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Clarifying an Argument

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Glenn Greenwald is a profoundly dishonest person.

In his article today, entitled “The Racism that Fuels the War on Terror,” Greenwald uses me as an example of someone who gives cover to the war on terror.

Here’s the actual article I wrote which Greenwald uses as his evidence.

Connor Friedersdorf writes the kind of political essay I can’t see anyone but a privileged white person writing. Going as far as to nearly (but not quite he says!) compare President Obama to an apologist for slavery, he can’t stomach voting for Obama because of his policies in Pakistan, drones, etc.

Instead, he says we should vote for Gary Johnson since there’s a candidate who won’t do those things.

In a sense I respect it when people care so much about one issue that they can’t vote for any candidate who disagrees. On the other hand, Friedersdorf doesn’t seem to care one iota about the horrible economic and social policies a Romney administration would enact. He doesn’t seem to care at all about labor, abortion rights, gay rights, environmental policy, etc., etc. It’s all about drones, civil liberties, and such. And Obama has indeed sucked on those issues.

But given that Friedersdorf probably doesn’t have to worry much about his next paycheck or be concerned about having an unwanted fetus in his body, it’s a luxury for him to be a one-issue voter on this particular issue. It’s all too typical of a lot of angry left-wing white men from Glenn Greenwald on down who live privileged enough lives that they can find the one issue where there really aren’t any differences on the two parties and instead suggest alternatives that completely ignore the poor in this country, whether being Paul-curious to not voting to voting for a whacko like Gary Johnson. That doesn’t solve any problems and it goes back to the worthlessness of politics to make a point I talked about last week.

Now, I regret that first sentence to some extent because it is too broad and generalizing. But let’s look at the actual argument, which is that a bunch of white males like Connor Friedersdorf and Glenn Greenwald writing articles with the specific goal in mind of telling progressives it is OK to vote for Gary Johnson or another 3rd party vanity candidate because of one issue where the 2 parties unfortunately hold similarly bad positions is real easy to do when the very real differences between those parties don’t affect you–i.e., abortion rights, racial issues, labor rights, environmental protections, etc. To make such an argument reflects both a naive understanding of how American politics work and, yes, can reflect white male privilege. It basically says, “I am willing to sacrifice the future of women having the right to an abortion in order to cast a meaningless vote on a candidate with no chance of winning so that I can make a point about how morally righteous and correct I am.”

No doubt Glenn will disagree with this characterization. But a shift to the far right in American life was the consequence of the Nader debacle in 2000. If I’m wrong about this, please provide evidence. If enough progressives voted for a 3rd party candidate to give Romney the election, the message would have been what exactly? And who would have sacrificed personally to make that message? Not the large majority of the people making those arguments.

Note the argument I made is not against opposing drones. And it doesn’t say that only privileged white dudes would have a reason for opposing drones. The argument I made specifically revolved around the 2012 elections. I completely support Greenwald’s critique of unchecked executive power on drones and other issues. Unlike Glenn, I opposed the Iraq War from the beginning, opposed Obama’s surge in Afghanistan and will almost certainly oppose future U.S. wars, whether started by Republicans or Democrats.

I mean, Glenn can throw around accusations of racism all he wants to. But he can only do in reference to my article if he chooses to intentionally misrepresent my points. Of course, he does choose to do that, even though he’s linked to that piece 100 times now.

It’d be nice if Glenn could characterize my arguments with a modicum of honesty. But that’s obviously too much to ask. I’ve been tempted to write this post about 10 times and haven’t done it. But being linked to in a post where he talks about the “racism that fuels the war on terror” is profoundly offensive and beyond the pale of acceptability. I must respond.

…..In the comments, someone asked to block quote the specific point in Greenwald’s article where my piece was linked. Here it is:

Amazingly, some Democratic partisans, in order to belittle these injustices, like to claim that only those who enjoy the luxury of racial and socioeconomic privilege would care so much about these issues. That claim is supremely ironic. It reverses reality. That type of privilege is not what leads one to care about and work against these injustices. To the contrary, it’s exactly that privilege that causes one to dismiss concerns over these injustices and mock and scorn those who work against them. The people who insist that these abuses are insignificant and get too much attention are not the ones affected by them, because they’re not Muslim, and thus do not care.

I am the Democratic partisan to which he refers. Which is weird because I don’t even like the Democratic Party. I vote for Democrats because I understand how American politics work, but those votes are usually with nose held closed to keep out the stench, Rhode Island’s excellent senators excluded.

I’ll let Chester Allman in comments respond to that paragraph:

Let’s see… “in order to belittle these injustices” is astoundingly dishonest – it suggests that Loomis’s goal is to “belittle” opposition to racism and drone strikes, when anyone with even a modicum of honesty or reading comprehension skills would understand that this is not Loomis’s purpose at all.

Again: “causes one to dismiss concerns over these injustices and mock and scorn those who work against them.” And yet Loomis does not dismiss these concerns, and does not “mock and scorn those who work against them” – he shares the concerns; he only opposes the idea of sacrificing the lives, health, and well-being of millions of people for the sake of a completely futile, symbolic gesture.

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  • dporpentine

    But a shift to the far right in American life was the consequence of the Nader debacle in 2000. If I’m wrong about this, please provide evidence.

    Uh, how about if you’re right, provide some evidence.

    The idea that Nader’s presence on the ballot in 2000 drove *the country* to the right is . . . hallucinatory.

    • Pathman

      ^^^^What he said.^^^^

      • Seriously, you guys don’t think it’s self-evident? Were you, like Greenwald, not paying attention (or worse, cheerleading) in 2002, 2003, 2004, and in to 2005? You know, Nader was an insufficient but necessary factor in Bush getting close enough to stealing Florida so SCOTUS could give him the White House. Then we had the tax cuts, the xenophobia & jingoism and grotesque pseudo-patriotism that started a few months after 9-11, when Rove et al realized that a show of solidarity with liberals/Democrats wouldn’t help them at the ballot box (after the 2001 Dem victories in NJ and VA) and they went to full-on fear mongering. Then bullshit about Iraq, the toadying of the media, the crony capitalism, the judicial appointments that made the appellate courts worse and have the SCOTUS much further to the right by replacing O’Connor w Alito, constitutional bans on gay marriage, worsening wealth and income inequality…I’d ask if I should go on, but wtf, why should someone supposedly aware enough to be commenting on this blog even need to be reminded of this shitshow?

        And if you don’t think that pushed the nation to the right for several years, with effects it will take at least several more years to reverse…well, wow. You must be new to this blog, and at best acquainted with reality, but certainly not a resident of it.

        • dporpentine

          No, I don’t think that the rightward shift in American life is at all self-evident, and nothing you describe above strikes me as illustrating it.

          As Stick says below:

          it is clear that “a shift to the far right in American life was the consequence of the Nadar debacle” glosses over the long term secular shift rightward in American politics over the past thirty to forty years. I mean Third Way politics was already alive and well long before Nadar ran for president.

          • brewmn

            If we all agree that Erik meant “shifted american politics to the right, can we get off of this non-issue?

            • I’m rather enjoying the demonstration of overlap between unrepentant Naderites & fervent followers of Greenwald.

              • DrDick

                You needed additional evidence?

                • Do you “need” that extra chip or cookie or beer or scoop of ice cream? No. But doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy it.

                • DrDick

                  ;-)

        • The NATION did not shift rightward, rather, the politicians did so. Probably because they’re well paid to do their corporate overlord’s bidding. We voted the Dems into power in ’06, hoping for investigations and possibly even impeachment proceedings, and certainly some severe curbs put on Presidential “power”. What did we get? NOTHING.

          • “possibly even impeachment proceedings,”

            Yeah, that says more about you than it does about anyone else.

          • You know, I managed the campaign of one of the Democrats who defeated an incumbent Republican Congressman in 2006. Then I was his chief of staff.

            Number of times anyone contacted us to ask for him to support impeachment hearings: 0

            So, regarding that “we,” you got a mouse in your pocket or something?

    • The election of George W. Bush drove the country to the right. We can go into this in detail for the 4,000,000th time, but Nader’s intentional sabotaging of Gore in Florida and New Hampshire at the end of the campaign was responsible for the election of Bush. I will say nothing more on this because we’ve repeated this ad nauseum. Others can take up the mantle if they choose.

      • dporpentine

        An election = the electorate. You can argue (wrongly, I’d say) that Nader put Bush in office (that would be the Supreme Court). But what you said was that he drove “the country” to the right. The country is not its officeholders.

        Also, why not quote what Greenwald actually wrote about you? There’s a blockquote tag crying out for use here.

