The Understandable Confusion of Andrew Sullivan
Andrew Sullivan links to this “money quote” from a DailyKos diarist:
Several weeks ago, Jane threw in her lot with Grover Norquist to defeat the healthcare bill.
But apparently, she didn’t mean it. Because now, her website FireDogLake wants Martha Coakley in the Senate so that Coakley’s 60th vote will allow the bill to pass—a bill that Jane detested.
It would be hard to count the irrational leaps of logic in this statement so I won’t even try, but Sullivan’s link to it is telling.
Yesterday, InstaPundit linked to a reader diary encouraging people to vote against Coakley and saying that represented FDL’s opinion too. He doesn’t allow commenting either, just like Sullivan, and the idea that different people will have different opinions in a community that tens of thousands of people contribute to on any given day would make perfect sense to them. When there’s only one voice opining on your blog and nobody is talking back (except the letters and links you choose to selectively print), it’s natural to make the mistake that every single opinion belongs to the site owner.
If you haven’t used the internet since 1992, that is.
Now, the post on FDL that Sullivan links was written by Blue Texan. But it wouldn’t be too hard to find my personal opinion on the Coakley race, all you have to do is use Mr. Google. . . :
I certainly hope Martha Coakley wins in Massachusetts, her opponent is a neanderthal. But it’s ironic that as a pro-choice woman, one of the first things she’ll have to do is cast a vote for a bill that sets womens’ reproductive rights back a generation as the price of bailing out the insurance companies. Many Democrats have cited this fact for their lack of enthusiasm about the Coakley race, but that’s not her fault. That’s the fault of Steve Driehaus, Bart Stupak and the geniuses who thought they could jam this on the Democratic base as a way to get conservative buy-in for their vote on a bill forcing Americans to pay almost as much as they do in federal taxes to private insurance companies
And when someone asked me about it in the comments with regard to the health care bill, I said:
Everyone at FDL who writes is an individual. Sometimes there are things we undertake collectively, like pressing members to vote “no” if a bill has no public option, or making endorsements of candidates (or not, as we decided to do during the Presidential primaries).
Most of the time people have views that reflect their own opinions. Mine WRT the Coakley matter is that it’s not worth having Brown in the Senate as the price of making the health care bill better, there are better ways to achieve that goal.
I have three takeaways from this:
- Andrew Sullivan doesn’t click through to the links he prints, because the Blue Texan post he references doesn’t express support for the Senate bill, nor does it urge people to vote for Coakley because it will pass.
- Sullivan thinks that everyone supports all of the opinions of anyone you ever agree with about anything. Contrary to what he says, I have not “teamed up” with Grover Norquist on health care — we agreed that the White House shouldn’t shovel unlimited amounts of cash at Fannie and Freddie with no Inspector General in place. But because we agree on that, it means we agree on everything . Okay. That renders his “Matthew Yglesias” award a bit incoherent, which is now dismissed as “having it both ways.”
- Sullivan believes that I am capable of making the tens of thousands of people on this site parrot everything I believe, so it’s possible to ascertain what I think from casually perusing what anyone says about anything that appears on FDL.
I’m sure Sullivan enjoys excercising complete control over every word that appears on his blog. Some of us enjoy a variety of opinion and the back-and-forth of allowing different voices to express theirs too. It’s a mistake to extrapolate too much from one setup to another — and an even bigger mistake to trust someone else to make those distinctions for you without at least checking their links.
Welcome to 2010.