Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Sullivan’

Sully Embraces High Broderism

Monday, April 27th, 2009

by Brien Jackson

Andrew Sullivan, on the revelation that Susan Collins and Arlen Specter define their moderation by doing things like delaying the appropriation of funds to fight flu pandemics:

I take the point but a little less partisanship in a public health crisis is surely warranted.

Or…no. I can see where it might seem cheap to “score points” off of a public health issue, but at the same time, public policy has real consequences. And this is one of those times where that seems pretty stark. It would be one thing, I suppose, f there was some level of egregious hypocrisy involved, and I’m personally more than happy to include Ben Nelson in the list of offenders here if that will make Sullivan happier, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with pointing out that a group of policy makers opposed the appropriation of a relatively small amount of money to better prepare our country for a potential pandemic. If that’s “partisan,” it’s only because the Republican Party, at this point in time, is uniquely absurd. And if Republicans, or politicians of any party for that matter, don’t want to be criticized for quashing funding for public health emergencies, then they shouldn’t vote against those sorts of things.


Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

by Brien Jackson

I have a hard time fully respecting bloggers who don’t host comments on their blogs. If you’re going to spout off on the internet, you ought to be willing to host criticism, disagreement, corrections, etc. You can handle the trolls. For the most part, I think it’s just intellectual cowardice and a hiding mechanism. If Ross Douthat had comments, for example, people could instantly challenge his factually dubious assertions and his ever present assumptions that the lower classes are naturally inclined to vote for Republicans. But since he doesn’t, it can only be criticized elsewhere, and he can ignore that and go on like no one ever pointed out he’s wrong. But in some rare cases, I can sort of understand it. Andrew Sullivan, for example, has a very large readership, and so it’s easy to imagine him having a hard time keeping up with comments. And, to his credit, he does seem to read a large amount of emails sent to him, and regularly posts them. So that’s something.

Still, if he had comments, things like this might happen less frequently. Here’s Peter Orszag detailing the fiscal problems with “entitltements:”

Although reforming health care is the key to our nation’s fiscal future, other programs – including Social Security – do contribute to our long-term deficit. The long-term shortfall in Social Security, though, is modest relative to the possible effect of health care on the budget. As I just mentioned, if costs per enrollee in Medicare and Medicaid, grow at the same rate as they have in the last four decades, the costs associated with these two programs would increase by 15 percentage points of GDP—rising from 5 percent of GDP today to about 20 percent by 2050. By comparison, the cost of Social Security benefits is expected to increase by 1.5 percentage points of GDP over this same period, according to the Social Security actuaries, and the system, without any changes, is expected to be able to pay full benefits through 2041. After we reform health care, the Administration looks forward to working with Congress to strengthen Social Security’s finances.

And here’s Sullivan’s take:

Entitlement reform will happen, somewhere over the rainbow.

I should probably let this go, because Sully’s obsession with “entitlement reform” is pushing the boundaries of Trig-territory at this point. Ezra Klein took him to task recently, and as far as I can tell Sully just ignored it, even though he had been engaged up to that point. But what’s really maddening here is that, once again, you’re seeing someone stake out a position that turns out to be quite inaccurate. “Entitlement reform” does not equal cutting Social Security. There is no fiscal crisis presented by Social Security. Medicare and Medicaid are a different matter entirely, but the problem with those programs is rising healthcare costs. And so the key to “entitlement reform” is healthcare reform. This is a point being made by the Director of OMB, with numbers and graphs and proof, and Sullivan is just ignoring the fundamental point. He keeps going back to the “entitlement reform” well, and he keeps getting smacked down. So he posts some videos and reader emails for the rest of the day, and then comes back to entitlement reform like it never happened. Then he gets smacked down again, and the cycle keeps repeating.

Perhaps if Sully had comments, it would be harder for him to get away with brazenly ignoring the point.


Monday, December 22nd, 2008

I don’t really have much to say about the dustup over the “editorial note” left on Yglesias’s blog. On the one hand, Ezra baiscally said everything I was thinking, so if you’re interested in my opinion, just go read his. On the other hand, if Matt doesn’t think there’s any there there, then far be it from me to care. But I do take a big issue with Andrew Sullivan’s take on the matter:

What happens when someone mistakes a journalist for a member of some dumb-ass Politburo[…]

Jennifer Palmieri clearly misunderstands the nature of her business (or perhaps she understands it too well). I’m glad I still work at the Atlantic.

Let’s get something clear; Matt Yglesias is not a journalist, and Jennifer Palmieri is certainly not in the journalism business. CAP is not a media outlet or, as Ezra says, a blog hosting site, they’re a political think tank. Yes they’re unique in the sense that they maintain a certain amount of messaging apparatus that operates daily, and they’re certainly unique in hosting a personal blog like Matt’s that contains independent material, but they are still a policy think tank and an explicitly political organization. Their president is, after all, running Barack Obama’s transition at the moment. Because of that, CAP is not going to do anything that could cause friction with other aspects of the Democratic establishment including Third Way. If Matt has a problem with that (which he clearly doesn’t seem to) then the answer would be for him to take his blog elsewhere. But there’s absolutely no reason to fault CAP for being political about things when they’re a political organization, and misconstruing what CAPAF does as journalism significantly defines journalism down. Of course, that’s right up Andrew’s alley.

Friday Kennedy Blogging

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Another day, another unconvincing argument against Caroline Kennedy being a United States Senator. Today, it’s Andrew Sullivan arguing that Kennedy is less qualified to be Senator than Sarah Palin was to be Vice-President:

In fact, Sarah Palin was more qualified to be vice-president than Caroline Kennedy is to be a Senator. Both are celebrities, but Palin made her own way herself, winning election as mayor and governor without the kind of raw nepotism now on display in New York State. The model now, of course, is similar – finding a way to get elected without actually exposing your inadequacies.

This is just plainly ridiculous. On the one hand, the jobs are not the same. The Vice-President is one heart beat away from being the President of the United States, and in Palin’s case it would have been a very old, multiple cancer survivng heartbeat. That’s quite a bit taller order than being one, low ranking, member of a body of 100 Seantors who’s going to do little more than cast votes for the next 4-10 years while they accrue seniority. Also, I don’t know anyone who thought that the only problem with Palin was her thin resume. To be sure it doesn’t really inspire a lot of confidence when a candidate for VP is citing their tenure as a “small town mayor” as a chief qualification, but what was most troubling was Palin’s obvious lack of knowledge on the major issues of the race. After all Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton didn’t have terribly long, formal, histories of holding office, and if that’s what you were looking for, you would have had to have gone with John McCain’s 25 years in Congress.

And, of course, I’ve got to point out that there seems to be a noticeable gender pattern in the candidates for office Andrew decides to wage war on.