Saturday, June 19, 2004

I'll still be reading Sullivan 

Many readers have asked whether I'll be removing the link to Andrew Sullivan from my blogroll. Actually that's a lie, no one has asked me that - as if anyone would care what I think about the issue anyway.

If you are a blogsphere fanatic you are probably already aware of the whole Andrew Sullivan controversy. If, on the other hand, like the 99.9% of the population you're not a political junky, you probably don't and it's just as well. We obsessives all too often tend to get caught up in storm-in-a-teacup controversies that have little relevance and resonance outside the broadband Beltway.

In summary: Andrew Sullivan, one of the blogsphere's centre-right greats has declared that he won't be supporting Bush in November. Andrew, who in the past disagreed with W over economic policy (too much government spending), social policy (the conservative parts of it) and aspects of the foreign policy (the conduct of, but not the concept of the liberation of Iraq), had reached a breaking point over Bush's support for the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Andrew, one of the very few prominent and vocal gay right-of-centrists (I use this term advisedly, instead of "conservative") and a long-standing and passionate supporter of gay marriage, felt that enough was enough.

I don't necessarily agree with Andrew that opposing gay marriage is tantamount to discrimination and bigotry, or that it's the litmus test for a president ("if we ban gay marriage the Islamofascist terrorists will have won") but hey, it's a free world and everyone's entitled to their opinions and judgments. I tend to agree with Glenn Reynolds (who also happens to disagree with Bush over a whole range of issues, mostly social) that the war on terror is the issue of today, which trumps everything else - just like the war with communism was in my opinion the uber-issue of the second half of the last century. That in turn meant that the coalition of the willing, so to speak, could include libertarians, paleo-cons, neo-cons, mainstream cons, Christian democrats, centrists and anti-totalitarian social democrats. One's opinion on budget deficits or abortion was of secondary importance.

This is not so anymore - the war on terror and the war in Iraq are much more intra-ideologically polarising - libertarians take issues, as do paleo-cons. And even though for me "it's the war, stupid", I don't see any reasons for ostricising Andrew, or crying about "treason to the cause" for his sin of having a different perspective and different priorities. The centre-right movement is - or at least should be - bigger than that.

I might personally consider Andrew's disendorsement of George Bush to be unfortunate, but in the hierarchy of the issues, I'd much rather have him understand the importance of the struggle with fascism and terrorism and damn Bush over gay marriage, then sing the President's praises while remaining blind to the reality and importance of the war on terror. I know that there will be some who'll say "But how can he be serious about the war on terror if he doesn't care if John Kerry might get into the White House?" There's some truth to that, but hey, that's life; Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller are in the same boat - doesn't make them less decent for that either.

Update: I've been corrected by readers: Zell Miller is actually supporting Bush. To the best of my knowledge, Lieberman will still vote for his party's candidate. You can read his views on terror and Iraq here (via Instapundit) - I have a feeling that if Liebraman was the Democratic prsidential nominee, Andrew Sullivan would endorse him.


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