The Weekly Wrap

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 20 2012 @ 10:37pm


Friday on the Dish, Andrew paused the blog to attend Hitch's memorial, wrote a eulogy of sorts for his old friend,  posted a poem for the occasion, and defended American voter ignorance. We invited you to Ask Maggie Gallagher anything, found the relationship between Romney and the institutional GOP super awkward, examined the case for an all-white ticket, forecasted an independent Gary Johnson run's impact on the race, decided Mitt's plasticity was dangerous, doubted the religious right would last forever, and looked at the religious influence on American warmaking. Norwegians rebounded without fear after the Utoya terrorist attack, Africans turned up their noses at European barbarism, drones couldn't beat manned fighters, and the military tried out robot psychologists.

Andrew blasted DC's ridiculous marijuana laws, and also opposed settlement boycotts on practical grounds and capital punishment on principled ones. A new video game pushed the boundaries of the form, almost all bars used games from the same company, Google wasn't a trend-tracking panacea, about 30 percent of the Internet was for porn, and "Facebook girlfriends" ran you 5 bucks. We looked at half-way legalization of prostitution, tracked the pidgeonholing of gay comedy, and continued debate on the male contraceptive RISUG. Chimps killed for sex and pesticides killed bees. Global attitudes on God varied, stuttering had no upside, a pot dealer spilled trade secrets, 420's hidden history came to light, and a reader put two and two together on MHB timing. Ask Jennifer Rubin Anything here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here


Thursday on the Dish, Andrew damned Richard Nixon for giving us today's GOP, discussed the politics of Roe v. Wade with Douthat, debated Obama and the Buffett Rule with readers, discovered Romney's appointment of an openly gay Republican as his national security spokesman, dressed Mitt down over dressage (reader corrective here), and dozed off at the Republican nomination. We situated Romney on the extreme end of the Afghanistan drawdown debate, cast doubt on the idea that his unfavorables would sink him, bet on minorities turning out for Obama again, explained the partisan gender gap by reference to "big government," and chuckled at Obama photoshops. Ad War Update here.

Andrew also explained how our choices determine who we are, issued a disclosure addendum to the "Nepotism Watch" on Chelsea Clinton, crossed his fingers over Iran negotiations, and went another round on imperial war and atrocity. We hoped Iran's nuclear program might follow history and collapse on its own, listened to readers on divergences between Israel and America and Jennifer Rubin, checked on an alternative to the war on drugs, and explored the causes behind the drop in American gun ownership. S&M wasn't intrinsically anti-feminist, a sex life with herpes wasn't all bad, legal prostitution had a mixed record, and male contraception celebration was premature. We continued discussing the character of consciousness, found that self-control was likely finite, and pondered good religion. The notion of "Facebook loneliness" got complicated, cell phone spam annoyed, bicycles used oil, tiny houses came in vogue, and prospective employers gave resumes only cursory examination. Ask Jennifer Rubin Anything here, Quote for the Day here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.


Hua Hin, Thailand, 12 pm

Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew lauded Poland's investigation into Bush-era torture, feared Romney would make the same grave mistakes as his Republican predecessor on foreign policy, chatted with Ross Douthat about whether Romney was a Christian, and heaved at the current election news cycle. We used science to predict a wave of muck from now till November, found the party bases unified around their candidates, figured out just how badly Romney could lose among women and minorities Romney could lose and still win, determined that GOP-leaning cities were the least walkable, and wondered what Herman Cain was up to (hint: making money). Deficits seemed in important ways beside the point, Mormon women stayed home, and candidates lacked beards.

Andrew also blasted an "intellectually challenged" bishop, responded to readers on tax reform and religion on the Dish, got disgusted by some picture from Afghanistan, and previewed the right-wing backlash if Iran makes a nuclear deal. We debated the differences between Iran and Iraq (re: Jennifer Rubin's Ask Anything video on same), pushed the limits of free speech on a terrorism case, debated the "humor" in Text from Drone, and situated our infrastructure well ahead of China's. The moral intelligence of a calf's mother astonished, veganism was marginally healthy, and trees were good for cities. People struggled to catch cabs, criminal justice fees rankled, an autism epidemic may have began, humanity got lucky, and robots appeared to be next. We rubbished the cohabitation effect, speculated about growing old alone, pinned romcoms to fairy tales, and profiled WebMD addiction. Ask Jennifer Rubin Anything here, Malkin Award Nominee here, Hathos Alert here, Quotes for the Day here and here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.


By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew defended his view of the race's importance, aired more thoughts on Palin's viability, took Obama to task on the deficit and taxes, checked on the reality of government spending and the need for tax hikes, and labelled tax breaks "fundamentally unfair." Relatedly, since it was tax day, we gave you tips on filing, explained why the IRS didn't calculate them for you, and looked at dangerous tax loans. We also posted some rules for reading polling data, put Arizona on Obama's radar, wondered if Romney really could make a centrist move, broke down the fundamentally cautious character of modern campaigns, met the "teavangelical" candidate for Congress, listened to readers on Jennifer Rubin and W.'s biggest mistake, traced the individual mandate back to George Washington, questioned whether the Secret Service had gotten out of control, and read Biden's lips (badly). Ad War Updates here and here.

Andrew also shared his (highly positive) childhood history with IQ measurement, lost faith in a two-state solution, and reexamined the Iran strike countdown. Bibi was vulnerable in the upcoming election and Iran attacked filmmaking. We debated S&M and feminism, spotlighted an extraordinarily effective form of birth control, continued the gyms and health discussion, put the George Zimmerman trial in a broader context, and noted some nepotism. Idealist depictions of politics went out of style, music had extraordinary powers, science decoded old book smell, and blogs prospered. Ask Jennifer Rubin Anything here, Hewitt Award Nominee here, Chart of the Day here, VFYW Contest Winner here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

Monday on the Dish, Andrew came back from his staycation, declared this election's highest stakes to be in foreign policy, disapproved of Obama's new tone, and bet Palin could have beaten Romney. We wondered if Obama and Romney were actually close, puzzled over Mitt's Republican DREAM Act and secret tax plan (here and here), and examined Communist witchunting as a fundraising tactic. The NRA sounded crazy and the recession might have been much worse.

Andrew also blasted Bill Donohue's nastiness about adopted children, noted some encouraging statistics about Newsweek, and went after the NYT review of The Crisis of Zionism. We also teased out the implications of the weekend attacks in Afghanistan, worried about Central America's reaction to the war on drugs, and assesed the UN's success (or failure). GDP didn't measure everything important, Italy had crazy gangs and a crazier ex-Prime Minister, Google Earth saved a life in India, and medical tourism might help save US health care. Ackerman's Ask Anything questions stayed up, Wilkinson switched focus to fiction, and Hari chatted with Greenwald.

We also listened to readers on The Dish and religion, took in a poetry review from 1939, and pondered the character of consciousness. Writing changed when done by hand, speech impediments differed in different contexts, a disability scarred one reader's love life, hot real estate agents moved property, and kids languished in juvie. Readers debated filming books and Tupac lived. Smart phones spread, lie detectors failed, and aluminum used to be more valuable than gold. A cardboard arcade warmed our hearts and pot wine was a thing. Ask Jennifer Rubin Anything here, Quotes for the Day here, here, and here, Headline of the Day here, FOTD here, MHB here, and VFYW here.

– Z.B.