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Once Again, Sully Misses The Point

by @ 5:57 pm on February 12, 2009. Filed under Barack Obama, Economics, Politics

Andrew Sullivan continues to let his Obama mania cloud his reasoning.

The most recent case in point comes in this post about the Republican opposition to the “stimulus” bill:

Their clear and open intent is to do all they can, however they can, to sabotage the new administration (and the economy to boot). They want failure. Even now. Even after the last eight years. Even in a recession as steeply dangerous as this one. There are legitimate debates to be had; and then there is the cynicism and surrealism of total political war. We now should have even less doubt about what kind of people they are. And the mountain of partisan vitriol Obama will have to climb every day of the next four or eight years.

Andrew, this is politics not an afternoon tea.

If Judd Gregg and other Republicans in Congress truly believe that Obama’s stimulus plan is the wrong plan at the wrong time, then they have every right to oppose it and to do everything in their power to defeat it.

It may not work, and Obama’s bill may pass in the end, but at least someone will have stood up and said no to what is, in reality, and incredibly bad plan.

Update: A further thought in a comment I left elsewhere:

So what are Republicans and the rest of us who think Obama’s stimulus plan is a horribly bad idea, or that his idea of getting the government even more involved in the health care system would be a disaster, supposed to do — roll over and play dead ?

It seems to me that the current definition of bipartisanship involves letting the left get away with whatever they want and not complaining. If that’s what it’s supposed to be, then the heck with it.

If I think Obama is doing something wrong, I’m going to say it, loudly and do whatever I could to help defeat it.

That’s representative democracy.

Update # 2: Bruce McQuain makes this excellent point:

Obviously Sullivan can’t think of “legitimate debates to be had” concerning this awful bill j(turn toward the White House, bow and sign). And you have to assume that he doesn’t consider putting this bill together without letting the Republicans participate as a party (not as the ‘picked off three’) a cynical declaration of “total political war”. In fact you have to wonder when he began paying attention to “mountains of partisan vitriol” that presidents have to climb over every day.

You didn’t think that people were just going to let Obama do whatever he wanted, did you Andrew ?

Update # 3: James Joyner also makes an excellent point:

[W]hat of those of us who dislike the idea of massive spending but are halfheartedly persuaded that it’s nonetheless necessary in the present case and simply want to direct it appropriately?  Can we at least argue for spending no more than necessary and targetting it in ways we’d prefer?

And, more importantly, weren’t we told for the past eight years that dissent was the highest form of patriotism ?

10 Responses to “Once Again, Sully Misses The Point”

  1. Is it not possible that Mr. Sullivan has become so accustomed over the past eight years during which the democratic party demonstrated such a “clear and open intent” to do all they could, however they could, “to sabotage” the Bush administration (and the War to boot) that he is thereby convinced that the Republicans seek the “failure” of the Obama administration in order, in a similar fashion, to gain power at all cost, even if it means the country fails?

    And is it not possible since a partisan of any stripe is loyal primarily to his or her party that Mr. Sullivan may just be right about them? Is it not possible that the real enemy of our country is partisanship itself?

    Let us hope that, while his understanding of the political tactics of partisanship is accurate, just maybe the Republican Party, for the good of our nation can resist the temptation to follow the party playbook by imitating their archrivals. Can we not admit that the Republican partisans are likely to behave in harmony with partisan political principles, without regard to the effect it would have on our country and that such behavior would be just as wrong for them as for anyone else?

    Let us hope that if the Republicans fail to resist the temptation to behave as did the democratic party that Americans will stand who are feed up with parties and the fraudulent concept of “bipartisanship” who refuse to OWE ANY allegiance whatsoever to any “party” and insist that we do that which is good and right for our country.

    Is this not a good time for us to learn that true bipartisanship is impossible to partisans? That when it is mentioned by any partisan zealot, however sincere the intention, it can never be anything more than a fraud perpetrated on Americans. The very idea of belonging to a party is antithetical to bipartisanship. Is this not a time that calls for all of us to take NONPARTIZAN action that benefits the Country regardless of the rewards or punishments it may bring to ANY party among us!

    Thus, if this is truly a “stimulus package”, though I am not convinced of it, and if it will truly benefit our country, though I have yet to be persuaded that it will, let us allow it to stand or fall on it’s own MERITS, if it has any, which I have yet to see.

    But if it is nothing more than a “pork barrel” spending package on steroids, which it appears to be, then let those of us who are NONPARTISANS defeat it by all means. For it is not true, as President Obama believes, that “stimulus is spending”.

    Let all of us, both partisan and nonpartisan respect the office of the President as well as our elected officials in the House and the Senate and not become hateful Obama bashers after the example of the partisans who shamefully showed contempt for the American people to the detriment of our country by bashing President Bush whom the people elected TWICE to serve in the Office of the President of the United States of America and who served us all with dignity an honor.