        • You can argue (wrongly, I’d say) that Nader put Bush in office (that would be the Supreme Court).

          “I didn’t kill that guy. The hatchet did that.”

          The country is not its officeholders.

          The officeholders we ended up with drove the country to the right.

          You really don’t like two-step processes, do you?

        • Chester Allman

          I’ll bite:

          Amazingly, some Democratic partisans, in order to belittle these injustices, like to claim that only those who enjoy the luxury of racial and socioeconomic privilege would care so much about these issues. That claim is supremely ironic. It reverses reality. That type of privilege is not what leads one to care about and work against these injustices. To the contrary, it’s exactly that privilege that causes one to dismiss concerns over these injustices and mock and scorn those who work against them. The people who insist that these abuses are insignificant and get too much attention are not the ones affected by them, because they’re not Muslim, and thus do not care.

          Let’s see… “in order to belittle these injustices” is astoundingly dishonest – it suggests that Loomis’s goal is to “belittle” opposition to racism and drone strikes, when anyone with even a modicum of honesty or reading comprehension skills would understand that this is not Loomis’s purpose at all.

          Again: “causes one to dismiss concerns over these injustices and mock and scorn those who work against them.” And yet Loomis does not dismiss these concerns, and does not “mock and scorn those who work against them” – he shares the concerns; he only opposes the idea of sacrificing the lives, health, and well-being of millions of people for the sake of a completely futile, symbolic gesture.

          Greenwald really is a disgrace.

          • Reilly

            And the final distortion: “The people who insist that these abuses are insignificant and get too much attention…” Those people, of course, didn’t exist until Greenwald created them.
            The finger of moral righteousness can’t simply point, it has to point down, therefore the moral giant has to populate his world with moral midgets.

        • Glenn Greenwald

          Also, why not quote what Greenwald actually wrote about you? There’s a blockquote tag crying out for use here.

          Because quoting me would reveal that not only is he lying when he claims I encouraged people not to vote for Obama, but ia also lying about what he claims I said about him in my column today. It’s a telltale sign of dishonesty when someone purports to respond to a critique without quoting it.

          Here’s the full paragraph I wrote where I linked to him – I stand behind it 100%:

          Amazingly, some Democratic partisans, in order to belittle these injustices, like to claim that only those who enjoy the luxury of racial and socioeconomic privilege would care so much about these issues. That claim is supremely ironic. It reverses reality. That type of privilege is not what leads one to care about and work against these injustices. To the contrary, it’s exactly that privilege that causes one to dismiss concerns over these injustices and mock and scorn those who work against them. The people who insist that these abuses are insignificant and get too much attention are not the ones affected by them, because they’re not Muslim, and thus do not care.

          The perception that the state violence, rights abridgments and expansions of government power ushered in by the War on Terror affect only Muslims long ago stopped being true. But ensuring that people continue to believe that is the key reason why it has been permitted to continue for so long.

          I love how certain partisan liberal blogs which contantly cited and praised my work from 2005-2008 suddenly discovered all of my fundamental character flaws beginning right around January 20, 2009. I wonder what changed?

          • You are a parody of yourself.

            • David M. Nieporent

              Pot, kettle…

              Couldn’t you guys have done this last week, or next week? This would be a pure popcorn moment, but it’s unfortunately Pesach.

          • It’s a telltale sign of dishonesty when someone purports to respond to a critique without quoting it.

            Are we not supposed to notice that you didn’t quote any of the people who attacked in your piece?

          • It’s a telltale sign of dishonesty when someone purports to respond to a critique without quoting it.

            It’s a telltale sign of weak-argument-padding when you have to lump in a random tweet and a blog comment.

          • Brandon

            I’ll note that you refer to Erik’s critique without quoting it.

            • slightly_peeved

              both in the original article and his response in comments.

              it’s non-quoting responses all the way down!

          • “I love how certain partisan liberal blogs which contantly cited and praised my work from 2005-2008 suddenly discovered all of my fundamental character flaws beginning right around January 20, 2009. ”

            Nailed it!!!

            http://lawyersgunsmon.wpengine.com/2013/03/clarifying-an-argument/comment-page-1#comment-489733

          • Paul Beaulieu

            Glenn,

            While I like the fact that you have raised the issue of drone strikes and the like, it seems to me the only reason for you to attack Eric Loomis in your article is because he mentioned you in passing in a somewhat disparaging manner.

            I mean, forgive me, but where’s the substantive disagreement here? You say you didn’t encourage people to vote against Obama. He does not deny that the Obama administration’s record on civil liberties and foreign policy is lousy. What’s this all about then? Why should we care?

            Was Loomis wrong in criticizing you for focusing on the drones issue in such a way as to treat all other issues as unimportant? Well, then, surely the appropriate response is to show that this critique is ill-founded. But instead you are implying that Loomis was in fact dismissing all concerns about drone strikes for partisan reasons. You stand by that claim, do you? To me, it devalues the contribution you are making when you engage in personal vendettas against critics.

            • Thanks for trying to refocus this discussion on substantive issues rather than personal backbiting. Doubt it will work though.

          • Hi Glenn,

            I’m wondering if I could get a reply to this comment.

            I know there’s a lot flying about so if it’s too much trouble, no worries. I would be interested in your reply though!

          • Reilly

            I love how certain partisan liberal blogs which contantly cited and praised my work from 2005-2008 suddenly discovered all of my fundamental character flaws beginning right around January 20, 2009. I wonder what changed?

            I find it interesting that you use the phrase “character flaws”.
            Yesterday evening I sent this e-mail to Farley:

            I thought you might find this interesting in a curious sort of way. I just read Greenwald’s latest piece, purportedly about how Chomsky is marginalized by people who attack his “style” and “personality” rather than the substance of his arguments, and I can’t seem to read it as anything other than Greenwald’s thinly disguised self-referential attempt at inoculating himself against criticism. And perhaps I’m taking it too far, but I’m almost convinced that it’s partly in answer to your post and the ensuing thread from last week. The similarity of the quotes he cherry picks about Krugman and Chomsky to some of the criticisms of him on that thread are strangely similar. Other than that, you may not be surprised, Greenwald’s piece fails miserably as an essay.
            Now that I feel as if I’ve said, “Robert, will you try this milk, I think it’s gone bad”, I’ll bid you goodnight.

            Maybe I wasn’t taking it too far after all.

          • Jewish Steel

            I wonder if I will be able to wade though more than two paragraphs of GG’s stultifying, ill-written hogwash.

            Even those cretins over at LoOG circumlocutize less than this cowardly, crypto-Republican.

        • Greg

          If the very real differences between Gore and Bush were not enough to drive you to cast a vote to prevent Bush from taking office, then you are one of the political actors that drove the nation’s policies to the right.

          Besides, as Nader himself is fond of saying, the highest office in the land is that of citizen. If living in a democracy means anything, it’s that you don’t get to wash your hands of the government’s actions just because you disagree with them. You have to actually take actions that will have the effect of stopping the things you disagree with from happening.

        • justaguy

          The election drove the US state to the right, which has concrete consequences for the people living in the country. Sure, my Metallica t shirt is in the US, and it didn’t become more conservative under Bush than it was under Clinton, so what? The meaning of the statement is clear, semantic nitpicking aside, and if you’d like to contest that meaning please do.

          • But what about your Dennis Miller t-shirt?

            • Anonymous

              +1

        • DrDick

          This is absolutely sophomoric. Elected officials set the policies and by contributing to the election of hard right Republicans (and our only actual choices were between Republicans and Democrats) helped drive American policies (and in effect the country) hard right.

      • Manta

        I think you got causation wrong, Erik: the drive of the country (i.e.: of the electorate) to the right caused Bush’s election.

        For comparison, see Bush’s second term election; there was no Nader there, and he still won handily.

        • Chester Allman

          I disagree with you (and, to an extent, with Erik). I don’t think the country ever really moved to the right; our policymakers did. We were a relatively apolitical, centrist electorate in 2000, and the campaign reflected that reality. Both Gore and Bush ran towards the center. Some people took the (incorrect) lesson that this meant there was no difference between the two – of course, the two represented vastly different policy universes.

          Bush’s reelection in 2004 didn’t have much to do with the country’s ideological orientation – he was an incumbent, the economy was okay, there was a war on, the various disasters Bush created were not really clear yet.

          Erik’s overall point stands, though – Nader’s strategy caused a sharp, objective shift to the right in American policy. Whether or not the electorate itself agreed is not really relevant.

        • 1. Handily is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. Bush won re-election with the smallest share of the vote any re-elected incumbent received in the modern era.

