Saturday January 29, 2005
A Rock in Turbulent Times: Here's Andrew Sullivan on television a week ago, answering Chris Matthews' question about the Iraq elections:
MATTHEWS: Define success.
Mr. SULLIVAN: Success is 80 percent turnout in--in most of the regions, extremely enthusiastic voting among the Kurds and the Shias, and better than expected among the Sunnis.
Here's Sullivan yesterday on his blog:
Here are my criteria: over 50 percent turnout among the Shia and Kurds, and over 30 percent turnout for the Sunnis. No massive disruption of voting places; no theft of ballots. Fewer than 500 murdered. Any other suggestions for relevant criteria? Am I asking too much? I'm just thinking out loud.
My revised criteria: 45 percent turnout for Kurds and Shia, 25 percent turnout for the Sunnis, under 200 murdered. No immediate call for U.S. withdrawal. [Emphases added]
His standards are falling faster than the New York Regents'! [But he said it on TV with such certitude--ed Always does.] ... Update:Alert emailer J.N. writes: "Under 200 murdered is a HIGHER standard than under 500 murdered. Isn't it?" Yes. The point isn't that his standards are going rapidly down, or up, or down and up at the same time. The point is he's faking it. 11:43 A.M.
Friday January 28, 2005
Noonan vs. Wright: Here's why, as a slavish follower of my colleague Robert Wright, I haven't been doing my share in giving Peggy Noonan the Strange New Respect she deserves as a newly-prominent Bush critic: Noonan recoils from Bush's moral preening and mini-megalomania. But she grounds her critique in realism-- the world's an imperfect place and you shouldn't expect too much. ("Tyranny is a very bad thing and quite wicked, but one doesn't expect we're going to eradicate it any time soon. Again, this is not heaven, it's earth.") In today's NYT, Wright also recoils from Bush's moral preening and mini-megalomania, but he grounds his critique in teleological optimism. History is moving ineluctably toward freedom and prosperity--Bush's mistake isn't in trying to eradicate tyranny completely but in failing to see just how doomed it is. Wright and Noonan might have similar criticisms of possible future Bush attempts at 'forcing the spring' of freedom. Wright's op-ed is particularly caustic about the Bush reaction to Iran and North Korea's nuclear ambitions. But whether he admits it or not, Wright (who supported Kerry) is fundamentally more sympathetic to Bush's grandiose thrust than Noonan (who campaigned for Bush) is. Maybe I've been brainwashed by Wright's Nonzero, but I am too. ... 1:46 A.M.