NOTE: This is a blog post about Andrew Sullivan. Not Dan “The Carpetbagger” Sullivan, U.S. Senator (R, Ohio, Maryland, God Help Us) or Dan “The Meat Ax” Sullivan, erstwhile Mayor of Los Anchorage. There are too many Sullivans. WC blames the Irish.
Oxford-educated, gay, Roman Catholic, avowed conservative, Obama-supporting, HIV-positive, beagle-loving and utterly brilliant blogger Andrew Sullivan has announced he is retiring from blogging.
WC can’t blame Sullie. After just six years, WC some mornings wonders where the next post is coming from. Andrew Sullivan, if he didn’t invent blogging, certainly brought it respectability, credibility and an outstanding voice. And Sullie has blogged continuously for 15 years straight (heh). He has done so with an intensity, a focus, a ferocity and a scope that is astonishing. He is simply the best political writer of his generation.
Some things about Andrew Sullivan that WC admires:
His writing. It’s never boring, and sometimes absolutely brilliant. He had a long career as an editor; that can squeeze the juice out of anyone’s style. Not Sullivan. Among many other excellent skills, he knows when to use obscenities: when no other word will do.
His passion. Sure, he’s passionate about gay rights, and he deserves some serious praise for being at the forefront of the LGBT marriage movement. Some of the credit – maybe a lot of the credit – for the vast expansion of LGBT marriage rights goes to Sullivan. But his passion extended to dozens of other issues.
His willingness to admit error. Sullivan got some things wrong. The war in Iraq, being the most obvious. He has admitted he was wrong, even apologized.
His unsparing criticism of allies he thought were wrong. A devout Catholic, Sullivan has been harshly critical of some elements of his church. A political conservative, he reserved some of his harshest screeds for the Republican Party. It’s easy to soft pedal your friends’ mistakes. Sullivan never did; he was as honest in his criticism of them as in admitting his own error.
His breadth of interests. Long-time readers will understand how appealing it is to WC to see a writer address poetry, geology (!), economics(!!) and the war crimes of the Bush Administration in a single day.
WC isn’t the only blogger to be mourning the loss of the best. Sullivan’s Dish had a million readers, 30,000 paid subscribers and lot of love. The accolades, WC has no doubt, are slightly embarrassing to Sullivan. Then too, Sullivan, like all bloggers, is a little narcissistic, so maybe not so much.
Those are impossible shoes to fill. The web will be a little blander, a little grayer and a little less informed.