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My Challenge to Glenn Greenwald

[ 398 ] June 18, 2012 |

So on May 11, Scott wrote this post getting after Glenn Greenwald for his endorsement of an extremely insipid Matt Taibbi piece arguing that Romney was really a moderate. Glenn, as you might expect, came charging into the comment thread like a bull in a china shop. During the comments, I asked him a few questions about his economic policies. It’s a relatively widespread belief among the labor journalists that Greenwald is libertarian-friendly at the very least (more on this in a minute). He responded without a lot of specifics that he wasn’t a libertarian, called me a liar, demanded a public apology for even suggesting it, you know, exactly the tactics Glenn uses every day. Then last week in the comment section on some other post on another site that I don’t even really remember, I mentioned this again.

I guess someone asked him about it because, of out nowhere yesterday, I got an e-mail from Greenwald where he accused me of being “an absolute liar, a term I use advisedly, meaning “someone who makes claims that they know to be factually false.” He then goes on to restate the same things he said in the comment thread linked to above and concludes, “For you, having read all of that, to then claim I’m “basically a libertarian on economic issues” makes you nothing short of a liar.”

He continues:

To brand someone a “libertarian on economic issues” who – as you know – opposes enitlement cuts, advocates for a public option in health care, urges greater regulatory restraints on Wall Street, condemns banker-subservient government officials, favors a transfer of military spending to domestic spending, wants a system of public financing for elections, and favors EFCA and more protections for unions requires a staggering degree of wilful dishonesty.”

Well, I certainly don’t care if Greenwald thinks I’m dishonest. I’m not a person, like Glenn, with such thin skin that I’m going to erupt at such accusations. I mean, it’s the internet so it just doesn’t really matter.

But then I thought of a way that maybe I could turn this into something useful.

I really want to be wrong about Glenn’s economic libertarianism.

Never mind that Greenwald has long standing ties to the Koch-funded Cato Institute (he’s going to claim that he only wrote 2 articles for them but as Exiled points out that’s “utterly absurd”)

Never mind that Greenwald has been openly identified in the press as representing “the libertarian Cato Institute” when quoted in articles. See also here.

Never mind that Greenwald was a keynote speaker at a Cato Benefit Sponsors Event.

Never mind that Greenwald was Ron Paul-curious, a man who would be the most anti-union president since at least Grover Cleveland, if not in U.S. history.

Never mind that Greenwald has spoken to college libertarian groups where he suggested the possibility of a coalition between progressives and Paulites for a Gary Johnson presidential run.

Never mind that Greenwald defended the Citizens United decision. Excellent rebuttal to Glenn’s CU argument here. Also here.

Now I know that Glenn is going to resort to his usual personal nasty attacks in response to this. And there’s nothing anyone can do about it. We will all shrug, say “That crazy Greenwald is at it again!” and go on with our day.

But instead of that, I want to engage Glenn on the issue. Again, I want to be wrong. Now, one point Glenn makes well is that a lot of liberal bloggers gave Obama a free pass on his foreign policy and violations of human rights. I suppose that includes me, though I am not an expert on these issues. I don’t think any of it is intentional or partisan, but there’s the assumption that a Democrat is going to do something closer to the right thing. And that hasn’t always happened.

So I will confess that I am probably one of those people.

But as a labor blogger, I will also state that there’s a whole lot of big-time left-leaning bloggers who have never shown the slightest interest in labor and working-class issues. Or if they do have interest, it’s at a very wonky level without actually engaging working-class voices in their work or showing much understanding of working-class America.

And Greenwald is absolutely one of these people, despite his protestations in the e-mail above.

So here’s my challenge/offer to you, Glenn. If you want people to stop calling you a libertarian, how about you put your money where you mouth is? You may have worked with SEIU at one point on a campaign, but I don’t know that except for you saying it. I don’t read every one of your columns, but I don’t think I ever recall seeing one about labor, except to slam SEIU for trying to co-opt Occupy, which I don’t think is entirely accurate anyway.

Glenn, you have one of the biggest platforms of any progressive on the internet. And lord knows we unionists could use someone like you to direct anger and harsh words at the capitalists.

So why not use one of your columns for labor issues. Prove to the world that you care about these issues. If your Salon column is reserved for your standard material, publish it somewhere else. You are Glenn Greenwald after all.

For every labor article you publish at Salon or another important site, I will teach myself more about the issues you care most about and write 2 researched blog posts at LGM or a larger site about them. Admittedly, this may not be entirely fair since our forum is much smaller, but hopefully the 2 for 1 offer helps.

So to reiterate, I don’t really care one way or another whether you once worked with SEIU. However true that may be, you have been publicly identified as representing Cato several times, which is pretty damning in my eyes, not to mention your position on Citizens United. You can scream and call me a liar and do your normal schtick here.

Or you can prove me wrong–by taking the time to write about working-class people occasionally. Otherwise I have to go with the preponderance of evidence which suggests that you are libertarian-friendly and only marginally concerned with the plight of working-class Americans.

Comments (398)

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  1. MPAVictoria says:

    Well said Erik!

    • Glenn’s no true liberal, let alone a leftist. If he were, he’d have a “bromance” with Jill Stein, not Ron Paul. He’s never written about the Green Party in particular or left-liberals in general for THEIR ardent defense of civil liberties.

      No. 2 critique? He’s never addressed Wendy Kaminer’s takedown of the ACLU, including the Strossen-Romero purge of the board.

      No. 3 — While he may have written about income inequality, what’s his proposed solution(s)?

      http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2012/06/why-glenn-greenwald-is-no-liberal.html#comments

    • Anonymous says:

      Glenn Greenwald is not a libertarian. It’s true he supports some libertarian policies, like on civil liberties and privacy, but he regularly attends socialist meetings. He likes government just as much as the common sheep. He doesn’t really want to cut government at all, just transfer the money from policies the neocon right supports to the liberal left.

  2. Tybalt says:

    Erik, while I think classifying someone’s politics based on where they’ve published and who they have spoken to is absurd, I really do commend the way you chose to deal with this dispute.

    • Jameson Quinn says:

      Coolly insulting people based on pure speculation, while adding enough hedges to keep it honest, isn’t actually a good way of de-escalating things. You can keep your cool and still be throwing kerosene on the fire.

      • david mizner says:

        Yeah, wow. How to make yourself look like a total fuckead in one post.

        Shorter Loomis: You, Greewald, must be a economic libertarian because you consort with an organization that shares your views on civil liberties. To prove me me wrong, you must write about issues I want you to write about.

        Greenwald is “only marginally concerned with the plight of working-class Americans.”

        What about the persecuted Muslims in the United States, of whom Greenwald has become the most prominent champion (this side of the ACLU)? Are those Muslim-Americans not working class or are they not American?

        Speaking of the ACLU, how come those Paul-curious CATO-baggers never put out a statement about EFCA? Is it because they all live in a Brazlian mansion in total white privilege and don’t care as much as I do about working class Americans, hmm HMM HMM!!???

        • “Speaking of the ACLU, how come those Paul-curious CATO-baggers never put out a statement about EFCA?”

          Hundreds of workers and community supporters held a rally outside of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s L.A. office today urging her to support the Employee Free Choice Act, federal legislation that would help workers earn good wages, healthcare and retirement benefits by signing a card to join a union. Among the various organizations joining the workers were the ACLU of Southern California, Courage Campaign, Sierra Club, Stonewall Young Democrats, Latino Equality Alliance and Member of the Board of Equalization, Judy Chu.

          http://www.afscme3090.org/n/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=43&Itemid=116

          That took 3.2 seconds (give or take a nanosecond or two) to find on teh Google.

          • david mizner says:

            Eh, the point stands. More broadly, I’m sick of people suggesting that opponents of the national security state aren’t working on behalf of the working class. All wars are rich people’s wars. Or put slightly differently, here’s Thomas Friedman:

            McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

            It’s all the same fight.

        • Not only that, but using Joy Reid to bash Greenwald isn’t exactly bolstering his case. She’s not impartial at all.

  3. scott says:

    Take a breath, dude; paper bags are useful for that. Geez, a breathlessly long post trying to discern from scattered cues in comment threads and one offhand comment about Romney whether Greenwald is an economic libertarian? “Prove me wrong?” “Libertarian-friendly?” Insert “communist” for “libertarian” and you can recapture from the Wayback Machine that fevered tone of “Are you now or have you ever been….?” that we always like to mock the other side for. I agree that Greenwald in terms of tone is pretty abrasive, but it never ceases to amaze me how much of an ability he has to cause people on the left to just utterly lose their shit. Weird.

    • david mizner says:

      What is it about Greenwald — and this is a sincere question — that turns otherwise reasonable liberals into raging assholes?

      There are lots of reasonable critiques to be made of Greenwald — I have plenty of my own criticisms — but 99 percent of the time when liberals set out to try to cut him down they cut down themselves instead. It’s an interesting phenomenon.

      • Somehow I’m not surprised that you would be the first person to pull the “I’m rubber you’re glue” argument out in this thread.

        • david mizner says:

          You actually think Loomis make a strong argument in this post?

          1) Greenwald is probably an economic conservative because he has done work with CATO on fighting the drug war.

          2) But I don’t care about that (he says dishonestly.)

          3) To prove he’s not, he should write on topics outside his expertise.

          The post is mind-blowing in its awfulness, the kind of thing you’d see washing up on the shore of Daily Kos.

          • I think Greenwald’s casual dismissal and obvious lack of concern for the differences between Romney and Obama make it fair to wonder about, yes, and while I do think there’s something childish about the “you should write about this thing I want you to write about” line of argument (which, I would note Greenwald does all the fucking time so, at the worst, we’ve got a pot-kettle situation here), given the frequency with which Greenwald asserts without qualification that there’s no difference between Romney and Obama, it’s at least fair to ask him to actually expound on these supposed progressive economic beliefs rather than just taking a bald assertion that he does, in fact, nominally hold them.

            • Robert Farley says:

              I am reminded of a situation (I think it was public option related) where Glenn castigated Ezra Klein for incivility and indifference to the nuance of his opponents arguments. Ezra replied with an appropriately incredulous “Have you ever read the front page of your own blog?!?”

              • Bijan Parsia says:

                This (plus this) have just made my day!

              • david mizner says:

                So that’s what this about? Greenwald hurts you guys’ feelings? Maybe instead of writing about labor, Greenwald should promise to kill all your boo-boos.

                • Robert Farley says:

                  I’m trying to figure out what this comment (apparently suggesting that Glenn hurts our feelings) has to do with this thread (which suggests that Glenn’s approach to the problem of incivility may be mildly selective).

                • david mizner says:

                  Well, I assumed that most of the anti-GG hysteria derived from his not-much-difference-between-the-parties POV but judging by the comments, I’m seeing that much of it also derives from his nastiness. Eggsgell ego all around.

                  Leaving that aside, though, Farley — do you think this post by Loomis is a good one? I’ve yet to see anyone defend it — you could be the first.

                • Robert Farley says:

                  Miz,

                  Did you read the first post in the comment thread?

                • And now we have Greenwald defenders employing a stark double standard to defend Gleen/attack everyone else. Seriously, even Lorne Michaels isn’t this slavish to the script.

                • david mizner says:

                  Did you read the first post in the comment thread?

                  I stand corrected!

                  But I asked you a question, Robert. What do you think about Loomis’s contention that Grenwald is likely a economic libertarian based on his afflilation with CATO?

                • david mizner says:

                  What double standard, Brien? Downthread I say GG can be a self-righteous asshole and speculate that it doesn’t bother me because I agree with him on the issues. Unlike you, I don’t think these qualities are unique to Greenwald.

                • So you’re saying that you think Greenwald insults everyone that disagrees with him because having to face someone who doesn’t think you’re obviously correct all of the time hurts his feelings?

                • Robert Farley says:

                  I would make a slightly different argument than Erik; as suggested below, I think that the degree of skepticism Glenn expresses regarding state power effectively makes the modern welfare state untenable. Glenn may argue that he supports public option et al, but in a scrum with the genuine civil liberty concerns that the welfare state generates will inevitably find himself on the side of CATO et al.

                  Because of the assholish tendencies et al, Glenn will also tend to assume that those who disagree with him do so out of perfidy/tribal solidarity et al, rather than as part of genuine disagreement over practical tradeoffs between values. But that’s a different question.

                • david mizner says:

                  That would make for an interesting post.

                  I think that the degree of skepticism Glenn expresses regarding state power effectively makes the modern welfare state untenable. Glenn may argue that he supports public option et al, but in a scrum with the genuine civil liberty concerns that the welfare state generates will inevitably find himself on the side of CATO et al.

                  But it’s hard to reconcile social democracy and social libertarianism. See: Chomsky. Or Russ Feingold. The common core is individual liberty (FDR: ‘True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.’), and the welfare state doesn’t threaten any amendments in the Bill of Rights.

                • david mizner says:

                  NOt hard to reconcile, I mean.

                • “But it’s hard to reconcile social democracy and social libertarianism.”

                  Well, not so long as you as you accept that the coercive power of the state can and should be used to promote social justice anyway.

          • Janastas359 says:

            In response to point 3:

            “For every labor article you publish at Salon or another important site, I will teach myself more about the issues you care most about and write 2 researched blog posts at LGM or a larger site about them. Admittedly, this may not be entirely fair since our forum is much smaller, but hopefully the 2 for 1 offer helps. ”

            Presumably what Erik is suggesting is that in exchange for researching and learning more about (And spreading awareness of) civil liberties issues, Greenwald should take the time to research, learn more about, and spread awareness of working class issues.

            Erik: I write primarily about labor issues, where I agree with democrats, but that doesn’t mean I agree with everything they do.

            Glenn: I write primarily about security and liberty issues, where I agree with libertarians, but that doesn’t mean I agree with everything they do.

            Erik is asking Greenwald to put his money where his mouth is on statement two, and in exchange offering to do the same for himself on statement 1.

        • david mizner says:

          But I hope someone sincerely addresses my question: why does Greenwald fill people with so much anger it clouds their thinking?

          My theory is, he alone among the old-school bloggers has emerged as seriously influential voice, something of a public intellectual. Andrew Sullivan, I think, is the next closest thing. No one else is close, I don’t think.

          And Greenwald uses his platform to

          a) focus on issues — American exceptionalism and imperialism, Israel, civil liberties, terror war — that don’t stir the hearts of many liberals.

          b) talks about these issues from a leftist, not liberal, perspective

          c) doesn’t engage in — and thoroughly rejects — Democratic tribalism

          d) can be leftier-than-thou

          • “But I hope someone sincerely addresses my question: why does Greenwald fill people with so much anger it clouds their thinking?”

            Jesus Christ, really? Because he’s an asshole with a long history of insulting his opponents, assuming nefarious motives on the part of anyone who disagrees with him, and either being casually dishonest or employing the most careful of lawyerly language to make a lie by implication.

            Did you just start reading him a week ago or something?

            • sparks says:

              This is the reason I stopped reading him quite some time ago. The insults, insinuations, and intolerance for anyone who doesn’t agree with him.

            • david mizner says:

              Actually, I started reading GG shortly after he started blogging, back in 2005 I think, when he was a more conventional media critic (and a recent supporter of the Iraq war, which I didn’t know at the time.) Since then, he’s moved left, becoming a loud critic of American exceptionalism and imperialism, becoming something imo rare and valuable, a leftist with a national platform — someone who’s invited to go on MSNBC. Yes, I know labels can be tiresome and imperfect, but I think that’s a fair description of someone who blasts American imperialism (often from the perspective of its victims.)

              Now, it’s probably because I agree with him so often on the issues that I don’t mind his tone. Everyone’s like his own asshole. (I’ve been known to be a self-righteous prick myself — my very own asshole.) I think almost every blogger and polemicist worth reading is a self-righteous ass, including some at this blog, and whether or no you find it insufferable depends on whether you agree with their POV.

              • There’s a difference between being a generic asshole and defaulting to insults, an assumption of bad faith, and the least charitable possible reading of an opposing argument the second someone voices disagreement with you. The fact that this is an integral part of Greenwald’s schtick even when the disagreement comes from people he claims to be ideological fellow travelers means that a) a lot of us are going to question the extent to which that claim is actually true and b) he’s going to quickly find himself with a lot of those supposed fellow travelers thinking he’s a prick and not much caring what he has to say when he goes off the rails.

                And that’s without even getting into the casual dishonesty and obfuscation he practices whenever he can’t come up with another way to worm out of a rhetorical corner.

              • rea says:

                something imo rare and valuable, a leftist with a national platform — someone who’s invited to go on MSNBC.

                Being a leftist only gets you on TV if you can reliably be counted on to bash the adminstration. It helps the narrative . . .

                • NattyB says:

                  Being a leftist only gets you on TV if you can reliably be counted on to bash the adminstration. It helps the narrative . . .

