Andrew Sullivan On The Dobbs Leak Freakout

It has been fascinating to watch Andrew Sullivan, a conservative turned Trump-deranged progressive during from about 2015 on, express his rising dismay at his adopted “side’s” drift to totalitarianism as it uses lies as metaphorical oars in the stream of public opinion.. Sullivan is too emotional to be a reliable pundit, but he’s smart and writes like an angel. His current essay about how Democrats and progressives have abandoned even the pretense of rationality is instructive.

He also mounts an impressive list of ridiculous statements by abortion fans and supposedly trustworthy progressive commentators that are signature significance. Nobody should trust people who say or write garbage like this. Ever. Here are some of Andrew’s gems, only some of which I had stumbled over earlier (the comments in parentheses are mine, not Sullivan’s):

  • Roxane Gay tweeted:“I have typed and deleted a great many comments What do you say when nine people can dictate what happens to your body? It’s ridiculous and hateful.” [That is not, of course, what a reversal of Roe would mean, but disinformation has always been at the heart of the “pro-choice” position.]

  • “The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer announced that the court had abolished the entire 20th century. Yep: no more suffrage for women! Jim Crow now!”

  • Jessica Valenti: “Stripping women of their humanity and rights isn’t a consequence of the ‘pro-life’ agenda, it’s the entire point.” 

  • The Washington Post’s now thoroughly insane Jennifer Rubin: “The right-wing justices and their supporters appear ready to reject one of the Founders’ core principles: that religion shall not be imposed by government edict.” (The smear that opposing Roe constitutes a religious edict is truly despicable, and a lot of abortion fans are stooping to it.)

  • Kurt Andersen another one:“It really is kind of remarkable that only one in five Americans call themselves Catholic, but of the Supreme Court majority apparently about to permit abortion to be outlawed, all but one are Catholic and that one was raised Catholic.”

  • Kamala Harris (who supports her adversary’s position every time she tries to counter it, whatever the topic) was, predicably, Kamala-like:

    Those Republican leaders who are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women. Well we say, ‘How dare they?’ How dare they tell a woman what she can do and cannot do with her own body? How dare they? How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future? How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms?

To this and more, Sullivan observes,

The premise here is that all women support abortion rights. But there is no serious gender gap on this question. In fact, a majority of “pro-lifers” are women, not men. So Harris is effectively saying: how dare women be allowed a voice in this debate?

Within minutes of the SCOTUS leak, moreover, we were told it means that before long, interracial marriages will be banned … in a country where 94 percent support them! Imagine Clarence Thomas divorcing himself by jurisprudence….What strikes me most in these takes is the underlying contempt for and suspicion of the democratic process — from many of the same people who insist they want to save it. How dare voters have a say on abortion rights! The issue — which divides the country today as much as it has for decades — is one that apparently cannot ever be put up for a vote. On this question, Democrats really do seem to believe that seven men alone should make that decision — once, in 1973.

Of course Sullivan, being Sullivan, has to ring the obligatory “a pox on both their houses” bell lest he risk being tagged as Republican or a conservative by his LGBTQ peer group. “The emotive hyperbole [is] par for the course in a country where every discourse is now dialed to eleven,” he writes. In fact, Democrats and progressives have lapped the other side of the political spectrum and some since November 2016, and it would be ennobling if Sullivan had the courage and integrity to admit it. But he doesn’t. Too bad.

He also repeats a current bit of spin and misinformation that the Left has been bellowing this week. “If you look at polling, there is very little support in America for a total ban — let alone one that doesn’t make exceptions for rape and incest, ” he writes. “Gallup’s polling suggests that a whopping 80 percent of Americans want to keep abortion legal, either entirely (32 percent) or with some restrictions (48 percent). Only 18 percent want it banned entirely — a position many Republicans are now forced to take. That should be a Democratic dream!”

