Commentary Magazine


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Re: Disenchanted, Are We?

I wanted to piggyback on what Abe says about Andrew Sullivan, who is oh-so-angry that Barack Obama is apparently considering John Brennan to be the next director of the CIA.

Andrew, like Keith Olbermann, seems to be most himself when he is in a state of perpetual moral outrage. What separates Olbermann and Sullivan, though, is that Olbermann has been somewhat more anchored and less unstable in his worldview. (I realize that saying anyone is less stable than Olbermann is by itself a remarkable statement.)

Sullivan, for example, writes that naming Brennan would be “an unforgivable betrayal of [Obama's] supporters and his ideals.” Those who want to take the time to review Andrew’s web site prior to the Iraq war will find him making essentially the same charge against President Bush and Vice President Cheney; if they refused to go through with the war against Saddam, it would be a betrayal of those who supported them and their ideals.

There is something slightly amusing watching (or reading) people who are constantly feeling betrayed by those whom they once passionately embraced. My sense, though, is that a frenzied and melodramatic state of mind works better when you’re a writer for, say, an HBO series. It works less well when you hope to be taken as a serious voice in public affairs.