Why Andrew Sullivan Will Dump Obama in 2012

andrew-sullivan-obama-coverPatrick Appel reveals an interesting pattern about his boss, Andrew Sullivan:

Look at the presidential nominees Andrew has supported since coming to the country: Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Dole, Bush II, Kerry, Obama.

Andrew came here from England in 1984 after winning a Harkness Fellowship to Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has not supported the same man twice.

Reagan was ineligible to run again in 1988, so supporting his vice president, George H.W. Bush, is as close as he could have come. But he didn’t want to re-elect Bush, going with Bill Clinton instead.   He then tired of Clinton and backed Dole. He supported George W. Bush in 2000 but not in 2004. He was for Obama in 2008.

The pattern could change, of course. He’s genuinely disgusted with the Republican Party at this point. But, if they nominate a palatable candidate, there’s a strong, strong likelihood that Andrew will endorse him rather than going with Obama a second time.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Brett says:

    He seems a bit prone to following personalities, combined with a streak of idealism and no real strong ideological commitment in any particular issue.

  2. Jay Tea says:

    Um… excitable Andy can do a lot of things, but not even he could go back in time to dump Obama. I think you mean “2012” in the headline.

    J.

  3. Ugh says:

    they nominate a palatable candidate

    such as…?

  4. I think Ugh hits on something: the likelihood that the GOP will nominate a candidate palatable to Sullivan seems slim at the moment (and granted, it is a few years into the future). At the moment one gets the feeling that the Tea Partiers/populistic wing of the party will have a great deal of sway in the 2012 primaries–meaning that Sully will likely double-down on Obama.

  5. James Joyner says:

    That could be. My sense is that the Palins and even the Huckabees will be marginalized — and cancel each other out. I’m still hoping a sane governor emerges. Even a Jeb Bush type would be fine.

    But maybe I’m projecting.

  6. It could yet happen, but I think that the incorrect lessons that some in the GOP are going to take when the Dems lose seats in 2010 is that that whole populist anger/Tea Party route was the reason (rather than looking at historical trends and understanding that the GOP’s problems in 2006/08 meant a lot of marginal seats went to Dems and therefore seat losses were practically foreordained).

  7. I just put an Obama 2012 bumper sticker on my car. Of course that’s less about any certainty as to future support and much more about the pleasure I get from irritating the SUV-driving, botox-stunned Republicans in the car line at my son’s snotty Orange County private school.

    Obama has three years to repeal DADT. If he does he’ll keep Sullivan’s support.

  8. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Reynolds, Obama is going to be impeached for how he dealt, illegally, with the IG he fired for investigating Kevin Johnson. Bet on it. But first read the law.

  9. Couldn’t find your email Michael, you might like a science librarian on futures. Actually James might also.

  10. John:

    Thanks man. That deserves more time than the quick scan I just gave it. I’ll go back through and see if there are things I can swipe and pretend I thought of them myself.

    I signed up like four months ago to give a speech on all this and things have moved so quickly I’ve lost all my crazy-prophet aura and I’ll be telling people what they already know. I kept telling people when this happened it would be with shocking speed. And yet somehow I’m still kind of shocked myself.

  11. Drew says:

    Fine diners:

    After the Bordeaux, comes 2 fingers of fine Scotch. For whatever reason I have gravitated to McCallan (12) and Talisker.

    That is all. Move along.

    For those who cannot escape the “wine-o-sphere,” yes, there is Suduiraut and d’yQuem.

  12. mannning says:

    Exactly who cares who Andrew Sullivan will support in 2012? The pattern speaks for itself: changeable.

  13. Drew says:

    I was a Romney man in 2008. I’ll probably be one in 2012.

    My wife says a Mormon is unelectible.

    Thoughts?

  14. Mark says:

    Just to be a shit, Joyner, I’d like to point out that Andrew has never voted for anyone in America. He has supported various candidates, but thanks to Jesse Helms and other right-wing homophobes, until the recent repeal of the HIV ban on immigration, Andrew couldn’t become a legitimate voter.

  15. anjin-san says:

    My sense is that the Palins and even the Huckabees will be marginalized — and cancel each other out. I’m still hoping a sane governor emerges.

    You really don’t understand the people you are associated with, do you? The underlying current in the GOP is “Bush did not have enough time to completely ruin the country, let’s finish the job!”

  16. anjin-san says:

    I was a Romney man in 2008. I’ll probably be one in 2012.

    My wife says a Mormon is unelectible.

    Thoughts?

    Don’t let him anywhere near your pets…

  17. anjin-san says:

    After the Bordeaux, comes 2 fingers of fine Scotch. For whatever reason I have gravitated to McCallan (12) and Talisker

    Throw a Van Morrison remaster into the mix, and you are set.

    Heading to CES, in a few weeks… but leaving the checkbook at home.

  18. Anjin:

    We were just trying to figure out a way to sneak into CES. Looks like they’ve covered the entrances pretty well unfortunately. The old “get a local paper to credential you” trick doesn’t look as if it’ll work.

    I was hoping to trade the kid a CES (Vegas, baby) for a Mac World and a Teens In Tech. I like SF fine, but enough already.

  19. James Joyner says:

    Just to be a shit, Joyner, I’d like to point out that Andrew has never voted for anyone in America.

    True. I had the verb (“supported”) right in the initial statement and then reverted to “voted” out of habit.

    He has supported various candidates, but thanks to Jesse Helms and other right-wing homophobes, until the recent repeal of the HIV ban on immigration, Andrew couldn’t become a legitimate voter.

    It’s an interesting issue. I can see why a country wouldn’t want to import people with communicable, life-threatening diseases. Twenty years ago, AIDS was a death sentence. Now, it’s perfectly manageable but horrendously expensive.

    Sullivan’s a pretty hard case to make law from, though.

  20. anjin-san says:

    Michael,

    Let me know if you are going to make it… promises to be a very fun couple of days. I might take a pass on Mac World, not the same without Apple there.

  21. Adam says:

    Andrew is Obamaphilic. He has jokingly called himself an “Obama hack.”

    He’s made Obama an avatar for right governing at this moment in post-Bush history and now the era of “Palin Republicans.”

    Sullivan’s support will last until after 2012. Sullivan has supported health care in the form Obama conceived it as a conservative policy. No Republican candidate will be able to come up with something that Sullivan can sufficiently label the “more conservative” policy.

    I myself support Obama, but Andrew is semi-servile to him, except to bash his security policies by quoting, without real animus, Glenn Greenwald. Who’s going to out-Left Obama on the security front? Certainly not a Republican.