Andrew Sullivan was my editor when I came to TNR as an intern in 1995. We did not agree on matters political. The Republican Revolution was in full spring, and Andrew thrilled to it, his only skepticism centering on whether the Republicans would truly have the guts to slash Washington bloat.
That wasn't how I saw things. But Andrew published many articles by me, including several unsigned staff editorials. As certain as he could be in his own, he was never so certain as to stop somebody else from expressing a dissenting view. And he was an enjoyable, lively presence, frequently swapping wisecracks with the interns and roaring with laughter. That's the kind of person he is. He cares deeply about politics, but politics, appropriately, isn't everything to him. That's a sensibility I've admired and sought to emulate. You can't go through life being angry at people for being wrong.
There's a line from the Godfather Part 2, in which Hyman Roth explains how we swallowed his anger at the murder of his friend Moe Green: "This is the business we've chosen." Opinion journalism isn't la cosa nostra, but it is a contentious business, and especially so opinion journalism blogging. I've always admired Andrew's ability to maintain, alongside his fierce, crusading opinion-mongering, a constant good cheer and capacity to keep his ideological crusades in their proper place. This is the business we've chosen.
I can't say Andrew wielded much of an ideological influence over me. But he influenced something that is more important than ideology.