                  Umm, I think you have that backwards. If only Leftists bashed the president more, from the Left, then the equilibrium would be pushed further Left. The Mandate, wouldn’t be the Leftist position; it’d be the Moderate Republic position (which it is) and the Public Option (which, IIRC, GG endorsed) would be the Leftist position. Right?

              • NattyB says:

                IIRC, he only stated in a preface to one of his books, that he begrudgingly supported the war, because, like most Americans, he trusted what the elected leaders, the military and media figures were saying. That experience scared him and is part of why he’s so critical of all forementioned.

                I don’t think he advocated in favor of the war back then.

                • Glenn Greenwald says:

                  I don’t think he advocated in favor of the war back then.

                  Correct. That whole claim has been wildly distorted and taken out of context.

                  In the preface to my first book, I explain why I was mostly apolitical before 2003 and 2004, focusing instead on constitutional issues: because I had a basic trust in American political and media institutions.

                  I never supported or advocated for the war in Iraq. I had no platform of any kind. I simply assumed, despite the reservations I had, that if the government, both political parties and the media were all saying that Saddam was a threat, then there must be something to it. I wrote about that – and have talked about it often – to explain why I came to the realization that American media outlets are not doing their jobs and why much more skepticism is needed.

                • So what you’re saying is that, as a fully grown adult, you were “apolitical” for the first 2-4 years of the Bush administration and not at all cynical about American poltical institutions even after Bush v. Gore, but we should totally assume that you’re right about everything now and anyone that might see things differently than you must either be mendacious or stupid?

                  Well, I guess it’s becoming clearer why you see things that way, at least.

            • Brien Jackson:
              Who started insulting whom? Are people pissed because he held Obama to the same standard he held Dubya? Especially in regards to civil rights and the WoT?

          • Bijan Parsia says:

            I don’t know, I mean, it seems to me that, to pick some non-random people, neither Scott, nor Rob, nor myself have any clouded thinking about Greenwald over the past year.

            But I would imagine that, if I really had to think about what it is that might cause people to think less than clearly about Greenwald, that it might have something to do with his rhetoric, black and white thinking, and lack of nuance?

            I mean, really, just read his first email to Erik.

            And is either Greenwald or Sullivan “seriously influential” “public intellectuals”? I mean, what’s the model here? I certainly don’t think of them as public intellectuals of even the Hitchens stripe (i.e., I think Hitchens had a much better claim to being a public intellectual, and Hitchens wasn’t all that). This isn’t to say that they aren’t prominent…they clearly are. It just seems to be a category mistake.

            • david mizner says:

              I wasn’t referring to Scott; I disagree with much of what he says about GG, but it’s coherent and reasonable. Anyway, I don’t see the debate between LGM and Greenwald as something that needs to be solved. Let them go at it.

              • Bijan Parsia says:

                Well, I often find it difficult to know who falls under your blanket assertions, so I hope you forgive my guessing wrong.

                If you like bun fights (and I actually do enjoy them from the side lines from time to time), then there’s nothing to be solved.

                If you prefer there to be better overall commentary, then, yeah, I think there’s stuff to be solved and Erik’s proposal is actually not a bad way to get there. Oh well.

                • Erik Loomis says:

                  I will say here that I’m disappointed that there hasn’t been more focus in this comment thread on the proposal. I guess people took it as rhetoric and not serious, but I really am 100% serious about it.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  Well, I took you at face value.

                  However, I think it’s fair to say that this post did not maximize the admittedly slim chances of success.

                • david mizner says:

                  I will say here that I’m disappointed that there hasn’t been more focus in this comment thread on the proposal.

                  There might’ve been minor interest — as opposed to Zero — had you not opened with a transparently dishonest guilt-by-association smear.

                  You’ll look back at this post and wince, if you’re not already.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  There might’ve been minor interest — as opposed to Zero — had you not opened with a transparently dishonest guilt-by-association smear.

                  I sorta agree with that (in rather nicer terms), but c’mon. Greenwald can’t complain too much about that aspect of the post.

                  BTW, speaking of looking back and wincing

                  Actually, I’m genuinely curious about all that. You sometimes make claims about people without evidence or contrary to evidence, and yet really get upset when you think people (such as Joe) do the same to you. I have trouble believing that you lack this much awareness, but I also don’t think you are trolling or consciously disingenuous. Strange! Anyway, I’d love for you to clear up this mystery. Or, you know, take the opportunity to admit that you were wrong all those times and we could move on!

                  Or, we could continue to toss buns.

                • david mizner says:

                  Wince? Why wince? A great comment, even by high standards.

                  I never get upset on blogs. This a game to me, a hobby. I care about the issues, and I care about ideas, but I never take the debate here personally, and never lose sight of the fact that I don’t know — and am not known — by the people here.

                  Well, almost never. On those rare occasions that I do, I step away.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  Wince? Why wince? A great comment, even by high standards.

                  Really? You think that? It’s clearly one of the more embarrassing things you’ve written, though there’s plenty more later in that thread.

                  I never get upset on blogs. This a game to me, a hobby. I care about the issues, and I care about ideas, but I never take the debate here personally, and never lose sight of the fact that I don’t know — and am not known — by the people here.

                  And…this is what leads you to deny evidence, say unsubstantiated nasty things, etc?

                  Oh, well, I had (in spite of everything) thought better of you. Oh well, indeed.

            • Heron says:

              Of course Greenwald’s a public intellectual. He writes for a major periodical, his articles inspire wide-spread commentary and reaction among the chattering classes across the political spectrum, he is -according to anecdote at least which obviously is a dubious source- widely read both among the left-elite and among those working in politics, and his arguments have a habit of popping up in daily White House press briefings and making those PR hacks look incredibly uncomfortable for the camera. He practically single-handedly made the whole Bradley Manning and Wikileaks situation a major issue of discontent on the left. Yeah, no matter how much you may dislike Mr. Greenwald, he is in fact a “public” figure who deals primarily with “intellectual” issues of philosophy and policy. And while I’m not going to go into such detail regarding Sullivan, he certainly meets many of the same conditions, and he has one of the biggest readerships in the policy blogosphere to boot.

              I don’t know what you’re really getting at by challenging their standing in this regard. To begin with, does whether or not someone has sufficient authority for us to be discussing them really matter? I mean, if we’re talking about them it’s because we find what they’ve written or done worth talking about, obviously, so who the hell cares whether they are sufficiently influential or not? Moving on, you don’t need to be well-known to be influential. 20, 25 years ago you could have counted the number of people who knew who the hell Leo Strauss was on your hands and feet, but that didn’t stop his students from royally boning US foreign policy decision making during that period. To end, perhaps you think “public intellectuals” are people with a broader audience among the public, outside of the college educated and editorial page crowd. Well you’re wrong; you ask a random 40 year old who Hitchens was and he or she will not have the slightest clue. If you’d asked the average 40 year old USian who Bertrand Russell was at anytime between the 30s and the 50s, you’d have gotten the same reply. Public intellectuals are only “public” among those of us with sufficient free time and interest to keep track of their positions and arguments. Just as you didn’t see the sons of many poor men following around Socrates, you don’t see all that many people pulling minimum wage spending what little “free time” they have reading about the particulars of our drone campaign or, in Sullivan’s case, how the Washington Post facilitates Republican propaganda by burying stories about our broken healthcare system.

              • Bijan Parsia says:

                I’d never deny that Greenwald is a seriously influential political commenter.

                It’s more that when I think of public intellectual I think of someone with a rather broader intellectual brief that Greenwald. Sullivan might try, but there the quality really lets him down. (I guess he could be a somewhat crappy public intellectual.)

                To end, perhaps you think “public intellectuals” are people with a broader audience among the public, outside of the college educated and editorial page crowd.

                You might want to ask, then get a response, rather than ask and answer for me. Thanks!

                It’s not the popularity or “publicity”, its the content and style, i.e., the “intellectual” aspect that I was questioning. (Not that Greenwald isn’t intelligent or thoughtful.)

                I thought Mizner was making a different resentment point than people envied Greenwald’s influence and popularity (sorry, I shouldn’t have scarequoted the influential bit). Everyone seems to concede his influence and most people concede that he’s on the right side on many issues and uses his platform to promote those issues, but I don’t see a lot of people admiring the quality, breath, or depth of his thinking per se or the literary qualities of his writing. In particular, the sort of pensive reflection I generally expect is almost entirely missing. (Sullivan, on the other hand, as Hitchens, at least aspire to that.)

                Does that help?

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  That being said, I’m happy to be catholic about the use of the term “public intellectual”. If all that was meant was “popular smart guy seen to be smart” then, sure, Greenwald’s that.

                  If something else was meant, then, well, let’s be clear about it.

                  Krugman’s an interesting case in that his brief is generally fairly narrow, he had a similarly radicalization, but I’m much more inclined to think of him as a public intellectual (of a very certain type; he’s the academic trying to reach out; compare with Hitchens who aspired to be a “man of letters” as well as a political polemicist).

                • Manta1976 says:

                  Bijan, you are confusing “Public intellectual” with “pretentious asshole”: only in this latter sense, Hitchens satisfies the definition (I don’t know much about Sullivan, so I will not comment on him).

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  Well, pretention is surely a characteristic vice of the public intellectual or would be public intellectual.

                  By the by, I picked Hitchens because I don’t think he was very good (to emphasize that I don’t want to us “public intellectual” as a praise term). Consider Adrienne Rich, who was primarily a poet, but also wrote beautiful and thoughtful essays. She’s reasonably a public intellectual (though, again, the poet in her is so prominent…). Said comes to mind as well.

          • NattyB says:

            Ugh. I used to like Andrew until he got seduced by the inner echelons of power.

            The guy linked positively to the Daily Beast’s addition of Megan McArdle. Hard to think that any public intellectual would link glowingly to anything from her. On any issue. Ever.

            • Murc says:

              So, you mean you’ve never liked Andrew, right? Because his whole life has been one long search for the right authoritarian to believe in.

              I’ve said it before; Sullivan is a tiny bit too smart for the milieu he operates in. If he were a little bit dumber and less honest, he could just be one more winger. But he can’t cram big enough lies down his maw, which causes him to become an apostate on the right despite the fact that he loves him some wars and hates him some social programs.

              • NattyB says:

                Well he had his moments, like calling out Bush from a fiscal conservative viewpoint.

                Very well said critique otherwise.

                Sullivan is a tiny bit too smart for the milieu he operates in. Seriously. You’d think someone as intelligent and perceptive as him, wouldn’t link to the likes of Jennifer Rubin, Eli Lake or Michelle Malkin.

                Like, he’s in love with some abstract conservatism that exists only in debates set against campuses that could double for the Dead Poet’s Society.

                He should be a liberal. But, he can’t because, British Liberals were bad in the 80s.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  Hmm. “Intelligent” and “perceptive” really aren’t things I associate with Sullivan. Between the Bell Curve and the War on Iraq there isn’t a lot of room for perceptive intelligence or moral stature. I’d be happy to be pointed out to something where he shines.

                  (I recall an exchange between him and Ta-Neshi Coates — there’s a pubic intellectual! — I think about the Bell Curve where Sulliven was so repugnant, whilst trying to not be, it was disgusting. Ah, here it is. Let the vomiting begin:

                  In my mind, I regard my work as a writer as existing in a different mode than my everyday living. I am writing not with respect to any individual but for the general public – which I envision stripped of its particular racial, gender, religious or whatever identities. If the truth hurts, so be it. In my role as a truth-seeker – and it is a role not my being – compassion and empathy are irrelevant.

                  Except they aren’t.

                  The abstraction of the disinterested writer in pursuit of truth is an abstraction. And as a human being, I do not live in an abstract world. That I have wounded someone – like Ta-Nehisi – whom I revere as a writer and care about as a human being distresses me greatly. The friends I’ve lost from my recent Israel posts also grieve me. The friends I lost during the AIDS crisis – when I wrote things that violated the gay p.c. consensus – hurt me even more deeply. And to tell you the truth, I wonder whether my Christian faith is, in fact, compatible with the work I do. My compulsion to get to the bottom of highly contentious issues and my fixation on subjects where others smartly conclude the costs outweigh the gains ensure that I will continue to hurt people’s feelings.

                  Oy. Many of the things Sulliven has pursued so relentlessly were garbage (Bell Curve, Palin’s baby, fifth columnist in the Iraq War, etc.). His ability to weigh evidence, to understand things (even simple things! like patriotism), to conceptualize, to blend the synoptic and the mypotic view into clarity is minimal, at best.

                  At least, as far as I can tell. The struggle he splashes on this piece would be a noble struggle if he weren’t so profoundly, trivially, overwhelmingly wrong. With a wrongness that was, in principle, easily accessible and was accessed by many.

              • Heron says:

                Sullivan has the potential to be an important moral critic in our discourse, and on certain issues I think he certainly has played that role already, but like Hitchens, his affection for the company of rich, famous, powerful people can overwhelm his good sense on occasion. Also, his typical unexamined Southern English prejudice against “provincials” -whether they be Irish, Scottish, Welsh or Texan- leads him to take rather obnoxious stances on certain issues, which prevents him from being as clear a critical voice as he could be.

                As to his politics, he suffers from the same problem most Englishmen coming to the US do; he thinks the political dynamics of Europe are mirrored in the US and has a tendency to forget that the foundational event of modern European political thinking, the French Revolution, was utterly unimportant here. As such, he makes mistakes like thinking the US Right is heir to Burke while the left if a bunch of syndicalist radicals which, as anyone with even a passing familiarity with US political history can tell you, is laughable. He’s been getting better regarding this specific issue over the years though, and I think the Bush presidency sobered him regarding his infatuation with powerful figures to a degree. Moreover, I think running his blog and becoming friends with a gaggle of lefty bloggers has opened his mental horizons a wee bit.

      • Bijan Parsia says:

        Actually, David, this is an excellent question…after all the asshole inducing taint in Greenwald (calling “Glennanium”) affects Greenwald himself!

        I don’t think this post is Erik’s shining hour. OTOH, a throw away (and I believe sincere) comment on a blog post hardly merits “absolute liar”. Erik did offer a way forward, albeit not in a way that is maximally likely to succeed (though nor is it designed for failure).

        • david mizner says:

          Yeah, cut off the beginning of the post, and he might be onto something. Let put aside the attacks – you write about labor issues, and I’ll write about Security State issues.

          That would, indeed, present a way forward, though I don’t know why we need one. I think Loomis should write about labor issues, because knows them, Likewise for Greenwald and security state issues.

          • The problem is that Greenwald doesn’t merely “write about security state issues” in such a passive regard once you take that out to declaring there’s “no difference between Romney and Obama.” And that’s to say nothing of his chronic Green Lanternism and so on.

          • Bijan Parsia says:

            I don’t think we need to more forward. But why not do so?

            I mean, obviously, if Greenwald or Erik don’t have the time, fine. But it would be interesting and perhaps help build bridges.

            It’s better to have lil sniping blogwars instead?

            • Pinko Punko says:

              I just don’t see how anyone, especially someone known to respond in certain ways such as GG, could have responded to Erik’s post in a constructive. Whether it meant to do so or not, it appeared to be constructed solely for boom goes the dynamite. Just being around the internet lo these many years makes it pretty clear that there are some methods of argument that will come across as bomb throwing. Erik is a bomb thrower and proud of it- but in this case it doesn’t make him look good, except to elicit some expected Greenwaldian rage-a-roni. I think Paul is a bomb thrower a lot of times. I don’t think Robert or Scott are bomb throwers (except Scott on steroids, but that is fine for fighting on the internet). I like reading about all the topics that this blog covers, but I do prefer one type of writing over others. Light versus heat blah blah blah. Good times, internet, good times.

              • Bijan Parsia says:

                I agree that it wasn’t the best constructed post, nor was it fit for its best purpose, esp. wrt Greenwald. OTOH, I don’t know that there was a way to get Greenwald to engage constructively. He was rather over the top in the email thread. (I would point out that Greenwald ignored several constructive comments to focus on ones he could blow up on.)

                And yet, just as Erik could have risen a bit more above “absolute liar”, so too Greenwald could have risen higher than he did.

                I, obviously, agree about light vs. heat. But frankly, what really irritates me is lack of correction. Throw a bomb, but it blows up in your face admit, correct, move on.

                • Pinko Punko says:

                  I agree with this. Maybe kind of related, I feel like there may have been some Trayvon Martin posts on this blog led astray by the astoundingly bad coverage on MSNBC (perhaps filtered through the rest of the media). I wish maybe this would be mentioned here because I think that would keep the credibility here at the high level that a lot of posts have earned.

              • Erik Loomis says:

                It’s interesting to hear other people say these things. While obviously I was throwing a bomb today and I can think of 2 or 3 other times when I’ve done so, I actually don’t consider myself a bomb thrower. I mean I guess compared to Rob and Scott I am more strident, but still.

