Andy Sullivan’s back from vacation,

Andy Sullivan‘s back from vacation, and better than ever. Or, I should say, more liberal than ever:

I loved Bush’s comment yesterday about the smear-ad: “I can understand why Senator Kerry is upset with us. I wasn’t so pleased with the ads that were run about me. And my call is get rid of them all, now.””Us”?? I thought Bush had nothing to do with it.

Boo-yeah! He’s even gotten it on Iraq:

THE WAR: The attempt to put Iraq back together again seemed to lose ground last month as well. The awful slaughter in Najaf led to … exactly the same situation as before. Sadr is still at large. Many hundreds of his soldiers have been killed, but there are more where they came from (Iran, in many cases). Sadr’s legitimacy has increased in the population at large. The coalition is in danger of becoming an instrument in a civil war. Sistani has become a de facto ruler. Jim Hoagland had the right worries yesterday: “For a quasi-occupying power, as the United States is in Iraq today, the worst of all worlds is to have put in place a local regime that the outside power must support at all costs but does not control.” That sums it up nicely. Falluja and Ramadi seem worse than Najaf. I guess we’re left to hope that some kind of Allawi-led transition to some kind of democracy is still possible. But these kinds of clashes – when they do not end in clear victory – seem to me to increase bitterness, unrest, unease and resolve little. At best, we are back where we were. At worst, the mess has deepened. Does anyone believe that the administration has a clear idea of how to rescue the situation? I see few signs of candor or clarity.

A little late, but still welcome. And, of course, we still rocks on his best subject: gay rights:

Then there were the predictable surprises. A closeted gay man trying to pretend he’s straight eventually breaks down and reveals the truth under threat of blackmail from a lover. How many times has that happened? Worse, NcGreevey [sic] tried to spin it as an advance for gay rights. Nope. What the gay rights movement is trying to achieve is an end to these kinds of decptions and lies and phony marriages. Then a prominent moralist, a man who has aggressively denied any distinction between private morals and public lives, a theocon much beloved by the National Review crowd, turns out to have had a checkered past. Again: big surprise. And then that left-wing maniac, Dick Cheney, refuses to give up his federalist principles, his love of family and freedom, or his basic humanity, by signing on to the president’s anti-gay constitutional amendment. Good for the veep, and the entire Cheney family. Too bad his own president has put them in such an awful position. And the GOP platform dispenses with any nuance and comes out not just against marriage rights for gays, but any kind of legal protections for their relationships whatever. That, of course, is what the FMA is designed to do, whatever lies its sponsors tell. No wonder Zell Miller is now the keynoter for the Republicans. Here’s a man who once proudly condemned LBJ for backing civil rights for African-Americans, while Bush’s Republican grandfather stood up for decency. History has come full circle, hasn’t it? The Dixiecrats meet again in New York. Now they’re called Republicans.

I’ve always thought that Andy was the smartest conservative in the country. Now I know it.

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