How to Start Blogging: Read Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish


Andrew Sullivan’s political commentary blog, The Daily Dish, has just celebrated its 10-year anniversary of existence.

Why is this a big deal?

Well, for me, my own year-plus of blogging here on Agree to Disagree started in large part because of Sullivan’s writing.  His and John August’s eponymous blog are the two blogs that I’ve read since I knew what a blog was (honestly: I can’t remember the first time that I started reading either, it’s been so long) that I never fail to read on a consistent basis — it used to be daily, but now it’s more like every two or three days when I get the chance to catch up on everything, which takes a while since Sullivan is nothing if not prolific.  (Seriously, this guy blogs a TON.)

Why do I read Sullivan (almost) daily?

He’s a phenomenal writer and he has integrity.  He’s one of the few out there in the political realm who is willing to admit he’s wrong and change his mind on something if the facts present a different view than he originally saw. Sure, it helps that I see eye-to-eye with him on many levels — gay rights, Sarah Palin being insane, the intellectual dishonesty of the GOP, the appalling stances on the legality of torture, the legalization of marijuana — just to name a few.

On the other hand, he is a classic conservative while I consider myself a liberal; whatever that means.  If it’s one thing that I’ve learned over the years of reading Sullivan, it’s that those labels mean much less than the actual stances one takes on specific subjects and policies.

I’ve always had trouble with people generalizing and being overzealous about casting aside an entire group of people — whether based on religion, race, sexual or political orientation, etc. —  and Sullivan helped me realize that neither “conservative” nor “liberal” nor “moderate” can truly describe the thoughts and feelings of a person — many in the conservative community don’t even consider Sullivan one of their own.

I don’t mean to give him such high praise as if he’s perfect and unerring.  Far from it, just like the rest of us.  But, the candid quality of his writing is immediately relatable and inspiring — even when I disagree with him — because I know it’s coming from an honest place.  He doesn’t take a stance just for the sake of being sensational.

It’s because it’s how he feels.  It’s because it’s what he thinks.

What does this mean for you?

Probably nothing.

Other than that you read me (thank you!) and probably have seen me quoting Sullivan frequently or giving him hat tips for providing source material for my own blogs.  He’s been a huge inspiration to me and it’s blatantly evident in how I write in these posts. I have no shame.  Might as well learn (read: imitate) from the best.

Here’s to you, Andrew and the team at The Dish: many thanks for your continued excellence in adding quality content to the blogosphere.  I hope to one day hold a candle to what you’re able to do.



  1. Ryan, If you want to be taken seriously you need to stop putting statements in your articles that aren’t credible. You may dislike Sarah Palin personally, you may disagree completely with her political points of view but to state that she is insane, takes you totally off my list as someone I would want to read o a regular basis. The times square bomber, in my humble opinion, is “insane” not Sarah Palin.

    You also mention “The intellectual dishonesty of the GOP” the reader is left to surmise that “The Left” have cornered the market on honesty, now you and I both know dishonesty is just as rife on the left as it is on the right. You need look no further than the current president for an abundance of evidence of this fact.

    • Fair enough. I suppose I threw out the term “insane” a bit frivolously — it was more tongue-in-cheek than serious, although it’s hard to always convey tone in the written word. I wasn’t, however, being completely comical: I do think that Palin is deluded if she truly believes what she says (I mean, the stories she gives about her birth are just absurd – insane, perhaps – by many respects). Regardless, she’s a polarizing figure and to just dismiss her as insane is intellectually lazy on my part. Thank you for bringing this up as I will do my best to avoid that in the future.

      As per your second issue:

      1) you should know based on what I just wrote in this post that I don’t particularly like generalizing in terms of “the Left” or “conservative.” I specifically said “the intellectual dishonesty of the GOP,” because the GOP is a tangible political party of which a person chooses to be a member — I can’t just claim that someone is a Republican simply because I dislike their political ideas; while I could just call someone “a Rightie.” (Not that it would be particularly helpful in the conversation.) So, “the Left” as you say is not the exact opposite of “the GOP.” The “Left”

      2) Secondly, I didn’t say “honesty,” I said “intellectual honesty,” and that’s very different. Politicians in general are not known for being the most honest bunch and I have no intention of claiming that Democrats are on the whole more honest than Republicans. By this I mean the moral arguments based on prejudices or personal beliefs many GOP candidates and representatives make but try to back them up with lawful rationale that just isn’t there (see: torture, gay rights, climate change). And that’s not to say that Democrats are immune — just that the Republicans are acting this way overwhelmingly more than their Democratic counterparts.

  2. Hey dude, just stumbled upon your blog via Google (nice SEO, btw). Anyway, real good shit. I loved just reading this post and your pwning of the guy above. It’s sad that the default is that now when you criticize one side (i.e. the right, GOP, Democrats, whoever) it’s automatically assumed that you are a defender of the other, when the reality is that both parties are playing the same game.

    On top of that, I see a blog post titled “A rational argument for Rich Rodriguez keeping his job.” I’ll comment on that post after I read it, but as a diehard UM fan I could not agree more. There’s a tremendous lack of rationality in the argument for firing him, but then I suppose football coaching opinions imitate political ones.

    • Thanks, man! So pumped that you randomly found it — looks like all that keywords-in-the-titles business is paying off. May I ask what you searched for that you found me?

      I’ll be checking out your blog shortly, as well. Thanks for stopping by and please: come back often. Love the conversation.

      And as for the whole criticizing one side thing… yeah, I mean it’s tough to have an honest discourse when it’s just two sides defending their own no matter what. I try to keep things rational on my end as far as my criticism — I’ve been openly against a bunch of the Democrats’ and Obama’s policies and stances (notably DADT, Afghanistan, gay marriage), but yet I’m still a leftist in the eyes of Republicans. It’s frustrating, but that’s the current political landscape.

  3. I was actually looking for Andrew Sullivan’s email address and this was like the 3rd result.

    • Wild. I do link to him often enough, though, that it makes some sense but still. Too cool.

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