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Sullivan Gets Mugged

Russ Smith pulls off a hat trick in his weekly "Mugger" column in the NY Press, slapping Andrew Sullivan, Eric Alterman, and Paul Krugman - though Sullivan definitely gets the worst of it:

It's a question that can't be asked too often. Is selective homophobia acceptable when practiced by left-wingers who otherwise have impeccable anti-Bush, anti-Republican, anti-Alito, pro-abortion and soak-the-rich credentials? The one sliver of grace in Paul Krugman's I-told-you-so March 10 Times column, in which he reluctantly welcomed "born-again Bush bashers" Bruce Bartlett and Andrew Sullivan to his club, was that he didn't mention the latter's preoccupation with gay marriage. Maybe Krugman's squeamish about the subject, but I'm grateful.

The Nation's Eric Alterman, on the contrary,has no manners.

Sullivan, as noted here before, is not one of my favorite pundits. He denies it, of course, but his animus toward George W. Bush--the man who allegedly tortures at will, has an IQ lower than the typical unionized highschool teacher, presides over an economy that'll leave the country bankrupt sooner rather than later and is in favor of a police state--coincided with the president's vocal stance leading up to the 2004 elections that marriage is an institution reserved strictly for heterosexuals. That's certainly a reasonable point of view from a proud gay man who writes about his "fiancé" and snickers in print about the "hot" Olympian John Weir, but he ought not cloak his "born-again" opposition to Bush with arguments that minimize this crucial difference of opinion.

Additionally, it's off-putting to hear Sullivan on the subject of Iraq--you'd think he was writing from Baghdad's "Green Zone" rather than one of television's "green rooms" that he frequents more than is decent--especially after he told the citizens of Iraq "you're welcome," after Saddam Hussein was ousted three years ago. It's also strange to read his ongoing hagiography of Sen. John McCain--in similar terms with which he once described Bush. After all, the Arizona senator is one of the politically beleaguered president's most fervent supporters right now, as he mines Bush's contributor lists in preparation for a 2008 presidential run. Also, McCain is against gay marriage and is cultivating, somewhat successfully, an alliance with the cultural right.

On March 11, Sullivan wrote on his Time-financed blog, "Too many [Republicans] hate [McCain], I fear. And the factions who hate him--the factions who [detested] him in South Carolina in 2000--are among the most vicious and shameless in the country." Oh, please. Both economic and social conservatives are not shy today about plumping McCain as the best Republican bet in 2008. Sure, there's strenuous disgust still with the Senator's grandstanding, sponsorship of a First Amendment-busting campaign finance bill and coziness with some Democrats and almost every reporter in the country, but the onetime POW and Keating Five survivor has the look of a winner. Anyone who thinks Sens. George Allen, Bill Frist or Chuck Hagel are going to defeat the McCain machine are living in the past.

Krugman, a detestable writer who picks random facts to make political points, nevertheless was right on target on March 13--far ahead of his colleagues--when he skewered McCain. "[H]ere's what you need to know about McCain," he wrote. "He isn't a straight talker. His flip-flopping on tax cuts, his call to send troops we don't have to Iraq and his endorsement of the South Dakota anti-abortion legislation even while claiming that he would find a way around that legislation's central provision show that he's a politician as slippery and evasive as, well, George W. Bush."

Coming to andrewsullivan.com soon: full-throated support of Sen. Russell Feingold.