This makes three fringe anti-Bush conspiracy theories he’s either explicitly endorsed or deemed credible enough to repeat on his heavily-trafficked, Time-magazine-hosted website in recent weeks. Count ’em.
1. Alex Jones’s theory that Cheney shot Harry Whittington at much closer range than he claimed.
2. His own (and Azzam Tamimi‘s) theory that the UK terror plot is a hoax cooked up by Bush and Tony Blair to distract from Joe Lieberman’s primary loss or the war in Lebanon or etc etc.
3. A theory which he doesn’t claim as his own but doesn’t actually attribute to anyone else that Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld deliberately sabotaged the rebuilding of Iraq to create a pretext for carpet-bombing the region. Which, in a moment of genuinely gobsmacking vileness, he describes as … “the Likud strategy.”
Just a matter of time. Sooner or later, he’s going to cave and pull that bootleg of Loose Change down off of YouTube. Usual caveat will apply: he’s not endorsing it, just “airing” it. Putting it out there for public consumption, mixed in with references to Orwell and Michael Oakeshott to give it a patina of intellectual legitimacy. And before you know it, he’ll be sitting next to Dylan Avery in September on a very special anniversary episode of “Real Time.”
Please note: Ana Marie Cox is now the only one of Time’s holy trinity of bloggers who hasn’t floated a batshit conspiracy theory on the magazine’s website. And she’s “the dumb one.” It’s Sullivan and Joshy Rolled-Eyes, the “serious” political thinkers, who have taken to using an esteemed newsweekly as a bullhorn to minimize terrorism. But say this for Marshall: at least when he’s dogpaddling through the fever swamp, he doesn’t pause intermittently to lecture his readers about what “true conservatism” means.
Point two: for a self-described stalwart believer in personal responsibility, Sully sure is quick to pin the blame for his eccentricities on Bush. He did it yesterday when he attributed his ludicrous skepticism about the terror plot to his disillusionment with the president; he did it before when he apologized for Ray McGovern’s insane mutterings about Jew puppetry on grounds that Bush has driven a lot of people crazy. Why doesn’t Dylan Avery get a pass too, then? Or does he?
Point three: predictions about Sullivan’s political “evolution” are famously easy, a point Lileks made back in 2004 when he began a Bleat this way: “The sun set, the moon rose, the unchilled milk attained room temp, the dog had to pee, the match was struck and guttered out, the earth moved along its prescribed orbit, and Andrew Sullivan endorsed John Kerry.” So here’s another easy prediction for you: at some point down the road, either after Bush is out of office or in the unlikely event that he nails down some big victory in the war on terror, Sullivan will cop to having gone “a bit daft,” or somesuch cutesy-poo British idiom, during this current period of anti-Bush animus. He apologized not long ago for his lyrical support for Bush back after 9/11; now’s just the yang to that yin. If and when events on the ground start favoring the hawks again, he won’t let himself be caught flat-footed. The important thing is to be right now, even if it means admitting to having been insanely wrong before.
Update: Sully ducked the torture dilemma by doubting the seriousness of the terror plot. Is his psycho accusation against Cheney and Rumsfeld his way of ducking culpability for having supported the war? If they’re acting in bad faith, it turns war supporters into victims: we were conned into it. If they’re merely incompetent, then it’s our fault for not having judged them more shrewdly when we empowered them.
I don’t want to draw rolled eyes. But think about it.
Update: Congrats, big guy. You’re a hit at DU.