Andrew Sullivan Outed?
No, no — Andrew certainly makes no secrets about his sexuality. But he was included in President-elect Obama’s meeting with liberal pundits, a follow-up to his dinner with conservative pundits. Marc Ambinder:
9:45 a.m., in the transition office, President-elect Obama, meeting with: the Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan, CNN’s Roland Martin, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, the Washington Post’s Gene Robinson, the Boston Globe’s Derrick Z. Jackson, the one and only Maureen Dowd, the New York Times’s Frank Rich, the Wall Street Journal’s Jerry Seib, Atlantic political director Ron Brownstein, USA Today’s DeWayne Wickham and columnist E.J. Dionne Jr.
William Beutler says, “Aha!”
Could that really be Andrew Sullivan? As in “conservatism of doubt” Andrew Sullivan? Author of “The Conservative Soul” Andrew Sullivan? The same Andrew Sullivan whose strident advocacy for the Iraq war made him one of the most influential voices among the online conservative commentariat? Who among us could ever have imagined the day would come when Andrew Sullivan would break with his ideological compatriots and move to the left?
Bill’s having a bit of fun with Andy, of course, whose conservative credentials have been questioned in recent years after turning against President Bush and then endorsing John Kerry and Obama in consecutive elections. Indeed, he’s as passionate an Obama advocate as you’ll find and has been since nearly the beginning.
As for the meeting itself, Sully‘s very much Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:
It was totally off the record and I’m a stickler for those rules. I can say, however, the following: it’s hard to express the relief I feel that this man will be the president soon. I realize that’s what I feel above all else: relief.
I may disagree with him at times, and criticize him at times, but his great gift is showing that he does not expect people to change their convictions in order to find common areas of agreement. That’s the challenge he’s presenting all of us with, wherever we come from ideologically. The challenge is as real for a Krugman as for a Kristol, for Rick Warren as well as Gene Robinson.
As I’ve said repeatedly for the last two years, we’re lucky to have him.
So, is Andrew now an out-of-the-closet lefty? Or just an Oakeshottian conservative left without any likeminded candidates to vote for and forced to vote for the man, not the party? Probably a bit of both, I’d say.
American conservatism, at least as represented by the Republican Party, has changed too much and not enough over the years. They’ve long stopped pretending to care about fiscal responsibility, merely pretend to care about limited government, and care perhaps a bit too much about fighting losing battles in the cultural wars.
Lots of us — Andy, John Cole, Steven Taylor, Steve Bainbridge come to mind — are less enthusiastic about The Cause as defined by the Republican agenda than we were even five years ago. The Steves and I have remained on the GOP bandwagon and Andy and John have jumped off. That’s a matter of slightly different ranking and weighting systems, methinks, rather than movement to the Left or Right.