                I guess it goes to show that one’s own conception of oneself is almost totally meaningless.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  Eh…I don’t know how bomb throwy you are habitually. It’s too late for me to do a study, though :)

                • Pinko Punko says:

                  Erik, I’m not the tone police. I love all of your history stuff and like many of of your posts because you cover a lot of interesting topics. When you get into it with other bloggers- even bloggers that make me blow my lid (hi MattY)- there is something about the interaction that seems designed to be inflammatory. Not quite the mirror of the Greenwald rhetorical carpet bomb we know and loathe, but something that seems incapable of indicating that multiple readings of someone else’s comments could exist, but that your interpretation is one of many. I know that this seems intrinsically obvious- if you say something then of course that is just your opinion, but the words don’t come out this way, they come out like declarations. I say this because I kind of argue that way offline. I get accused of “always thinking you are right” when I would respond “of course I THINK I am right because I said something, but it doesn’t mean I KNOW I am right” because I think that should go without saying. I think you do something similar. When you post on food issues or environmental issues there are things that just seem to be designed to be insulting to people that maybe haven’t thought of things the way you have, so instead of maybe working them through what could be a blind spot, it comes out as “this is this and you are idiotic to think otherwise”- and maybe it isn’t obvious- it’s kind of a vibe.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  PInko,

                  I have to say (again without doing a survey) that what you write would be a fair description of lots of e.g., Scott’s posts.

                  I wonder if your difference in general impression is because you agree with Scott more?

                • Pinko Punko says:

                  I don’t know about that- perhaps I am more used to Scott. Scott’s posts most like this are his steroids ones or maybe his NYC soda one (that style)- and I do notice the tone, but I don’t think his constitutional law posts come across this way. I wouldn’t say I disagree with Erik all that much, it is just that I think he can be rhetorically offputting- you will also see this complaint being made about Prof. Campos.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  I guess I’m generally more inclined to be charitable about tone when I think the content is right (esp. if the tone is “those evil idiots suck”).

                  I wouldn’t guess that Scott has substantially fewer “Those evil idiots suck” than Erik. Contrariwise, I don’t recall Erik making very many of such posts at Alterdestiny.

                  If I get time and a decent slurper, I’ll code it up. I’d just be (personally) very wary about one’s recollection of comparative tone. Lots of weird little things feed those impressions and once made they are VERY hard to shake.

                • Pinko Punko says:

                  True enough. It is best to be aware of all internet tradtions.

      • MosesZD says:

        He doesn’t play ‘team Democrat.’ People who are not ‘tribal’ tend to get attacked from both sides.

        As for the “economic libertarian’ argument I don’t particularly follow Greenwald because he’s Don Quixote at this point in time because nobody who roots for Team Democrat is going to listen. But I know enough to know that assertion is a load of horseshit. Loomis should be ashamed of himself.

        Greenwald’s ‘ties’ mostly have to do with idiotic war on drugs. And to pretend otherwise is a lie.

  4. Vincent says:

    It’s a little strange that none of your evidence for calling Greenwald an economic libtertarian includes a single economic position that Greenwald even allegedly holds nor have you refuted even one of the reasons why Greenwald is calling you dishonest. It’s all disproved Cato institution nonsense and knuckleheaded libertarian by association. Terrible article.

    • Jesse Levine says:

      What he said

    • homunq says:

      It seems both sides are guilty here of trying to use labels to push each other around rhetorically. Greenwald doesn’t want to comment on labor issues, Loomis wants him to. So Loomis, says Greenwald may be a and Greenwald says Loomis is a big fat liar.

      Does Greenwald have a right not to address labor issues, or does his platform give him some obligation in that regard? I simpathize with Loomis for wanting to pressure him on this, but in the end, I think Greenwald has a right to write about whatever he wants to. So obviously blustery accusations are not the best way to get Loomis to back off, but meh, I can’t really blame Greenwald in this case.

      If this challenge actually worked it would be great. But it seems even Loomis thinks it won’t, in which case it’s just silly blogwar posturing.

      • homunq says:

        aak, tag fail. “Loomis says greenwald may be a *bad name* …”.

      • Hogan says:

        Does Greenwald have a right not to address labor issues, or does his platform give him some obligation in that regard?

        No, but his saying “you’re a liar if you say I don’t care about labor issues” might give him such an obligation. An obligation, to be sure, that he has the right to ignore.

      • Glenn Greenwald says:

        Greenwald doesn’t want to comment on labor issues,

        I’m not reluctant at all. I did comment on labor issues, and did so directly to Erik not more than a month ago:

        I’m a huge fan of the role unions have played and think it’s vital they be strengthened. I worked with SEIU and other unions to support pro-union primary challengers. I’m in favor of EFCA.

        I also told him my views on enitlement cuts (opposed), the public option (in favor), etc. etc.

        But even if I hadn’t done that – directly to him – there is still no excuse for him making the affirmative claim that I’m “a libertarian on economic issues.” It’s a complete fabrication, and he knows that.

        Arguing that I should write more about labor issues is a valid opinion. I’m one person and I can only write about so many things, but that’s a valid opinion.

        But that’s not what he said. He expressly stated that I’m a “libertarian on economic issues,” even though he knows that to be false.

        How can anyone possibly make that claim given all the positions I told him about in response to his question, almost all of which I’ve written about before publicly?

        It’s inexcusable dishonesty.

        • Erik Loomis says:

          Then write a column about labor issues.

          • RobK says:

            Oh, hooey. Does every columnist have to write on every issue to prove that he/she isn’t harboring secret unpleasant views on that issue? Glenn covers a large, under-served beat on U.S. foreign policy abuses; demanding that he take time off from that to prove his bona fides on other issues is just kinda silly.

            • Bijan Parsia says:

              Well, turnabout is fair play, eh?

            • joe from Lowell says:

              Does every columnist have to write on every issue to prove that he/she isn’t harboring secret unpleasant views on that issue?

              According to Greenwald, it does. Don’t you remember him calling bloggers, including Scott Lemieux, “disgusting hypocrites” based on what he thought they weren’t going to write about?

          • Alex says:

            Didn’t you just say you don’t write about legal/civil liberties issues because it’s not your area of expertise?

          • Jesse Levine says:

            Cut your losse and go home.

            • LosGatosCA says:

              This is definitely the point at which the mothers have to separate their 3 year olds by picking them up and taking them home for a much needed nap before dinner

          • bamage says:

            To paraphrase [somebody] – I don’t think it’s even theoretically possible to imagine a more childish “retort”. Sheesh.

            Gleenwald hurt my fee-fees!! He won’t write about what I want him to write about! Waaaah! That makes him a commmie! Or mean! Or wait, I’ve got it – a Libertarian!

        • joe from Lowell says:

          He expressly stated that I’m a “libertarian on economic issues,” even though he knows that to be false…It’s inexcusable dishonesty.

          Erik should have engaged in Greenwald-variety excusable dishonesty, where you don’t expressly state the falsehoods you want to push.

          For instance, when you know that Bradley Manning has a television in his room, but you want your readers to believe that he is being cut off from outside information and subjected to sensory deprivation, you don’t write “Bradley Manning isn’t allowed to watch TV.” That would be inexcusable dishonesty.

          Excusable dishonesty would be to write, “Bradley Manning is kept in a cell for 23 hours a day. During the one hour he’s allowed out, he isn’t allowed to watch television.” And then never correct anyone who draws the conclusion you’ve set up to draw.

          • Glenn Greenwald says:

            From the Update to my Manning article, posted within a couple hours after it was first published:

            UPDATE: I was contacted by Lt. Villiard, who claims there is one factual inaccuracy in what I wrote: specifically, he claims that Manning is not restricted from accessing news or current events during the prescribed time he is permitted to watch television. That is squarely inconsistent with reports from those with first-hand knowledge of Manning’s detention, but it’s a fairly minor dispute in the scheme of things.

            Integrity isn’t about never getting anything wrong It’s about acknowledging it and correcting it when you do, as in:

            I said that Glenn Greenwald is a liberatarian on economic issues, even though I can’t identify any views he has that support that, have no basis for saying it, and was in possession of multiple facts that negate it. Therefore, what I wrote was inaccurate.

            • joe from Lowell says:

              “It’s about acknowledging it and correcting it when you do.”

              Which you never did. You called the accurate information “claims,” and said that those providing it to you were liars: “That is squarely inconsistent with reports from those with first-hand knowledge of Manning’s detention.”

              • NattyB says:

                So you know that GG knows that BM has a tv in his room that he watches?

                Also, where is Loomis’ basis for arguing that GG is an Economic Libertarian?

                Because he supports RP strictly as a means to foist Civil Liberties into mainstream discourse, since such matters don’t get discussed absent a partisan controversy. Furthermore, RP also advocates the optimal liberal position on countless positions that liberals are afraid of voicing, including many in the Economic realm, including, but not limited to, the war on drugs, the prison-industrial complex, the military-industrial complex, rule of law, aggressive war . . . . these policies are destroying the middle class, our economic coffers and put tons of lower-class people in jail (and ruin opportunities for advancement) for the same conduct that middle and upper class folk partake in, on the reg (smoking dope) . . . and because RP is, well, certifiably nuts on a whole host of important issues, somehow GG is insufficiently committed to the Cause?

                I wish Obama and the rest of the Liberal Elite weren’t such sell-outs, but, nobody else makes those arguments.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  So you know that GG knows that BM has a tv in his room that he watches?

                  The way he wrote up the point – “He stays in a cell 23 hour a day, and the for the one hour he’s allowed out, he isn’t allowed to watch television,” – demonstrates willful intent, like cleaning up a crime scene.

                  Also, where is Loomis’ basis for arguing that GG is an Economic Libertarian?

                  Why are you asking me?

        • Rarely Posts says:

          “Arguing that I should write more about labor issues is a valid opinion. I’m one person and I can only write about so many things, but that’s a valid opinion.”

          I’d just point out that you regularly criticize lots of other writers for not writing about your issues and various concerns, and you regularly attribute bad faith to them. I can’t remember the specific case, but I remember earlier this year you criticized lots of writers who failed to write about this Administration’s filing of an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case. You also attributed this failure to bad faith/tribalism.

          I’m not going to defend this post, but you might want to try to learn some lessons for it. Specifically, you often come off this way to many of your readers (I honestly stopped reading you regularly in part for this very reason). It’s inaccurate, not interesting, and annoying.

      • Erik Loomis says:

        To be clear–Greenwald can write about whatever he wants to write about. Obviously.

        I’m only hoping that rather than defend himself through personal attacks that he makes such a defense completely unnecessary through actually doing something to promote the causes of working-class people.

        • tt says:

          Drones kill working class people.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            And Obama is waging the real war on women, because of unemployment, right Mitt?

            This respectability of this cheesy gambit does not improve when adopted by your side.

            • tt says:

              I’m not acting on behalf of any “side” here.

              The people who die from American state violence–whether you agree with that violence or not–are overwhelmingly working class. American state violence is a working class issue. How is it not?

              • Erik Loomis says:

                That’s a slippery slope argument. The people who get paid by the U.S. military to be its soldiers and who put together our weapons are also mostly working-class.

                • tt says:

                  Yes? The treatment of soldiers and other workers in the defense industry is a working class issue. Putting soldiers in danger for no constructive purpose is a working class issue. Where’s the slippery slope?

                • Janastas359 says:

                  Because when you play loose with definitions, anything can be a “Working class issue.” If I started a blog about my garden, well, working class people have gardens right? I’m a paragon of labor writing!

                  What Erik is talking about here is things related to the modern American working class – the concerted effort by politicians to destroy unions, the increasing inequity of the American tax system, etc. If every politician in the country simultaneously decided this second to end drone strikes, well that would be excellent, but it would mean essentially nothing to the unemployed in America today.

                  Claiming that Greenwald is pro-labor, or that his views are progressive, because drone strikes are a “Working class issue” is a hilarious stretching of what that term means.

                • Erik Loomis says:

                  Right–one can turn anything into a working-class issue if you work hard enough to define it as such. The term just becomes meaningless if we do so.

                  Except for Citizens United, but then Glenn never really had a problem with that.

                • “Except for Citizens United, but then Glenn never really had a problem with that.”

                  Well, to again be as fair as I can be, there’s definitely a left leaning view of speech that makes the CU decision the “correct” one, and I don’t really think it’s problematic for someone on the left to be uncomfortable with a business of incumbent politicians setting rules for electioneering and limiting the amount of money that can be spent by private concerns for the purpose of political activism and whatnot.

                  That said, even if you do believe that, you can’t then rectify it with decisions like striking down a state level public financing regime because giving money to other candidates impedes rich peoples’ free speech rights, so you certainly have to come away with the opinion that the court’s conservatives are complete and total hacks either way.

                • tt says:

                  Janastas359 : Erik’s request was that GG “promote the causes of working-class people.”

                  I think the cause of not getting killed by American violence is a worthy one, one that affects working-class people, and one that GG writes a lot about.

                  If your point is that Erik meant to put an “American” before “working class people”, well, I don’t think that’s actually a defense.

                • tt says:

                  Erik, would you attack an environmentalist writer who never said anything about unions for not promoting the cause of working class people?

                  Lots of issues are working class issues because the working class is facing a lot of problems.

                • Erik Loomis says:

                  I would if the writer was working with CATO enough to be identified as a spokesperson for the libertarian institute and if the writer had been OK with Citizens United and if the writer made the argument that since there was no difference between Obama and Romney on environmental issues that we might as well look into a fringe candidate who would destroy the working-class.

                • fish says:

                  If every politician in the country simultaneously decided this second to end drone strikes, well that would be excellent, but it would mean essentially nothing to the unemployed in America today.

                  It would increase the number of unemployed. Thus the never ending spiral.

        • Jameson Quinn says:

          I’m only hoping…

          Are you really? I mean, given what you know about Greenwald, is that a position you really expect there’s a real probability he’ll take? Even after you say things like “Now I know that Glenn is going to resort to his usual personal nasty attacks…”

          Because if you don’t actually think it’s going to happen, you’re just posing here. And while sure a blogwar is often good linkbait, trolling is also the last refuge of hobgoblins of little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

          • Erik Loomis says:

            I truly hope Glenn will write something about labor. And if he does, I will absolutely work harder to understand the civil liberties issues he writes about and respond in kind.

            • Jameson Quinn says:

              I think it would have had a better (ie, nonzero) chance of working if you’d started it unilaterally as a peace offering.

        • rea says:

          Greenwald can write about whatever he wants to write about. Obviously.

          No. The man has esentially endored Romney over Obama for the presidency. You don’t get to do that and then say, “oh, but economic issues aren’t my gig.” At least, you shouldn’t get to do that, and be taken seriously about anything afterwards.

          • Jay says:

            When did Greenwald endorse Romeny over Obama?

            C’mon, if you’re going to attack someone, a least use facts.

            • rea says:

              When did he not? What’s that tweet about the Harvard Law professor, if nto an endorsement of what the professsor was saying? Or, are you a big enough fool that you think you can hope for Obama to lose without thereby endorsing a Romney win?

        • NattyB says:

          To be clear–Greenwald can write about whatever he wants to write about. Obviously.

          I’m only hoping that rather than defend himself through personal attacks. . . .

          You’re the one who made the claim about GG’s views. He, to my satisfaction, has sufficiently rebutted the claim. And you’re here grasping at straws.

          As for RP support, can you at least chalk it up as a dispute among liberals as to tactics. RP expresses the optimal liberal position on many issues that liberals are afraid to advocate (for weak reasons). RP, is nuts on other, also important issues. I know you can grasp, and he explicitly states it all day, why he supports RP on those limited issues (as a means to foster debate, since such issues aren’t debated absent a partisan controversy). That is a tactical dispute. But, surely, you’re intelligent enough to grasp that, right? Supporting

          And, as you seem to insist, that, this is about Labor. Well, I do recall GG going on about how the Senators were all a bunch of corporate sell-outs and used failure to pass card-check, with a 60 Dem Senate, as the example.

          I mean, GG doesn’t write about Labor a ton, but, he doesn’t wipe his a$$ with Labor the way the Dem establishment does.

        • MosesZD says:

          You made a personal attack! Frankly, if he nutted you and you were on the floor puking, I might feel sorry for you (because getting nutted hurt) but I wouldn’t be in your corner defending what you did… Or be much concerned about the ‘trollishness’ of the person who nutted you.

  5. Icarus Wright says:

    And Greenwald is the thin-skinned one? Riiiight.

  6. Henry Kissinger, asked about the Iran-Iraq War says:

    Iz zere any vey zey can boze looze?

  7. JazzBumpa says:

    I always confuse Glen Greenwald with Robert Greenwald, so this whole thing is making me dizzy.