1. Well,you know, polls.

2. That’s one way of looking at it.

3. It buries the real polling revelations.

Over at the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney points out that on both the issues of , Mississippi’s abortion law (banning abortions after 15 weeks, contrary to Roe) and the substance of Roe v. Wade itself, the draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito represents the majority view of the public:

Begin with the law in question here: Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. A very recent YouGov poll on abortion found that 21% would ban all abortions, an additional 20% would ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected (six weeks), another 13% would ban them after the first trimester (13 weeks), and an additional 10% would ban abortion after 15 weeks — which is what Mississippi does.

Add it together, and it means that 64% of people in the United States believe Mississippi’s law is either the right call or too liberal on abortion. To uphold this law is to side with the opinion of nearly two-thirds of America on abortion policy.

Would Andrew’s description give you that impression?

On the matter of abortion itself, Carney writes,

A poll on Roe and the Supreme Court from YouGov… asked whether the federal government or the state governments should set abortion law, and opinions were fairly split — leaning 44% to 36% in favor of the federal government setting it. Of those who said the federal government should set abortion policy, only 24% said that within the federal government, the judicial branch “is best suited to deciding on abortion’s legality.” Combine those last two questions, and that’s 24% of 44% (about 11%) of the country that believes the Supreme Court should be setting abortion policy. Only that blue slice in the poll below sides with Roe on the constitutional question.

Carney concludes, “So why do so many people tell pollsters they think Roe shouldn’t be overturned? It’s because most people don’t understand Roe and don’t understand that overturning it returns the issue to lawmakers and the states.”

And Democrats, the news media and abortion fanatics want to keep as many people confused and furious as possible.

Sullivan concludes,

Leftists, if they could only snap out of their disdain for democracy, can make a powerful case for moderation on this issue against right-extremism. To do that, of course, they will have to back some restrictions on abortion in some states — which some seem very reluctant to do — and even allow some diversity of opinion within their own ranks. There are forces aiming to prevent that — forces that Biden could confront if he hadn’t long been beaten into learned helplessness. But surely someone can take the initiative.

So let’s stop the hyperventilation and get back to democracy. Persuade people, if you can. Get them out to vote. Stop demonizing those you disagree with and compromise with them in office, however difficult that may be. What Roe did was kickstart the extreme cultural polarization that has defined and blighted the last few decades of American politics. Maybe the end of Roe can mark the beginning of a return to living together, and negotiating a way to make that bearable.

25 thoughts on “Andrew Sullivan On The Dobbs Leak Freakout

  1. Another example of a freakout.

    It’s used in Covid marches with the grim-plication that it’s hypocritical to support the right to choose a medical procedure and also support public health requirements, like wearing face coverings. Except no. A person who doesn’t want to be pregnant harms nobody by choosing an abortion. Making that choice does not result in her breathing abortions on to six strangers. But by refusing a vaccine, a person is putting others at risk. So I got angry

    Read the bolded text.

    • Par for the course, Michael. As far as people like that writer are concerned, a fetus is no one, and neither, at least in some states, is a newborn but unwanted baby anyone. Ironically, the same people who say this will fight tooth and nail to spare a convicted killer from getting the hot shot, and probably happily park aging parents in nursing homes while they get on with their much more important lives.

  2. Andrew Sullivan has certainly made some good points. However, the main problem here isn’t necessarily the precedent set by the Court. It’s the precedent set the last decade or so by the left and by those who profit from the left’s hyper-aggressive tactics and totalitarian view toward those that disagree with them. This may sound unfair, but I think a lot of this approach started with the fight over gay marriage. Say what you want, but that issue very quickly became other than a level playing field. There was bullying, doxxing, threats to anyone who dared express an opposing viewpoint, and the digital equivalent of lynching and mob violence, where supporters would do a deep dive into your social media presence and your donation history to see if you’d ever deviated from their view. If you had, they tried to cancel you, embarrass you publicly, make you lose your job, and worse. Eventually they got their way. Score one for aggressive intolerance, right or wrong. Legally, there is certainly a sound basis for equality of marriage rights under the Equal Protection guarantee. However, it didn’t stop there, as you know, because for a lot of the folks involved it was never about marriage equality, it was about beating those they disagreed with over the head. Those were the folks who weaponized marriage against bakers, photographers, musicians, and anyone else who could possibly object to participation in a gay wedding and those who pivoted almost instantly to transgender issues. Now SCOTUS is dodging the issue of being made to do business against one’s conscience and huge companies like Disney are falling all over themselves to use the right pronouns for every possible identity, in part because they don’t want to deal with the instant bullying that they know is going to come for taking the harder right over the easier wrong, or the harder truth over the easier lie.

    It didn’t end there, though. The next step was what Jack has called the Axis of Unethical Conduct, in which the left generally, the Democratic Party, and the mainstream media joined forces to undermine, stymie, and block a duly elected president from governing. Anyone who dared otherwise could face all kinds of online bullying and sometimes physical bullying. It worked pretty well, although for the first three years of his presidency Trump gave as good as he got. Then came the pandemic to hobble responses, and George Floyd to justify what I would call a lot closer to an insurrection than anything that happened on January 6. If you dared dissent, a torrent of abuse would rain down on you and as often as not physical abuse and property destruction during a “mostly peaceful” protest would follow. If you dared tried to get behind the president, the same, to the point where his own people started turning on him.

    It seems to have worked pretty well. It got the left pretty much everything that it wanted, although at this point the phrase “careful what you wish for, because you might get it,” has kicked in. They got the trifecta. They got close to absolute power. They got to strut around and say, “we won.” They could perhaps be forgiven for getting the attitude that they could pretty much do whatever they damn well pleased, even to the point of controlling what words everyone was allowed to say. However, as should be obvious, winning power is only one part of the story here. What you do with the power once you have it is a great deal more important, and, at least for now, can decide whether you keep the power you won. You can see for yourselves what the left has done with the power, and it is NOT good.

    I’ve talked in the past about how nothing succeeds like success, and also about how sometimes too much success too fast leads to overreaching and ultimately to disaster. It’s what led the Islamic caliphate to gain, and then lose, three continents. It’s what led Spain to conquer two continents and then some, then see it all collapse, as the gold and silver that acted on them like habit-forming drugs led to the inevitable crash and hangover. It’s what led a certain French general to try to rule all of Europe… until he risked and lost everything trying to take Moscow. It’s also what led Germany and Japan, two johnny-come-latelys to the game of empire, to lay and act on plans that would have left nothing to other nations but Shangri-La, and they’d have taken that too if they’d known where it was… then see those plans, and most of their nations, go up in smoke. It also goes without saying that all these successes and reverses crushed property and lives innumerable.

    Now this alliance sees its greatest past success threatened. This is their Holy Grail, their One Ring, their Forbidden Zone, their door in the Ministry of Magic that must never be opened. If they lose this it’s going to be like a Roman legion losing its eagle or the Persians losing the flag of Kaveh – a sign that the tide has turned and defeat is likely, although things were already leaning that way because of previous overreach. Fortunately for them (or so they think), they were tipped off about this earlier than they might otherwise have been, most likely by someone on the inside who was sympathetic. No problem, they think, in fact this may be an opportunity to turn a potential reverse into a victory. How? By using the same tactics that proved successful the last few times, taken up to eleven. They can already mobilize large numbers of black activists and liberal activists, and their feminist branch can already mobilize huge numbers of pink pussy-hatted activists. The nation is still reeling from the pandemic, the 2020 election, and the George Floyd freak-out. This time they’ll target Catholic churches so that no one pro-life won’t hear their insults and threats, and this time they’ll target Supreme Court Justices at home. Why not? In 2020 they almost took the White House, and if they can do that and make Trump run for the bunker, then taking a Supreme Court Justice’s private residence should be easy. In 2020 they swung an election, this is just swinging a court case, and should be easy by comparison.

    Why this? Why should this be the final battle and the hill to kill or die on? The reason is twofold. One is that this decision represents the ultimate in the narcissism that is at the heart of the left – the total certitude, the total belief in oneself as being right, the total disdain for those who disagree, oneself as the center of the universe, answerable to no one, and, ultimately, the resolution to, if needed, destroy anyone who dares challenge that. A child in the womb and in one’s life is the ultimate challenge to self-rule. The second is that victory here truly means they are in fact unstoppable and that their tactics can be used to bully anyone into doing what they say. One generation really came close to getting there just over fifty years ago, before the withdrawal from Vietnam took away their central rallying point and the disaster that was Althorp blew away the haze of endless bliss, drugs, and music. In this case, though, the conflict is right here in the middle of us, and another CHOP, or several CHOPs, could be right around the corner.

    The only real hope here is that the ordinary people of this nation, the people who actually do the work, pay the taxes, and keep the store shelves stocked and the gas tanks full, finally get fed up enough to say “no.” No more mob violence, no more bullying, no more chewing us up like cannon fodder, no more taking us for granted, no more treating us like we’re less than you because we don’t share your vision that’s proved unworkable. You think because you’re angry you can demand and get everything. Well, we can get angry too. You won’t like it when we turn your own tactics on you.

  3. “Of course, Sullivan, being Sullivan, has to ring the obligatory “a pox on both their houses” bell lest he risk being tagged as Republican or a conservative by his LGBTQ peer group.”

    I find this “gay guys can’t go off the reservation” thing, in Professor Turley’s terms, “problematic.” It’s like Sunny Hostin saying she considers black and Hispanic Republicans “oxymoronic.” Don’t people bristle at this kind of enforced conformity? Are these people turned into unthinking zombies due to their sexual orientation or skin color or their heritage? This doctrinal orthodoxy is strange.

    • Upon completion of the 2020 election, I named Joe Manchin the most powerful person in the country. And boy, was I ever shocked when Arizona’s own Kirsten Gillibrand joined Joe in that seat.

      • Kirsten Sinema, actually. Kirsten Gillibrand is from NY. She was handed Hillary’s seat when handing it to Caroline Kennedy fell through and hasn’t relinquished it since.

        • Ooops. Du-oh! Can’t tell your Kirstens without a program. And she’s from Arizona. And where the hell did the name Kirsten come from all of a sudden? Isn’t it a miss spelling of Kristen? Or is it some previously obscure Nordic name? I think Sinema wants to have more than a single term as senator from Arizona.

          • Were you a girl , you’d know the name Kirstin/Kirsten. That’s the American girl who was, I think, the pioneer with twin blonde braids. I knew more Kirstin’s as Kristin’s as a kid, because a lot of women were naming kids that and of course the American Girl books were required reading out here in the West. As a note, so were all of Thomasma’s books, which I guess most kids who don’t live right off a reservation don’t read, so maybe it is only in my small part of the US that reads those kind of books.

            • I looked it up (I have bought AG books for my lady friend’s daughter, who is now eight), yes, Kirsten Larson was that early AG character, and she did wear her blonde hair in braids. She vas a sodbuster, dontcha betcha!

            • So that’s where it came from. Thanks Sarah. Twenty years ago I worked a case with a guy who had to buy an American Girl doll at the American Girl Doll store in Chicago when we were there in front of the 7th Circuit. First I’d ever heard of the phenomenon. Our daughter is forty-eight. Cabbage Patch Kids. But I guess the books predate the dolls. Kirsten Gillibrand must be about our daughter’s age, at least. I think Senator Sinema is younger than our daughter.

  4. I confess that I haven’t read the leaked document, and I have no intention of doing so. I’ll read the final version, which may or may not be identical, when it’s made available.
    But… seriously… polls from YouGov? If I’d taken a poll of the folks at the winery/pizza joint I visited last evening, it would’ve had more integrity than that.

  5. The Pro Abortionists are hyperventilating because Justice Comey Barrett discussed “domestic supplies of babies” in her opinion, clearly indicating the kind of sexually subservient future birthing people will face as cold, hard reality in the very near handmaid’s tail’s inevitable future.

    It’s just a minor thing but ACB didn’t author the opinion; Justice Alito did. Or, and the offending passage is buried in footnote 46 on page 34 of The Draft, and sites a CDC study on adoption programs available. Chicken Little anyone?


    • John, you touch tangentially on an aspect of the abortion argument that’s always mystified me. People seem to point out simultaneously that legalized abortion has resulted in a virtual genocide, i.e., the destruction of millions of babies of color while also pointing out that eliminating legalized abortion to any degree will adversely impact women of color. Makes me want to ask, “So, which is it?” Additionally, are women of color particularly incapable of avoiding unwanted pregnancies? Isn’t that a little demeaning of women of color? There’s an almost white supremacist/eugenics/Margaret Sanger ring to it: “These people of color are having too many little nappy headed babies, and you know what they grow up into!” Isn’t it racist? Where’s Ibram X. Kendi on this? Isn’t he concerned about all these black baby bodies piling up and being used for stem cells? Is the answer really that children are an unbearable burden for people of color?

      • Spot on, OB. The inherent paternalism is merely a continuation of the Leftist cant undergirding the Great Society of the 1960s, despite the obvious damages done to the very communities the programs were supposed to help. The underlying position is that Blacks can’t save themselves so White Leftists have to do it for them because they know better what POC communities need.


  6. I posted this on Usenet and got a response.

    The only healthy way to stop abortions is to
    http //tinyurl com/ConvinceItForward (John 15:12) to be
    http //WonderfullyHungry org (Philippians 4:12) instead.

    Indeed, I am wonderfully hungry ( http //bit ly/Philippians4_12 )
    ) and hope you, Michael, also have a healthy appetite too.

    So how are you ?

    – Dr. Andrew B. Chung, M.D., Ph.D

  7. This whole situation has a lot of bearing on the liberal freakout about Elon Musk buying Twitter. The phenomenon of people being able to access a variety of ideas about topics is a new and (possibly) short-lived one. Before the internet was widely accessible, people only had access to mainstream news sources. These sources were incredibly uniform in their opinions on things, giving the appearance that there was widespread consensus on things like abortion in this country. When widespread web services began, alternate voices began to be heard. An independent press sprung up that could gain a wide audience, and many people were able to see how rigged the media and the system were for the first time. The media has been working diligently to bring the new media into the fold of the old media, making it a placed of uniform ideas. This only works if they control ALL of the new media that matter. An independent Twitter exposes the manipulation of the media as they found previously.

    How does this relate to the Roe freakout?

    On this blog, several things have been pointed out about this Supreme Court case.
    (1) The Supreme Court is not a legislature and doesn’t make laws.
    (2) Roe v. Wade was poorly reasoned and a bad decision from day 1.
    (3) Overturning Roe does not ban abortion in the country.

    Most people have never heard any of this. It has been beaten into them that the Constitution says whatever the Courts say it does. It has no independent meaning outside interpretation by the courts. Until this blog, I have NEVER read anywhere that Roe was a bad decision, quite the contrary. It is like all of this was hidden and only the GOODFACTS allowed, not the REALFACTS. During Court confirmation hearings, candidates are always reported as saying that Roe is the “Law of the Land”. Well, how can it be the law if the Supreme Court doesn’t make laws? The population of the US has been told that the vast majority approve of abortion in whatever form the media says is good. With the loss of complete control of the media for a brief period of time, however, people realized that the truth about abortion opinions was not what they had been told. It wasn’t just a small group of ‘right-wing extremists’ who opposed abortion. Abortion was not what they had been told. They also began to see the incrementalism in abortion. Pete Singer advocated for abortion until birth decades ago. Once he got acceptance from that in the media and the leftist elite, he pushed it to 2 years after birth. Now that seems almost a reality. Ezekiel Emmanuel seems to want to push this to 6 years or so in some cases.

    The freakout is because of the intellectual capture of the mainstream media and education. The push for an end to Roe and the Supreme Court’s consideration of that is due to the independent media.

    What will happen next if Musk turns Twitter into a mostly-free speech platform? Chinese citizens are rioting against COVID restrictions. The Paris Accords and our insistence of going to war with Russia has resulted in food shortages breaking out around the world already. If there is a famine caused by this administration’s policies restricting the availability of fertilizer, the destruction of dozens of our food processing plants, and the forced destruction of the chicken and turkeys, what could happen here if people have access to independent media? What would happen if people find out their water isn’t being treated properly due to the destruction of the rail system and government policies?

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