other things, healthcare. Palin is almost certainly Trig’s mother, but the ‘wild-ride’ has never been explained, fueling conspiracy theories aplenty.

    1. “Palin is almost certainly Trig’s mother, but the ‘wild-ride’ has never been explained,”

      So “Who gives a shit?”…. ‘not an option’?

    2. Maybe it’s not of her none of his business. A lot of things have been explained. But only insane morons like Sullivan care.

    3. Almost certainly? Yeah and George Bush is almost certainly not responsible for 9/11. You realize what a lunatic you sound like in this post? Of course you don’t not knowing you’re a lunatic is part of being a lunatic

    4. What he wants and has always asked for, is simple documentation establishing some evidence to support her insane journey from Texas to Alaska while, per her own account, heavily pregnant and leaking amniotic fluid.

      And the “birthers” weren’t accusing Obama of being born in Kenya. They were just asking for “simple documentation establishing some evidence to support” the contention that he was eligible to be president.

      If you think this is ridiculous, look in the mirror.

  30. I think of Sullivan as a water-strider – one of those leggy bugs that race madly across ponds, seemingly to great purpose but with no actual destination and congenitally incapable of getting below the surface.

  31. He drove a lot of traffic to Reason’s blog, especially early on,

    Me.

    Be well, be prolific, be yourself.

  32. Wow. From your description, he sounds like a real nut job.

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