The Corner

WHILE I WAS WRITING MY LAST TWO POSTS

Sullivan posted his 80th entry or so about my book. He still hasn’t read it. He has, however, called me a “Christianist,” a “religious fundamentalist,” “Ramesh Coulter,” and, now, a “Republican operative.” All of this, you understand, is in the service of Sullivan’s hatred of name-calling and love of high intellectual standards.

His latest post reprints an email–Sullivan is unkind to his readers to post so many of their emails–which accuses me of selecting the topics in my book to present Republicans in a good light. I wrote about abortion, for example, and not infant mortality rates. This reader “nails it,” according to Sullivan. Some of the arguments that the reader and Sullivan hint at are, in fact, addressed in the book (the book, again, that Sullivan has not read): for example, the bit about infant mortality rates and universal health care. The book also, incidentally, argues that moderating on abortion would improve the Democrats’ political fortunes. I’ll focus here, though, on the question of motive.

Let’s assume that my goal was to help Republicans. Why would I want to do that? Perhaps because I tend to agree with Republicans more than Democrats about the issues treated in the book? Perhaps I cover those issues because they’re the ones that most concern me? Perhaps they’re the ones that most concern me for the reasons stated in the book? Perhaps–and I know this is a radical idea–the book’s conclusions stand or fall on the strength of its analysis?

It’s no secret that I tend to prefer Republicans to Democrats. But it’s my policy views that drive that preference, not the other way around. I see no reason to change my views, or distort them, in order to sustain some pose of nonpartisanship. It’s not as though Sullivan’s vaunted independence from the parties has made him less predictable, or more principled.

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.

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