    Couldn’t we talk about baseball?

    JzB

  8. Lee says:

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck; it is a duck. Greenwald never really rights about economics except indirectly. My guess is that he really doesn’t care much about economic policy and doesn’t really think about. However, he is inclined to a libertarianish view of economics because he thinks its closer to his tendency towards civil liberty absolutism.

  9. Glenn Greenwald says:

    Since Erik didn’t see fit to publish the full email exchange, here is it for anyone interested.

    Along with the first ten comments already posted here, I’m content to allow anyone to review it and decide for themselves whether Erik was truthful or acted with an even minimal amount of integrity here.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      Glenn,

      Has anyone ever disagreed with you publicly who had integrity? Because you sure throw these charges around at people a lot. Like every day it seems.

      • Anderson says:

        It’s simple: if you have any integrity, then you won’t disagree with Greenwald.

        The man is a drama queen – he certainly fits the definitions.

      • FlipYrWhig says:

        Glenn believes that disagreement with him can only stem from ignorance, brainwashing, venality, or evil. Because if you had integrity, you’d see it his way; ergo if you don’t see it his way, you don’t have integrity. QED.

      • Corey says:

        For an Award Winning Blogger, you really are a sub-par troll. Either that or you’re actually this stupid.

      • Jeff Falzone says:

        You should watch Glenn debate Frumm or any countless other names I can’t remember. Serious disagreements and yet mature conversations.

        But I have a feeling the details don’t really matter in this context.

    • Bijan Parsia says:

      Ok, let’s look:

      If the comment under your name in this thread is actually written by you, then you are an absolute liar, a term I use advisedly, meaning “someone who makes claims that they know to be factually false.”

      First, I think you were misadvised. I don’t think most people reading the phrase “absolute liar” would think that it applies to someone who told one knowing falsehood. The usual term is “liar”. The most natural reading, and certainly the strong suggestion, of “absolute liar” is “systematic unto uniform liar”.

      To call a person an absolute liar (as opposed to saying that some specific claim is an absolute lie) and then to add some stuff that makes it seem as if you are being careful and restrained (rather that hyperbolic) with your words is…less than good. It’s a bit deceptive, actually.

      It’s consistent with everything that you wrote that Erik honestly belives that you are libertarian or libertarian friendly on economic matters. While you provide some counterevidence, Erik (perhaps wrongly) might discount it for a variety of reasons. He may be wrong to do so, but it doesn’t make him a liar.

      It’s really not hard to see how someone might, in spite of the articles you cite, form the opposite impression. Erik has provided a promise that if you supply a given form of evidence, he’ll take that as absolutely (used advisedly) sufficient to change his view. Now, if you think his holding his current view is rather bonkers, then you might well not care to jump through Erik’s hoops.

      OTOH, it would be an interesting piece of bridge building. I think Erik can be a bit blinkered sometimes, but, well, I think this of you too. It doesn’t make either of you beyond the pale. You both do unreservedly good work.

      Not every dispute is best won by head on force or even by “what’s right”.

      • Dirk Gently says:

        Am I the only one reading this email exchange and picturing Glenn furiously stabbing at his keyboard, veins popping across his forehead, sniffing to hold back the rage tears?

        Seriously, Mr. Greenwald: you need a thicker hide. I’m inclined to take up your position that you are NOT an economic libertarian, but the tone, length and nature of your replies come across as sad and WAY outsized to the nature of the insult. I’m starting to see King Joffrey in my head when I read your replies.

        • Jay says:

          It comes back to you guys not liking Glenn’s tone. Oh boo-hoo.

          Jesus, what’s with you people?

          • I really don’t understand what this “defense” is supposed to prove. It seems perfectly logical to me that people who are skeptical of Greenwald’s commitment to progressivism might take his frequent and quite nasty attacks on actual progressive and left-leaning writers as a piece of evidence for questioning the extent to which Greenwald is, in fact, a committed progressive.

          • Bijan Parsia says:

            My comment wasn’t primarily about tone, was it? It was about the accuracy and appropriateness of Greenwald’s claim that Erik is an absolute liar. Given the care he said he put into it, I trust that taking it seriously is appropriate and welcome.

            I believe the main differences between my comment and some of Greenwald’s (and nigh all of yours) is 1) I’m actually correct in my claims, 2) my tone is much calmer, and 3) my aim is to make the discussion better.

            I think Erik’s post fell short of what it could be, but in many ways it’s much better than Greenwald’s comments or email as it offers a constructive way out.

            • Furious Jorge says:

              My comment wasn’t primarily about tone, was it?

              No, but that’s the only thing Jay’s got.

            • fred phillips says:

              Now we are down to parsing the difference between “liar” and “absolute liar”? Surely you have better things to do with your time.

      • tt says:

        It’s really not hard to see how someone might, in spite of the articles you cite, form the opposite impression

        I’ve read all your comments on this thread and you’ve said this a number of times, but I can’t figure out what your justification is. How might an honest person come to the conclusion that Greenwald is an economic libertarian (despite him denying it explicitly)?

        • Angus says:

          My follow-up question would be: even if we could establish that Greenwald is in fact an economic “libertarian”, what exactly would that entail?

          Does it let us wave away the good work he’s done on civil liberties? Does it refute his criticism of Obama? Or is it just a clever device to allow certain Dems to label him as ignoreable?

          • Bijan Parsia says:

            My follow-up question would be: even if we could establish that Greenwald is in fact an economic “libertarian”, what exactly would that entail?

            I’m not sure why this is a follow up to me. But, I’ll answer: Not a lot.

            Does it let us wave away the good work he’s done on civil liberties?

            No. And no one here at least would suggest that. Read Erik’s post!

            Does it refute his criticism of Obama?

            No, and no one said that.

            Or is it just a clever device to allow certain Dems to label him as ignoreable?

            Why yes, how did you…D’OH! Bzzt.

            Of course not. Erik is clearly not labeling Greenwald as remotely ignorable…quite the contrary.

            Just out of curiousity…did this little bit of rhetoric strike you as clever as you wrote it? Because it’s remarkably puerile.

        • Bijan Parsia says:

          I’ve read all your comments on this thread and you’ve said this a number of times,

          If you think I’ve said this a number of times, then you either didn’t read all my comments or you read them poorly. I just did a quick review and this is the only comment (out of at least 10!) wherein I said this.

          It puzzles me why you would make such a claim and not even check. It certainly paints a misleading picture of my participation.

          How might an honest person come to the conclusion that Greenwald is an economic libertarian (despite him denying it explicitly)?

          Let’s pick a scenario where Erik doesn’t come off well: 1) Erik sees Greenwald associated with Cato. 2) Erik sees Greenwald harping heavily on civil liberties in a civil libertarian kind of way. 3) Erik sees Greenwald as being fairly tolerant of Ron Paul.

          Do you deny that these might not leave the (mistaken) impression that Greenwald is, in fact, rather libertarian about economics? If you couple this with 4) Erik sees Greenwald attacking other progressives, including people who share Erik’s general views, it seems fairly easy to understand how a person might discount or dismiss the counterevidence, even avowed testimony.

          It’s hardly the biggest stretch after all. It certainly makes a hell of lot more sense than Erik is an “absolute liar”. I mean, what does such a lie gain Erik? Should I call you an absolute liar for your mistaken claim about me in this comment? I guess it doesn’t puzzle me per se why you would make that error: You were reading this comment. You knew that, generally, in this thread I was fairly sympathetic to Erik (though if you had read closely, not to his claims about Greenwald’s beliefs). I had posted a lot. It’s easy for you to form the mistaken impression that I had made this very claim a lot.

          These sorts of cognitive blindnesses are quite common. They don’t mean much per se, but they are pretty hard to overcome without being very systematic about care for evidence. And even then, it’s a pita!

          • brewmn says:

            Why aren’t the anti-Greenwald folks bringing up his endorsement of Citizens United instead of the much-less persuasive guilt-by-association mentions of his associations with the Cato Institute?

            Anyone who truly cares about the decimation of the middle and working classes could not react to that situation with anything but horror. And yes, there are plenty of legitimate legal arguments that one could marshall in opposition to it. But Glenn reacted with a shrug and reached the conclusion that Scalia, Robert, Thomas, et al. rightly decided a case that might destroy what little democracy this country has left.

            Whatever other good Greenwald might be doing with his blogging, he has proven himself no friend to the working and middle classes in America.

  10. tt says:

    Now, one point Glenn makes well is that a lot of liberal bloggers gave Obama a free pass on his foreign policy and violations of human rights. I suppose that includes me, though I am not an expert on these issues.

    The specific point is that liberals who attacked Bush harshly on human rights are giving Obama a pass for doing similar things. If you spent the Bush years writing about labor issues you get a pass.

    Beyond the personal stuff, what’s your actual point here? Are progressives not allowed to ally with libertarians on issues we agree on without having our loyalty to the movement questioned? Do you think there are too many voices standing up for the people we bomb, torture and lock up, that we need another blogger defending relatively well-off Americans?

    • Manta1976 says:

      “Are progressives not allowed to ally with libertarians on issues we agree on?”
      No, they are not: if you do that, they are “Paul-curious”, to use Erik’s words.

      • Bijan Parsia says:

        Allying is fine.

        Arguing that Paul is as reasonable a choice as Obama for progressives is Paul-curiosity.

        • tt says:

          I actually don’t have much of a problem with anything Scott has written criticizing GG. It’s a reasonable criticism that Greenwald is sometimes blinded by his narrow focus on war and civil liberties issues (there’s an analogy with Loomis and labor issues) and this causes him to understate the differences between certain politicians.

          However, it seems from this post and subsequent comments that Erik sees any attempt at strategic alliance with libertarians as a sign of disloyalty to the progressive cause. To Loomis, it’s not possible that Greenwald’s “Paul-curiosity” is a result of his zealotry on civil liberties and wars; Loomis has to impute a sympathy with libertarian economics which is just totally non-evident in any of Greenwald’s actual writings.

          If Loomis wants to argue that strategic alliance on civil liberties makes you a traitor, it would be more interesting if he just said so straight out instead of making it all personal.

          • Bijan Parsia says:

            I don’t see that Erik is arguing that strategic alliances make you a traitor. Indeed, I imagine that, were Greenwald in fact an economic libertarian, he’d nevertheless make a good strategic ally on civil liberties.

            I’d be wary of making too many, too strong claims about Erik’s inner reasoning. It’s certainly not that hard to come to see Greenwald a some sort of libertarian, even if for bad reasons.

  11. Bart says:

    The word “hysterical” comes to mind.

  12. mds says:

    Professor Loomis, I think you miss the mark here. Mr. Greenwald does not appear to be an economic libertarian so much as a civil libertarian who doesn’t give a fuck about economic and labor issues. That’s not the same thing at all. He didn’t praise Ron Paul because of the latter’s complete economic illiteracy, but because of Paul’s isolationist foreign policy and his opposition to federal governmental overreach on some civil libertarian issues. Same way with the Cato Institute: It’s irrelevant to Greenwald that they want to destroy organized labor, government regulation, and the social safety net. He embraces them as useful allies on civil libertarian issues. It’s obviously a lower priority for them than afflicting the afflicted and comforting the comfortable, but outside of their sponsors and some of their senior management such as Roger Pilon (vice president for legal affairs and director of their Center for Constitutional Studies), they do regularly promote civil libertarian ideas.

    As for Citizens United, the ACLU went off the rails on that one, too. I don’t think that necessarily makes them economic right-libertarians.

    So, sorry, Professor Loomis, but just as you say:

    Now, one point Glenn makes well is that a lot of liberal bloggers gave Obama a free pass on his foreign policy and violations of human rights. I suppose that includes me, though I am not an expert on these issues.

    the same could be applied to Greenwald in reverse. Sure, he can be an argumentative asshole with a hair trigger. But this is the internet, nor are we out of it.

    • mds says:

      Note that this is also consistent with his approving tweet about Roberto Unger’s horseshit. Obama has been sufficiently bad on many civil liberties issues that we may as well replace him with Mitt Romney, who will be no better on civil liberties, because then at least Democratic politicians might learn to take civil liberties more seriously again. Greenwald isn’t enthusiastically endorsing the Ryan plan, etc; the additional economic hardship inflicted on millions of Americans by a Romney presidency and a GOP Congress simply doesn’t enter into the calculation at all.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      Pretty much this.

  13. Glenn Greenwald says:

    Mr. Greenwald does not appear to be an economic libertarian so much as a civil libertarian who doesn’t give a fuck about economic and labor issues.

    I’ve written many, many times about economic issues: opposing enitlement cuts, advocating a public option in health care, condemning income inequality as one of the nation’s greatest problems. I just a whole book where one of the prime topics was how the American justice system systemtically oppresses the poor and minorities.

    Erik’s attempt to smear me for having written for CATO is ironic, given that the study I did for them was about the success of drug decrimianlization in Portugal (the other paper was about the evils of the surveillance state, and the speech I gave was about the Bush/Cheney assault on the Constitution). The Drug War is probably the most oppressive domestic policy for minorities in the U.S. I’ll take money from anyone to be able to do a study to undercut its pernicious rationale.

    My expertise is in Constitutional Law, so I write about civil liberties (and its close cousin, foreign policy) far more than I do about economic issues, becuase I’m not an economist.

    But I have written about the latter quite a bit, and my views are crystal clear. They are the opposite of economic libertarianism.

    Erik knows this because I enumerated all of those views to him just a month ago. Yet he still went and made the claim that I’m “basically a libertarian on economic issues.”

    The dishonestly is really staggering.

    As for Citizens United, the ACLU went off the rails on that one, too. I don’t think that necessarily makes them economic right-libertarians.

    I have the same position on this as not only the ACLU but also Eliot Spitzer, the last U.S. official to meaningfully put any real fear in the heart of Wall Street. By Erik’s reasoning, I guess that means the ACLU and Spitzer are economic libertarians.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      You know Glenn, just because you say you believe these things doesn’t mean that it is irrefutable evidence that it is so. I mean, I’m just looking at your record, a record that shows interests in candidates like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson who would destroy every vestige of protection for the working-class in this country.

      It’s also worth noting that you can use terms like staggering dishonesty all you want to–but it is also possible that if I am wrong, I could just be misinformed. All I want you to do is prove to me that I am misinformed.

      • To be somewhat fair, I don’t think this discussion is entirely mutually exclusive as a practical matter. If we allow that Greenwald isn’t an economic libertarian, it at least seems fair to brand him as an out of touch upper middle classer who certainly doesn’t understand the implications of economic policy for the daily lives of poor and working class people. Between that and the fact that economic policy just isn’t his interest, he’s prone to brushing these things off as unimportant or non-existent to his worldview in his writing.

        Or, to paraphrase Scott, he’s free to endorse heightening the contradictions because the cost of heightening them isn’t going to be paid by him. (And of course there’s Glenn’s total ignorance about how politics and the legislative process actually works, which I suspect is at least just under the surface of pretty much any dumb position he takes on domestic policy)

      • Stephen Frug says:

        Erik Loomis,

        Am I missing something, or are you both:

        * Complaining that Greenwald excessively relies upon calling people dishonest, saying they lack integrity, etc.

        * Saying that Greenwald’s claiming he believes X is not good evidence that he belives it, i.e. that he is a liar, or at least that that is a strong possibility and that he ought to prove to you otherwise by writing on topics you think he should write on?

        Look, I agree that the left ought to do more on labor issues. You do good work on that. I also agree that the left ought to do more on civil liberties, American imperialism, etc. Greenwald does good work on that. People write on what they feel they have something to say about. What’s wrong with that?

        It seems that if someone says they believe X, then unless they are a known liar (evidence supplied), or have said the contrary (ditto), or something else, then surely we ought to take their word for it? It seems that associations at this level are not enough to question someone here. (It’s not as if what you’re saying he belives is shunned and he’d have to hide it!)

        So far as I can tell your strongest feeling here seems to be that Greenwald isn’t doing enough on those issues, isn’t weighing them enough in, e.g., his positive comments on Ron Paul (which were explicitly on the grounds of his stance on the issues Greenwald does write most about). And that’s fine, make that case. But why question that he believes what he says he does?

        • Jason says:

          Stephen, this seems to me quite wrong-headed. Clearly what Erik is asking after is Greenwald’s commitment to progressive ends in the sphere of economic and labor issues. Saying, when asked, that you believe a certain progressive view is correct (e.g., that unions are valuable) is some evidence for that commitment. But it is hardly the best evidence.

          Better evidence would be actions, including speech, that show a concerted pursuit of the goals those commitments embody. It would be extremely difficult to argue that Greenwald’s body of work provides such evidence with respect to the issues that concern Erik.

          To the contrary, anyone who promotes manifestly absurd views such as 1) people on the left who dismiss Ron Paul must be doing so out of a reflexive worship of their savior Obama, 2) things won’t really be all that worse if Romney is elected, as both he and Obama are ‘centrists’, etc., reveals a lack of commitment to those goals.

          Such a person needn’t be outright lying when he says he shares progressive economic and labor views. Perhaps, instead, he has let his hatred of Obama (which may well be warranted) cloud his judgment. Or maybe he has failed to pay enough attention to conspicuous aspects of contemporary politics to grasp the radical character of the current Republican party. Or maybe he has allowed the pleasure of expressing outrage to become the primary driver of his political speech. (See, for example, Bob McManus’s comments in threads at LGM.)

          The point is that genuine commitment to an end is revealed not through lip service to that end in the abstract, but through informed, clear-minded thinking about the available means.

          • Stephen Frug says:

            Jason,

            I don’t think what you said is all that contradictory with what I said, actually. I think that there’s a case to be made that GG ought to do more on these issues. (Not sure I agree, but whatever.) Which is what you’re saying — he’s not showing commitment. But what Eric seems to be saying is that GG is lying about his views — not, as you suggest might be the case, getting his priorities wrong, letting his anger at Obama overwhelm him, or whatever.

            So I’d stand by my question: why say he’s lying (which is what Eric seems to be saying here)? Why not just say he should do more on them?

            As for the latter point, there is, it seems to me, a fair answer: that people have specific expertise/passion, and that working on those causes is a good use of their time. Now, you (or Eric) might not agree, and that’s fine. But it doesn’t strike me as implausible for GG to say that he specializes in certain issues.

            (And, again, if someone makes the case that that specialization is blinding him, e.g. regarding Ron Paul… fine. But that’s different than saying, he says he supports X but he’s lying and is actually a libertarian.)

            • Jason says:

              A fair point. But I would apply much of what I was saying to normative beliefs as well as to commitments. Again, what one is willing to assert is just one mark of belief. Another mark is whether the alleged belief actually has a discernible effect on one’s actions.

        • Donald says:

          “Am I missing something, or are you both:

          * Complaining that Greenwald excessively relies upon calling people dishonest, saying they lack integrity, etc.

          * Saying that Greenwald’s claiming he believes X is not good evidence that he belives it, i.e. that he is a liar, or at least that that is a strong possibility and that he ought to prove to you otherwise by writing on topics you think he should write on?”

          Bingo. This is trolling. There are legitimate criticisms one could make of GG, but Erik’s chosen method is to claim GG is a liar and then complain about how he calls Erik a liar.

      • Vincent says:

        So I think the upshot of all of this is that only people involved in labor unions get to decide what issues affect working class people and anyone not on board is a libertarian or a conservative. I guess you have to have a system.

      • Carol says:

        Erik, what would be proof? How informed are you regarding Greenwald’s criticisms of Ron Paul? Oh, I’m starting to think that kind of information doesn’t matter to you.

      • Furious Jorge says:

        It’s also worth noting that you can use terms like staggering dishonesty all you want to–but it is also possible that if I am wrong, I could just be misinformed. All I want you to do is prove to me that I am misinformed.

        It took me a couple of years of reading Greenwald pretty much every day to get to the point where this bothered me, but it eventually happened. This, plus his hyperlegal linguistic parsing, are what got me to look for new blogs to replace his.

    • Jeffrey Beaumont says:

      Opposite of economic libertarianism is too strong. But say I grant you that, Glenn… The Ron Paul crap is still a problem you need to account for. Paul is a fruitcake who would take us back to 1890 as quickly as he could. Arguably the least progressive American politician. His anti war stance, though a net positive, wasn’t grounded in respect, peace, or understanding go other cultures, just on a reaction against taxes. The hipster/lefty idiot flirtation with him was shallow, puerile, and dangerous. If I grant that you aren’t stupid and immature, then all that’s left is the closet libertarian thing… No?

    • Pastafarian says:

      Greenwald: “…my views are crystal clear. They are the opposite of economic libertarianism.”

      So you’re bragging about being an economic authoritarian? Isn’t that a twelve-dollar phrase for fascist?

      Careful, ladies — when you engage in this sort of blue-on-blue catfight, you might expose your naughty bits to the leering crowd. Best to keep your true aspirations cloaked behind pretty undergarments like “workers’ rights” and “economic justice”.

      • The sad thing is that you’re going to be excessively proud of this comment for like a week, aren’t you?

        • Pastafarian says:

          Proud? As one of the crowd, I must admit that my leering makes me feel shameful and dirty. And yet I can’t pull my gaze away; it’s not prurient, but more a stark horrified fascination.

          Jesus H. Christ, is that pubic hair, or a roadkill possum? And are those dead spiders trapped in those scabs?

  14. Vincent says:

    “On Sun, Jun 17, 2012 at 7:48 PM, Erik Loomis wrote:

    If you yell more, I’m sure I’ll apologize. I recommend using all-caps.

    Cash any checks from Cato lately? ”

    In your mind that probably constitutes a zing of some description but you basically come off looking like some ungodly amalgamation of a TV talking head and a spoilt 8-year old. And you’ve still not refuted a single point in the debate that you seem to think you’re having.

  15. Joe says:

    These two debating is likely to have more heat than light.

  16. Jim says:

    I think this post is too heavy on the Koch stuff and fairly unsubstantive. I think the correct way to put it is like a few others have–that Greenwald doesn’t really care about economic issues beyond when he can use them as a cudgel against those to whom he already harbors some grudge or other sort of animosity. He’s “for a public option” in the same way I want a new pony. It would be nice, but I’m not going to really care if it doesn’t happen.

    I don’t know how many times Greenwald has to quote someone saying that “the difference between the Obama and Romney platforms is bordering on trivial” for this to be clearer. He’s made clear that there’s a large subset of fairly important issues that he really couldn’t care less about.

    • Jay says:

      It’s true. There are a few social issues that separate them. They match quite well on foreign policies, and are known moderates. They’re more a like than people would like to admit.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        Theymatch quite well on foreign policies

        Nope.

        There are a few social issues that separate them…and are known moderates

        This is ridiculous. I see no basis for believing that the Romney who was governor of MA is the “real” Romney, but even if it is that’s not how he’s going to govern. As A Republican president, he will govern far too the right of Obama on economic and regulatory issues.

      • joe from Lowell says:

        They match quite well on foreign policies, and are known moderates.

        Mitt Romney supported the invasion of Iraq in 2002, never repudiated that position, and wanted us to maintain a large military presence on permanent based in that country, from which to “project power” against neighboring states. Barack Obama held precisely the opposite position on each of these questions.

        I’m old enough to remember when support for vs. opposition to the Iraq War was considered a rather important distinction in our politics.

      • Malaclypse says:

        They match quite well on foreign policies

        That is a phenomenally ignorant statement.

  17. Incontinentia Buttocks says:

    I think Erik is on the mark when he writes:

    But as a labor blogger, I will also state that there’s a whole lot of big-time left-leaning bloggers who have never shown the slightest interest in labor and working-class issues. Or if they do have interest, it’s at a very wonky level without actually engaging working-class voices in their work or showing much understanding of working-class America.

    And Greenwald is absolutely one of these people, despite his protestations in the e-mail above.

    But this strongly suggests that Glenn, far from being a libertarian, is just one of slew of left-leaning bloggers who really doesn’t care about labor and working-class issues. As Erik finally admits at the end of this post, in our politically culture you don’t need to be a libertarian to have this failing. And simply lumping left-leaning bloggers who are myopic on labor issues in with libertarians is unhelpful both in understanding what their existence suggests about the “left” in the US today and in solving this problem.

    • I think that’s probably being entirely too overly generous to Greenwald’s schtick which, as I said above, basically involves being so self-absorded in his relative privilege and blind to working class issues that he doesn’t even think to add some sort of “except for all of those economic issues” qualifier when he routinely asserts that there’s no difference between Romney and Obama.

      I think that accepting someone with that basic worldview as a “progressive” just because they claim to nominally support the “right” economic policies while showing a total lack of any practical concern for them whatsoever is something of a stretch.

      • Or, to put it another way, even if we give him the benefit of the doubt here Greenwald becomes the functional equivalent of the staff of Reason.

      • Jay says:

        I’m a working class person who agrees with the assertion that there is little difference than Obama and Romney.

        Hell, Obama offered up Social Security and Medicare, and promises to touch on it if he gets reelected. The left would actually fight back if Romney were to propose cuts. The privilege argument is a stupid one, meant to marginalize anybody who doesn’t prioritize Obama as the answer to our problems. In reality, how privileged must one be to gloss over the issues Glenn raises, day in and day out.

        • mark f says:

          the assertion that there is little difference than Obama and Romney

          “Assertion” is a good word for it, actually.

        • “I’m a working class person who agrees with the assertion that there is little difference than Obama and Romney.”

          There are working class people who actively support Romney. This does nothing but demonstrate you to be a twit.

          “In reality, how privileged must one be to gloss over the issues Glenn raises, day in and day out.”

          But that’s the difference, I’m not glossing over any problems. At most, I a) recognize that there’s not a good, viable option in American politics for lessening American imperialism and b) recognize that Republican electoral victories is not going to magically transform the Democratic mainstream into one of aggressive anti-imperialism. This would distinguish me from you and Greenwald who actually do appear to gloss over the actual differences between the two in the realm of economic policy.

      • John says:

        Greenwald is happy to use economic issues as a reason to attack Obama from the left. That’s about all, though, as far as I can tell.

    • Robert Farley says:

      I’d go a bit farther; I’d say that Glenn’s commitment to civil liberties issues is so total that he’s become overly skeptical of the use of state power for legitimate means. I remember the ridiculous discussion we had about the election of 1876 when he was perplexed by the notion that the presence of soldiers at polling places might actually be necessary to enforcing civil rights.

      You don’t get the welfare state without the STATE, and libertarians (whether left or right leaning) are correct to say that there are trade-offs between state capacity and commitment to a civil libertarian position. Glenn leans to the civ lib side, which is why he gets tagged libertarian (and why he finds so many commonalities with libertarians).

      • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

        But being too cautious about state power is not the same thing as being a libertarian. Erik quotes GG himself noting that he:

        advocates for a public option in health care, urges greater regulatory restraints on Wall Street, condemns banker-subservient government officials, favors a transfer of military spending to domestic spending, wants a system of public financing for elections, and favors EFCA and more protections for unions

        As far as I can tell, nobody is denying that GG believes these things. Thus, he is no libertarian.

        That certainly doesn’t put him beyond criticism for his views of state power or the importance of labor. But it makes declarations that he’s a libertarian rather like declarations that Dick Cheney is a fascist. They are simply false. And they don’t help us understand Greenwald (or Cheney) or libertarianism (or fascism).

        • Robert Farley says:

          “But being too cautious about state power is not the same thing as being a libertarian.”

          It’s really pretty close, isn’t it? A fair amount of libertarian theory runs along the line “it would be great if the state could achieve end X, but if we allow the state the power to do that it could achieve end Y, which would be bad.” At some point skepticism about state power becomes libertarianism; I’m not sure where precisely to draw that line, but we’re not necessarily talking about distinct intellectual phenomena.

          • To use your example, if you can’t understand why there was justification to having troops stationed at polling places during Reconstruction is a beneficial use of state power, you’re at least so blind to the actual ground level interests and problems facing the marginalized in society that you’re awfully damn close, at least in functional terms, to the guiding ethos of the Reason editorial staff.

          • FlipYrWhig says:

            Or, there’s the classic Rand Paul puzzler, where it must be a grievous breach of liberty to write a law forcing a business to serve paying customers who are black. IMNSHO, sometimes state power can be, must be, used to coerce justice and to protect competing liberties. A consistent libertarian is going to end up on the illiberal side of such things; an inconsistent libertarian can do better, so to speak, but sacrifices a degree of the power of his principled critique.

          • Lee says:

            I’d argue that the line gets drawn when a person is not only skeptical about state power but begins to actively disdain the use of state power while loosing skepticism about private, especially corporate, power.

        • Grocer says:

          GG may care to some extent about progressive economic causes but when progressive economic causes get in the way of a point about civil liberties, they are shoved aside in favor of ‘no difference between the candidates’ and ‘gee, isn’t that Ron Paul a swell guy.’ When your public writing tends towards marginalizing progressive economic causes as basically irrelevant, statements that you are actually in favor of those causes are basically irrelevant.

    • Lee says:

      This strikes me as being a bit of an oxy moron. Is it possible to be left-leaning and not care about labor or working class issues? Now you might not exactly express your care directly, a left-leaning person might talk abotu the plight of women or minorities but issues of labor, the working classes, and poverty should at least indirectly show up.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

        Though this has little to do with GG (who clearly does not identify Democratic), it’s certainly possible to be a Democratic blogger and not care about a damn about labor issues. I’m more prone to put “left” in quotation marks when referring to such people, but conventionally, folks like Big Media Matt are seen as left-leaning.

        • Jay says:

          This whole false charade that Glenn doesn’t care about the poor or working class, because he’s too focused on civil liberties, is ridiculous. A lot of times, the issues Glenn raises, go hand-in-hand with the working class. It’s a very narrow view that Obama fanatics are using to marginalize any criticism they’ve decided should “wait till after the election.” And it is a reasonable recognize the uncomfortable similarities between Obama and Romney.

  18. Quincy says:

    What about attempting to find common ground through a conversation where your two interests, U.S. government violations of civil liberties abroad and labor/class issues, substantially overlap, such as U.S. policy in Latin America for the past half century or so. Correct me if I’m wrong on this, but I think the methods employed (death squads, covert operations involving unaccountable private contractors) and motivations (suppression of wages, elimination of leftist advocates for land/labor reforms, promotion of U.S. corporate trade interests over human interests) could provide material for a series of joint or complimentary posts that examine the interrelation between labor and civil liberties issues.

  19. actor212 says:

    Actually, I consider myself to be a libertarian (small l). Actually, I support most of the progressive agenda. These are not necessary opposing thoughts.

    For instance, in healthcare, I believe an individual’s health should not be a profit center. Period. End of discussion. Since we have to pay for medicine and doctors, it strikes me that the least offensive place to find a “death panel” is among representatives who are beholden to our trust, who’s first fiduciary is the citizenry. This leaves government a far more acceptable choice than some faceless HMO.

    I could go on defending that dichotomy, but most of my arguments will be along these lines: government should serve two purposes. The first is to plow the road of obstacles in order to afford each of us the opportunities to create a life for ourselves and second, protect us from the predations of the American Western forms of capitalism that surely have Adam Smith drinking himself blind in whatever bar is open in Dante’s Underworld.

    • “Since we have to pay for medicine and doctors, it strikes me that the least offensive place to find a “death panel” is among representatives who are beholden to our trust, who’s first fiduciary is the citizenry. This leaves government a far more acceptable choice than some faceless HMO.”

      Well, whatever you prefer to self-identify as, this just makes you definitively not a libertarian as the term is actually applied to the American political context, so I don’t really know what the point of this comment is supposed to be.

      • Dave says:

        That Libertarians have stolen a perfectly good word and twisted it so that reasonable usage of it is impossible?

      • joe from Lowell says:

        Right. The ethical and practical superiority of locating resource-distributing functions within the market sector, not “the public trust,” is a pretty core libertarian belief.

  20. Michael says:

    “Well, I certainly don’t care if Greenwald thinks I’m dishonest.” True. If you’d cared, you would have written a long post filled with links trying to prove Greenwald was a Libertarian.

  21. pete says:

    On the whole I prefer the mud fights at TBogg’s place. They’re funnier, and the major protagonists are usually less prolix.

  22. Jim says:

    The real injustice you should be complaining about, though, is Salon’s current website. It’s almost nonfunctional.

  23. Scott Lemieux says:

    1)I don’t think that Glenn is an economic libertarian, and I don’t think his association with Cato is fair evidence of that. I would give a speech at Cato (at least the pre-Koch-dominated version) if they wanted me to talk about the drug war or the Fourth Amendment too.

    2)I think it’s fair to note that the litany of liberal positions he mentions all happen to coincide with the issues where policy enacted during the Obama administration is to the right of GG’s stated position. I would never say that a blogger should write about issue x or y, but I think it’s fair to note that GG’s interest in economic policy pretty much begins and ends with criticisms of a Democratic president he opposes fundamentally for different reasons. His uncritical endorsement of Robert Unger’s idiotic save-progressive-politics-by-electing-Romney argument, despite Romney’s vastly worse economic platform and the vastly worse social justice outcomes that would result from a Romney administration, does not encourage a charitable interpretation.

    3)I also note GG’s extremely tendentious comparison of Paul and Obama, which managed not to mention the extraordinary radicalism of Paul’s economic agenda at all, while the relevant issues were discussed through the lens of passive-aggressive suggestions that Obama wasn’t progressive enough. In the same piece, he calls Matt Stoller’s typically foolish argument that progressives should abandon the 20th century regulatory state “genuinely brilliant.” Again, I don’t think GG is an economic libertarian, but as Rob says I do think he has a certain hostility to federal power that is incompatible with a robust vision of civil rights and economic reform in the American political context.

    • “I think it’s fair to note that the litany of liberal positions he mentions all happen to coincide with the issues where policy enacted during the Obama administration is to the right of GG’s stated position.”

      Ah, there it is. The thing that’s been bothering me about merely accepting Greenwald’s assertions about his positions that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

    • superking says:

      I agree with this. No one is obligated to write about everything in my view. The “problem” with Glenn Greenwald is that he’s a stinky asshole. I think everyone can handle a few assholes in their life–and in their political coalition–but when you become such an asshole as to essentially argue for the defeat of your own team, it gets tough to hang out with you. Glenn Greenwald is that asshole.

      There is no question that on-balance, Obama is better than Paul. Except that maybe sometimes Ron Paul makes noises that sound nice to left-leaning people who only care about some issues. Cue Glenn Greenwald.

      If Glenn could manage his tone a bit better and actually keep his mouth shut when appropriate, I’m sure there would be fewer people trying to paint him as some right-wing nut job.

      It’s pretty simple really. Glenn, I know you’re reading this thread so, repeat after me: “The funny thing is that Ron Paul looks better than President Obama on some civil liberties issues. Of course, Ron Paul is a bat-shit insane clown who wants to destroy the country in his own way.” That’s pretty much all you have to do.

      • This assumes that Glenn isn’t deliberately picking these fights for professional reasons.

        • superking says:

          I kind of don’t care why he’s picking his fights. His fights are in some cases poorly chosen regardless of why he chooses them.

        • GFW says:

          You mean “publicity reasons”? ‘Cause it seems rather unprofessional.

        • Bijan Parsia says:

          Eh. You’d think if Greenwald was interested in blog promotion via blog fights he’d pick bigger and better fights.

          I think the much simpler explanation is that he’s passionate, has somewhat poor impulse control, and can write a ton when miffed.

          There’s quite a few of us like that ;)

      • Jay says:

        that maybe sometimes Ron Paul makes noises that sound nice to left-leaning people who only care about some issues.

        Something tells me you don’t see the irony in that.

        Obama apologists are the lefties who dropped caring about civil liberties, and matters of war, when Obama became elected. We care about all those things, and the bad things Obama does, that you like to sweep under the rug.

      • fish says:

        A lot of kids and adults on the bad end of a drone strike that might disagree with you.

    • Manta1976 says:

      Scott, aren’t you the one claiming (correctly, I think) that on domestic policy the president is very much constrained?
      If you want compare 2 possible presidents (Obama and Paul), it is right to give more relevance to examine the issues where the president is more powerful (e.g.: foreign policy) that the one where is he less (e.g.: economic agenda).

      Assuming a constant Congress, if we grant that on foreign policy Paul position (seems to be) better than Obama, while on domestic policy Obama position is better, we should conclude that Paul would be a better president, because he would be able to enact his good foreign policy, while enacting his bad domestic policy would not be in his power (of course, the assumption on the congress is a pretty strong one: but then the implication is that you should vote for a Dem representative).

      • George W Bush says:

        enacting his bad domestic policy would not be in his power

        Ah still say Michael Brown did a heck of a job, and ah’m confident that Mitt Romney will appoint people every bit as effective. In fact, ah’m right looking forward to see who Mitt will pick to head up the NRC and the rest of the Energy Department. America needs nuklear energy, and ah’m confident that Mitt’s man will help people cut through all the red tape the liberals put up to discourage this safe, efficient energy thingamabob.

        • Manta1976 says:

          Obama did not appoint fill a few important positions due to congressional opposition.

          Of course, expecting some kind of real opposition from the Dems is pretty ridiculous, but that is their fault.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            Obama did not appoint fill a few important positions due to congressional opposition.

            Even a grammatically correct version of this would be inadequate to the point that the President wields great power over appointments and operations within the executive branch.

        • I call shenanigans.

          The real GWB would speel it “nukular”, like it’s pronounced.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        1)But there are domestic issues — particularly involving after-the-fact regulation — where presidents are very powerful, and Paul is unimaginably horrible on these issues.

        2)Political and structural constraints would also severely constrain any headway that would be made on the drug war, but in that case what Paul might theoretically want to accomplish is taken at face value.

        3)Presidents have more power over foreign policy, but this power isn’t unlimited. A president within the general hawkish mainstream can do pretty much whatever he wants; whether Ron Paul could is much less obvious.

        4)Even legislatively, the outcomes would be vastly worse under Paul if the Congress being held constant was a Republican one.

        • Manta1976 says:

          1) Agree partially: as I wrote above, a determined opposition can block bad appointments
          2) I agree more strongly here, but for instance a Paul president would enforce the drug war with less zeal (see e.g. medical marijuana in California); heck, he could even decide to look forward, not backward, and ignore the issue completely
          3) Not fighting wars would be a good starting point: when was the last time US had 4 years of peace?
          4) Here I agree.

          About Bijan’s argument: since the Paul’s program is pretty radical (abolishing the FED, ending drug war, …), to enact it he would need to produce legislation (and I don’t see any appetite in Congress for that.

          • Bijan Parsia says:

            Right, the “good” things (i.e., the things I’d want versions of, though usually not the Pauline versions) are likely to be blocked.

            (One problem with the hopes for a Paulastic presidency helping with the drug war is that while there might be some good in getting the feds to back down, an awful lot of it is state level where Paulish federalism could make it worse.)

            • Jay says:

              Nobody hopes for a Paul presidency. He’s useful so far as to point out that a Republican has some better stances than Obama on foreign issues. It should make liberals question what’s going on, but instead, apparently they want to run from the few good positions the man has.

              • “a Republican has some better stances than Obama on foreign issues.”

                Except that he doesn’t, but go on and keep fucking that Real Leftist chicken.

              • Bijan Parsia says:

                As has been hashed ad infinitum:

                1) One doesn’t need Paul to be critical of Obama on lots and lots of fronts, cf this blog

                2) There’s no evidence that having a Republican champion an issue helps bring about anything progressive at all, cf the mandate

                3) There’s no evidence that Paul per se is an effective champion of these things even inside the Republican party.

                Indeed, there’s overwhelming evidence to the contrary of all of these.

      • Bijan Parsia says:

        We probably shouldn’t rehash all this but

        1) the president has enormous influence over the domestic sphere, cf Katrina, EPA, the recent DREAM order, etc. not to mention veto power; it’s not like the president isn’t a significant actor in the domestic sphere, however their power to produce legislation is extremely limited

        2) Paul ain’t all that good on foreign policy (if you look carefully) and any Paul Presidency would be extremely constrained by the foreign policy apparatus; tremendous freedom within broad bounds does not mean arbitrary freedom

      • joe from Lowell says:

        Assuming a constant Congress, if we grant that on foreign policy Paul position (seems to be) better than Obama, while on domestic policy Obama position is better, we should conclude that Paul would be a better president, because he would be able to enact his good foreign policy, while enacting his bad domestic policy would not be in his power

        This fails to account for Congress. The reduced power the President has in domestic affairs (by which you seem to mean his legislative agenda) doesn’t vanish; Congress and the courts wield that power.

        Noting that Ron Paul won’t be able to implement his domestic agenda is all well and good, but what agenda ends up being implemented between President Paul, a Republican House, the Roberts Court and a Senate that’s about 50/50?

    • Erik Loomis says:

      I want to make one thing clear–I’m not really demanding that Greenwald write about labor issues. That’s why I made the offer to him, because I know that it’s ridiculous to demand that someone write about what you want them to write about. So since he makes complaints that people don’t write about what he wants them to write about all the time, I thought I’d at least throw this out there.

      What I really want is some concrete evidence that Greenwald actually believes what he says he does, particularly in light of the cover he provides CATO by working with them, his position on Citizens United, and his indifference to economic issues when he makes his claims that there is no difference between Obama and Romney.

      • Glenn Greenwald says:

        So since he makes complaints that people don’t write about what he wants them to write about all the time, I thought I’d at least throw this out there.

        No, I don’t. I don’t criticize anyone for their silence on issues.

        I criticize them when they were vocal on those issues under Bush but silent (or worse) under Obama.

        If someone says they have no interest in or knowledge of civil liberties, war, foreign policy, etc. sufficient to write publicly about it – or that they have other priorities – I have zero problem with that.

        What I have a problem with are people who had plenty of things to say during the Bush years about those issues, but suddenly no longer do.

        • Erik Loomis says:

          Glenn,

          What I’d like to see out of you is some actual evidence that you believe what you say you believe on economic issues. For one, when you say there is no discernible difference between Obama and Romney, do you even think about how a Romney Administration would affect working-class people? If you think there is room for progressives to support Paul or Gary Johnson, what about their horrendous economic policies that would move America right back into the 19th century?

          • Glenn Greenwald says:

            I really shouldn’t even dignify your questions until you acknowledge that you made a factually false statement about me, but your misrepresentations continue, so I will:

            What I’d like to see out of you is some actual evidence that you believe what you say you believe on economic issues.

            How many times do I have to tell you that I’ve written about these economic issues many times?

            The PAC I founded, Accountability Now, worked successfully to form a coalition with numerous unions – including SEIU – to recruit progressive challengers to awful Democratic incumbents.

            Feel free to say that’s not enough. Don’t feel free to lie and say that I’m an economic libertarian.

            For one, when you say there is no discernible difference between Obama and Romney,

            I’ve never said this. This claim – along with the claim that I urged progressives to support or even consider supporting Ron Paul for president — is a fabrication popular on a handful of Democratic-loyal blogs, beginning with this one.

            • Erik Loomis says:

              Well see now I was unaware of the work the PAC had done and I have to look into it. See–that could be actual evidence. I need to know more here–but if you went into this in more detail and avoided all the name-calling in the very first e-mail, maybe this could have all been more productive.

              However, your bald-faced mendacity on claiming you haven’t said that Obama and Romney are basically the same and being Paul and Johnson-curious is laughable.

              Moreover, the idea that I am somehow Democratic-loyal is equally hilarious and shows that you’ve never actually read anything I’ve written about labor.

              • Glenn Greenwald says:

                Well see now I was unaware of the work the PAC had done and I have to look into it

                .

                I told you a month ago that I did this.

                See–that could be actual evidence.

                The way things work is that if you make a public claim about someone – he’s an economic libertarian – the burden is on you to have evidence to prove that (like, for instance, views I’ve exprsessed that qualify as economic libertarianism), not on the accused to go run around trying to prove the accusation untrue.

                • Jesse Levine says:

                  Why do you have to prove your bona fides or credentials to Loomis? He doesn’t know when to quit, and you have plenty to write about in your comfort zone without wasting time.

              • Sharon says:

                I knew about Glen’s work with the pack, but I’ve been hanging out in the left blogosphere for quite a while. In fact, knowing about Glen’s work with Accountabilty Now made Eric’s post seem straight up bizarre.

                I think a more productive discussion for everyone would be finding ways to assert the interest of, for lack of a better term, the 99% in a political culture that drowns our interest in a sea of campaign donations.

                But, that’s just me.

              • Ian says:

                Well see now I was unaware of the work the PAC had done and I have to look into it. See–that could be actual evidence. I need to know more here…

                Well, look it up. If Greenwald has done what he has said he has done, it would seem that you owe him an immediate, public retraction.

                • Well, not really. If we’re going to be hyper technical (and I see no reason not to be since Glenn is so damned fond of parsing as finely as possible when he needs to obfuscate) it’s entirely possible that Greenwald’s PAC partnership with labor to elect more liberal Democrats could be an entirely tactical alliance, and does not in itself prove anything about Glenn’s level of commitment to progressive economic policy.

                • fish says:

                  it’s entirely possible that Greenwald’s PAC partnership with labor to elect more liberal Democrats could be an entirely tactical alliance, and does not in itself prove anything about Glenn’s level of commitment to progressive economic policy.

                  [rolls eyes]

            • Bijan Parsia says:

              I’ve never said this. This claim – along with the claim that I urged progressives to support or even consider supporting Ron Paul for president — is a fabrication popular on a handful of Democratic-loyal blogs, beginning with this one

              You wrote:

              Whatever else one wants to say, it is indisputably true that Ron Paul is the only political figure with any sort of a national platform — certainly the only major presidential candidate in either party — who advocates policy views on issues that liberals and progressives have long flamboyantly claimed are both compelling and crucial. The converse is equally true: the candidate supported by liberals and progressives and for whom most will vote — Barack Obama — advocates views on these issues (indeed, has taken action on these issues) that liberals and progressives have long claimed to find repellent, even evil.

              And:

              It’s perfectly rational and reasonable for progressives to decide that the evils of their candidate are outweighed by the evils of the GOP candidate, whether Ron Paul or anyone else….But that is not the discussion that takes place because few progressives want to acknowledge that the candidate they are supporting — again — is someone who will continue to do these evil things with their blessing. Instead, we hear only a dishonest one-sided argument that emphasizes Paul’s evils while ignoring Obama’s (progressives frequently ask: how can any progressive consider an anti-choice candidate but don’t ask themselves: how can any progressive support a child-killing, secrecy-obsessed, whistleblower-persecuting Drug Warrior?).

              How are these not arguments that progressives should at least consider Paul (even if their all things considered view causes them to reject Paul)?

              • fish says:

                Those are arguments that explicitly state that the progressive candidate is falling far short of progressive ideals on a major issue, and yet no one is talking about it. This is a straight-up critique of progressive attitudes. I don’t see this as an endorsement of Paul at all, but of some of his policies in contrast to Obama’s. This sentence:

                It’s perfectly rational and reasonable for progressives to decide that the evils of their candidate are outweighed by the evils of the GOP candidate, whether Ron Paul or anyone else…

                should be the clue…

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  You still fail to understand what should be pretty obvious: If you build a case wherein Obama and Paul are within striking distance of the others evils, indeed, if you’re entire argument is centered on Obama being way more evil and Paul being way less evil than progressives “want to think” then you are, ipso facto, making an argument that progressives should consider Paul.

                  That Greenwald says may reasonable decide otherwise is not evidence that he’s not arguing that they should consider. Indeed, it is part of the argument that progressives should consider Paul.

                  You’re welcome!

                • Warren Terra says:

                  Please tell me this fecking thread isn’t still going on …

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  I started using my news reader to follow the comment threads which means that they now functionally are eternal…

                • fish says:

                  If you build a case wherein Obama and Paul are within striking distance of the others evils, indeed, if you’re entire argument is centered on Obama being way more evil and Paul being way less evil than progressives “want to think” then you are, ipso facto, making an argument that progressives should consider Paul.

                  Alternatively that progressives shouldn’t consider Obama.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  Alternatively that progressives shouldn’t consider Obama.

                  That’s a bit inconsistent with the line that Greenwald is saying that it would be reasonable to do so.

                  I take it you’re just being contrary rather that being quite this dumb.

            • Jason says:

              the claim that I urged progressives to support or even consider supporting Ron Paul for president — is a fabrication popular on a handful of Democratic-loyal blogs, beginning with this one.

              From a Greenwald post in December:

              As Matt Stoller argued in a genuinely brilliant essay on the history of progressivism and the Democratic Party which I cannot recommend highly enough: “the anger [Paul] inspires comes not from his positions, but from the tensions that modern American liberals bear within their own worldview.”

              From the “brilliant” Stoller essay:

              when considering questions about Ron Paul, you have to ask yourself whether you prefer a libertarian who will tell you upfront about his opposition to civil rights statutes, or authoritarian Democratic leaders who will expand healthcare to children and then aggressively enforce a racist war on drugs and shield multi-trillion dollar transactions from public scrutiny. I can see merits in both approaches, and of course, neither is ideal.

              The idea that there are, from the progressive prospective, “merits to both approaches” is central to the essay you “cannot recommend highly enough”. It is closely intertwined with the other main premise of the essay, highlighted in your citation, that liberalism crucially involves a tension between advocacy of Federal power and distrust of central authority.

              Both of Stoller’s theses are, in my view, inane, and the “history of progressivism” he provides and you admire completely misconceived. Regardless, the first thesis comes very, very close to suggesting that it’s a tough call whether to favor Paul over Obama. And you cannot recommend this essay highly enough. Here, as elsewhere, ascribing to you the claims you “never said” is not a matter of “fabrication” but of following out threads that are utterly obvious, even if they leave wiggle room.

              • Yes, but see, since Glenn insists on hyper-literalist lawyering when drawing our conclusions, it doesn’t matter how many times he “recommends” reading some nutty theory on how Obama is no better than Romney and progressives would be well served by having Republicans win in 2012, until he actually says “progressives should support Romney in 2012″ it’s simply the height of unfairness and mendacity for you to assume he agrees with or is endorsing all of those other people’s blog posts and what not that he keeps uncritically linking to. Because you’re an abbsolute liar and very uncivil to Glenn!

                • Furious Jorge says:

                  simply the height of unfairness and mendacity

                  Not to mention staggeringly dishonest!

              • John says:

                Can’t we just say that calling a Matt Stoller essay “brilliant” is prima facie evidence that someone’s political opinions are not worth paying attention to.

            • rea says:

              Oh, for god’s sake. I have a distinct recollection of GG (1) criticizing people for their silence on the issues he thinks are important, and (2) urging progressives to support or consider supporting Ron Paul–in comments on this very blog, among other palces.

        • Bijan Parsia says:

          I don’t criticize anyone for their silence on issues.

          I criticize them when they were vocal on those issues under Bush but silent (or worse) under Obama.

          IANAL, but isn’t critcizing someone for “their silence on issues that they were vocal on under Bush” criticizing them for “their silence on issues”? I mean, the former is a specific kind of the latter.

        • “No, I don’t. I don’t criticize anyone for their silence on issues.

          I criticize them when they were vocal on those issues under Bush but silent (or worse) under Obama.”

          Right, you don’t criticize anyone for not writing something, you just assume that if someone hasn’t written about, say, an amicus brief filed by the administration in a Supreme Court case in which the brief likely had no bearing whatsoever on the court’s decision, that they must be concealing this fact deliberately in order to avoid criticizing the administration. That they might not have read or been aware of the brief is simply to implausible to check, so might as well just pre-emptively accuse them of being evil hypocrites too scared to tell the truth like you, the clear eyed observer of things who thinks there’s no difference between Barack Obama’s platform and Mitt Romney’s.

          Seriously, don’t you ever get tired of this stupid hair splitting technique? It obviously doesn’t move the needle an ounce, so why don’t you just save the effort and go the full Hannity? It’s not like you don’t want to.

      • Jeff says:

        Erik, are you doing this on purpose?

        “So since he {Greenwald} makes complaints that people don’t write about what he wants them to write about all the time, I thought I’d at least throw this out there.”

        It is appearing that you are making up untruths just to get a reaction.

    • Glenn Greenwald says:

      His uncritical endorsement of Robert Unger’s idiotic save-progressive-politics-by-electing-Romney argument

      I didn’t realize that I endorsed Unger’s video at all, let alone “uncritically” so, so could you provide a link or quote where I did that?

      All I did was tweet that Obama’s former Professor had issued a scathing indictment of the Obama presidency and the Democratic Party.

      Where do you get off claiming — just on that basis — that I “uncritically endorse” Unger’s critique?

      This is exactly what you did the last time when I tweeted Matt Taibbi’s article, and you went and claimed I endorsed every part of it.

      You had to retract that claim in an update. Remember? Did you learn nothing from that?

      • Oh good, we’re already onto the intentionally obtuse lawyering phase of Greenwald’s schtick. Only another hour or two until the five paragraph harangue calling everyone an idiotic Obat before he laments that everyone is just so mean and intellectually unfair to him and storms off with a delightfully self-satisfied “I SAID GOOD DAY SIR!”

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        “I didn’t realize that I endorsed Unger’s video at all.”

        Oh, come on, Glenn — this argument was discredited by Glenn Reynolds a long time ago. Perhaps we can quibble over “uncritical,” but it’s fair to say you’re endorsing something you link to with approving language, particularly when you then reply to critics of Unger’s dumb argument by suggesting that they therefore oppose any criticism of Obama.

        • Glenn Greenwald says:

          Oh, come on, Glenn — this argument was discredited by Glenn Reynolds a long time ago. Perhaps we can quibble over “uncritical,” but it’s fair to say you’re endorsing something you link to with approving language

          No, it’s not. If I wanted to argue that Obama should lose in order to promote progressive causes, I’d do so directly, not by some passive-aggressive tweet that doesn’t even mention the issue.

          I linked to Unger’s video because (1) it’s newsworthy that a left-wing former Obama professor and one of the most highly-regarded scholars in political philosophy (and a reasonably close associate whom David Remnick identified as an important Obama influence) was saying that, and (2) his leftist critique of the Obama presidency is interesting and worth hearing, even if his prescrption isn’t.

          • Scott Lemieux says:

            Well, OK. But I think that when a well-known critic of Obama from the left chooses to link to “scathing criticism” of Obama from the left without qualification — although the punchline of said criticism is that “Obama should be defeated” — it’s not unreasonable to see this is an endorsement, particularly when you don’t mention your qualifications in follow-up engagements with critics. I’m glad you’re doing so here.

            • david mizner says:

              Half your criticism of Greenwald concerns what you think he feels, rather than what he explicitly says, even though what you claim he feels is almost always contradicted by what he has explicitly said.

              But I’ll take your effort to look into Greewald’s heart over the critique from Farley and others going on at the top of the thread, which boils down to, Greenwald is mean to people.

              • Well that’s a nice hand waive. Scott is (I think) basically saying that no matter what Greenwald wants to say he didn’t explicitly say, at this point we’re all more than justified in drawing inferences based on his repeated actions (linking, disagreeing with critics, etc.) whereas the upthread discussion was solely in response to your wondering what it is that makes every hate Greenwald so much.

              • Jim says:

                This was the tweet:

                Left-wing Harvard Law Prof (taught Obama) Roberto Unger offers scathing critique of Obama presidency & Democratic Party http://is.gd/wSzR0Z

                Left without additional qualification, there’s no other way to take this but that Greenwald, at the very least, finds this to be an intelligent analysis that’s worth considering. Just like he did with Matt Stoller’s TRENCHANT PIECE and Drew Westen’s GENUINELY PIERCING CONDEMNATION and all the rest.

                The thing is, they’re not. They’re really very stupid and they just serve Greenwald’s ends. And then he gets to come back here and lawyer his way around whether he disagreed with the semicolon at the end of the eighth paragraph. It’s obvious what he’s doing–it’s obvious because he does it constantly.

              • Robert Farley says:

                Where did Farley make this critique?

              • Scott Lemieux says:

                But I’ll take your effort to look into Greewald’s heart

                I’m doing no such thing. I’m saying that when you link without qualification (and sometimes with high praise) to enough Obamney arguments it’s fair to think that at a minimum you don’t find them objectionable. And this goes double given some of the dreck he endorses; as his huzzahs for Stoller indicate, there’s no argument so illogical or historically illiterate that he won’t praise it as long as it attacks Obama from the nominal left. And while Unger is (or at least was) a major thinker the quality of the diatribe Glenn tweeted barely rises above Stoller’s level. (Major brokerage party in advanced liberal democracy doesn’t advocate radical change! Stop the presses!)

              • John says:

                90% of your defense of Greenwald seems to involve acting as though it is improper to ever make inferences from things we read.

            • Glenn Greenwald says:

              Well, OK. But I think that when a well-known critic of Obama from the left chooses to link to “scathing criticism” of Obama from the left without qualification — although the punchline of said criticism is that “Obama should be defeated” — it’s not unreasonable to see this is an endorsement, particularly when you don’t mention your qualifications in follow-up engagements with critics. I’m glad you’re doing so here.

              Fair enough, but it’s Twitter, where everyone knows you’re very constrained. I actually started writing a post yesterday where I was going to post the Unger video and the first line said I was doing so without endorsing it (I ultimately decided not to post it because I just knew that even posting it would lead some people claiming forever that I had argued for an Obama defeat, no matter how many caveats I included saying that I wasn’t (just like people continue to say I endorsed Paul for President even though I began that post with 800 words explaining that I wasn’t doing it).

              I don’t subscribe to the theory that a GOP victory would be a good thing.

              • rea says:

                Oh, you don’t? Because that sure sounds like what you spend 95% of your time doing.

                But there’s a simple solution to this. Tell us which of the two candidates for president you want to see win this year. Surprise us all by endorsing Obama . . .

              • Jason says:

                It’s very good to hear this. I can attest that many followers of your blog do think it would be a good thing, from the progressive perspective, for Obama to be defeated. It might be productive for them to learn you have a dissenting view.

          • “No, it’s not. If I wanted to argue that Obama should lose in order to promote progressive causes, I’d do so directly, not by some passive-aggressive tweet that doesn’t even mention the issue.”

            Um, no you wouldn’t. Because then you’d lose the plausible deniability you so cherish when someone called you out on it.

            If you’re keeping score at home, we’ve now officially moved into “insult everyone’s intelligence” phase of the Greenwaldian passion play.

          • Jim says:

            Hard to see what actual value the fact that he was Obama’s former professor has to his actual arguments, but it’s transparently obvious that you included that fact to bolster the perception of credibility of those arguments. Arguing otherwise is laughably silly.

      • Lan says:

        So what’s a two-person circlejerk? Mutual masturbation?

  24. Barack Obama says:

    All I really want to know is why Green Greenwald uses Random Capitalization in his blog posts.

  25. chrismealy says:

    I had always assumed Greenwald was a libertarian. If he doesn’t want people to think that he should change something. I’d start with not shitting all over liberals all the time.

  26. patrick II says:

    Greenwald deliberately remains ambiguous on areas he does not write specifically about. He wants readers open to his opinions about civil liberties with an open mind — those who might otherwise categorize him as libertarian, liberal, progressive, or conservative, and once categorized have his ideas dismissed out of hand.

    Glenn has picked a couple of areas that are important to him to write about, he doesn’t want to carry the political baggage of writing outside of those areas. I would be very surprised if he agrees to Erik’s challenge.

    • Bijan Parsia says:

      That’s not consistent with Greenwald’s current (AFAICT, accurate) line the’s pro-union and economically left.

      I don’t think this works as a defence of Greenwald in the current context.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Note that according to former Cato staffer Will Wilkinson Cato refusal to compromise on civil liberties is designed to benefit Republicans::

    t’s tempting to think that Cato almost never does anything to help the Democrats largely because it’s just too far to the left of the Democratic Party on foreign policy and civil liberties. Yet Cato is equally far to the “right” of the Republican Party on economic policy, welfare policy, education policy, and lots more. Social Security privatization is a forced savings program. School vouchers and/or education tax credits are taxpayer-funded education. Lower income-tax rates concede the income tax. Again and again Cato finds a way to settle on non-ideal, “second-best” economic, welfare, and education policies, and argue for them in away that provides “ammo” to the right. But it very rarely develops compromising second-best policies on foreign policy or civil liberties that would be of any practical use to dovish or civil-libertarian Democrats. Why not? Why was coming out in favor of gay marriage more controversial at Cato (the state shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all!) than coming out in favor of school vouchers (the state shouldn’t be involved in education at all!)? Why not a bigger institutional push for medical marijuana as a second-best, nose-under-the-tent alternative to outright legalization? The fact is that Cato has so deeply internalized the ethos of the venerable right-fusionist alliance that there is almost no hope of it functioning on the whole in a truly non-partisan way. I think its status-quo reputation reflects that.

    Cato staff tend to use their principled intransigence on certain “left” issues as proof of their partisan neutrality. We’re the furthest thing from conservative! We want to legalize drugs and prostitution! We’re anti-war! I spent years saying this sort of thing. But now it strikes me that it is precisely this hesitancy to seriously commit to non-ideal, second-best policymaking on “left” issues — in the realms of foreign policy and civil and personal liberties — that makes Cato a de facto institution of the right. The issues on which you’re prepared to compromise and politic are the ones about which you’re most anxious to see the world move in your direction. Over the years, some at Cato have argued explicitly for recognizing the distorting effects of right-fusionism and for developing more fully natural alliances with the left, but in the end those people have not tended to find themselves really at home at Cato.

    • Rarely Posts says:

      Will Wilkinson is really smart. I don’t mean that as snark. This comment explains a very real phenomena that bugs me, but I never really had put my finger on (much less articulated) the exact problem.

  28. Sebastian H says:

    Frankly I can’t believe I’m defending Greewald, because he often plays the obnoxious prick who chases off people who should be on his side, but still:

    “What I really want is some concrete evidence that Greenwald actually believes what he says he does, particularly in light of the cover he provides CATO by working with them, his position on Citizens United”

    This is the two sides ONLY style of thinking that is so nasty in the US political sphere. Look, it is perfectly possible to believe that CATO as an institution supports the ideas that the drug war is really awful (a proposition not well in either party), that 4th amendment issues are really important (a proposition not well at home in the Republican party and which does not get much time in the Democratic Party), and that general laissez faire economics is best (a proposition that is well at home in the Republican Party).

    There could also exist a set of people who believe that the drug war is really awful, that 4th amendment issues are really important and that laissez faire economics is a bad idea. That person could easily, give talks on the first two issues with support (even FINANCIAL) from CATO without there being any particular reciprocal support given for the third issue. He isn’t ‘giving cover’ for laissez faire economics. He is getting money from CATO to support his already existing positions on the drug war and civil liberties.

    The Citizens United thing is in a similar vein. It is perfectly possible to believe that money corrupts politics (and politics corrupts money–see Microsoft and Google) without believing that restricting core first amendment political speech is a good way of doing it. The government was arguing that books published by entities in the corporate form (i.e. all book publishers) could be restricted from publishing political books near elections. You can argue that CU went to far or whatever, but the fact is that the government was arguing some seriously crazy shit–it wasn’t just a strawman.

    You know that Mormons, Protestants, Catholics and Muslims work together on pro-life issues and rather famously don’t get along on other issues, right? With certain very exceptional exceptions, it is perfectly ok to utilize political resources which you don’t agree 100% with in order to get results that you very much agree with.

  29. EngineerScotty says:

    I have no idea if Greenwald is an “economic Libertarian”–the suggestion that he must be so because he doesn’t desire to play for Team Blue strikes me as weak.

    That sort of argument sounds a bit like a neoconservative accusing Ron Paul of being a liberal because of Paul’s frequent departures from Team Red orthodoxy.

    My assumptions about Greenwald, valid until he writes something that contradicts them, are:

    * He cares a great deal about issues such as civil liberties, warfare, and the like; issues on which the Obama administration has been a grave disappointment.
    * He’s socially libertarian, but this seems to take a back seat to the first one. Back when Obama appeared to be dragging his feet on gay rights, Greenwald would routinely flame him for this. Now that Obama has come around (and ended DADT, declined to support DOMA, and endorsed gay marriage), Greenwald is silent on the issue–my suspicion is because Obama’s positions on civil liberties and warfare result in the President remaining firmly on Greenwald’s naughty list, preventing any praise for those issues where they do agree.
    * He doesn’t care much about economic issues, either way. He’s clearly not a trade unionist; though I see no evidence that he’s an economic libertarian, opposed to government regulation of the economy.
    * He doesn’t care about partisan politics, and sees no reason to prefer one party over the other, unless one party is clearly better on the issues he cares about. Were he to show any preference for a party, it would only last so long as the party held to his ideology; he will not permit party loyalties to define his ideology.
    * And, he’s an irascible sort, who tends to assume the worst of those who disagree with him. He seems to assume that he’s manifestly correct on the issues that he cares deeply about, and anyone who thinks otherwise is either a bad actor or a fool–in either case, nobody worthy of respectful engagement.

    • Robert Farley says:

      +1

    • tt says:

      Greenwald has actually repeatedly praised Obama for his accomplishments on gay rights.

    • david mizner says:

      Lots wrong and some right in this comment.

      This is just wrong:

      Now that Obama has come around (and ended DADT, declined to support DOMA, and endorsed gay marriage), Greenwald is silent on the issue

      He’s never written much about gay rights, even though it’s the issue that affects him the most directly, and nonethless wrote several pieces cheering Obama’s gay marriage decision.

    • Glenn Greenwald says:

      Engineer Scotty

      Now that Obama has come around (and ended DADT, declined to support DOMA, and endorsed gay marriage), Greenwald is silent on the issue

      It will never cease to amaze me how people think they can just spit out whatever pops into their brain on the Interent without having the slightest idea of whether it’s true:

      Me at Salon:

      [Obama's] record on LGBT equality has not been perfect, but it is one area where he has been quite impressive. He engineered the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. His Justice Department is refusing to defend the constitutionality of DOMA in court, a very unusual step. He has ushered in a series of important federal spousal benefits for gay employees of the federal government.

      And now, for the first time, the office of the American President is officially supporting a policy that a mere decade ago was deemed truly radical: same-sex marriage. Those are real achievements.

      And, as virtually all polls reflect – underscored by last night’s landslide defeat for marriage equality in North Carolina — they carry genuine political risk. He deserves credit for his actions in this civil rights realm.

      Me, in an Op-Ed in The Guardian entitled “Obama’s historic affirmation of same-sex marriage”: “There are many disappointments and truly bad acts for which President Obama is responsible, but for one day at least, on this single issue, he demonstrated authentic and important leadership on a civil rights issue that affects millions.”

