The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Andrew Sullivan: Does the Phrase ‘And the Horse You Rode In On’ Ring a Bell?

Posted on | November 17, 2010 | 47 Comments

“Here’s Robert Stacy McCain rushing to Willow’s defense . . . Maybe I should defer to McCain as an arbiter of homophobia. He’s one of the vilest bigots on the web.”
Andrew Sullivan

OK, post-election flame-wars being The New Black, I’m happy at last to have an antagonist who (a) hates all Republicans and (b) throws some pretty hefty traffic. Because when I completely dismantle someone, it’s nice to have the largest possible audience for the show.

My plan for the afternoon had been to compose a thousand-word article about the defeat of the Paycheck Fairness Act, but if I have to lay that aside to write an analysis of Patient Zero in the Palin Derangement Syndrome pandemic, so be it.

Pop some popcorn, hit the tip jar, and check back later.

UPDATE: Let’s begin at the most obvious place — Sullivan’s role as Trig Truther-in-Chief.

It was Sully who, almost from the moment that Sarah Palin was announced as John McCain’s 2008 running mate, lent aid and comfort to the demented loons who claimed without any credible evidence that Palin’s infant son Trig was not actually her son.

Even after every reputable journalist in America had denounced this line of inquiry as misguided, counterfactual and insultingly sexist, Sully persisted until at last — in November 2009 — there arose a new voice in the argument:

To this day, I have no idea who was behind the “Sarah Palin’s Uterus” blog, but it was a perfect distillation of Sullivan’s pathological obsession, which led me to dub him “Dr. Andrew Sullivan, M.D., OB-GYN, excecutive director of research at the Atlantic Memorial Center for Republican Obstetric Investigation.”

Although it has made him an object of ridicule, still he continues to foment the notion that there must be some dark right-wing secret hidden in the medical records relating to “Palin’s bizarre story about her fifth campaign prop.”

“Legitimate questions of fact! Relevant questions!”

How, then, does Sullivan consider himself such a mental health expert that he is fit to diagnose me as suffering from a “phobia”?

UPDATE II: Sully’s obsession has no legitimate basis as journalism, as my friend (and occasional Daily Dish guest-blogger) Dave Weigel said:

Were Sarah Palin to become president and everything the Trig Truthers believed to be proven right, it wouldn’t matter at all. But they won’t be proven right. All of the evidence indicates that Trig Palin is Sarah’s son, and none of it suggests otherwise. I paid close enough attention to this in 2008, and realized pretty quickly that the countervailing theories made no sense.

UPDATE III: Excuse the long delay in continuing this post, as my crusty laptop overheated and shut down while I was researching the history of Sullivan’s obstetric obsession. So far, I’ve arrived at Sept. 3, 2008:

Brandishing a child with Down Syndrome as a campaign statement is daring the press to ask questions about him.

What I’m seaching for, BTW, is exactly when Sully began using his perch at The Atlantic Monthly to throw traffic at other Trig-Truther blogs, giving them and their wild-goose-chase theories a prominence they otherwise would have never had. Please link examples in the comments while I keep searching.

Permit me here to point out that I’ve actually met Trig Palin — even held the romping tyke in my arms for a moment or two — and watched Trig’s father read him a story. As a husband and father myself (with teenage twin boys who might occasionally use impolite language), there is a certain element of personal-is-political subjectivity involved.

Belated thanks to Jeff in Walla Walla and to Suzy and Joe in Olympia (mmmm, Coronas) for having hit the tip jar.

UPDATE IV: Well, that didn’t take long! From Day One, Sullivan was happy to link any Trig Truther anywhere, including an almost-instantly-deleted Daily Kos diary by “Inky 99” entitled, “Sarah Palin Is NOT the Mother.”

As regards those ugly rumors that “Inky 99” is actually Andrew Sullivan, “Inky 99” has been unavailable for comment since that Glenn Beck interview.

UPDATE V: Seriously, from Day One, Sully interpreted Trig strictly as part Sarah Palin’s appeal as a “Christianist” symbol:

“Now I understand: she’s a pro-life mother of a Down Syndrome child.”

UPDATE VI: From Day One, I repeat, including this post (Aug. 31, 2008) entitled “Things That Make You Go Hmmm“:

What was it that aroused suspicion about that photo? That Palin’s oldest child was holding her youngest child while Mom was on stage? Thinking back on all the times my oldest daughter (now 21) held our youngest (now 7) when my wife was too busy to hold the baby, would that also “make you go hmmm”? But let’s look at Andrew in “just asking questions” mode on Aug. 31, 2008:

Where has Bristol Palin . . . been for the past year? Has she been attending high school? Or was she absent because of infectious mononucleosis for between five and eight months, as is now being reported on the Internet?
Why would a 43 year old woman, on her fifth pregnancy, with a Down Syndrome child, after her amniotic fluid has started to leak, not go to the nearest hospital immediately, even if she was in Texas for a speech?
Why would she not only not go to the hospital in Texas, but take an eight-hour plane flight to Seattle and then Anchorage?
Why would she choose to deliver the baby not in the nearest major facility in Anchorage but at a much smaller hospital near her home-town?
Why did the flight attendants on the trip home say she bore no signs of being pregnant?

