He knows better

There are four women, three politicos and one 'journalist' (I know already I'm in trouble for this!) whom I find exceptionally ditzy when voicing their opinions. They are Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D—CA, House Minority Leader; Sen. Barbara Boxer, D—CA; Rep. Cynthia McKinney,  D—GA; and last, but certainly not least, Columnist Maureen Dowd, Liberal—NYT.

Unlike these others, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D—NY, always knows exactly what she is saying, whether she believes it or not. And unlike this Gang of Four, any emotion the redoubtable Ms. Hillary displays seems not a little manufactured, rather unlike the real tears of heartfelt emotion Boxer wept over Bush's reelection. The senior Senator from New York, Charles 'Chuck' Schumer, is also most accomplished in the orchestration department. I sometimes wonder if Hillary and Chuck trade pointers and critiques of each other's public performances.

(Just an aside — I'm looking at Schumer's pic on his Senate site and wonder what that ear—to—ear, full—face grin is telling me. I'm probably better off not knowing.)

Unfortunate as these things may be, I don't expect much more than drivel from the foursome, nor the truth from the Empire State's twosome. Mark Twain made a rather good living satirizing politicians and their foibles. Whether they know whereof they speak or not, no matter. The man from Hannibal taught us well when he described a man who, after many travails, shot himself in the head and promptly got elected to Congress. However, Andrew Sullivan is an entirely different matter.

His opinion piece for London's Sunday Times, 'Old man McCain tries Bush's crown for size,' is appalling for a man who claims a fair degree of intellectual honesty. Ever since President Bush voiced his support for a ban on gay marriage by means of a Constitutional amendment, this unabashedly gay but nominally conservative and nominally Catholic British ex—pat has been running a one—man crusade against the moral dolt in the White House. Sullivan is of the opinion that Catholic moral teaching and the Bill of Rights should be geared to approve, foster, and institutionalize his personal sexual preference. Which is fine. Just don't make 'separation of powers' arguments in support of same.

For instance, gleefully tweaking his nose at Bush's political embarrassment resulting from the 'McCain Mutiny' he says:

Fourteen senators made a deal. All the president of the United States could do was look on. In a finely balanced Senate, a centrist faction of seven Republicans and seven Democrats shelved the notion of abolishing the judicial filibuster, allowed a vote on three judicial nominees and punted on the others. It was one of those moments when you really understood the founding fathers' notion of separation of powers. (Emphasis added)

Sullivan knows better. I have no doubt of it. But there, for all the elite of England and the English—speaking world to see, he spits out a Democratic talking point, a distortion and distraction of the first order. The argument over the Democrats' filibuster of appeals court nominees has absolutely nothing to do with the 'separation of powers' between the branches of the Federal government. It's a Senate rules change issue — no matter how many times Sen. Schumer or Sen. Reid say otherwise. Sullivan isn't repeating this because he buys this deceptive bit of political fear mongering. He's taking shots at Bush, the personal enemy of Andrew the Sullivan.

Now, Andrew Sullivan is one smart and very well—educated dude, as this bio bit from his blog site attests:

Andrew Sullivan was born in August 1963 in a small town in Southern England, South Godstone, and grew up in a neighboring town, East Grinstead, in West Sussex. He went to Reigate Grammar School, and, from there, to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he took a First in Modern History and Modern Languages. He was also President of the Oxford Union in his Second Year at college, and spent his summer vacations as an actor in the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.

That's just for starters. So he probably knows better than the vast majority of our Fearless Leaders just what the separation of powers clause means and its historical interpretation. But he uses his platform to obfuscate rather than educate. I'm beginning to think he's been a double agent all along and that he may be the one giving acting lessons to Chuck and Hillary.

He's certainly not shy in his admiration of John McCain, 'a genuine Vietnam war hero who endured five years of torture at the hands of the Vietcong' and is 'the most popular Republican in the Country.' Only problem is, Andy, that's not with Republicans, even though 'he is a crusty, temper—prone, old—school Republican from Arizona.' And it wasn't the Vietcong, either. McCain was held at the Hanoi Hilton by the North Vietnamese after being shot down while on a mission to bomb a power plant in the Communist North. Sullivan's fact—checking seems to be slipping here. I guess where and by whom McCain was tortured is just a throw—away statement.

Most McCain observers saw this (his staying within the Republican party after his failed 2000 Presidential campaign) as part of his character. For all the liberal fantasies about him, the truth is he is a conservative. He's pro—life, deeply committed to low taxes and the war on terror. He has thinly veiled contempt for the European governments that opposed the invasion of Iraq, especially France; and, for good measure, he holds the Senate seat once occupied by the grandaddy of the American conservative movement, Barry Goldwater.

It would have been extremely odd to see him in the upper reaches of the Democratic Party. For Republicans who feel alienated by the power of fundamentalist evangelicals in the party, McCain is also a secular saint and they would have felt betrayed by his departure.

Senator Goldwater must be pulling a 9g high—speed spin cycle in his grave. Elevating himself to clerical status, Sullivan canonizes McCain who, as St. Patrick once drove the snakes out of Ireland, seems poised to drive those pesky 'fundamentalist evangelicals' from out of the Republican Party. While out on the left coast, Margaret Carlson of the Los Angeles Times is gushing that McCain had 'pulled the Senate back from Armageddon.' What a hero. This guy makes Captain America look like a milquetoast.

Then Sullivan drifts off into a sweet reverie. Can we, wonder of wonders, dream of a McCain presidency? Dare we hope? Yes, it is possible!

Without the leadership's errors, McCain would still be on the sidelines. Moreover, the primary system in the Republican party is still strongly tilted toward fundamentalist Christians, and their leadership despises McCain.

But we can dream, can't we? As George W Bush faces becalming waters, his power is ebbing. That's the price for sticking with Dick Cheney and having no successor to keep the troops in line.

In Washington, power is never destroyed; it's merely transferred. Last week was the first obvious shift away from the White House. It may one day be looked back on as the first of many.

Thus spake Father Sullivan, substituting 'Christians' for 'evangelicals' after 'fundamentalists.' Next time he'll get 'Catholics' into that coveted slot.

By the way, does anyone know if there's a difference between 'evangelical fundamentalists' and 'fundamentalist evangelicals'?  

Dennis Sevakis is a frequent contributor.