          2. Obviously 9/11 and subsequent events had a big part in the 2002/04 elections, but even looking just at the policies Bush enacted/pushed prior to that point there’s quite a bit of difference between his administration and a likely Gore administration (and that’s without even considering how the effect of 9/11 would have been different with Gore in office instead of Bush).

      • wengler

        Those 70,000 black people that Bush’s brother pulled off the voting register had nothing to do with it…

        Seriously, fuck this argument for the 4 millionth time. Bush stole the fucking election. Nader had nothing to do with that. Jews for fucking Buchanan with the assist.

        Everytime you or especially Lemieux bring this up it’s like ‘Nah man I don’t give a shit about all that horrible illegal stuff the Republicans pulled, it’s that Nader fucker over there!’

        • Funny how this wholly ignores New Hampshire.

        • UserGoogol

          Most things in society have multiple causes. Bush did all sorts of funny business to help incease his odds of winning, yes. Nader also did things which increased his odds of winning. What Bush did was probably more immoral, but it’s precisely for that reason why talking about Nader matters.

          Republicans knew damned well they were playing dirty, so chastizing them for that won’t really change their behavior much. On the other hand, liberals who voted for Nader were acting contrary not only to “doing the right thing,” but to their own interests. And thus, it should be easier to persuade Naderites to never do that again than it is to persuade Republicans to not do what they did again.

        • Funny, did taking black voters off the role and Jews for Buchanan cost Gore New Hampshire, where the Nader vote was greater than Bush’s winning margin?

          Oh, wait, lemme guess, for the 4 millionth time, you’re not really engaging the argument?

    • META ALERT!

      Erik didn’t write or imply that “Nader’s presence on the ballot in 2000 drove *the country* to the right,” he referred to the “Nader debacle,” which I take him to me what I would mean if I wrote that sentence: not Nader’s presence, but his dishonest about what he was doing, his narcissistic kamikaze campaign, and the gross immaturity and irresponsibility of those who embraced his great lie that there were no real differences between the two major parties and their presidential nominees.

      I have friends who fell for that crap, but they’re chastened, and didn’t fall for it again when Nader’s name was again on the ballot, in 2004. But those who mischaracterize what Nader did and its effects aren’t being honest. And are probably immature and irresponsible.

      • dporpentine

        He wrote: “a shift to the far right in American life was the consequence of the Nader debacle in 2000.”

        American life = the country as a whole.

        And what else does the “Nader debacle” refer to than Nader’s presence on the ballot?

        • I think you’re being incredibly dense if you think it’s more likely that Erik meant “public opinion” than “public policy” in that sentence.

          • dporpentine

            Surprisingly, I disagree! The phrase “a shift to the far right in American life” strikes me as pretty clearly a claim about American culture.

            • Christ, I meant politics obviously. Quit making a sideshow.

              • dporpentine

                “a sideshow” = “reading what is actually written.”

                • Look, dude, some free advice: You chose to read something one way, a reading that was not shared by everyone else (or even most everyone else) who read the same thing, and which the author claims was not the way it was intended. What you should do now is accept what the author said he meant to write, and if it makes you feel better take the tacit admission that the original statement was written unclearly. For you to continue this silly line of asserting he meant something he didn’t just makes you look like a troll/total asshole.

                • DrDick

                  No.

                  “a sideshow” = “misreading what is actually written.”

                  You seem virtually alone in this delusional pretense here.

                • slightly_peeved

                  while we’re playing the semantics game, ‘a consequence of’, does not equal’drove to’. the second implies greater intent than the first. even if the supreme court are more to blame, the shift to the right is still a consequence of Nader’s run, as well.

                • David M. Nieporent

                  Look, dude, some free advice: You chose to read something one way, a reading that was not shared by everyone else (or even most everyone else) who read the same thing, and which the author claims was not the way it was intended. What you should do now is accept what the author said he meant to write, and if it makes you feel better take the tacit admission that the original statement was written unclearly. For you to continue this silly line of asserting he meant something he didn’t just makes you look like a troll/total asshole.

                  An entirely reasonable piece of advice. It would be even more reasonable if people here applied this across the board, to ideological allies and enemies alike, instead of being willing to read charitably only what their friends say.

            • Well, this is simple enough to sort out:

              Hey Erik, which one of those phrases is closer to what you meant to say?

        • And what else does the “Nader debacle” refer to than Nader’s presence on the ballot?

          His strategy of campaigning in states where he had the best chance of throwing the election to Bush (like Florida) instead of places where he could have maximized the Green vote (like Massachusetts and Washington).

          • Anna in PDX

            This is what chastened me in 2000. Reading Michael Moore’s mea culpa about Florida.

          • Only half of “the Nader debacle.” The other half was the large numbers of liberals/progressives who supported him, either early on in polls–thus necessitating the Gore campaign having to spend big money in states such as Washington, Oregon and Minnesota, which would otherwise have been fairly safe for him–or in their actual vote.

            Don’t forget, the Nader vote in New Hampshire was greater than Bush’s margin of victory. Had Gore won New Hampshire, Florida would have been irrelevant, because NH would have put him over 270.

            • Anna in PDX

              This is what my SO is always reminding me, curse him.

          • His strategy of campaigning in states where he had the best chance of throwing the election to Bush (like Florida) instead of places where he could have maximized the Green vote (like Massachusetts and Washington).

            I know I’m a bit of a broken record on this and I’ve resisted responding to this line in this thread until now, but Burden’s paper does a good job of showing that the Nader campaign didn’t target places which had the best chance of throwing the election. The abstract:

            Those observing the 2000 presidential campaign agreed that Ralph Nader could not win the presidency but disagreed about his actual strategy. Many Democrats contended that he was playing the role of “spoiler” in an attempt to attract attention or affect the election outcome. Others argued that he was trying to earn 5% of the popular vote to secure matching funds for the Green Party in the next presidential election. Count models find that Nader’s travel schedule, unlike Gore’s, was unresponsive to the closeness of the major-party race. Nader’s appearances were driven primarily by opportunities for attracting a large number of voters, suggesting that earning 5% was indeed a central campaign goal. Data on television advertising produce a parallel result. This finding resolves an ongoing debate about Nader in particular, but also points to broader differences between major- and minor-party campaign strategies.

            This, of course, in no way absolves Nader of responsibility.

            • At best, however, this merely suggests that Nader was completely indifferent to the chance of throwing the election to Bush which…isn’t so terribly good.

              • It is consistent with the indifference or carelessness hypotheses, yes.

                And I totally agree that that’s really bad.

                I’m not trying to absolve Nader or the Nader campaign in general. I do think it’s important to be accurate about the specific charges.

                After all, even if Nader et al did their best to avoid spoiling AND did a great job of doing so (I mean, truly admirable) but nevertheless spoiled, then it was a disaster and they would have to live with that.

                (BTW, I always found it a bit odd that the campaign would go along with a deliberate spoiler strategy. My impression is that the Greens really were trying to party build. So Nader would have to bully his staff into going along with that strategy. That or we’d have to think that the campaign thought that spoiling was a good goal. That doesn’t seem to be the most plausible thing.)

                • I don’t know, didn’t Nader also oppose the “vote swapping” movement too? That would be pretty damning if you were just going for the 5% mark.

                • Hogan

                  Nader and the Green Party started working at cross purposes very soon after he got the nomination.

                • There’s some question about that. The campaign definitely opposed a particular web site, IIRC, in part because they were claiming sanction from the campaign.

                  In general, the evidence is mixed. Nader said some stuff. He denied some stuff later. Etc.

                  But afaict the campaign did not target spoilrich areas. So either spoiling wasn’t their goal or they were very inept at it.

                • Hogan, I believe that’s true in some respect. They were never all that harmonious a fit afaict.

                  But I don’t know what was going on inside of Nader’s head. I know e.g., Berube will bring up an interview which is an alleged smoking gun that Nader was an intentional spoiler, but there are others wherein he denies that and he’s, to my knowledge, denied it since. It’s hard for me to assess that. Is the first mere smack talking bravado and the latter his real view? Is the first the real view and the rest responsibility dodging? No idea.

                  In the end, it’s sort of irrelevant. AFAICT, the Nader campaign did not attempt to spoil (which was minimally good), did not try seriously not to spoil (which was bad), and, in fact, spoiled (which was catastrophic).

        • Anonymous

          Holy crap that’s nit picking.

    • brewmn

      Nader’s candidacy unquestionably helped elect George W. Bush. Are you really denying that Bush was the most rightwing president in modern American history?

      • dporpentine

        A country is not the same as its leaders. Jimmy Carter did not cause America to be more liberal, even though he was, as things go, liberal in many respects.

        • Actually Carter was not particularly liberal. He was to the right of the Democratic Party during his presidency and a massive disappointment to those who supported him in 1976.

          • dporpentine

            I didn’t argue that he was “particularly liberal.” I called him “as things go, liberal in many respects.” That’s about as tepid a claim as liberal as I could come up with. But it’s fitting.

            • Zombie Ted Kennedy

              I called him “as things go, liberal in many respects.”

              Son, why do you think I primaried a sitting president of my own party?

              • +1

              • 24-10

                because you wanted to throw the election to Reagan to heighten the differences

    • Stick

      While I agree with the overall gist of this post, it is clear that “a shift to the far right in American life was the consequence of the Nadar debacle” glosses over the long term secular shift rightward in American politics over the past thirty to forty years. I mean Third Way politics was already alive and well long before Nadar ran for president.

      • Of course. But a Bush presidency made it much worse than a Gore presidency would have.

        • Just in the domestic realm, a Gore Presidency would have meant smaller (and less upper bracket heavy) tax cuts in 2001, Democratic appointees staffing the various departments, commissions, agencies, etc., and a good chance at replacing Rehnquist and O’Connor with liberal(ish) justices rather than Roberts and Alito. The last one by itself is of impossible to understate significance.

          • dporpentine

            Yeah, I think having chosen Joe Lieberman for vice president, Gore proved that he was into appointing liberals to high places.

            • Well, aside from getting into an argument over Lieberman, I don’t see why we need to even argue about “appointing liberals.” Just generic Democrats who cared about making the government function would have been a far sight better than the Bushies, and replacing Alito/Roberts with direct clones of Breyer and Ginsburg would create a DRASTIC shift in the nature of the Supreme Court.

              But do keep fucking that walrus. You had legitimately hurt feelings, I’m sure.

              • dporpentine

                Yay! A personal attack! Shows a great deal of integrity on your part!

                • Right, a personal attack. After noting how your non-sequitor was completely fucking stupid on its face.

                  Tell you what, why don’t you go back to telling Erik what he really meant instead of what he says he meant. That might actually be a more productive use of your time.

                • Pooh

                  Given that your goal seems to have to become an ad hominem martyr from the start, I’m surprised it took that long.

                  We do you owe you thanks for illustrating quite perfectly the level of noisy self-absorption critiqued by loomis in the OP.

            • wjts

              Yes, the Lieberman candidacy demonstrates, as the kids say these days, beyond the shadow of a doubt and with geometric logic that Gore’s appointment for the director of FEMA would have been just as bad as Michael Brown.

            • …because vice-presidential selections have always been such a great indicator of a President’s beliefs, and foreshadow how his future appointments.

              Just ask Vice-President Nixon.

              • dporpentine

                I love the logic: I know Gore would’ve appointed good people. But you can’t use as evidence the one person he actually did appoint to something.

                • ….for the reason I just explained.

                  Would you care to take a crack at explaining why my comments about VP picks making bad predictors is wrong, are are you just going to stand there with your mouth open?

                • Except that even this doesn’t really prove your point at all. Say what you will about Liberman, on balance he clearly would have been a preferable Vice-President to Cheney (especially when considering that he would have had far less influence than Cheney did).

                • sibusisodan

                  on balance he clearly would have been a preferable Vice-President to Cheney

                  Who/what are the people/objects for whom this statement is not true?

                • Who/what are the people/objects for whom this statement is not true?

                  But that’s the point.

                  If literally every plausible nominee is preferable to Cheney, it’s imperative to vote for that nominee no matter how suboptimal.

                • sibusisodan

                  Mark f – I agree! I was just wondering if I could invent some kind of parlour game – ‘things that would be worse than Dick Cheney as Veep’.

                • Right. The point, in general, is that even if you accept in total the premise that Gore would have appointed merely generic Democrats and not “liberals” to every position, it still remains the case that his administration and government would have been vastly superior, and more liberal, than the Bush administration.

                • wjts

                  But you can’t use as evidence the one person he actually did appoint to something.

                  Agreed. It would be grotesquely illogical to use Gore’s role in transforming and professionalizing FEMA as evidence for the idea that he wouldn’t appoint a former executive officer of the Rich People’s Fancy Horse Fan Club to run the organization in the face of his choice of Joe Lieberman for his running mate.

                • Well, I’ve literally seen people argue that you can’t assume Gore’s vocal opposition to invading Iraq in 2002 means he wouldn’t have led the U.S. into the same if he had won because Lieberman was his running mate, so at least we’ve moved up a step from that!

                • witless chum

                  Holy Joe was there to demonstrate that Gore disapproved of where Bill Clinton’s dick had been and, maybe, that he disapproved of the terrible filth of Hollywood. After he finished doing that, Gore would probably have ignored him because who can put up with listening to Joe Lieberman and does not work for the New Republic?

              • Scott Lemieux

                Just ask Vice-President Nixon.

                Moreover, VP John Nance Garner! That FDR was a right-wing sellout to not understand the immense importance of the vice presidency.

            • Brandon

              Two more Kennedys instead of an Alito and a Roberts would be a substantially different court, let alone a couple of center-left justices.

          • Plus, the chances of getting into a decade long war in Iraq would have been essentially nil, and further he would have heeded the desperate warnings about “bin Ladin determined to strike in America,” and possibly have prevented 9/11.

            I still don’t understand why a war with Afghanistan was considered an appropriate reaction to 9/11, which was perpetrated by a trans-national enitity.

            The appointment of G.W. Bush to the presidency is the greatest tragedy to befall the U.S. since WW II.

            And, yes, I do realize Veit Nam occurred during that period.

            JzB

            • Yeah, I limited the comparison just to domestic policy, because once you include foreign policy the differences are staggering.

            • I still don’t understand why a war with Afghanistan was considered an appropriate reaction to 9/11, which was perpetrated by a trans-national enitity.

              The Taliban were sheltering that “transnational organization,” so we needed to go through them to get at al Qaeda.

              Which explains September 2001-January 2002. How we ended up with a main-force invasion and occupation is something else entirely. Remember that there were less than 1000 Americans in Afghanistan the day the Northern Alliance took Kabul.

            • David M. Nieporent

              Plus, the chances of getting into a decade long war in Iraq would have been essentially nil, and further he would have heeded the desperate warnings about “bin Ladin determined to strike in America,” and possibly have prevented 9/11.

              This — at least the second half of it — is what Lemieux derides as Green Lanternism. There were no “desperate warnings”; indeed, the quote you provide about “bin Ladin determined to strike in America” was the extent of it. There was no actionable information — no people, places, dates, locations, or methods — nothing for Gore to do to have “prevented 9/11.” (Except, perhaps, for attacking Afghanistan earlier, which (a) may or may not have been sufficient, given that the plan was well in motion before that warning, and (b) you apparently still don’t understand the basis for.)

              I still don’t understand why a war with Afghanistan was considered an appropriate reaction to 9/11, which was perpetrated by a trans-national enitity.

              Admitting that you don’t understand this very simple issue is not really a good way to boost your credibility. Hint: Al Qaeda was based in Afghanistan.

        • On my more paranoid days, I speculate that a Gore presidency on which the events of September 11, 2001, had happened as they did (which, of course, they might well not have, since for instance Gore would surely have read documents beforehand that W. surely didn’t), the Republicans would have promptly staged a coup d’etat.

          • dporpentine

            I agree in every detail (including what I take to be the implicit point that the Bush administration’s *avowed* indifference to terrorism set the stage for 9/11).

          • Yes, when the whole Benghazi nonsense was in full fever pitch, I kept thinking of the common wingnut refrain from c. 2004: “Can you imagine — I mean, Can. You. Imagine. — if Al Gore had been president on 9/11?”

            And indeed I can. “Truthers” and “Congressional Republicans” would’ve been significantly overlapping groups and impeachment hearings would’ve been underway before Thanksgiving.

        • Stick

          Well, Erik, I do agree with your overall point and do not want to get grouped in with the Nadar crowd. GG is intellectually dishonest. Full Stop.

          My issue is that folks around here do get a little too caught up in ‘Nadar caused it!’, ‘Green Lantern-ism’, and whatnot. This tends to gloss over the pathological shift to the right in American politics and culture since the 1970’s.

          • I think this tends to get overstated, though. It seems to me the real crux of the matter is that Southern Democrats went from being white supremacists who supported populist/progressive economic policies for white people to white progressives who saw the welfare state as stealing money from hard working white people and giving it to lazy ni[CLANG]s. That, obviously, tore apart the New Deal/Great Society coalition and shifted Congress quite a bit to the right on economic policy issues.

          • What Nader caused was the Bush election and the policies that came out of it. I don’t think anyone is claiming that Nader created modern conservatism or the decline of the New Deal state. But he did facilitate someone into the presidency who did a whole lot to make this country a worse place to live.

            • Lyanna

              Yeah, most Americans who voted for Bush saw him as being more or less like Gore. And vice versa. Bush’s presidency did not reflect the American people’s views at the time of the 2000 election, so it’s rather hard to blame his right-wing presidency on Americans’ rightward shift. Bush and his cohorts pushed the country much farther right than it was possibly drifting.

    • The idea that Nader’s presence on the ballot in 2000 drove *the country* to the right is . . . hallucinatory.

      Nader’s interference directly wrought Dick Cheney.

      In other obvious news, rain falls due to gravity and not because you need a shower.

      Although you might.

      • wengler

        Jeb Bush directly wrought Dick Cheney.

        The Republicans stole the fucking election! I have no idea why no one seems to care that all the pain brought to us by Bush/Cheney was because they engaged in a criminal conspiracy to steal the election.

        Apparently no one gives a shit though.

        • This has, of course, been addressed repeatedly. But you go ahead and keep bringing it up like it hasn’t. Greenwald would be proud of what you’ve learned, to be sure.

  • Almost two years since I wrote my dissection of Greenwald, who’s neither a liberal nor a progressive.

    Don’t ever expect Greenwald to be honest. I just isn’t, and never will be.

    • BTW, the parsing going on throughout this comment thread shows exactly why some people find Greenwald so infuriating: because he’s clever in what he writes and how he writes it so that he doesn’t actually say what I’m sure he knows people will infer from his attacks on others who doesn’t share his concerns to the same degree, ranking and intensity. It’s kind of like how Dubya never technically said Iraq had nukes. He just put words and phrases together in a way that it was a reasonable inference even though a careful parsing of the words, the facts cited and alluded to, the context and everything else might show that he wasn’t saying quite what many people thought.

      In other words, what Greenwald is often pushing is essentially propaganda.

      • Most charitably (which isn’t much), it’s lawyering. Greenwald chronically omits inconvenient facts from his dissertations, and carefully phrases his words as to always give him plausible deniability whenever someone calls him out on something.

        Though his typical “I never implied…” bit is, obviously, too much even for that to cover.

        • You forgot to modify “lawyering” with “bad.”

      • -Mona-

        In other words, what Greenwald is often pushing is essentially propaganda.

        In service of whom or what?

        • Personal gain?

          • phacepalm

            The only one seeking personal gain around here is *you* Dana Houle. I have a news alert for you: We seriously don’t give a shit if you are a democratic hack who “managed the campaign of one of the Democrats who defeated an incumbent Republican Congressman in 2006” or who has “dissected” Greenwald on a blog that obviously nobody reads and nobody gives a flying fuck about.

            That’s right Dana Houle, there’s only one whore around here and that’s you who obviously has some beef against Glenn Greenwald. You have practically hijacked this thread just to spew your venom against him. Did he steal your candy or is he mean to your beloved Democrats? Give us a break will ya?

            • Man, you busted me. I’ve made tens of thousands off my comments here.

              Nice to see, btw, you employ GG’s favored mode of interaction: the ad hominem.

              You know, if you’d only followed the link, sure, you’d know wtf I wrote so you’d know wtf you were talking about, but the real tragedy is that by not following the link I’ve lost out on revenue.

            • Interesting, btw, that you focus on me for supposedly having “some beef against Glenn Greenwald.” You seem to be suggesting I’m acting like too big a deal, but that sends a mixed message, being as how you’ve apparently read only my comments and not those of anyone else on the thread.

            • “You have practically hijacked this thread just to spew your venom against him.”

              Given that the first sentence of the OP is “Gleen Greenwald is a profoundly dishonest purpose,” even in the most charitable sense, I don’t think you could possibly call that “hijacking.” Walruses and such.

    • sibusisodan

      My favourite part of yesterday’s epic thread was this:

      But I wouldn’t expect “Joe” and “Brien” or the seemingly very-male-heavy commentariat here to understand the problems with any of this.

      Now, is there a reason for somebody to write ” “Joe” and “Brien” “, instead of the more usual “Joe and Brien”? Could there be an implication hidden under there?

      I think so. I wonder what that implication could be?

  • c u n d gulag

    And respond you did – and very well, may I add!

  • Marc

    It’s a terrible article by Greenwald, in no small part because he doesn’t bother to actually address the real beliefs of people who disagree with him. He starts by being puzzled that Americans tend to oppose drone strikes in the US and support them abroad.

    Now the obvious answer is that we can arrest people in the US and not in lawless areas of Yemen, or that a battlefield is different from a city street. These arguments could be right or wrong, but if you asked people who support these attacks why they do you’d probably get variants of these points as answers.

    But Glenn doesn’t even address these things, instead zooming into an “Americans hate brown people” rap. And he has the usual propaganda tics dropped into his piece. Why might a lot of us support the specific attack on Awlaki? Because, of course, he

    “had been subjected to such an intense government and media demonization campaign. ”

    Not, by contrast, that there was anything that he might have done. Because he was demonized (and the word does imply directly that this was done dishonestly – you don’t demonize an innocent.)

    Propaganda, pure and simple. And that’s even before the attack on Loomis.

    • Glenn

      I feel pretty certain that the percentage of Americans who have any actual knowledge of what Awlaki did or didn’t do is vanishingly small. They know our government says he was a terrorist (if they know anything about him at all). I really think GG is right on that point.

      • Well, conversely, it’s also likely that most of those people don’t really give a flying fuck about the guy either way.

      • brewmn

        Oh, come on. “They know our government says he was a terrorist” does not equal “hate him because he’s brown-skinned.” Greenwald’s entire column, like practically everything else he writes, is a setting up of a strawman that he can beat down in righteous anger, to the cheering of his amen chorus.

        Please note that in no way intend to suggest that the fact that the people being targeted in the war on terror are non-white is completely irrelevant to the average American’s support for this country’s actions in the war on terror. I just think that arguing that the primary source of that support is racism in absurd argument to make. But make it Glenn does, with his signature mix of spittle-flecked outrage and extremely selective application of facts.

        • Glenn

          I was referring only to Marc’s suggestion that people supported the Awlaki killing because of their view on his actual activities, as opposed to what the government told them he did. Wasn’t suggesting that equals they “hate him because he’s brown-skinned.”

          Though, I find the supposition that Americans are largely untroubled by the various incidents of the War on Terror because most of the bodies are brown to be so evident as to be almost banal. But I admit that is pure cynical supposition on my part, I do not claim evidence for it.

          • I find the supposition that Americans are largely untroubled by the various incidents of the War on Terror because most of the bodies are brown to be so evident as to be almost banal.

            As true as this may be, to extend it to “Therefore, liberal bloggers with long histories of writing progressively about racial issues, and who have been critical of many aspects of the War on Terror, are similarly motivated by racism” is quite a jump.

            • Glenn

              I certainly agree, and I hope I didn’t imply such a thing.

        • DrDick

          Strawmanning is rather Greenwald’s forte in attacking the left.

      • Marc

        There is the question of whether Awlaki was, in fact, an AQ leader planning attacks on the US. There is a trademark move that Greenwald takes – to bury a sweeping implication (Awlaki was innocent) into catch-phrases and technically true but misleading statements. This then gives him the room to retreat into variations of “I didn’t actually state outright what I implied, and what I implied turns out to wrong, so I didn’t say it.”

        • And you notice how people like Greenwald never even consider how…inconvenient it was for Awlaki to be hanging out in Yemen with a bunch of other (suspected) al Qaeda operatives?

          • The provision of any information about that fact – such as the Underwear Bomber’s confession that Awlaki was an operational commander who put together the attack on the airliner – falls under the category of “intense government and media demonization campaign.” What decent person would allow his opinion on the matter to be influenced by an intense government and media demonization campaign?

            • David M. Nieporent

              The provision of any information about that fact – such as the Underwear Bomber’s confession that Awlaki was an operational commander who put together the attack on the airliner – falls under the category of “intense government and media demonization campaign.”

              Just want to clarify: do you mean confession, or do you mean alleged confession? Because I’m pretty sure we never heard any such confession.

        • There is a trademark move that Greenwald takes – to bury a sweeping implication (Awlaki was innocent) into catch-phrases and technically true but misleading statements. This then gives him the room to retreat into variations of “I didn’t actually state outright what I implied, and what I implied turns out to wrong, so I didn’t say it.”

          For twenty-three hours a day, Manning is locked in his cell. During the one hour he is allowed out, he isn’t allowed to watch TV.