      Me, on the Lawrence O’Donnell Show: Obama “deserves enthusiastic, unqualified praise” for having his DOJ stop defending DOMA.

      Robert Farley unsuprisingly “+1″ this comment because nobody jumps more eagerly on baseless statements than he.

      Do you two see how completely baseless and false this statement is? Do you even bother to check things before embracing them?

      • Bijan Parsia says:

        Hi Glenn,

        I’m wondering if you’ll get a chance to respond to my earlier comment.

        Thanks!

        Also, I’d be interested to know what evidence you have for:

        Robert Farley unsuprisingly “+1″ this comment because nobody jumps more eagerly on baseless statements than he.

        I mean, is this “of the population of this blog”? Or in the world? What’s your sampling methodology? Indeed, what’s your coding script for “jumps more eagerly” or “baseless”.

        I supposed we could measure eagerness by quantity, but Robert doesn’t comment all that often (indeed, his total comments are dwarfed by any number of commenters here). A confounding factor could be that he doesn’t regard enough comments to be sufficiently baseless to jump on? But surely you don’t think he jumps on them because he thinks they are baseless?!?

        Perhaps timing would indicate eagerness?

        And there’s an ambiguity: “Jumps on” could mean “attacks”, a thing I like to think is true of me rather than “on board with” which, I presume, you meant.

      • “Robert Farley unsuprisingly “+1″ this comment because nobody jumps more eagerly on baseless statements than he.”

        Because that one part was the ONLY thing in the entire comment with which Rob could have been agreeing with, of course. But no, Greenwald doesn’t assume impure motives on the part of anyone who thinks him anything short of a genius or impatiently rush to insults, and if you say that he does you’re a lying scoundrel who probably can’t even read at a sufficient level to pass a standardized test!

        • Janastas359 says:

          Glenn, then: Twitter is an abbreviated medium! How dare you infer my meaning from a short message!

          Glenn, now: Your very short comment is all I need to condemn you and everything you believe!

        • Donald says:

          So it doesn’t matter that Farley endorsed an analysis of GG that was clearly wrong? Anyone who read Glenn regularly would have known that he praised Obama on his recent stance on gay rights.

      • SpaceSquid says:

        I wonder if Robert Farley will return imminently to argue:

        “I didn’t realize that I endorsed any specific baseless statements at all.”

        Why, it’s almost as though giving the impression of general agreement can lead others to infer agreement on each specific point!

        Absent everything else, it would be far easier to read Glenn Greenwald if he put any effort into the same “innocent until proven guilty” approach to his rhetorical opponents as he demands he is worthy of himself.

        • Actually I prefer it the way it is, since it makes it readily apparent that his “I didn’t say that” claims are as bogus as they appear.

        • FlipYrWhig says:

          No, you don’t understand. When Greenwald forwards, retweets, or makes approving gestures about, say, Paul or Unger, it’s carefully situated and painstakingly partial. But when anyone else does such a thing, it’s sweeping and total. The key is that when Greenwald does things, it is always for unimpeachable motives erected on the basis of pure integrity, but when not-Greenwalds do things, it is incumbent upon us to presume the worst.

          • SpaceSquid says:

            I always wanted to ask Greenwald whether his links to/retweets of people in the “If you think Obama can’t get things through a hostile Congress you’re an idiot for wanting to re-elect him/thinking a Republican would be worse” actually indicates his support. I almost got there once, but we got sidetracked into an argument about drones. Imagine.

    • Glenn Greenwald says:

      Engineer Scotty

      Back when Obama appeared to be dragging his feet on gay rights, Greenwald would routinely flame him for this.

      This is actually just as untrue as your claim that I didn’t praise Obama when he did good things on gay issues. I barely every criticized him on gay issues; in fact, I don’t think I ever did, and if I did, it was very rare and tepid.

      I have, however – as I just demonstrated — loudly, clearly and in multiple venues praised him on these issues.

      • Oh good, you’re back. Now you can clear up that question about your voting preferences for us.

      • EngineerScotty says:

        I missed that, obviously; as noted above. Good for you; I retract that criticism.

        How does the remainder of the post summarize your position, though? You seem to focus on civil liberties issues; Obama fails on these, therefore you don’t support him–none of which should be construed, however, to place you on the economic right.

    • “My assumptions about Greenwald, valid until he writes something that contradicts them,”

      That is not how the word “valid” works.

  30. Scott S. says:

    Well, crud, I got in too late to have all the fun.

    I will say, though, that I think of Glenn Greenwald in the same way I think of Charles Carreon, the crazy lawyer waging a jihad against TheOatmeal.

  31. Ya know, this actually shouldn’t be that hard to suss out: Glenn, in a hypothetical matchup between Gary Johnson (or Ron Paul) and Barack Obama, which candidate would you vote for?

    • CaptBackslap says:

      Ron Paul and Gary Johnson aren’t really equivalent in that comparison. The former, in addition to having less liberal-friendly priorities and several plainly religious-right stands (e.g. abortion), is a crazy person. The latter has a lot of views I disagree with, but is generally a pretty awesome dude.

      • Well that’s great, but in so much as “I’d vote for Johnson but not Paul” is a valid choice if that is in fact the answer (not that that would make any practical difference here) I don’t see how it’s germane.

        • CaptBackslap says:

          It’s germane insofar as I don’t want to see Johnson tarred with the Paul brush in general, and it would certainly make a practical difference in this case; I would lose some respect for Glenn Greenwald if he would hypothetically vote for Paul, but I would understand a hypothetical Johnson vote given Greenwald’s priorities.

      • Erik Loomis says:

        Why is Gary Johnson an awesome dude? Because he likes to climb mountains and snort cocaine? I mean, that’s way cooler than his horrendous economic policies that would impoverish millions of Americans.

        • CaptBackslap says:

          Well, obviously we’re in and-a-pony territory here, since the “Rent is Too Damn High” guy has as good a shot of being President as Gary Johnson.

          But his civil liberties views are sterling across the board (unlike Paul’s), for starters. Ending the drug war would be quite helpful here, and a gigantic boon for Latin America. Getting rid of our horrific agriculture subsidies would save a lot of third-world lives at a stroke. And obviously, not garrisoning the whole world and bombing half of it would be a huge gain, both economically and morally, in addition to improving national security.

          All that said, yes, his domestic economic policies would be a disaster. But I’m not convinced that humanity as a whole wouldn’t gain from his policies taken as a whole.

          • Scott Lemieux says:

            A libertarian would not end the drug war, which is largely done on the state level. Paul would, on balance, probably make it worse; since Johnson at least believes the Bill of Rights applies to the states he might be a net positive, but hardly enough to balance away his horrible economic policies.

          • chris says:

            Well, obviously we’re in and-a-pony territory here, since the “Rent is Too Damn High” guy has as good a shot of being President as Gary Johnson.

            Maybe more; almost everyone who is not a landlord agrees that the rent is, in fact, too damn high.

    • Joe says:

      I have a feeling Glenn’s response would be the same as many who happily voted for Obama in 2008 but are now reluctant, no matter the hypothetical (or real) opponent:

      None of the Above.

      • rea says:

        Alas, “none of the above” doesn’t work–one of those two guys is going to be elected president. Opposing Candidate A = Supporting Candidate B–it’s a zero sum game. So, once again, the question: which one?

  32. My challenge to Erik Loomis is to acknowledge that “you wrote for and spoke at Cato on issues that are clearly part of your core interests and about which Cato’s own longstanding positions dovetail with yours” counts as no evidence whatsoever for the proposition “you secretly agree with Cato about a whole bunch of stuff that’s not part of your core specialty.” None at all. This is basic Occam’s Razor stuff.

    GG is a a major civil libertarian voice on due process, executive power, the drug war, the war on terror, and related issues. Cato’s positions on those questions are civil libertarian. And there aren’t a lot of prominent voices or a lot of major Washington institutions taking those positions. One would expect this level of shared activity. There’s no puzzle here requiring the solution “GG is a secret libertarian.”

    As far as I can tell the real issue is that Loomis doesn’t believe that one could sincerely believe civil liberties questions are important enough to justify breaking bread with pharisees, and doesn’t believe that anyone else could believe so. This is a theory about libertarian cooties combined with a trivialization of civil liberties.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      I do think this is an important point. Cato isn’t (or, at least, wasn’t) AEI or Fox News; they do have a genuine commitment to civil liberties, and I really don’t think that publishing for them about civil liberties tells us anything. If they asked me to write something for a Supreme Court review about today’s Sixth Amendment case I would do so without hesitation, and I would hope this wouldn’t be taken to mean that I therefore favor privatizing Social Security.

      • Bijan Parsia says:

        Scott, admit it, you want Ron Paul to be the Republican Nominee!

        That’s why you wrote so much about him!

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Hey, I do want Ron Paul to be the Republican nominee, if only to prove the limits of polisci election models. Now, if there’s any chance I think he could win…

      • Richard says:

        Under Erik’s theory, that accusation would be made. Reminds me of Zero Mostel’s testimony before HUAC. He was asked why he performed his dying butterfly impersonation before a Commie front organization. He responded that if anyone asks him to perform his dying butterfly impersonation, he takes them up on the offer no matter what.

  33. Ross Douchehat says:

    Shorter Erik Loomis:

    Glenn Greenwald, despite numerous actions and statements to the contrary in the public record, I’ve decided you’re a libertarian. Prove me wrong!

    This is the stupidest post I’ve read on this blog for some time.

    • Joe says:

      Seconded.

    • david mizner says:

      I wish I had just thirded this comment instead of writing my own 20 comments. Must. Break. Free. Now.

    • BenP says:

      Greenwald, SECRET CATO MAN is barely a notch above “Obama is a secret commie Muslim!”. Show us your progressive birth certificate Greenwald. Then everything will be fine.

      And where the Obama admin routinely murders Muslims and abets crony capitalism, confusing many a right winger.. Loomis and co also have trouble reconciling Greenwald’s scathing criticism with the deceptive framing necessary to integrate “progressive” support of neoliberal hawks like Obama.

  34. Patrick Meighan says:

    Very damning photo you led your post with: Glenn Greenwald at Cato. Ohmygod, so meaningful.

    Here’s a photo of Glenn Greenwald speaking at the 2011 Socialism Conference.

    Because photos mean stuff!

    Patrick Meighan
    Culver City, CA

  35. Jeff says:

    The best part is reading how many times somebody starts there arguement on the high ground with something like, “Glenn it is just upsetting that you always say X.”

    Then Glenn (go up there and read all the examples) says, “Actually, I never said that. Please show me where i said that. I’ll show you, here, here and here, that I said Y.”

    Then the person comes back and says, “You are so thin skinned.” Or “You get so mad.” or….

    And there’s somebody who wants him to endorse Obama.

    • “And there’s somebody who wants him to endorse Obama.”

      Well if he doesn’t think Romney would be a preferable alternative and he isn’t pining for a third party Paul/Johnson candidacy as he claims, what’s wrong with this?

  36. Asteele says:

    Well with eric turning to the unreadable side, i guess this is it for me and LGM, kisses!

    • Furious Jorge says:

      Oh, but we’ll miss you so …

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      It’s really sad that we never got to see your second comment.

    • Richard says:

      Here’s the problem with Erik. He posts some good stuff but he posts way too often and he often posts in a fit of rage and without putting any thought except rage and anger into the post. Not only the silly charge against Greenwald (who’s not one of my favorite guys but is clearly no libertarian) but the “Facebook guys are traitors” and many other posts come to mind.

      • Donald says:

        “he often posts in a fit of rage and without putting any thought except rage and anger into the post. Not only the silly charge against Greenwald (who’s not one of my favorite guys but is clearly no libertarian) but the “Facebook guys are traitors” and many other posts come to mind.”

        Is that true? I’m new to this whole Erik Loomis scene, but if this post is any guide, there could be hours of entertainment to be had.

        And when he’s not acting like a lunatic, maybe I’ll learn some things about labor issues too. Win/win.

  37. norbizness says:

    I HEREBY CHALLENGE MATTHEW YGLESIAS TO DEVELOP A WHOLLY ORIGINAL RECIPE THAT USES SQUASH AS ITS MAIN INGREDIENT. P.S. I AM NOT A CRACKPOT.

  38. billzillski says:

    Score another win for Glenn. I left this blog months ago due to its inability to play well with others. Nothing has changed.

    • And here come the Glennbots to dutifully defend Dear Leader, I guess.

      • Pinko Punko says:

        I feel like it is easily recognizable that Erik’s posts and personality have altered this blog, whether for a net improvement or not is up to the reader. Even though “I shan’t be back” is such a sad blog trope, commenting to that effect is relatively non-controversial. The “..bot/Dear Leader” gambit is such a great chestnut. Now my blogfight bingo card is a winner.

    • Malaclypse says:

      Wait, someone who never posted here before will leave?

      • MPAVictoria says:

        My thoughts exactly. I enjoy Erik’s posts even though I do not always agree with them. It is nice to see Labor’s perspective somewhere as we never get to see it in the mainstream press.

      • jeer9 says:

        I’m leaving, too. It may be a delayed reaction, but I haven’t recovered from the last time Lemieux described me as a Polanski apologist.

        The bloggers on this site just like to twist words. Did you hear me? Just. Twist. Words. Dear Jesus, when will it stop?!!!!!

    • IM says:

      That is not a win for Glenn. Loomis defeated himself within a few sentences.

  39. Hi Eric! You and Glenn can learn why Professional Progressives need Internet Voting if they are finally to win something, at http://goo.gl/9dglz
    Nothing can empower the working class more – see this article plus my comment there,http://www.newsleader.com/article/20120530/OPINION02/205300312/Can-Internet-help-counter-Big-Money-
    William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
    Author: Internet Voting Now
    Twitter: wjkno1

  40. Visitor says:

    Well, this is late and lacking in empirical validation, but what the heck — maybe pro-labor activists & theorists are more accustomed to seeing their own moral high ground as clear, clean, and largely unblemished. This blog has offered remembrances of many labor leaders, & some have complicated habits and histories, but we can easily think of their spouses, children, or other blameless parties who will be helped.

    Civil-liberties lawyers may be more used to choosing their steps carefully in a muddy moral ground with tons of obvious garbage, e.g. delivering a fantastic defense of a person *because* the evidence against them is too week, even though you *know* in your heart of hearts that they committed the crime. Back before Dershowitz reversed himself on the atrocity we call torture, I had a lot of respect for him, and I knew I could NEVER ever do his job. (And sure maybe we can think of the innocent spouses, children, etc etc etc who we are protecting from abuse of/from the justice system, but still…. high-profile defense attorney? NOT ME.)

    So I identify more w/Erik Loomis in this situation, which I will now think of as the Great Squash Recipe Post, thanks to norbizness. And I will try to see humor & show a little grace the next time I — in my earnest high-mindedness — go off the rails in a similar fashion.

  41. soullite says:

    Lmao. The problem with this argument is that it breaks down to “Stop talking about what you want to talk about; start talking about what I want you to talk about”.

    Add to that the differing positions of these two bloggers (one a very strongly pro-Obama blogger, the other very critical of Obama’s civil liberties positions), and you leave a strong impression that the subtext of this post is ‘STFU, this is an election year’.

  42. Pith Helmet says:

    Well, I think we all learned a little something about ourselves today. What, I’m not sure.

  43. Freddie says:

    This post is absolutely chock-full of typical LGM redbaiting bullshit. Keep stoking the flames of liberal purges, guys, it’s working out so well for the cause.

  44. [...] who they consider a little too Girondins (or for those of us unfamiliar with the French Revolution, insufficiently pure) in their beliefs or associations. Nor was it shocking that Change responded to the criticism by [...]

  45. Ken says:

    Wow. It really sounds like you want his head on a stick.

  46. christian h. says:

    Note that in the whole OP no single example of a libertarian economic policy Greenwald supports is cited. Not a single one. Based on this failure to provide a single example of Greenwald supporting a single libertarian economic policy, Loomis claims that Greenwald… is an economic libertarian. That is just blatantly dishonest. Loomis knows this, so to save his non-argument he turns the burden of proof around and demands Greenwald post on his favourite issues. That is always a nice game to play. Shall we choose some issues Loomis has not posted about and then invent an opinion he must therefore hold about them?

    By the way, Loomis has worked on reports for Los Alamos National Laboratory, in 2005. I conclude that he supports nuclear war and find it instructive that he took money from the Bush administration nuclear weapons program. Or maybe not. Maybe this means absolutely nothing. Maybe Loomis worked on perfectly valuable reports that just happened to be financed by the nuclear weapons arm of the DoE or by the DoD. Maybe this does not allow anyone to draw very many conclusions about Loomis’ politics.

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