I have hesitated to discuss Andrew Sullivan’s recent interview with Hugh Hewitt for two reasons, first, that everyone on the blogosphere (particularly its right side) seems well aware of it and second, given my past admiration for the writer/blogger, I find it somewhat embarrassing. Andrew, who has proven himself, an agile debater with anti-gay social conservatives was defensive and combative with Hugh, a social conservative who is certainly not anti-gay.
Last week, on Larry King, Andrew looked good, confident and quick on his feet. If he had had time, he certainly would have trounced the social conservatives he was up against, but the segment was far too short for a serious debate. Yet, given more time on Hugh’s program, he seemed to do anything but showcase his debating skills. It was as if he couldn’t believe that anyone would criticize him — or even ask him tough questions — because he shouldn’t have to face such questioning.
Yeah, Hugh asked tough questions, but I’ve seen Andrew handle tougher — from truly mean-spirited individuals. Hugh may have his faults, being he is clearly not mean-spirited.
Hardly the Andrew Sullivan I had seen (and admired) on many a television program — and in person. I recommend you check out Hugh’s post on the encounter with references to other bloggers as well as his own thoughts. His co-blogger, Dean Barnett offers his two cents here.
I have long said that my problem with Andrew’s shift to the left over the past 2 years, 8 months and 3 days is not so much his ideas as his tone. This interview provides a perfect example of what I mean. Hugh asks him if he’s a Christian and instead of responding yes or no, shoots back “What kind of question is that?” Hardly the confident tone of the man who nine years ago on Nightline made the woman whose group was behind the ex-gay ads look like a blithering idiot.
The Andrew on that show — whom I briefly glimpsed last week on Larry King — is not to be found in the transcript of Hugh’s interview earlier this week. And for this one-time reader of Andrew’s blog, that absence is truly sad.