The way he posted these questions suggests that Sullivan received them in an e-mail, although he has never said from whom, but he himself was the source for this part:

 [T]he rumors buzzing across the Internets and the press corps are unfounded and unseemly. There must be plenty of medical records and obstetricians and medical eye-witnesses prepared to testify to Sarah Palin’s giving birth to Trig. There must be a record of Bristol’s high school attendance for the past year. And surely, surely, the McCain camp did due diligence on this. But the noise around this story is now deafening, and the weirdness of the chronology sufficient to rise to the level of good faith questions. So please give us these answers – and provide medical records for Sarah Palin’s pregnancy – and put this to rest.

That link is, of course, to the subsequently deleted “Inky 99” post at DKos — which was, so far as I know, the only “buzzing” Sully could have linked at that point — and yet we see that, beginning on Aug. 31, 2008, Sullivan demanded that the McCain campaign provide witnesses and release Palin’s obstetric records to disprove those rumors.

UPDATE VII: Remember that the latest dust-up began with 16-year-old Willow Palin calling one of her older sister’s DWTS detractors “faggot” and “gay.”

To which I replied, “This is not ‘homophobia.’ This is just how teenagers insult each other” — an objective fact, which I confirmed with Mrs. Other McCain, who I would certainly hope is more of an authority on the behavior of contemporary teenagers than Andrew Sullivan is.

We are not debating how teenagers should behave — no one supposes that Sarah Palin approves of her daughters using foul language and puerile insults — but rather discussing how teenagers commonly do behave, and asking whether the phrase “homophobic” may rightly be applied to an angry 16-year-old girl’s use of the schoolyard slurs “gay” and “faggot.”

What about “baldy” or “four-eyes” or “creep” or “psycho”? Are such insults evidence of hate and phobia and whatever “isms” they might be said to represent?

Let me ask whether calling Sarah Palin “a pathological liar [who] simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth about herself” might be considered an insult, evidence that the person who used such a phrase was a “bigot”?

And what about “Ewok”? Is Ace of Spades insulted when someone refers to him as a hairy diminutive creature who dwells on the forest moon of Endor? Let’s ask Ace’s opinion:

Give It. A F—ing Rest. You F—ing. Child-Hating. Vagina-Envy. Brain-Detrioriated. Bi-Polar. Borderline Personality Disorder. Steroid-Raging. Degenerate. Psychopath.

Uh, maybe I linked the wrong post there. Definitely NSFW. IYKWIMAITYD.

UPDATE VIII: Thanks for the linkage from Republican Redefined and Gay Patriot.

UPDATE IX: While researching — I’m not through with you yet, Sully — I stumbled onto my American Spectator article “Punished With a Baby,” from Sept. 2, 2008:

Strange as it seems in this time of war and economic crisis, the tale of a pregnant teenager could determine who will be the next Leader of the Free World. Surely this wasn’t what feminists meant when they coined the phrase “the personal is political.” Or was it?

Thanks to Susan in New York for making my afternoon labor more lucrative than the article I had previously planned to write today. A few more tip-jar hits like that, and maybe I’ll be able to get the radiator in the Pontiac fixed.

UPDATE X: Ah, found what I was looking for. My blog post of Sept. 1, 2008:

Sully repeatedly gave vent to, and defended, the horrid and baseless speculation — apparently originating with a DKos vermin — that Sarah Palin’s fifth child, Trig, was actually her grandchild, having been born to Palin’s teenage daughter, Bristol. (See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.)

So, in no fewer than nine blog entries, this contributor to The Atlantic Monthly pumped oxygen into one of the most bizarre and disgusting conspiracy theories ever to emerge from the fetid swamps of the Leftosphere.

Sullivan’s relentless promotion of this sick rumor prompted Ace to organize “heavy hitters” into a boycott:

Let’s see a brain scan, buddy. Let’s get some answers to these questions. Medical f—ing answers. 

Read the whole thing. (Dang, Ace, I’d forgotten how good that post was. As for why I’ve linked Sully here: I wasn’t a “heavy hitter,” so I never got your e-mail.)

UPDATE XI: Rachelle Friberg is one of those Bristol Palin fans who are allegedly undermining the precious “integrity” of Dancing With the Stars, thereby causing people to engage in insane acts of violence.

Bristol: Another Palin.

With a Uterus.

Causing Insanity!

UPDATE XII: “By Any Means Necessary.”


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