Credibility is something that we either don’t understand or no longer have any use for. In an effort to explain what credibility is (and to bring it back in style), I will occasionally be highlighting pundits or "journalists" who inexplicably still have a voice, despite the fact that they have no credibility. I say occasionally because exposing media hacks isn’t my mission here, and there are plenty of places you can go for that. But every once in a while, I read something that really steams my beans and I have to write about it.
Andrew Sullivan is a twat waffle. He has been espousing liberal views since his "awakening", without ever acknowledging that we were right about everything.
This piece showed up in my G+ feed. It was posted by one of my progressive peeps who thought it was worth sharing. I disagreed because this piece embodies everything I despise about Andrew Sullivan, who lost all credibility in the Bush years (it actually started earlier). My problem with Sullivan is that he pretends that he’s invented the less batshit crazy ideas he’s been espousing over the past 7 years (or so) without ever acknowledging that liberals had it right all along. He does this while peddling (and advancing) right wing fallacies.
Let’s unpack this heaping pile of poop so that I can show you where I’m coming from by looking at the paragraph that bitched me out the most;
Like Ricks, I don’t believe my general inclinations politically have changed that much over the years. I prefer smaller government in general; I too believe in a robust defense; I have few issues with the free market; I think marriage and family are critical social institutions; I’m still a believing Christian; I have deep qualms about abortion and abhor affirmative action; I’m a fiscal conservative; want radical tax reform, cuts in unfunded entitlements, and culturally,..
Let’s discuss. "I prefer smaller government in general". Are you still being a fucking child and referring to regulating Wall Street as "big government" intrusion into your life? Who the fuck is for "big government"? And why are you caricaturing the liberal position? Asshole.
"I too believe in a robust defense". Again, what the fuck does this mean without clarity? Do you believe in spending twice as much as the next X number of countries combined? You know, the way the Soviet Union used to before it went bankrupt? Are you down with spending billions of dollars on planes that don’t work and tanks that the army doesn’t want? Again, the implication that liberals want to leave the US defenseless is bullshit. Asshole.
"I have few issues with the free market". That’s just fucking stupid, no matter how you look at it. Are actually still humping the free market unicorn that helped itself to 60% of your retirement funds in 2007? I get why Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer still hump that unicorn. They’re getting paid handsomely for their stupid. But you Andrew Sullivan, you’re doing pro bono stupid, you unmitigated, unabashed asshole?
"I think marriage and family are critical social institutions; I’m still a believing Christian". And liberals are what? On the other side? Godless sodomite heathens? I’m sorry, but the implication that the right wing has a monopoly on God or spirituality is total bullshit. Liberals happen to do this whole thing better by not foisting our beliefs on other people, and certainly not legislating based on what we do or do not believe. The implication that conservatives have nailed this down, despite the obvious fact that they’re doing it all wrong makes you (say it with me) an asshole.
"I’m a fiscal conservative". Guess which party actually reduces deficits? Asshole.
I’m sorry, but I despise Andrew Sullivan, and he gets no credit for being slightly less batshit than he has been in the past.
That’s not to say that credibility can’t be rebuilt. I absolutely believe that it’s possible for someone to have an epiphany and see where they went horribly wrong. But I need to hear you Andrew Sullivan, break down for me in great detail where you believe you went horribly wrong. Because I need to review that thought process before deciding if you’re worth spending my time on. There is no turn toward credibility without clearly laying out the basis for the "I was wrong" epiphany. You can’t just admit to being wrong about one war or one president and then go about telling me what you think, as if I need to give a flying fuck. You were wrong about everything. The very foundation upon which you built your belief system was wrong. Wanna know how I know? Because the internet archives every piece of steaming shit you foisted upon the world.
You certainly can’t rebuild your credibility while still caricaturing the side that was right all along. You can’t falsely paint me as a big spending, all controlling, spiritually empty wuss who would leave this country defenseless in order to explain your incredibly stupid beliefs about how the world should work. You were wrong about everything. Leave me out of it because it’s all on you. And you certainly don’t get a cookie from me for not being wrong 100% of the time anymore while you’re still calling me an idiot.
I’m sorry, but if you’re a liberal who listens to this jackass because he’s suddenly telling you what you want to hear, you’re the only reason why he still exists. Without you, he disappears because he certainly hasn’t retained his batshit crazy republican audience. He’s calling you an idiot every single day. Stop helping him!
Credibility doesn’t come from telling you what you want to hear. It comes from creating a history of being either correct in analyzing situations, or explaining the reason for an incorrect analysis. I’ve been wrong about stuff. Just go through my archives about health reform. I was not correct in everything I said about the way it was going to turn out. I acknowledged that I was wrong, and proceeded to show you the basis of my ongoing analysis.
Why admit to being wrong? Because I don’t expect you to take me seriously if I don’t. Despite the way that credibility has been disregarded and undervalued in our culture, I still feel it’s important for me to have it.
Liberals and conservatives have both devalued credibility. Conservatives have done it exponentially more, but liberals do it too. Liberals do it when they point to a douche like Andrew Sullivan and say, "he knows what he’s talking about". No he doesn’t. And telling you something you want to hear doesn’t make him right or credible, especially since he’s still calling you an idiot.
Stop it! Stop listening to people who have already shown you they have no credibility, and no regard for their own credibility. If you’re right, you can find plenty of credible people to show you that you’re right.
As for Andrew Sullivan, he’s going to have to go much further in building his credibility now that he’s been playing the stupid game he’s been playing for the past several years. I need to see him crawl on his hands and knees to beg (for example) Robert Reich’s forgiveness for not acknowledging that Reich has been right about everything he’s ever said over the course of thirty years. He needs to apologize to Bill Clinton about every stupid and demonstrably wrong thing he said about him. He needs to apologize for advancing the mythological version of Ronald Reagan in order to claim that there’s value in conservatism. I want to hear Sullivan talk about the eleven-times-tax-raising Reagan that blew up the deficit and sold arms to terrorists. I need for him to acknowledge that every single aspect of FDR’s New Deal were exactly the right policies to create prosperity and growth for America. To summarize, I need him to acknowledge that liberals have been right about just about everything. Okay, we fucked up when we built ghettos in America. I can acknowledge that. It was a mistake. We really should have integrated low income housing into middle class neighborhoods, but at least we tried to do something. Live and learn.
Hindsight should be 20/20. And until Andrew Sullivan’s is, he can kiss my right-all-along liberal ass.