          Make sure not to mention that he watches TV in his cell and voila! The man is being subject to sensory deprivation and is cut off from the outside world.

          • sibusisodan

            I actually find it hard to get outraged at that sentence, because it’s such a masterful work of linguistic prestidigitation. It’s really a classic of the genre.

            I wonder if Mr Greenwald has ever been interviewed in the UK by Jeremy Paxman? Watching Paxman go after a deliberately-excluded middle by some spiv politico really is a wonder.

            • I actually find it hard to get outraged at that sentence, because it’s such a masterful work of linguistic prestidigitation. It’s really a classic of the genre.

              I feel that way about some of Newt Gingrich’s statements sometimes. As appalled as I am at the obvious dishonesty, a part of me admires the skill he demonstrates.

    • tt

      You should note that Scott Lemieux made a similar argument on this blog just three days ago to explain Rand Paul’s position on drones:

      1) despite what’s being projected onto him [Rand Paul] doesn’t actually have progressive views on civil liberties, and he’s just fine with DRONES! as long as DRONE! attacks on white Americans on American soil continue not to exist.

      I’m not saying the arguments are identical (Rand Paul isn’t the American people, but he’s targetting an audience that is a large subset of them), but the idea that American’s position on civil liberties are driven in large part by race is hardly rare in the mainstream progressive movement.

  • Did everyone see the switcheroo? Glenn takes a statement about caring about DRONES! to the exclusion of other issues that are (at least in the aggregate) more important than DRONES!, and pretends that it is a statement about caring about DRONES! at all.

    Also, Glenn can whine all he wants, but the fact remains that DRONES! is an issue that is of paramount important to a small subset of Americans that is considerably richer, whiter, and more insulated from the consequences of right-wing economic and civil rights policies than the American population as a whole, who have the incredibly bad taste to prioritize Social Security, minimum wage, and income inequality higher than opposition to shooting people who fight for al Qaeda.

    • dporpentine

      Evidence that even a bare majority of the people killed by the drones that Greenwald is complaining about “fight for al Qaeda”?

      And what the heck: how about evidence that “DRONES! is an issue that is of paramount important to a small subset of Americans that is considerably richer, whiter, and more insulated from the consequences of right-wing economic and civil rights policies than the American population as a whole”?

      Then there’s the question of whether more people might care if more people knew about it. And maybe, just maybe, people can care about drones and Social Security and the minimum wage all at once? No. No. Of course not.

      • Evidence that even a bare majority of the people killed by the drones that Greenwald is complaining about “fight for al Qaeda”?

        His obsessive citation of Anwar Awlaki shows pretty definitively that the people that Greenwald is complaining about fight for al Qaeda.

        And what the heck: how about evidence that “DRONES! is an issue that is of paramount important to a small subset of Americans that is considerably richer, whiter, and more insulated from the consequences of right-wing economic and civil rights policies than the American population as a whole”?

        It’s appearance as an issue to be contested only among the whiter segments of the liberal blogosphere and libertarians.

        Then there’s the question of whether more people might care if more people knew about it.

        This is the sound that political losers make when they lick their wounds. If only we had gotten our message out better!

        And maybe, just maybe, people can care about drones and Social Security and the minimum wage all at once?

        Take it up that expatriot fellow in the poster above your bed.

        • Ronan

          As I said elsewhere Joe, if I was to interpret your inputs with just as little generoisty then I might be under the impression that you dont actually give a damn about ‘feminist issues’, but are instead an Obama partisan who likes to use them to attack your political opponents.

          • Am I supposed to care?

          • People have been trying to bully me out of expressing my honest beliefs by attributing them to Obama partisanship for a long time.

            Howzat working out for ya?

        • Lyanna

          This is the sound that political losers make when they lick their wounds. If only we had gotten our message out better!

          Well, but sometimes it’s true. It may even be true about the use of drones, which do seem to elicit a strong emotional reaction from lots of people of various political stripes.

          None of this is to defend Greenwald, though.

      • sharculese

        And maybe, just maybe, people can care about drones and Social Security and the minimum wage all at once? No. No. Of course not.

        It’s totally possible. But this is sort of a shitty response to an argument that says that specific things Greenwald has said and done suggest that he does not, in fact, care that much about other stuff.

        • dporpentine

          Note the context: I was responding to joe from lowell’s complaint about people who care about drones in general, not to Greenwald in particular.

          I don’t care about Greenwald. That’s this blog’s obsession, not mine.

          • joe from lowell’s complaint about people who care about drones in general, not to Greenwald in particular

            Actually, my comment was about Greenwald, and his argument elevating DRONES! above the concerns of the smallfolk.

            So, no.

          • Malaclypse

            That’s this blog’s obsession, not mine.

            Good thing you don’t have something like twenty comments on this one thread, or else your claim might be silly.

            • dporpentine

              I mention Greenwald in one post.

              • Pooh

                By any chance are you an attorney? Or just a law student?

        • Nope, Greenwald’s normal MO is to accuse people who care MORE about an issue that’s not his to not care at all about his idee fixee.

          • brewmn

            Yep. If I’m not blogging daily about the drone program, I therefore enthusiastically cheer on the killing of innocent Muslims in Af-Pak. And, when I object to being called a baby killer, then that is simply more proof of my insufficient fealty to the cause.

            • Exactly.

              He uses variations of that so often I think he has that formulation as a shift command.

              • Anna in PDX

                Feminists are familiar with this one which is often “how can you care about [local issue in the feminist’s country, for example, antifeminist bullying at science fiction conventions] when there are so much worse things happening to women in [other country that feminists have very little control over for example Saudi Arabia]” It is so maddening. Some of us can care about a lot of stuff and yet still focus mostly on what we know that is of most local import and you know, this is not hypocrisy, at all.

    • tt

      Also, Glenn can whine all he wants, but the fact remains that DRONES! is an issue that is of paramount important to a small subset of Americans that is considerably richer, whiter, and more insulated from the consequences of right-wing economic and civil rights policies than the American population as a whole

      This is also true of abortion and gay rights, though to a lesser extent.

      • Anna in PDX

        Common, abortion? That is clearly not true. The abortion issue is one that disproportionately affects poor women, not women who have the ability to travel etc. and will usually be able to get one if they really want to.

        • tt

          Abortion rights definitely affect poor women more than rich women (as do drones), but wealthier people support abortion rights more than poorer people. See e.g. this poll: http://www.gallup.com/poll/160058/majority-americans-support-roe-wade-decision.aspx . The subset of Americans with strong concerns for abortion rights are richer and whiter than the US as a whole.

          • Lyanna

            According to the poll you link to, nonwhites and whites are pro-choice in equal percentages, but whites have a greater percentage of pro-lifers.

            The income gap between pro-choicers and pro-lifers is largely due to poor white Southern Protestants, not to poor women of color.

            • tt

              On race, yes you are right. Some earlier polls showed greater support for abortion rights among whites, but that does not currently seem to be the case.

    • David M. Nieporent

      So what you’re saying is that poor black people are too narcissistic and selfish to care about important issues, that all they worry about in politics is what’s in it for them?

  • Sebastian H

    This is not a defense of Greenwald.

    When you start a piece of writing the way you did, and especially a very short piece, you are framing the whole piece as support for your racial accusation. You can say now that really it was an unfortunate throwaway, but it isn’t really a misreading to think that the rest of the paragraph and the only three more paragraphs after the framing sentence are all related.

    Now it may well be a misunderstanding of your views in that you didn’t intend for people to read it largely about race or didn’t really mean to talk mostly about race. But given the way you framed it, it isn’t really a misreading to read it the completely natural way that people read short pieces with highly accusatory introductions.

    Now Greenwald is the master of HIGHLY uncharitable readings. So I’m supporting how he blows even the normal reading way past what it deserves. The demonization of even accidental miswordings is part of the tribal polarization which is damning this country.

    • Ya know, in so much as Friedersdorf is more of a glibertarian than anything else (or at least so far as I remember him from when I didn’t want to claw my eyes out everytime he wrote something), I think it’s a totally fair thing to say about the piece.

      • Ronan

        “(or at least so far as I remember him from when I didn’t want to claw my eyes out everytime he wrote something)”

        ie before Obama came to power?

        • sharculese

          I can’t say I read him back then but his writing couldn’t have been any less bloated and overwrought, then, even if the content was less terrible.

          • Ronan

            Yeah I agree..he’s pretty much an unreadable blowhard

          • Pooh

            My main exposure to him was when he subbed for Sully, where he was a master* of the “on this very narrow tendentiously framed issue there is no difference between the two parties” style commentary.

