Andrew Sullivan on the blessed relief of presidential silence:
January 14, 2001 7:44 PM   Subscribe

Andrew Sullivan on the blessed relief of presidential silence:
"The promise of Bush is to make politics boring again, to return it to the prose of government rather than the drama of private life or the poetry of the broader culture."
posted by hanseugene (13 comments total)
Real bad boys move in silence -- and so, I worry, will his administration. Clinton's personal flaws aside, I was starting to like the idea of an inclusive politics -- one that, if not imitative of or directly driven by the broader culture's poetry, was at least reflective of it. I would argue that politics isn't supposed to be boring, and that anything that increases the public's disengagement from the process is not something to which I look forward.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 8:44 PM on January 14, 2001

You know, it's funny but The New Republic just hasn't been the same since Walter Lippmann left the staff and Herbert Croly bit the dust.

Here we have one of the most contested presidential elections in American history, followed -- it's predicted -- by a rash of protests come inauguration day on a level people can't remember since the Vietnam War; we've got a fratboy President-in-Waiting who's past peccadillos are potentially worthy of a Jacqueline Susann novel; we've got one cabinet nominee who's already bowed out even before she got to a Senate confirmation hearing, another -- for Interior -- who thinks James Watts had the right idea and yet another for Attorney General who, it's felt, has a problem with people of color -- and that's just this week's headlines. Nevertheless the guy writing this article feels it's going to be a return to Normalcy. Sounds like wishful thinking if you ask me.
posted by leo at 8:46 PM on January 14, 2001

Sullivan's claims about the tackiness of the Clinton presidency ignore the fact that Clinton's enemies went to great lengths to bring his personal indiscretions into the public view. Moreover, I believe that what Sullivan calls Clintonian "yapping" instead represents inclusion and transparency in government, rather than collusion and silence.
I fear, as 'allaboutgeorge' does, that the "presidential silence" of the republican regime conceals the sorts of things they are really up to and the interests that control them.
posted by dal211 at 9:13 PM on January 14, 2001

You said it a bit more succinctly than I could, dal211. We all appear on the level and ordinary to ourselves and our supporters. It's the reception we get from the loyal opposition that defines whether we're in for boring or interesting times. In a word, he's preaching to the converted.
posted by leo at 9:57 PM on January 14, 2001

Although I'd hardly call Sullivan a member of the loyal opposition. :)

Hm... he just seems... religious right...
posted by hanseugene at 10:27 PM on January 14, 2001

Andrew Sullivan is a wonderful argument for tighter immigration controls.
posted by grimmelm at 11:59 PM on January 14, 2001

Andrew Sullivan is a wonderful argument for tighter immigration controls.

Funny: as a Brit, I'm arguing the complete opposite.

(Apart from that we really don't want to let him back in, now that he has that atrocious mid-Atlantic accent).

Anyway, the notion of "presidential silence" tacitly gives the nod to the argument of British columnists on the left: that the right would like to see the US transformed into a de facto monarchy, with a President who "reigns but does not rule". You've got the aristocracy, you've got the petrification of power structures, and now you've got Mad King George.
posted by holgate at 12:41 AM on January 15, 2001

Also, I think Sullivan's notion of "prosaic" government is really misconceived. Yes, we want a prosaicness to the machinery of government, but we expect and demand a poetic quality to our leaders. (Examples: Homer, Sophocles, Virgil, Shakespeare et al. Oh, and that 'hubris' thing.

That's why Thatcher, though an evil lunatic, was more of a leader than John Major; or that FDR was a greater leader than, say, Warren G. Harding, or even a cipher such as Eisenhower, who presided over the post-war glutting of the American state: through their embrace of the "drama of private life or the poetry of the broader culture."

So, it sounds like Sullivan regards a no-score draw as a win. Oh, and it's a bit rich that he wants politics to become "boring" now, after eight years of right-wing screed. Um, no, it doesn't work like that, you fucking cowards.
posted by holgate at 12:57 AM on January 15, 2001

Andrew Sullivan is a complete joker. He served up the same rubbish in the comic yesterday. The week before he was trying to make some Bush appointee from the Ford administration sound exciting by describing him as an ‘insider rebel’.

There are probably some people in the UK whose only news of the world at large comes from the Sunday Times. Just imagine...
posted by Mocata at 3:41 AM on January 15, 2001

Go back to bed, America, your government has figured out how it all transpired, go back to bed America, your goverment is in control again.

Here, here's American Gladiators, watch this, shut up, go back to bed America, here is American Gladiators, here is 56 channels of it, watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together and congratulate you on the living in the land of freedom.

Here you go America - you are free to do as well tell you! You are free to do as we tell you!
posted by fullerine at 4:42 AM on January 15, 2001

Andrew Sullivan has a website! I've never known a hack to have their own website - let alone one as pompous (and Flash-heavy) as this...
posted by Mocata at 5:01 AM on January 15, 2001


I love Bill Hicks as much as the next guy, but if you're gonna quote him, you really ought to credit him. Otherwise, how will new folks discover his work?

Just a gentle reminder. :-)
posted by Optamystic at 5:14 AM on January 15, 2001

The easiest way to read Sullivan's site is to skip the Flash and go straight to his daily updates.

There are two other print pundits who run sites like Sullivan's: Mickey Kaus and Joshua Marshall.

I think Sullivan is dreaming if he thinks politics is going to become boring anytime soon. All three branches of government are under GOP control and the core Democratic constituencies are embittered about the contested election. Sounds like a recipe for four years of internecine squabbling to me.
posted by rcade at 6:06 AM on January 15, 2001

« Older Live audio description of Bush inauguration   |   Brunch with Katie Couric Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments