Friday, March 23, 2007

Cracks in the House of Rove - The New York Review of Books

Cracks in the House of Rove - The New York Review of Books: "In The Conservative Soul, he attributes his change of heart to a belated return to rigorous Oakshottian skepticism, and as he expounds Oakeshott, gracefully and in satisfying detail, one is almost won over. Certainly Oakeshott's strictures on the dangers of overweening government power, harnessed to Rationalist dreams and visions, apply very well to the high-handed, high-spending near tyranny of the Bush administration before the midterm elections checked its progress, and Sullivan deserves thanks for bringing Oakeshott into the argument.

But his journalism belies his vaunted skepticism. There is in Sullivan's makeup a most un-Oakshottian quickness to take passionate sides, a schoolboy tendency to hero-worship (Thatcher... Reagan...Oakeshott...Bush...and now it seems he may be warming up fast to Barack Obama), and an Oxford debater's ready access to the rhetoric of condescending scorn. Where Oakeshott stood self-consciously aloof from practical politics, Sullivan splashes excitedly about in them like a dog in a mud puddle, snarling ferociously at any other dog who challenges his position du jour. He's less a skeptic than a mercurial, and somewhat flirtatious, born believer."