Anyway, Sullivan says:
There are three possibilities, it seems to me, behind the kerfuffle over Elena Kagan's emotional orientation. The first is that her orientation is heterosexual and she is merely a dedicated career person who never had time for a date. The second is that she is lesbian, and she remains in a glass closet, and the Obamaites, revealing their usual tone-deafness on gay issues, never asked and blundered into this. The third is that she is a highly cautious political lesbian who has drawn a line around her real life in order to prevent her orientation being used against her - especially by the Christianist right.He suspects it's the third and that Obama knows it and is going along with the cautious approach to forestall criticism from the right. Sullivan thinks that Obama doesn't mind "provok[ing] an outing from his 'left'" because then "senators [could] rally around the closet their generation cherishes and defend a person from 'charges' that invade her 'privacy.'"
Note the use of quotes— "left," "charges," "privacy." If it's not sexual orientation but emotional orientation, the revelation is not really an invasion of privacy? "Left" is in quotes, I think, because Sullivan is in the category of persons who are being provoked yet he still styles himself as a conservative.
If the left/"left" outs Kagan...
The president can say, appealing to the middle, that he respects privacy and has reluctantly allowed Kagan to come out under despicable pressure from people like me.Allowed Kagan to come out... Obama hasn't been keeping her in.
Then he dares the Christianist right to vote against her merely because she is a discreet lesbian. And so his jujitsu becomes a triumph for gay rights, and his nominee, who I suspect is far more left-liberal than anyone now believes, helps shape the court for a generation.I'm not sure what he means to conclude here. The post is titled "The Kagan Rope-A-Dope?" and ends, after the part quoted just above with "Where's that rope again?" If you perceive that someone is playing Rope-A-Dope with you, you should choose not to take a shot at them when they are in that position. (The image is of a boxer leaning against the ropes looking easy to hit but in fact tricking his opponent to wear himself out taking harmless shots.) So why what does "Where's that rope again?" mean?
Is Sullivan saying he sees why he shouldn't try to out Kagan, because he doesn't want her — he thinks she's a big lefty! — on the Court? Or is he saying he should try to out her, because it would be "a triumph for gay rights"? If it's the latter, then he doesn't understand the term Rope-A-Dope and he's not even trying to maintain his conservative credentials.
He's looking for the rope — Where's that rope again? — but what is he planning to do with it? Maybe he intends to be the one playing Rope-A-Dope, and he's inviting people to take energy-expending shots at him. I'm not sure how that would work.