Andrew Sullivan has now posted a riposte to my post about the slashing attacks he's been making on moronic lefties who seem intent on finding ways to blame America for the greivous wound she has just suffered.
So where to start?
Let's begin with the kicker at the end of the post: "Or does Marshall only object when I point out the defeatism and anti-Americanism of his buddies on the Left?"
My defeatist and anti-American buddies on the left? I wonder who those would be? Unless I'm not mistaken the post that Sullivan was responding to had me saying that I was "sickened" by Susan Sontag's piece in the New Yorker and that I scrapped a column on other blame-America-first boneheads because they filled me with too much contempt.
So it really doesn't seem like I'm objecting to bashing these folks; it seems like I am bashing them.
Another point. Sullivan apparently wants to run away from his earlier comments about a lefty "fifth column" in its "enclaves on the coasts."
"By fifth column," he writes, "I meant simply their ambivalence about the outcome of a war on which I believe the future of liberty hangs." That's well and good; but we're not allowed to redefine the meaning of words and phrases just because we trip over them (paging Dr. Orwell). A fifth columnist isn't a pitiful, Hamlet-esque lefty sitting in some non-chain coffee shop near Washington Square. The meaning is altogether different and more sinister.
But don't take my word for it. Webster's defines it as "a group of secret sympathizers or supporters of an enemy that engage in espionage or sabotage within defense lines or national borders. [italics added]"
But let's get down to brass tacks.
The beef I have with Sullivan is less about the specific people he's attacked (a number of whom I've joined him in attacking) than the thick waves of hyperbole and bluster he's kicked up around them. The real story today, as nearly as I can see it, is the broad unity in the country about the outrage that has been committed against us and necessity of responding with audacity and resolution. But Andrew insists on painting a picture with the same old hackneyed images and rancid cliches about salt-of- the-earth heartlanders and morally vacant or cowardly coastal cosmopolitans.
Andrew wants to jump to the rooftops to tell everyone that he's unearthed these intellectually shabby lefty morons spouting off about root causes. But look, I can tell you from my previous employments that they're not too hard to find. I've seen plenty. And really, so what? It's a surprise that there's a lunatic left? C'mon. We judge our seriousness not only by the quality of our prose and lucidness of our arguments but by the caliber and seriousness of the enemies we choose to take on. And in this case I can't help thinking Andrew has fallen more than a bit short.