The Corner

Under Andrew’s Skin

I see Andrew Sullivan has a very long response to my review. If I were to argue the way he regularly does I would say something like “I must have hit a nerve!” Or “He can’t stand that I’ve exposed the truth of his real agenda.”

I’m exhausted by the mere prospect of wading into another debating match with Andrew, what with his relentless question-begging, insinuations, weasel-wording , and the like. But, when I have more time (I’m leaving shortly for a talk at Hamilton and need to put the column to bed) I’ll think about if it’s worth it. I know most readers here don’t think it is. 

But I see he asks for a clarification and I do have  time to deal with that. The opening of my review mentions that he refers to Bush’s America as a “thinly veiled military dictatorship.” It seemed obvious to me when writing the review –  and  looking back at it now — that I was referring to Sullivan in general and not to Sullivan the author of the Conservative Soul. I don’t see any bad faith on my part. And, besides, it’s not like Andrew retracts the statement. Indeed, calling Bush’s America a “thinly-veiled military dictatorship” is so routine for Andrew that he didn’t even remember saying it. That such pronouncements are a hallmark of Andrew’s style these days was my point then, and he confirms it now.