Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saving Sullivan (and myself?), Part 2

So, as Andrew writes HERE, Iraq, once seemingly lost for good, has seen tremendous progress. Even as one who opposed the "Surge" when announced and for months after, I'll admit that it made a difference. I should note that, by itself, I doubt the surge would have done much if not for the Iraqis (esp. Sunnis in Anbar) finally rejecting Al Qaeda and it's ideology. Still, it certainly helped.

Which is why it defies logic (mine anyway) that Sullivan sees this as being advantageous for BOTH POTUS candidates, esp., he suggests, OBAMA. Huh, come again? Even more than Bush, it was McCain who was out in front of the whole "surge" idea. While Andrew acknowledges that, sort of, he says it STILL gives credence to Obama's overall judgment. Curious, considering he (Andrew) was once one of the blogosphere's biggest cheerleaders for the war. By '06, he had indeed (to his credit) changed his mind, but I think some (most?) of this was a lack of faith in the Administration to win/not totally **** everything up. He's been open to success even since that point ("Victory" is a silly term here, since no one knows how that translates, or if, by definition, it's possible).

Well, I think we have some successes here (short-term anyway; I fear we've armed too many groups, so that, in a few yrs., we'll have a nice Lebanon repeat), so shouldn't the part of Andrew that believed in the underlying rationales for this, be rejecting the one candidate who consistently said this was a terrible idea?

For that matter, if it turns out Iraq ends up in a good spot, shouldn't I reconsider? I opposed the war from the start, never seeing the need or justification. While that still holds, if some good that I had not foreseen does come of this, whither my judgment? And how could I support a party that would have been so wrong on the most important foreign policy issue?

In the end, I still vastly prefer Obama to McCain, and whatever happens in Iraq, I believe that McCain's foreign policy is dangerously hawkish (when coherent). But I'm liberal; Andrew is not.

It is Sullivan's contention that Burkean conservatism is about humility, and not getting caught up in one's (or another's) greatness. Clearly, the Bush Right understands none of this, so Andrew's rejection of it makes perfect sense. His indecision on McCain does not, since domestically, we know a McCain administration will be much more in line with his conservatism (less government, entitlements, etc., not to mention, he doesn't have the in-your-face faith of Bush).

Instead, Andrew seems to have put quite a bit of faith in Barack Obama as a person who is right for the job at this moment. I share this view, but would Burke? Given his prescient rejection of the French Revolution, guided by wreckless men who believed in their own greatness, I doubt he would support ANYONE, however noble they might be, who actually disagreed with him on the issues. No man is that great to put your faith in him purely for who he is, I think Burke might say. Yet, Andrew does just this.

I read Andrew Sullivan everyday. His might be the best blog touching on politics out there. He can believe what he wants. I just think he'll come to regret supporting Obama over McCain, should Obama become POTUS.

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