            * not really a master of it as he was so clumsy about it that it was perfectly obvious what rhetorical tricks he was trying to pull.

        • I’m pretty sure you can’t even begin to fathom why the implication here lies somewhere between “amusing” and “totally fucking hilarious.”

    • sibusisodan

      You can say now that really it was an unfortunate throwaway, but it isn’t really a misreading to think that the rest of the paragraph and the only three more paragraphs after the framing sentence are all related.

      Of course it’s not a misreading: they are all related.

      What would be a misreading would be to say that the idea that relates them is contained in the word ‘white’. This is not an accurate reading.

      The key word is ‘privilege’. This is especially clear in the para which talks about ‘white men…who have lived privileged enough lives…’ [paraphrase].

      The ‘white’ is a fairly necessary explicator of why they’re privileged, but it’s not the thrust of the piece, to my eyes.

      To write the piece without including colour-referents in what is essentially a class-based critique would be somewhat odd in a US setting. Of course readings of this piece can range from the clumsy to the downright duplicitous, but I’m not feeling your critique with the force you seem to think it merits.

    • Anna in PDX

      I just wonder how you think people should write blog posts then if they are to avoid uncharitable gotchas from people like GG – all the blog posts would sound like the fine print at the bottom of automobile sales agreements. They’d be basically unreadable. You have to read things with some ability to make allowances for this, or what you are suffering from is a chronic inability to read. Really, maybe it comes down to a weird lawyer oriented illiteracy. Are lawyers like GG (he is a lawyer, right?) incapable of reading general statements because they go into this “in this narrow and irrelevant reading, your point does not stand” sort of direction? Is this something they have to be taught not to do?

      I see this sort of thing at work in right wing responses to liberal blog posts, as well. Seems the narrow “gotcha” attack is their only way to focus and respond.

      • This raises a question I’ve always found intriguing: Greenwald trades on his credentials, that he’s a lawyer.

        Do we have evidence that he was a good lawyer? Or even a non-bad lawyer?

        He went to a good law school, went to a corporate law firm doing mergers and acquisitions, but stayed there only a year, then was, afaict, a sole practitioner. Sure, some sole practitioners do specialized stuff and maybe become prominent. But my guess is that the vast majority do general practice, or something that particularly prestigious or related to big constitutional questions, things like probate or divorce or low-level criminal defense.

        I think a lot of people take on faith that Greenwald is sound on legal matters. I’m no attorney, and I seldom read anything by him. But I have a few times, and as in this case, after the OBL killing, I’ve found his arguments both bad and dishonest. I don’t believe many good attorneys would make arguments that shoddy in court.

        • Ugh, sorry, did not intend for that whole thing to be bold. [Now it isn’t. — The Editors]

        • sibusisodan

          I’d be intrigued to get more knowledgable peoples’ opinions on this one, since I’ve wondered it too.

          During the whole NDAA fiasco people (on the Guardian) were referencing Mr Greenwald’s writing on the subject left, right and centre – this was before he joined them, IIRC. And it just all got a pass. He’s a lawyer, he’s writing about a law subject, therefore the Bill of Rights must just have been shredded like he says.

          Except that wasn’t the whole story. There was an excellent reddit post by a chap named AsABlackMan which responded to, contextualised, and then frankly destroyed the main planks of Mr Greenwald’s argument. I very much doubt that was the whole story on the matter either, but it was more detailed than Mr Greenwald’s take.

          So – a good lawyer would have been aware of the way precedent interlocked with NDAA. But possibly a good lawyer with a desire to make maximum impact in reaching people with an urgent message of executive overreach on civil liberties might not prize making the best, most legally sensible, reading over the most advantageous reading…

          [IANAL, so happy to be shown wrong on NDAA etc. My contention, which I think is pretty solid, is that Mr Greenwald’s reading of it is not the last word on it, and possibly not even the best one.]

          • Chester Allman

            Interesting – would love to read that reddit post if you have a link to it. My Google-fu is not up to scratch on this one, apparently.

            • sibusisodan

              Its here and here.

              • Chester Allman

                Many thanks

  • On a broader note, can I ask why Greenwald’s “haha there are so women/non-whites who voted for Nader agree with me on this” deserves to be taken any more seriously than we would treat, say, Michelle Malkin scoffing at the idea that Republicans are racists/misogynists because “Phyllis Schafly and Shelby Steele motherfuckers!!!”? Because I’m really not seeing how it’s materially different.

    • Ronan

      THIS!!..is idiotic

      • By all means, feel free to expound on how it’s different.

        • Ronan

          Burden of proof isnt really on me..
          But what you’re saying is that the women and people of colour (and we know there are many of both) are suffering some sort of false conciousness (?)..
          or that their perspective doesnt count (?)because they dont fit your ideal of what a feminist etc should be
          or what exactly are you saying? how does the compariosn make sense?

          • Ronan

            But what you’re saying is that the women and people of colour ..who care about national security/WOT civil liberties issues

          • The most charitable thing I can say about your supposed characterization/summary of Brien’s comment is that you may want to reread what he wrote.

            And again, that’s the most charitable thing I can say.

            • Ronan

              Sure, but people around here arent exactly charitable towards their political opponents.. I was uncharitable towards Brien specifically b/c he interpreted GG’s point in the most uncharitable way possible

              • What did I interpret? That was literally what he came here and argued yesterday.

                • Ronan

                  His post was in the context of the Loomis white privilege post, which Loomis has backed away from (or the most ‘controversial’ part anyway)..his response ..look there are women and people of colour writing on this topic was to dispute the contention that ONLY a pivileged white male could care about the topic..
                  This whole ‘debate’ is based on the worst possible interpretation of GG’s motives, that his interest is primarily the result of privilege (and i dont dispute it might be in part) rather than a genuine concern with the issue of drones themselves

                • Hogan

                  to dispute the contention that ONLY a pivileged white male could care about the topic..

                  A contention that no one is making.

          • Um, no, I’m saying that Greenwald is basically making the fairly typical conservative “hey here is a black guy/woman who’s a raging racist/misogynist just like us, so this proves that there’s no War on Women and that Republicans don’t promote racist policies!” No one takes that seriously as a dodge (Amanda Marcotte, in particular, is quite adept at noting the strong emotional lift these people get from being “one of the good ones, so why take the exact same defense seriously when it comes from Greenwald?

            • Ronan

              No, he was reacting specifically to “I can’t see anyone but a privileged white person writing” by pointing out that there are numerous non privileged non white people writing on it. (And many non Americans, who also exist)
              Where has he made this claim ‘there is no War on Women and that Republicans don’t promote racist policies!”’ ?

              • Ronan

                “Where has he made this claim ‘there is no War on Women and that Republicans don’t promote racist policies!”’ ?2”

                To clarify, how does the comparion make sense..he would have to make this claim (or something similar) for your point to make sense

                • Seriously? You don’t even understand a basic analogy?

                • Ronan

                  The analogy has to make sense

                • I have no idea how it doesn’t. If I said “Republicans are the party of rich old white men,” a) no one would think I was claiming their are *literally* no women/non-whites/young people/non-rich people who were avid Republican voters, b) if Jennie came ’round throwing the existence of Phyllis Schafly/Shelby Steele/Ben Shapiro as though it completely negated the claim, we’d all laugh It out of the room.

                  And yet, that’s exactly what Greenwald did yesterday: In responding to a claim that the DRONES! crowd is disproportionately white/male/affluent (relative to the rest of the liberal/Democratic coalition), particularly the subset that routinely flirts with right-wind whackos like the Pauls/Gary Johnson and routinely implies that Real Liberals should support those wingnuts over Democrats because DRONES!…by checking off some women and non-whites who had nice things to say about Rand Paul’s filibuster.

                • Ronan

                  Because there are numeous women, non whites who do write on, campaign against etc drones/WOT civil liberties issues

                  saying the republican party is mainly white is true because we have statistics that show the republican base is primarily white..saying that those who prioritise drones/WOT civil liberties issues are pimarily whote also has to be backed up with similar evidence..saying that there are a number of white wealthy men who write on drones/civil liberties as a single issue is the same as saying this blog is run by a load of white wealthy men..this is a result of larger problems, primarily the fact that anyone who isnt a wealthy white man has diffculty getting a goddamn word in edge ways..it says nothing about larger demographics of who cares about these issues

                • Can you actually demonstrate that the subset of leftists so obsessed with DRONES! that they flirted with/endorsed Gary Johnson/Ron Paul over Obama is not overwhelmingly white and male? Because that seems pretty implausible in the extreme to me.

                • Also, I don’t think any of the white dudes who write for this site qualify as “wealthy.”

