The Corner

Sullivan Sloppiness

My detailed explanations of the principles that ought to govern the drafting of an anti-abortion law, and of how their application would depend on unforeseeable circumstances that would vary from place to place and time to time, doesn’t satisfy Andrew Sullivan, who thinks that I’m dodging the issue in order to further my supposed project of “advancing Republican power” (all, I suppose, to advance my ultimate goal, which, as Sullivan has informed me repeatedly, is the creation of a “Christianist” theocracy). This is par for the course.

Sullivan also pleads innocent to the charge of hypocrisy. He thinks it’s terribly unfair for Mark Steyn to criticize his book before reading it. He says he didn’t do anything of the sort to my book: He criticized only its title and marketing. Well, that’s just not true.

Sullivan links to one post in which he did, indeed, criticize the title. But that’s misleading, since he posted many, many items about the book. Such as this one. And this one. And this one. Each of those comments on the contents of the book, which Sullivan never read.

If I wrote the way Sullivan does, I would say he’s lying. (And speculate about his motives.) But I don’t really think that Sullivan is good at keeping track of his shifting positions over time (let alone of other people’s). Everything is about the emotional response of the moment. He’s always alerting us to how “heartsick,” “gobsmacked,” etc., he is. I don’t especially care about these little bulletins; I just wish that every once in a while he could be “careful” or “scrupulous.”

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.