Andrew Sullivan, creator and writer of The Daily Dish.
Photo: Stephen Voss
In 2000, Andrew Sullivan was best known as a conservative, often brilliant, sometimes infuriating essayist and former editor of The New Republic. That summer, he began writing what was still called a weblog, posting a few items a day under the title “The Daily Dish.” He was pugnaciously pro-Bush and anti-Clinton. Over nearly 15 years, starting with no staff and ending with a small one, Sullivan shifted his politics (if not his philosophy) from defending Bush and the Iraq War to fiercely rejecting both, and from there to uneasily endorsing Kerry and eventually helping to shape the Obama narrative. The interests of his blog were both general and personal, an eclectic mix that included Catholicism, pot, beards, beagles, and especially gay marriage, the case for which he started making years before anyone believed it remotely possible. His integration of reader commentary into the blog created its own form and inspired devotion: When he revealed on February 4 that he was closing down the Dish, one fan offered an annual subscription of $5,000 to keep the site going. A dip into the archive makes a case for Sullivan’s outsize influence on the politics of the newcentury.
The Early Days
Summer 2000: Begins blogging at andrewsullivan.com, under the title the Daily Dish. (The first few months’ posts are nowlost.)
Jan. 2, 2001: First archived item: a response to a Mickey Kaus column in Slate. “Kaus has an item which almost implies I was sunning with [Donald Rumsfeld] in flagrante delicto … Ahem. All I meant is that I was a vacation guest of a family close to theRumsfelds.”
Jan. 18, 2001: New technology! “A couple of small improvements on the site … [I’m now] able to include links in the text … so you can see what on Earth I’m going on about. The other aspect is that you’ll be able to see exactly when I postitems.”
Jan. 20, 2001: On the Bush-Gore Florida re-count: “Don’t hold your breath for the New York Times or the Washington Post to report this … Bottom line: Florida wasn’t stolen by anyone. It was nearly stolen by someone. And that someone wasn’tBush.”
On Marriage Equality
Jan. 16, 2001: “If civil-rights activists could sit still at a segregated lunch counter, then gay men and women can simply get married in a church or civilceremony.”
Jan. 21, 2004: “I predict that in ten years’ time, there will be clear majorities for what is a very minor and humanereform.”
Aug. 25, 2007: Sullivan marries his longtime partner AaronTone.
June 26, 2013: On the morning of the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision: “It is the most liberating feeling to hear your once near-solitary voice blend finally into a communal roar until it isn’t your voice at all any more. It’s the voice ofjustice.”
June 19, 2014: Regarding misplaced credit: “One of the more unusual aspects of the marriage-equality movement was the vital early and continuing role of gay conservatives … We were lampooned by the left … even earning the term homocons in the 1990s. And when you read [Ted] Olson’s arguments, you find that they contain nothing that I and Bruce Bawer, Jon Rauch, Dale Carpenter, John Corvino and many others hadn’t alreadypioneered.”
9/11 and the IraqWar
Sept. 11, 2001: “When our shock recedes, our rage must be steady and resolute andunforgiving.”
Jan. 29, 2002: On Bush’s post-9/11 State of the Union: “Listening and looking at him, I felt even more securely than in the past that he getsit.”
Apr. 8, 2003: “We still don’t know if Saddam has been killed … But we do know that this war is almost as good as won after threeweeks.”
May 17, 2003: The turn. “All the signs are pointing to a serious screw-up in Iraq … A devastating account from a pro-war writer … suggests that the state of affairs there is spiraling out ofcontrol.”
Sept. 21, 2004: “I really do worry that Bush is out of his depth in thisconflict.”
Oct. 5, 2004: “Yes, I do think that Cheney is way sexier than Edwards. Not that you asked oranything.”
Oct. 30, 2004: Endorses John Kerry. “Did I turn against Bush because of the war failures? Or because of the Federal Marriage Amendment? … Well, the great thing about a blog is that … you can see all theevidence.”
Oct. 31, 2006: “I have come to see that many, many liberals are indeed my brothers and mysisters.”
Feb. 26, 2009: Out front again: “As this depression leads to greater and greater questioning of this era’s Prohibition of a substance far less toxic and socially disruptive than alcohol, economists are beginning to assess the fiscal benefits of decriminalizing marijuana, especially for medicaluses.”
A Conservative forObama
July 28, 2004: After the convention speech: “I don’t know enough about Barack Obama to judge whether he will be a good senator on a range of issues, but from his speech tonight, it’s hard to think he has anything but a stellar future … Obama is the Democrats’ hope. Heck, he is the hope for all ofus.”
