Steve Ralls

A Gay Pundit in Desperate Search of Answers

Filed By Steve Ralls | November 08, 2007 8:46 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Andrew Sullivan, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, steve ralls

I like Andrew Sullivan; I really do. He's one of my favorite panelists to find on Real Time with Bill Maher. I love that he talks about his family . . . his husband . . . and has come around to the sensible perspective that George W. Bush isn't the president that Andrew thought he would be. I also love to read his blog when he takes some of our LGBT community organizations to task as they stick their well-funded heads up their asses on occassion.

But in his recent blog entry about Bill & Hillary Clinton, Sullivan asks some questions he should already know the answers to . . . and a little bit of research would have provided the insight he was trying to find.

So, let's take a stab at answering his queries, and let's ask ourselves just how clear Sullivan's crystal ball really is . . .

Andrew, you see, is concerned about Bill Clinton. Specifically, he's unsure what role the former president might play in a Clinton 44 administration. It's understandable that The Atlantic's blogger might have missed some of the information, seeing as how he was all busy and tied up trying to explain away his candidate's position on the ex-gays when Senator Barack Obama invited a controversial minister to tour the south with him. But nonetheless, Sullivan is a good guy, and so I feel compelled to try and provide him with some feedback.

Specifically, Sullivan says, "Clinton H, it seems to me, needs to be asked publicly if her candidacy is, as her husband described his in 1992, "two-for-one." Will her husband be given an official position in the administration? Will he be co-president again? Is he running with her? What role would he play in office again?"

It's a fair question, and a legitimate one to ask. It's also a question Senator Clinton has already answered.

According to numerous press reports, she has indicated that Bill would be a goodwill ambassador to the world during a Clinton 44 presidency. As Newsmax reported, "Hillary Rodham Clinton said . . . that if she is elected president, she would make her husband a roaming ambassador to the world, using his skills to repair the nation's tattered image abroad."

"'I can't think of a better cheerleader for America than Bill Clinton, can you?' the Democratic senator from New York asked a crowd jammed into a junior high school gymnasium. 'He has said he would do anything I asked him to do. I would put him to work.'"

So take note, Andrew: Bill Clinton would be working hard to restore some sense of respect for America among the international community, and trying to turn the tide on some of the global animosity the Bush Administration has created. And can't we all agree that that would be a good use of his time?

But wait . . . Sullivan has another concern, too.

He writes that, "it is simply a regrettable fact that in the current media climate, the 1990s could return with a vengeance - and sideswipe the country in a much more perilous time."

Regrettable?

Perhaps I lived in a different America in the 1990s than some other people. But as I recall (and, granted, I admit to being a junior in high school when Bill was first elected), we had some pretty good economic prosperity back then . . . a budget surplus . . . good appointments to the Supreme Court . . . and an Attorney General who was actually willing to buck the politics that put her in office in order to uphold the law.

If that's what Sullivan is regretting, then he needs a reality check . . . now.

We've been down this road with Sullivan before, though. In 2000, he was a champion of George W. Bush. Who knew, after all, that a Bush Administration would be so disastrous?

Oh, wait, that's right . . . most of the country knew. Andrew's crystal ball just wasn't as clear as some of ours, maybe.

But it begs this question: If Andrew Sullivan wasn't paying close enough attention in 2000 to see the writing on the wall about George W. Bush . . . and if he isn't paying close enough attention now to answer his own questions with news readily available via Google . . . should anyone really be thinking that he has the insight - or, rather, foresight - to predict for us what a Hillary Clinton presidency might bring?

I, for one, submit to you that the answer is "no."

Sullivan closes his blog entry by asking one final question: "Do Democrats have a reason to be worried?" And let me answer that one for him, too.

If Hillary Clinton is president in 2009, we'll have little reason to worry . . . especially when compared to the presidency that Andrew Sullivan's vote helped launch back in 2000.

Give me Bill, Hillary and the "better than now" 90s anyday. That was, after all, a time when we finally found some of the answers we were looking for.


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Steve, you're still lying about a tour. It was one performance. Why should anyone believe anything you say when you lie and lie and lie?

I also love to read his blog when he takes some of our LGBT community organizations to task as they stick their well-funded heads up their asses on occasion.

I think that if others beat up on Sullivan as much as he beats up on others, Sullivan would go through life with a patch over either one eye or the other. There appears to be some imbalance here.

But, truth is, I like Andrew Sullivan, too --- and it's difficult to say why. I like his coining of the word "Christianist" patterned off of the word "Islamist" --- the term is useful. OTOH, he has blind spots the size of Texas, and if Sullivan's claim that "AIDS is over" is not a good example of that, then perhaps the point you make, Steve, in this post is.

And he is a walking set of contradictions --- he is Mr. Conservative at the same time he is also possibly the world's foremost advocate of poz-on-poz barebacking.

