As far as Andrew Sullivan is concerned, “I’m still a conservative and they are not,” as highlighted by Hot Air in the quote they selected from Mediaite’s write-up of Howard Kurtz’s CNN recent show in their headline. It’s yet another classic Andrew moment:
Kurtz began the interview by commenting that Sullivan had been “vitrolic” [sic] towards many conservatives lately, and asking how he reconciled that with his own politics. “Because I’m still a conservative and they are not,” he argued, suggesting that the idea that “the government should be exploded, destroyed” was not conservative, if the word was defined as “liking the status quo, as wanting it to be limited government but understanding that there are two parties in the system, a little give and take.”
They then turned to individual conservatives and Sullivan’s comments on them. Take, for example, Newt Gingrich, who Sullivan called a “narcissistic know-nothing blowhard.” “This is somebody who could never get tenured at not a terribly distinguished college and never actually managed to publish any paper…” Sullivan argued, “and yet he is routinely introduced on this network and other networks as a historian, an intellectual.” He attributed this to media laziness, as well as the continued existence of a Herman Cain primary campaign that was actually competitive. In the Cain case, however, Sullivan argued he was more than annoyed, but “kind of offended” that the idea that “abuse of women in that kind of professional way is kind of disqualifying” wasn’t in operation with Cain.
Hey, you know who Andrew does consider to be model conservatives? Barack Obama and John Kerry — so by that definition, Cain and Gingrich should be good to go as presidential nominees. In July of 2004 in an unintentionally hilarious piece for the London Sunday Times, Sullivan wrote that “Kerry may be the right man – and the conservative choice – for a difficult and perilous time.”
In May of 2009, Sullivan heard the
stirring oratory teleprompter-fed socialist pablum of our then-nascent 45th president and heard a William F. Buckley-ish level of conservative oratory discernible to only Andrew himself:
This speech, to my mind, was a conservative one by a conservative president who seeks first and foremost to use existing institutions to address the new challenges of the moment, and then seeks pragmatic compromises, always open to future checks and balances, in those places where such institutions clearly need reform and adjustment.
Our brilliant pundit would have “unexpected” second thoughts about Obama’s conservative credentials this past February, though. “Obama To The Next Generation: Screw You, Suckers,” Sullivan wrote:
To all those under 30 who worked so hard to get this man elected, know this: he just screwed you over. He thinks you’re fools. Either the US will go into default because of Obama’s cowardice, or you will be paying far far more for far far less because this president has no courage when it counts. He let you down. On the critical issue of America’s fiscal crisis, he represents no hope and no change. Just the same old Washington politics he once promised to end.
Funny though, I think Andrew will find Barack Obama once again conservative — or in Sullivan’s case, reactionary enough — to meet the definition of the word as only Andrew Sullivan can define it.