July 17, 2007: “A small-c conservative can consider backing a liberal if all the viable ‘conservatives’ are corrupt, divisive, shallow, in hock to religious fanatics or palpably unserious about nationalsecurity.”
Oct. 8, 2012: After Obama flops in his first debate with Romney: “The Pew poll is devastating. … Has any candidate lost 18 points among women voters in one night ever? And we are told that when Obama left the stage that night, he was feeling good. That’sterrifying.”
Nov. 6, 2012: Election Night. “[I’ve been] foreseeing … a real possibility of profound and necessary change in America over the next fouryears.
Nov. 4, 2014: The midterms: “Easy cynicism and cheap piling on are not, in my view, what he deserves. What he deserves is our support—while we are still lucky to have him in the White House. And that support should not end as the GOP wins tonight and as the Clintons hover in thewings.”
On Sarah (and Trig)Palin
June 13, 2011: Sullivan’s most outlandish pet issue comes to the fore. “It’s possible that Palin simply made up her drama of labor, or exaggerated it for effect … and she gussied that up into a tall tale of her pioneer spirit, guided by her doctor, who refused to take the NYT’s calls as soon as Palin hit the big time. I think that’s the likeliest explanation, given the sheer world-historical weirdness of the alternative. But it’s also possible that she never had that baby atall.”
On Ron Paul
Dec. 15, 2011: The libertarian in him urges Republicans to vote for Paul in the primaries: “I feel the same way about him on the right in 2012 as I did about Obama in 2008. … He is the ‘Change You Can Believe In’ on theright.”
On Pope Francis
Oct. 30, 2013: After years of outrage at Pope Benedict XVI and institutional Catholicism, a breath of fresh air: “A little boy wanders on stage with Francis and won’t let him go. I’m struck by a simple fact: This happened to Jesus a lot, and his response—even more revolutionary in his day—was Francis’s: ‘Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’ From raping children to seating them on the papal chair. Knowhope.”
The Final Post
Feb. 6, 2015: “Being honest means writing things that will make you look foolish tomorrow; it means revealing yourself in ways that are not always flattering; it means occasionally saying things that prompt mass acclamation but in retrospect look like grandstanding … It is a terrifying and exhilarating way to write—and also an emotionally, psychologically depleting one. But I loved it nonetheless. I relished it every day. I wouldn’t trade these years for anyothers.”
Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh announced Sunday morning that he is running for president as a Republican, challenging President Trump in the GOP primary race. “Friends, I’m in. We can’t take four more years of Donald Trump. And that’s why I’m running for President,” Walsh tweeted. “It won’t be easy, but bravery is never easy. But together, we can do it.”
The Tea Party favorite sat down with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos for an interview airing Sunday morning, in which he explained why he decided to enter the race.
“I’m running because he’s unfit; somebody needs to step up and there needs to be an alternative,” Walsh said. “The country is sick of this guy’s tantrum – he’s a child.”
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh responded to the announcement by telling ABC News: “Whatever.”
These aren’t the second thoughts you’re looking for
Reporter: Mr. President, any second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China?
President Trump: Yeah, sure. Why not?
Reporter: Second thoughts? Yes?
Trump: Might as well. Might as well.
Reporter: You have second thoughts about escalating the war with China?
Trump: I have second thoughts about everything.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, after Trump’s answer was widely reported: His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.
President Trump asserted on Saturday that he has the authority to make good on his threat to force all American businesses to leave China, citing a national security law that has been used mainly to target terrorists, drug traffickers and pariah states like Iran, Syria and North Korea.
As he arrived in France for the annual meeting of the Group of 7 powers, Mr. Trump posted a message on Twitter citing the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 — a law meant to enable a president to isolate criminal regimes but not intended to be used to cut off economic ties with a major trading partner because of a disagreement over tariffs.
“For all of the Fake News Reporters that don’t have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Case closed!” …
The International Emergency Economic Powers Act says that if the president decides that circumstances abroad have created “any unusual and extraordinary threat” to “the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States,” the president can declare a “national emergency.” This triggers special authority for the leader to regulate “any transactions in foreign exchange” by Americans.
When Biden’s stream of consciousness takes a dark turn
“None of you . . . women are old enough — but a couple of you guys are old enough,” he said during a town hall at Dartmouth College. “I graduated in 1968. Everybody before me was, ‘Drop out, go to Haight-Ashbury, don’t trust anybody over 30, everybody not get involved.’ No, I’m serious. I know no woman will shake her head and acknowledge it. But you guys know what I’m talking about. Right? But then what happened?”
The front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination referenced the assassinations of two of his political heroes, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy — who was killed while running for president.
