UPDATE: Sullivan didn't post my email, but did post one expressing a similar objection
After reading this post in which Andrew Sullivan shares an e-mail from a repentant neocon reader
, I felt compelled to respond:
Dear Mr. Sullivan,
Your reader writes: "But conservatives and a lot of moderates rallied around Bush and Co. because of the unfair attacks from the left and the media, whose objectivity was never in evidence,[...]"
How can the attacks on Bush from the "left and the media" be "unfair" if the past few years have shown them to be correct? Was it "unfair" for leftists to see the truth about Bush a few years before this neocon? Do liberals have some "unfair" ability to see authoritariansim and willful ignorance that others lack? Should leftists have refrained from using this foresight in order to be "fair" to neocons who were slower on the uptake? Was the left supposed to keep its collective mouth shut as the Iraq disaster slowly unfolded, silently hoping that neocons like your reader would see the light on their own? Can you picture some prominent lefty blogger posting: "Yo liberals, lets not call Bush on his crap, 'cause then those neocons will just rally around him! If we speak out against this war, we're just undermining the anti-war cause!"
I'd like to put forward the idea that perhaps it is because of these "unfair attacks from the left and the media" that neocons like your reader had the information to come to their current conclusions about Bush. It is because these "unfair attacks" on Bush turned out to have a great deal of substance that many reasonable conservative folk have come around to opposing this reckless administration.
The sad reality is that it is hard to accept truth when it comes from a political opponent. I hope liberals can do a better job of this than the neocons have done.
(As an aside: we leftists would disagree that Bush was unfairly attacked by "the media" in the early part of the Iraq war. One of our biggest beefs with the mainstream media is that it wasn't skeptical enough about Bush and his claims about Iraq.)