Reading Leon Wieseltier who uses this phrase when talking of Charles Krauthammer and Andrew Sullivan, “Unlike Sullivan, he does not present feelings as ideas.”
This is a really interesting turn of phrase that I believe accurately analyses the two different styles of argument – those who argue from reason and those who argue from feeling.
If one argues from a reasoned position, then one, is of necessity, arguing through factual evidence and logical deduction. An argument from feeling, however, is conducted through the irrational, meaning that the language used is directed towards the evocation of emotive response through feelings of guilt, shame and the fear of arguing against the group.
Andew Sullivan has long argued from a position that is fundamentally driven by which ever emotions are dominant in his mind at the time of writing. I cannot say that I am suprised by his “descent into the swamps”. He has long been occupying the banks.