“Imagine what would have happened if, God forbid, if Barack Obama had been assassinated after becoming the de facto nominee,” he continued. “What would have happened in America?”
The comment — which, as Biden’s campaign pointed out with a video, came on the 11th anniversary of Obama naming Biden as his running mate — then led to him speaking about the 1970 shootings of demonstrators at Kent State University, and a new era of activism.
In case you were feeling too optimistic about Democrats’ chances of thwarting Trump’s agenda
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has just completed three weeks of radiation treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the U.S. Supreme Court disclosed Friday.
The radiation therapy, conducted on an outpatient basis, began Aug. 5, shortly after a localized cancerous tumor was discovered on Ginsburg’s pancreas. The treatment included the insertion of a stent in Ginsburg’s bile duct, according to a statement issued by the court.
Doctors at Sloan Kettering said further tests showed no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. The treatment comes just months after Ginsburg was operated on for lung cancer last December. The 86-year-old justice has battled cancer in various forms over the last 20 years.
Bolsonaro may face some serious consequences for his heedless environmental policies
European leaders have reacted with growing fear and anger to the fires ravaging Brazil’s rain forest, calling it a worldwide crisis that is accelerating global warming — and one that Brazil’s leader appears unwilling to combat.
President Emmanuel Macron of France went so far, on Friday, as to accuse President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil of lying about being committed to fighting climate change and protecting the Amazon forest.
As a result, Mr. Macron said, he would try to kill a major trade deal between Europe and South America that has been years in the making.
Our Country has lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China over many years. They have stolen our Intellectual Property at a rate of Hundreds of Billions of Dollars a year, & they want to continue. I won’t let that happen! We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far….
….better off without them. The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP. Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing..
….your companies HOME and making your products in the USA. I will be responding to China’s Tariffs this afternoon. This is a GREAT opportunity for the United States. Also, I am ordering all carriers, including Fed Ex, Amazon, UPS and the Post Office, to SEARCH FOR & REFUSE,….
….all deliveries of Fentanyl from China (or anywhere else!). Fentanyl kills 100,000 Americans a year. President Xi said this would stop - it didn’t. Our Economy, because of our gains in the last 2 1/2 years, is MUCH larger than that of China. We will keep it that way!
Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts is dropping out of the presidential race, ending a candidacy that emphasized Mr. Moulton’s centrist politics and military service but gained no traction with Democratic primary voters.
Mr. Moulton, 40, said in an interview that he had no immediate plans to endorse another candidate, but he warmly praised former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Mr. Moulton planned to announce the end of his campaign in a formal speech before the Democratic National Committee on Friday.
Mr. Moulton suggested that most of the other Democratic candidates were also laboring in vain at this point, with only a tiny few — Mr. Biden and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders — remaining as real competitors for the nomination. He warned in the interview that if Democrats were to embrace an overly liberal platform, it could make it harder for the party to defeat President Trump.
China shows again that it’s willing to fight fire with fire on tariffs
China on Friday announced tariff hikes on $75 billion of U.S. products in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s planned increase, deepening a trade war that threatens to tip the global economy into recession.
The tariffs of 10% and 5% take effect on two batches of goods on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It gave no details of what goods would be affected but the timing matches Trump’s planned duty hikes.
Things are going about as expected since the U.S. withdrew from the INF treaty
The Pentagon said on Monday it had tested a conventionally-configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 km (310 miles) of flight, its first such test since the demise of a landmark nuclear pact this month.
Washington formally withdrew from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) on Aug. 2 after accusing Moscow of violating it, a charge dismissed by the Kremlin.
The pact had prohibited land-based missiles with a range of 310-3,400 miles, reducing the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.
Putin told his Security Council on Friday that Russia could not stand idly by, and that U.S. talk of deploying new missiles in the Asia-Pacific region “affects our core interests as it is close to Russia’s borders”.
Pompeo gets one of North Korea’s always colorful nicknames
North Korea’s top diplomat said on Friday that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a “diehard toxin” who only complicates denuclearisation talks and North Korea was ready for both dialogue and standoff.
Buttigieg’s new plan for addressing addiction and mental health issues
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Friday unveiled a $100 billion plan to expand access to mental health and addiction treatment that coincided with a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire — a state hit hard by the opioid crisis.
The wide-ranging plan calls for integrating treatment into primary care settings, increasing the number of available treatment beds, making it easier for patients to get access to medication for opioid addiction, investing in suicide prevention for veterans and addressing disparities in behavioral health care.
“For years, politicians in Washington have claimed to prioritize mental health care while slashing funding for treatment and ignoring America’s growing addiction and mental health crisis,” Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said in a statement. “That neglect must end. Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal.”