After live blogging the Democratic Convention’s second day of events, long time Clinton critic Andrew Sullivan responded to readers who thought his coverage was overly negative with a fairly stunning statement:
Some readers think I’ve been too negative, even cynical, tonight. Believe me, I am utterly uncynical about this election. I’m worried sick. We need to put behind us any lingering beefs, any grudges, any memories from the past – and you know how I feel about the Clintons’ past – in order to save liberal democracy. The only thing between him and us is her. So – against all my previous emphatic denials – I’m with her now. As passionately as I ever was with Obama. For his legacy is at stake as well.
For anyone familiar with Sullivan’s work over the years, this is a very big deal. The once conservative Sullivan spent literally decades obsessively going after the Clintons and bought into virtually every conspiracy about them on the market. As previous Banter writer Mark Ames argued, Sullivan’s right wing screeching in the 90’s was largely responsible for wrecking President Clinton’s universal health care legislation.
On Real Time with Bill Maher last year Sullivan was distraught with the prospect of Clinton going head to head with Donald Trump:
“Who’s up against this guy?” he asked rhetorically. “This unbelievably useless, terrible candidate of Hillary Clinton who has shown no… has she ever given a speech that you were inspired by? Does she have any retail skills? Is she able to come across on TV?”
“She’s a talent-free hack.”
While Sullivan hasn’t exactly heaped praise on his once sworn enemy, his pledge of allegiance to the Democratic nominee for president must have been quite the bitter pill to swallow. “The Clintons are flawed people,” he wrote last night. “But they are our last hope. That’s all I need to know.”
Well, they are a little more than that, but given Sullivan’s influence over centrists and socially liberal conservatives, it’s the best we can hope for in an election where every single vote is going to count. Sullivan’s considerable skills as a writer and political commentator will add to the chorus of sanity growing in the US media culture that instinctively understands that Donald Trump must not be elected under any circumstance. Sullivan’s “I’m with her” statement does not erase his years of propagandizing against the Clintons, but it is a welcome one.
Good to have you here, Andrew.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.