Here’s an extra-creepy flip-flop from blogger and pundit Andrew Sullivan, a man who knows of flip-flops.
First he insisted scornfully, for years, that it doesn’t matter if president Obama supports gay marriage. Even just six days ago, hours before the president’s thumbs-up to marriage equality, Sullivan had this to say:
I don’t much care. The Congress and the states are the players here — not the president. And this desperate desire among some gays for some kind of affirmation from one man is a little sad.
“A little sad.” OK.
But the moment after the Anointed One was done “evolving,” and grandly declared Himself in favor, Andrew broke down in a puddle of gratitude and hailed the president for his greatness, courage, humanity, etc.
Obama’s support matters after all, Sullivan declares tearfully, because … he is “a father figure.”
Oh for fuck’s sake, get a grip man: Obama is no one’s father except for Sasha and Malia’s. He’s certainly not mine, and if he were, I’d be dreaming something vaguely Oedipal right now.
Father figure. That actually goes beyond “Dear Leader,” doesn’t it?
What’s next? Will Sullivan and his editor friends try to make us see that the president is America’s Very Own Jesus?
Anyway, fine, he’s done “evolving” on this no-brainer, and I suppose that’s good.
“The phone calls went on until one in the morning after the president spoke — people calling saying ‘Where do I go, what can I do to help, what events are coming up,’” said Robert Zimmerman, a Long Island, N.Y., Obama bundler. “People I’ve been seeking out for campaign support for months have been calling me saying, ‘I’m ready to give.’”
I find this kind of single-issue narcissism somewhat less than understandable, to put it politely. So my gay friends are itching to donate millions to a man who orders toddlers and octogenarians to be felt up at our airports? Who, despite his lofty campaign promises, comes down on whistleblowers and medical-marijuana patients like a fucking hammer? Who declares war on another country without congressional authorization? Who is happily overseeing the expansion of a huge bureaucracy tasked with spying on all Americans? Who orders a drone strike on an American citizen who, while admittedly an asswipe of epic proportions, hasn’t been tried or convicted of a single crime? A president who then orders another strike that results in the killing of the asswipe’s 16-year-old son?
None of that will deter my gay friends from giving generously to this president? They’re OK with all of it as long as he’s willing to give a government-issued piece of paper to guys who like guys and girls who like girls?
And that brings us back to Andrew Sullivan, who, every so often, proves himself to be a man of easy virtue, abandoning all pretense of independent thought in order to greedily fellate, in words if not deeds, the occupant of the White House. It was Bush all the way for Sullivan in 2001—2003, and then, a few years later, he switched his man crush to Obama. In his own words, Sullivan was and remains “an unabashed supporter of Obama”; that’s despite his simultaneous claim that he (Sullivan) is a libertarian-leaning conservative independent.
Well, sorry, you can’t have it both ways. If Sullivan were actually independent, he would cut the cringe-inducing Daddy talk and try a bit harder to find his spine.
How would you have reacted in 2008 if any Republican ran promising to do the following?
(1) Codify indefinite detention into law;(2) draw up a secret kill list of people, including American citizens, to assassinate without due process;(3) proceed with warrantless spying on American citizens;(4) prosecute Bush-era whistleblowers for violating state secrets;(5) reinterpret the War Powers Resolution such that entering a war of choice without a Congressional declaration is permissible;(6) enter and prosecute such a war;(7) institutionalize naked scanners and intrusive full body pat-downs in major American airports;(8) oversee a planned expansion of TSA so that its agents are already beginning to patrol American highways, train stations, and bus depots;(9) wage an undeclared drone war on numerous Muslim countries that delegates to the CIA the final call about some strikes that put civilians in jeopardy;(10) invoke the state-secrets privilege to dismiss lawsuits brought by civil-liberties organizations on dubious technicalities rather than litigating them on the merits;(11) preside over federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries;(12) attempt to negotiate an extension of American troops in Iraq beyond 2011 (an effort that thankfully failed);(13) reauthorize the Patriot Act;(14) and select an economic team mostly made up of former and future financial executives from Wall Street firms that played major roles in the financial crisis.
I submit that had Palin or Cheney or Rumsfeld or Rice or Jeb Bush or John Bolton or Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney proposed doing even half of those things in 2008, you’d have declared them unfit for the presidency and expressed alarm at the prospect of America doubling down on the excesses of the post-September 11 era. You’d have championed an alternative candidate who avowed that America doesn’t have to choose between our values and our safety. Yet President Obama has done all of the aforementioned things.
And then some. He does not deserve a free pass, much less our money, whether we’re gay or straight.
Rogier is a Dutch-born, New-England-dwelling multi-media maven (OK, a writer and photographer) whose dead-tree publishing credits include the New York Times, Wired, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Reason.