Andrew Sullivan: hockey dad or something even more spiritual?

“Now FIGHT!,” which keeps reappearing as a post title on The Daily Dish, is kind of strange for a happy refrain, though as Andrew has admitted during his live-blogging of the State of the Union:

He’s certainly a lot calmer than most of his supporters, including me. I was a bit of a wreck before this after such a depressing couple of weeks. But he is managing to lift that gloom – not by dazzling rhetoric, but by a form of realism that is reassuring.

Hmm… Is “hockey dad” a good metaphor for the relationship Andrew Sullivan imagines he has with the President’s initiatives … or with the staffers that forward Obama occasional posts from The Daily Dish?

“Hockey dad” helps explain the carping, the epithets hurled at the opposition, the interpretation of every hit as an attempt to prematurely end his favorite son’s career, the threat of withholding affection if Obama doesn’t perform correctly, the periodic adulation of his political pick as the Gretsky-like great one that saves the sport.

Today, Obama is a Tory in a hip Democrat’s drag …

9.57 pm. He is in so many respects a One Nation Tory. A reader notes:

“I was sitting watching the SOTU tonight, and it finally hit me – the man is a compassionate conservative.  A real one.  He is what Bush told us he was. He is an utterly, deeply serious man who is willing to stand in front of the country and take his share of the blame.  I miss that in a leader.”

… that’s heady praise for Sullivan. Tory comparisons mean that he’s so deliriously happy he’s ready to punch out another father on either team …

10.22 pm. This was the president I supported and still support and will support because he alone is calling us away from the cynicism, the ideology, the rhetorical poison, and the red-blue divide that keep us from the reform we desperately need.

… or start drinking if the kid disappoints.

9.54 pm. “I refuse to pass this problem on to another generation of Americans.” I desperately want him to get a bipartisan commission that cuts entitlements and defense and raises necessary taxes. And then demand the GOP live up to their commitments to cut spending.

That doesn’t bode well for Sullivan’s future emotional state. Neither does this, which gets us away from the hockey dad metaphor, and nearer to an even more out of control character, that of a messianic believer:

10.16 pm. Listen to the silence. It’s the silence that greets the truth.


[ UPDATE — 1/28/10 ]

Uh oh. According to The Dish at 2:40 this afternoon, the fate of the entire republic rests on one-man — I’m not exaggerating — otherwise, we will face … absolute cataclysm and evidentally, one British blogger’s hope to obtain American citizenship is entirely misplaced:

My foreboding sense is that America may have already passed the point of no return in terms of civil, constitutional governance. […]

So this fever feels to me like either the kind that precedes the final death of this republic into a carnival of FNC-directed war and debt and drama led by charismatic media-emperors or empresses – or the fever that finally ends the sickness, and restores some sense of civic responsibility and republican virtue. Last night, I saw one of the few men left able to see the depth of the crisis and not lose faith in this country’s ability to overcome it. My faith in this country – so strong in the past – is not as strong as Obama’s now.

But I sure as hell believe in fighting for it, and for him, against the forces at home and abroad that would truly end this experiment in self-government while pretending, of course, that everything is exactly the same. I believe our crisis is deeper than many now believe – because it is not just a crisis of economics, of debt, of over-reach, of an empire now running on its own steam and unstoppable by any political force,  but because it is a crisis of civic virtue, a collapse of the good faith and serious, reasoned attention to problems that marks the distinction between a republic and a bread-and-circuses Ailes-Rove imperium.

Those, in my view, are the stakes. Are you ready to get back into the arena and fight? And if you don’t, who will?

This ain’t Camus, writing about nihilism and addressing himself to an imaginary Nazi. From Combat, in July 1945:

Because you turned your despair into intoxication, because you freed yourself from it by making a principle of it, you were willing to destroy man’s works and to fight him in order to add to his basic misery. Meanwhile, refusing to accept that desire and that tortured world, I merely wanted men to rediscover their solidarity in order to wage war against their revolting fate.

Right now, on The Dish is a desperate ideologue, a mirror reflection of the Rovians, who raises the stakes to feel less petty.


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