    I have little doubt that regardless of whether we agree with President Obama, that he will serve with dignity and honor as well and should not be treated with the same shameful contempt demonstrated by pathetic little partisans toward President Bush. Only those capable of rising above such partisan ignorance can truly bring enduring peace, stability, and freedom to our Country.

    E. Lee Saffold

  2. Neetha says:

    In order to reduce the effect of partisanship we need to induce term limits. There is far too much concern with long-term powerbrokering and taking one for the team and not enough about getting the country’s business done.
    Take away the carrot of long-term professional/financial gain and maybe they’ll just do the job they’re supposed to do.
    An added effect might be to reduce the level of lobbying since it will be less efficient to buy congressman for the short-term (maybe corporate America will come up with a lease program!)

  3. Neetha,

    I support term limits for many reasons and they may have the effect you foresee.

    However, partisanship of some kind is inevitable, we just have to accept it.

  4. Tom Levenson says:

    Your argument would make sense if the GOP were actually coherent and connected to this planet in their arguments on the stimulus. But they are not. Case in point: Judd Gregg, who admitted support for the stimulus bill of about the size and scope finally agreed, but chose ultimately to oppose it for, apparently, reasons of party solidarity.

    More generally, the GOP claim that tax cuts stimulate and spending does not is belied by the facts as understood by just about every competent economist and historian. Opposition to the stimulus because it tax cuts too little and spends too much is thus flat earthing with a vengeance, leaving those of us in th reality based community having to choose, as Sully does, between stupidity and knavery as the explanation for the behavior of the GOP.

    Your call. Dumb or evil?

  5. That the Republican Party has a credibility problem when it comes to fiscal conservatism and limited government is a given.

    Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a point when they criticize a “stimulus” bill that spends money we don’t have on projects that even liberal economists are starting to admit will have very limited stimulative impact.

    And, there are plenty of economists who have said on the record and in public that Obama’s headed down the wrong track.

  6. Lance Farrell says:


    Who are these liberal economists to which you’re referring? Most of the dissent from liberal economists is that the stimulus pkg is too SMALL to fill the projected $2.9 trillion hole in our economy next year. The repubs wanted it even smaller than it is, so we can rule them out as adding anything of substance to that portion of the discussion. If you’ve noticed, their mantra is to insist on inflicting more tax cuts that are proven to have less stimulating ability than spending.

    As for the “limited impact” of Obama’s suggested job creation initiatives, to what, exactly, are you referring? Which portion of the spending bill do you find to have “limited impact?”

    It is clear to this Bush voter that these republicans hate Americans and only care about retrieving lost power in Washington. Obama, for all his flaws, demonstrates daily his concern for others beyond his party. Limbaugh and his party choose economic destruction, believing it will give them a chance to sit on the big chair again. America is watching this time, however, and the repubs will not shirk the charge of obstructionist so easily come 2010. (If we still have a country that is able to hold an election next year, that is.)

  7. David N. says:

    “Andrew, this is politics not an afternoon tea. If Judd Gregg and other Republicans in Congress truly believe…” – Doug Mataconis.

    So which is it, politics or true belief?

    “This is politics,” so expect war from the party that loves America but hates half the people living in it.

  8. David,

    It’s both.

    It’s the way politics has always been and always will be.

    If you think it’s bad now, go back and read what Thomas Jefferson’s opponents wrote about him, or what people were writing about Lincoln before and during the Civil War.

    All these calls for “bipartisanship” are obviously meant to make anyone who opposes Obama the enemy.

    Well, it didn’t work when I opposed George Bush and it’s not gonna work now.

    As Harry Truman said, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

  9. Does Sullivan miss the point again? Let us count the ways! Andrew Sullivan specializes in missing the point. That is, to sidetrack and distract is the name of the game for liberals, like a conjuring trick.

    However, the biggest point is that Obama has the votes to pass his government-stimulus (stimulating the government) bill.

    So the only thing that Republicans can do is put all of the credit or blame on Obama. By not voting for the bill, Republicans have placed it all on Obama’s shoulders. It is Obama’s to win or Obama’s to lose.

    If it works, Obama and the Dems get the glory. If it fails, Obama and the Dems get the blame.

    And when it comes to motivating a liberal to actually produce results instead of just fighting for personal power, maybe that is exactly what the country needs right now.

    If Obama feel that he could share the blame he might relax and work on rigging elections by changing rules instead of getting the economy working better.

    Now, Obama knows that if he does not produce RESULTS with a better economy, he and his party will be toast in 2010 and 2012. Isn’t that a GOOD thing?

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