Media, Obama Administration, Politics, Rants

Andrew Sullivan’s Further Descent Into Hackery

Andrew Sullivan went from being an astute conservative columnist to a frothing partisan hack somewhere around the 2004 elections. His latest column in The Sunday Times amply demonstrates his fall into hackery. Now, because the Republicans have the sheer audacity to defy the Leader and go against a budget-busting spending bill in a time of fiscal turmoil, they are akin to the Taliban.

So much for not questioning the patriotism of others.

For instance, Sullivan makes this blatantly silly argument:

From the outset, the Republicans in Washington pored over the bill to find trivial issues to make hay with. They found some small funding for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases prevention; they jumped up and down about renovating the national mall; they went nuts over a proposal – wait for it – to make some government buildings more energy-efficient; they acted as if green research and federal funds for new school building were the equivalent of funding terrorism. And this after eight years in which they managed to turn a surplus into a trillion-dollar deficit and added a cool $32 trillion to the debt the next generation will have to pay for. Every now and again their chutzpah and narcissism take one’s breath away. But it’s all they seem to know.

Which conveniently ignores the very nature of the bill—a trillion-dollar giveaway to Democratic special interests. It is hardly “narcissistic” or an act of “chutzpah” to cry foul when the Treasury is being raided in a time when America’s debts are already threatening our fiscal future. But Sullivans M.O. is already well established—Republicans are always evil schemers seeking to establish their own power while the Obama Administration is always pure of heart. His simple morality play has little to do with reality, but it is a constant struggle for Mr. Sullivan to ignore what is in front of his nose.

The Republicans are an opposition party, and they have finally rediscovered the idea that they are supposed to be the party of small and responsible government. Apparently to Sullivan, their job now is to roll over at acquiesce to whatever the Great Obama wishes them to do. That someone who so frequently quotes George Orwell cannot see the Orwellian implications of our times is distressing.

That Sullivan adds some faint condemnation of the Democrats is only due to it allowing him to show how magnanimous and post-partisan the Obama Administration is. That the Obama Administration is attempting to politicize the Census is ignored. That the Obama Administration’s attempts at partisan “compromise” is largely window dressing is ignored. The ethical scandals that surround the Obama Administration is immaterial to Sullivan’s worldview. The resignation of Sen. Gregg as Commerce Secretary? To Sullivan, this had nothing to do with the Obama Administration’s evisceration of the post in favor of having Rahm Emmanuel run the show, it was clearly an act by the Republican base.

Sullivan is capable of deep though, but he choses not to exercise it, instead going for the rhetoric of a third-string Daily Kos blogger. How tiresome must it be to be yet another unquestioning mouthpiece for the Obama Administration. One would think it to be intellectually deadening after a while. But perhaps Mr. Sullivan has become tired of thinking and would rather trade his insightfulness and relevance for the adulation of the “netroots” mob.

The loss of such a formerly insightful thinker, alas, diminishes our political rhetoric at a time when it’s at one of its lows.


This Person Is The World’s Biggest Hack

The answer to this Jeopardy-style question can be found here. It seems as though Keith Olbermann, who is the liberal version of Stephen Colbert minus any intentional parody went on a little rant about the Obama passport data flap—accusing the Bush Administration of deliberately spying on Obama.

Of course, as we now know, all three candidates had their data looked at and there’s no evidence of anything more than three State Department employees letting their curiosity get the better of their judgment. But that didn’t stop Keith Olbermann from bolding jumping to conclusions.

Olbermann is a hack—and that’s probably a smear on professional hacks. Countdown is the sort of show that only a liberal activist could create—it’s like the liberals took their view of what a Fox News show is and flipped the ideological polarity. How people can stand Olbermann’s preening ego is beyond me—he makes Bill O’Reilly seem like wilting violet in comparison. When it comes from O’Reilly, it’s bad enough, but O’Reilly at least has something resembling a sense of humor. Olbermann’s prodding self-importance makes him almost unwatchable.

Of course, there are enough people watching for MSNBC to fritter away the shreds of their journalistic credibility—which is yet another reason why the cable news networks are less about news and more about appealing to the lowest common denominator.


Why Kos Is Boring

Markos “Kos” Moulitsas has his first Newsweek column out today. Kos went with the surprising route, choosing a topic that broadened his reach to moderate voters and demonstrated his command of the issues and his willingness to listen to all sides.

Or not…

Instead, he did what Kos does best. Actually, all that Kos does: he attacked George W. Bush. His advice to Democrats? Run against the guy whose name isn’t going to be on the ballot. The same strategy of negativity and partisan idiocy that failed in 2004. In a climate where people are sick to death of the idiotic partisan in-fighting in Washington, the advice of Kos is to give them some more.

It’s the same old partisan hackery that makes The Daily Kos unreadable for anyone who doesn’t already drink the Kool-Aid. There’s no substance, no unifying theme, no desire beyond the mere desire for political power. The end that matters is winning elections. What’s the theory of government? Kos’ “libertarian progressive” meme was so intellectual inherent that most bong-addled freshman poli-sci students could see right through it.

Kos’ argument: that advocating a smaller government means that you hate government. Of course, his thesis is incoherent: since when has George W. Bush been an anti-government ideologue? Many prominent conservatives dislike him precisely because under his watch government has grown dramatically. His argument is that Democrats love government. Which is a great message, except it goes against the mainstream of American politics. His message of Democrats being the party of Big Government plays right into GOP hands. There’s no reason why competent government must mean more government, and given the incompetence of the Democratic field and the Democratic Congress, what Kos is pushing isn’t selling very well.

Compare Kos’ mount of anti-Bush red meat to Karl Rove’s inaugural column. Rove’s column spends more time talking about how a Republican challenger can define himself against Hillary than merely bashing the Democrats. Rove is also a political flack, to be sure, but at least he’s a political flack who knows that the way to win in politics isn’t just to bash the other side. In contrast, Kos comes off as the petulant kid who thinks he’s a political wunderkind but doesn’t have the skills to prove it.

Kos just comes off as another hyperpartisan hack, an attack dog for hire that’s brilliant at preaching to the choir, but doesn’t know how to be persuasive. He’s emblematic of what’s wrong with the Democratic Party these days: reflexively partisan, ideologically adrift, and increasingly extreme. Markos Moulitsas thinks he’s some kind of left-wing Karl Rove, but in comparison with the real thing, he’s just another shrill amateur.