Friday, February 05, 2010

Andrew Sullivan Apologizes for Not Commenting on John Edwards' Love Child Hypocrisy

But, you see, he was too busy pursuing the "Trig Palin is the product of aliens" story to be bothered.

Sullivan's explanation for ignoring Edwards' infidelity is pathetic.

So why did I let it go? My first reason is my leeriness of investigating people's sex lives. I had my own ransacked a decade ago and it was a brutalizing experience. The exposure of such intimate thing coarsens our discourse, violates human dignity and should, in my view, be done only if massive hypocrisy is on the table and the person is more than just a minor public figure. That's why I've long opposed outing people.

So I steered clear out of this sensitivity. I barely covered the Tiger Woods stuff for those reasons, and even came to defend Clinton in the end because of the callousness and fanaticism of Ken Starr. But there was something else at work here in the case of Edwards, I suspect.

It just seemed too awful for me to believe. I mean his wife, whom I took to be a very decent person, had terminal cancer. Although adultery is extremely common - especially among people disturbed enough to seek political office - I dismissed it too easily. I mean his wife was confronting death on a daily basis. I just couldn't believe a husband could do that to his wife then. I also felt protective toward Elizabeth, feeling that investigating this would be deeply hurtful to a woman faced with mortality. Maybe my own brushes with mortality affected me in this as well.

In all this, of course, I was wrong. It really was that bad, and if Game Change is to be believed (and I think it broadly is), it was even worse. My mistake as a journalist was in making an assumption of a baseline of decency in public officials that it is not my job to make. My job is to assume nothing and to trust nothing until verified. One doesn't have to pry; but when rumors emerge, we should not be deferent with public officials. We should ask questions.

See, Sullivan just couldn't believe a guy whose wife has cancer would actually cheat on her. Cuz that's way harder to believe than that a 40-odd year-old woman who says she is the mother of a Downs Syndrome child would actually be that baby's mother. But fear not! Sullivan' hasn't given up on proving Sarah Palin isn't Trig's mom.
o, I'm not backtracking on Palin: all I regret is not being able to expose her for real yet.

Because it's way more important to pursue the "aliens produced Trig Palin" story almost as long as Truthers protest that fire doesn't melt steel.

Tom MaGuire has one glaringly obvious explanation for Sullivan's double standard:
For myself, I am stuck on the simpler theory that Andrew wants to bash what he sees as homophobic Republicans, not seemingly sympathetic Dems.

But I think there's, at least, another explanation for Sullivan's obsession with Sarah Palin's maternity and that is misogyny. Oh, I know feminists are always claiming misogyny whenever there is opposition to something they endorse, but it's hard to argue the woman-hatred involved in Sullivan's absolute obsession with Palin while, at the same time, ignoring a sex scandal from a Democrat presidential candidate.

To this day, I can't understand why who the mother of Trig Palin is was more important than anything else going on in the 2008 presidential campaign cycle, yet Sullivan harangued about it incessantly, as though Trig's parentage had some deeper symbolism for what was "wrong with Sarah Palin. Sullivan's endless, juvenile nit-picking about Palin nearly puts Amanda Marcotte, queen of the nit-picking liberal shills, to shame.

So, while I believe Maguire is right to some extent--that Andrew Sullivan's blind spot is Democrat hypocrisy--there is most certainly more at work than simply that.