Illustration by David Smith
On the right side of the political spectrum, different types of conservatives, libertarians, classical liberals and independents exist and thrive. Yet in this modern age of political shape-shifting and quasi-ideological viewpoints, some attempts to fit political cogs into right-leaning wheels end up being miserable failures. As a case in point, look no further than Andrew Sullivan.
Sullivan has a decent resumé. He has written five books, is a former editor of the New Republic, and is currently a columnist for the Sunday Times. He's also been a blogger for Time, the Atlantic and currently the Daily Beast. It would therefore be farcical to deny Sullivan hasn't a following in print journalism and on the internet.
Even so, it's important to try to understand what the roots of this attraction are really all about. Is it because he regularly speaks his mind, or is it because he claims to be a conservative regularly speaking his mind? If it's the former, it would hardly make him a unique political commentator. If it's the latter, Sullivan is misrepresenting his position because he's often bereft of principled conservative ideas.
The so-called blogger extraordinaire certainly supports some sensible economic policies, including small government, low taxes, and more private sector initiatives. He even wrote a piece in the New York Times magazine back in 2000 in favour of a flat tax — and to his credit, continues to defend it.