Sullivan does write individual posts that criticize the president in terms every bit as strong as I or any other civil liberties loving opponent could ask. But like other Obama boosters who I've criticized on these very same grounds, the harsh critiques always seem to be forgotten or minimized when it's time to offer an overall assessment. It's as if Obama took a driving test that Sullivan was judging, where he performed quite capably on a great many tasks, but also ran over a three innocent pedestrians, unapologetically broke a major law, and erased data in dashboard GPS system that tied the car's former owner to a few homicides; and although the test administrator complained at each transgression, his ultimate report pronounced America lucky to have so skilled a driver on the streets.
Nah, Surely it's more like a scraped bumper and a cuffed rear mirror or a … oh never mind. Will Wilkinson calls me out as a pundit who "falls in and out of love like a bipolar fourteen year-old diarist":
Yet [Sullivan] proceeds — and this is as maddening as it is riveting — as if he were not an overheated, fickle instrument, as if his vehement mutable passions about public persons made perfect sense, were the unimpeachable output of a judicious internal process of cool analysis sensitive only to the objective features his subjects. But just when Andrew's infuriating audacity or blindness or whatever it is has you ready to punch your laptop, he teases you with fluent erudition, penetrating insight, subtle analysis and measured intellectual judgment. This mix is fascinating. It can be addictive. No, it does not make sense.
But which human being does in the end?
A blog updated every 20 minutes or so can only reveal a blogger's human gyrations in the kind of granular detail a weekly columnist or less frenzied blogger can avoid. It is not always pretty; but I always try to keep it honest and open. Maybe I should be ashamed. I certainly feel exposed. And I wish I were omniscient and prescient and never had emotional responses to events … but that wouldn't be much fun would it?
Or think of it this way: A blogger who is not prepared to make a total fool out of himself is not a real blogger.