I think the thing to remember is that Mr. Raw Muscle Glutes regards himself as guardian of the classical conservative tradition --- the title of his last book reflects this --- and perhaps Sullivan's queries about the Clintons might be re-phrased as, "What antics will Bill be up to, to distract us while Hillary is raising taxes and expanding government beyond all previously-imagined bounds?" Thus, maybe his recent questions are not as much because he wasn't paying attention as his way of saying, "Yes, Hillary, I heard your answer to that last question ... but I don't believe it ... so, let's try again."

The budget surpluses of the WHJC administration were the proximate result of (1) the stock market bubble; (2) the "peace dividend" and, most importantly, (3) gridlock from 1995-2000.

The notion that a Democratic president, Democratic House and Democratic Senate in 2009-20012 will be any less profligate than the Republican president/House/Senate we had from 2001-2007 is hopelessly naive.

(FULL DISCLOSURE: I am not a Republican.)

I dunno, I've always found Andrew Sullivan to be perpetually confused. I think it's his shtick - like he pretends not to know things and then he can come up with bizarre conclusions. Like his take on post-modernists.... Maybe I should adopt Allen's assessment and just say that he's "a walking set of contradictions"; that sounds a lot more flattering.

So, not really surprised that he didn't look up the answer to his questions when they're completely available to anyone. Research doesn't always prove his point.

But on Bill, um, why wouldn't he be a goodwill ambassador if another president wanted him to be one? I think that if Obama or Edwards asked him to do it, he would. So like, whatev.

And, honestly, while I was upset by Obama's choices during the McClurkin debacle, it's hardly a deal breaker. You know, like voting for the war would be. (or in Andrew's case, cheerleading it and viciously attacking anyone who questioned the Admin's propaganda).

Maybe you only remember the nineties from the perspective of the privileged. The Clinton years were terrible for the poor and working class. From welfare reform (actually welfare repeal) to "free trade", the shift to the hard right on economic measures amounted to an abandonment of the democrats' historic platform of economic populism. This is the engine that fueled the growth of the religious right.

This combined with Hilary's deep ties to the Christian Right (as evidenced by Jeff Sharlet's article in Mother Jones), her idiotic saber-rattling with Iran, her mindless support for the war on Iraq makes her a downright terrible choice for president.

She's a horribly polarizing candidate, and that is why her negatives are so high. The favored choice of the democratic establishment, sure--but this is the same democratic establishment that supported the war, supports rolling back the social safety net, abandoning values that are truly democratic.

Steve's argument boils down to "she's better than Bush" which i suppose is true. But a twelve year old would be better than bush. A small cute dog would be better than bush (and less evil than hilary!)

Kevin, you are so right. This is an LGBTQ blog, but it seems we're all ignoring the pink elephant in the room. Clinton signed Don't Ask, Don't Tell into law via executive order. This wasn't the Republicans passing something through Congress. It was all him.

The difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that Democrats are like the girls in high school who talk shit behind your back but pretend to be your friend when you're around. Republicans, on the other hand, will tell you to your face they hate your guts. That's why I'm not a fan of either party.

Actually, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" IS a Congressional law . . . it is NOT an executive order. Granted, it was a Democratic Congress that passed the law, and a Democratic President who signed it, but saying that it was Clinton's sole creation is absolutely false. It was a law written, debated and passed by Congress.

I also do not believe it is fair to assume that Hillary Clinton mirrors her husband's views on every single issue. To say that she doesn't have opinions and policies of her own is like saying that EVERY married woman automatically shares her husband's views on everything. And that, as we all know, is just not true, either.

It's fine to have an opinion of Senator Clinton, but why not base it on HER views, and not her husband's?

Do we still live in the 50s. Or can we all move on?

Wait, Steve, i'm confused. On one hand you argue we're supposed to get excited about Hilary because of the great things her husband did in the 90s. Then when someone points out that he actually was a pretty crappy president, as far as the poor and working class were concerned, you start distancing her from him, pulling this pseudo-feminist line about how she doesn't necessarily share his views.

You can't have it both ways. You can't use her husband as a selling point AND distance her from him. Especially when on economic issues, she's just as much of a free-market conservative. Especially when she's even MORE of a warmonger than bill.

I also do not believe it is fair to assume that Hillary Clinton mirrors her husband's views on every single issue.

I agree with this. There is so much criticism of her for things her husband did (and praise on the flipside), that it seems like people just assume that she's too stupid to make up her own mind about things. She graduated first in her class from Yale Law, give the woman some credit.

I don't think that he was saying that we should vote Hill b/c of Bill, Kevin, it was just a response to Sullivan being Sullivan.

Sullivan is a fool--a dangerous one. Since his crush for Obama is now most important, he'll be trashing Hillary at every opportunity. He's been trashing the Clintons for years anyway.

Steve, I agree with you that Hillary obviously has her own opinions and isn't fettered to Bill. But let's be honest. She tries to play the Bill card just as often as she tries to stand on her own two feet.