                • Ronan

                  “Can you actually demonstrate that the subset of leftists so obsessed with DRONES! that they flirted with/endorsed Gary Johnson/Ron Paul over Obama is not overwhelmingly white and male?”

                  First of all, buden of proof isnt on me

                  Second, how could anyone demonstrate this?

                  Third, who cares?

                  Fourth..really, who cares?

                  “Because that seems pretty implausible in the extreme to me.”

                  Why? Plenty of women object to abortion, plenty are members of organisations (such as the Catholic Church) that you might think work diectly against their interests. Why is it that on this issue you think women would think as one homogenous bloc?
                  The same is true for people of colour.. if we want to open up this ridiculous term that implies all people of colour have the same interests, experiences etc, what makes you think there arent a number of more specific demographics who arent passionately oppossed to WOT civil liberties issues (particularly those communities it affects directly)..how do you know there arent a number of non whites with libertarian sympathies?

                  The problem is that engaging in this sort of holier than thou hyperbolic nonsense that has been the LGM/GG feud and dealing in insults rather than coherent fucking arguments, leads down a abbit hole where you end up debating meaningless talking points that cant be verified one way or the other

                • “First of all, buden of proof isnt on me…”

                  Logically speaking, it sort of is. More to the point, though, if you’re so certain you’re correct why are you so loathe to prove it?

                  “Second, how could anyone demonstrate this?”

                  I don’t know, dig up a dozen or so reasonably prominent female/non-white progressives who were publicly flirting with supporting Gary Johnson or Ron Paul in 2012? You could start here: http://www.google.com

                  “Third, who cares?

                  Fourth..really, who cares?”

                  Apparently you do, since you’re so worked up over the contention that the DRONES! crowd is disproportionately made up of affluent white males.

                • Ronan

                  Fair enough..Im done

              • Paul Beaulieu

                Once again, Greenwald and his followers seem to be unable to distinguish between 1) Reporting on and criticizing the Obama administration’s policies on drones and civil liberties and 2) Arguing that Obama’s Obama administration’s policies on drones and civil liberties mean there’s no real difference between the the Obama administration and the Republican alternative.

                Pointing out that “there are numerous non privileged non white people” who have done 1) does not refute Loomis’ claim, which is that only a privileged white person would do 2).

                • Ronan

                  Yes it’s such a goddamn complex argument that it’s impossible to understand .. if Loomis’s claim was indeed that ‘only a privileged white person would do 2′(ie think theres no diffeence between the two parties – with a stress on ONLY) then that is obviously complete and utter bullshit..of course there are non privileged non whites who might also make this claim..stating that ONLY such and such a demographic could do something is fucking idiotic..and Loomis himself says he does not mean, literally, ONLY
                  But the claim is not that there’s NO difference between the parties (lets stop talking in such simplistic certainties)..the claim is there’s no difference between the parties on drones and civil liberties, or at least a small enough difference to be neglible..and that’s a more defensible claim
                  But anyway Paul, Loomis did not argue what you seem to think he did, he argued that only someone privileged could vote on this single issue and ignore the various ways the differences do matter..
                  So despite your certainty you seem equally unable to understand what the argument is

                  a few more things

                  1 I am not a GG follower. I couldnt care less about him tbh, or this feud, (even though Ive wasted a day arguing about it)

                  2 GG et als intentions are always interpreted in the worst possible way around here.. not that they might have a genuine concern about these issues(and have a genuine empathy for people on the receiving end of terror laws and drone attacks) but instead that they are little more than privileged assholes with no concern for their fellow americans

                  3 The world doesnt divide as neatly as people aound here seem to think. ‘Feminists think this’ ‘people of colour support that’ ‘so and so is evil’ this narrative is both tiresome and childish

                  4 why the fuck does anyone care what Glenn Greenwald writes, or care who he votes for.. He is never going to be the deciding vote in an election. He’s never going to swing the Dem vote to the goddamn libertarians
                  who cares if someone somwehere is more concerned about drones and civil liberties than about abortion rights or labour protection laws?.. Thats life. Not everyone shaes your interests and obsessions

                • “why the fuck does anyone care what Glenn Greenwald writes”

                  Well, when he distorts my argument in a way to make a point about racism and people not caring about drone warfare, I think that’s a pretty good reason to care what the fuck Glenn Greenwald writes.

                • I love these transparently silly arguments that Glenn & The Glennbots start trotting out whenever they get flustered with people not buying their bullshit. Putting aside why it might be of merit to care what a writer of Greenwald’s stature writes…the obvious response is: why do you give a fuck what Loomis, Lemieux, or any of the commenters here write?

                  Because the standards they use to mock and belittle everyone who disagrees with them NEVER apply to them.

    • tt

      What, to you, would count as contrary evidence to the claim that white male privilege is a necessary component of the perspective of Greenwald et al. on Obama?

      • Pooh

        In the context of say endorsing Gary Johnson, at least addressing all the issue which liberals care about that aren’t DRONEZ and at least formulating an argument as to why Libertarian-Du-Jour’s positions on those issues either don’t suck for the (broadly) non-fluent white male segment of liberals or at least why the suckage is outweighed by The One [strike]Ring[/strike]Issue. (Can I just question, again, why the particular delivery method of death seems to matter so much? Are drones somehow morally worse than cluster bombs or special forces strikes? But I digress.)

        • tt

          Well, Greenwald himself never endorsed Johnson and doesn’t focus exclusively on drones. On the larger issue, though, I’m not so confident that we can derive the effect of white/male privilege from first principles. There should be some demographic test.

          It’s interesting to me that the people opposing Greenwald seem even more concentrated in white males than his supporters. Are there even any women or nonwhites on the LGM staff?

          • “Well, Greenwald himself never endorsed Johnson…”

            I think that’s probably a little bit too charitable, but so what?

          • First, Greenwald never allows himself to be pinned down on supporting any position, any candidate, any piece of legislation. He will never answer a question about supporting anything concrete.

            Second, there is no LGM staff, because that would imply we make money and can hire people. This was discussed in great detail in yesterday’s comment thread.

            • tt

              Both points are fair, but it’s still interesting that these issues seem to be so attractive to white males, on both sides. Are there masses of black women bloggers still whining about Nader somewhere?

              • “Whining” is an interesting way to put it. Though I guess there’s no sense in getting around the “how dare you respond to my writing!” genre of critique now.

                • tt

                  Don’t read too much into it. I count myself among the whiners (Nader was terrible for this country, there is no excuse not to vote Obama, I wrote all this on many LGM posts during the election season). But then, I’m a white male, so that’s not so surprising.

                • Well, the point being that most of the “whining” about Nader supporters was in *direct* response to people making the exact same Republocrats arguments about Romney and Obama in 2012. It’s not as though there’s a grudge being held that is compelling people to just randomly attack Nader intermittently 13 years later or something.

                • tt

                  Yeah, I agree with all that.

                  My only real point is that this seems to be an issue that is primarily the interest of white males who pay a lot of attention to politics. So getting to this point–belonging to the set containing Loomis, Lemieux, Farley, Greenwald, Friedersdorf yourself and myself–probably a fair amount of white male privilege involved! OTOH what side you take on the issue once you are at that point doesn’t seem to depend so much on being white or male. The positions of both sides are coming from the perspective of white male privilege.

                  I would go further and say that there are version of “both parties are the same” which blacks, Hispanics, women, etc. hold in large proportions–they just aren’t the particular version held by Friedersdorf. Only ~60% of the population votes at all.

          • Pooh

            You mean how can we derive from First principles that the people most likely to think of drones as the “one real issue” liberals should care about to the point that negating their vote, symbolically of course, are less likely than aggregate liberal to be affected by all the other issues liberals find important? To ask the question is to answer it, I think.

            • tt

              I’m too much of an empiricist to trust myself or others to do that. Life is too complicated to work from first principles. Anyways, as I wrote above, only ~60% of eligible Americans vote at all–and that’s for presidential elections, others have much lower turnout. So lots of people from all demographics are negating their vote.

          • Lyanna

            It’s interesting to me that the people opposing Greenwald seem even more concentrated in white males than his supporters.

            Where are you getting this? The whole ‘brogressive’ thing was invented by a woman. Feminists, including feminists of color, have been complaining on their blogs about white liberal men’s love affair with Ron and Rand Paul for a very long time. Katha Pollitt got raked over the coals by GG for doing just that.

            They may not have the personal interaction with Glenn Greenwald that this blog does, but many of them do oppose his viewpoint strenuously.

            • tt

              If we want to do a real comparison of the numbers–if we agree that’s the right test–then let’s do so in a serious and somewhat comprehensive way. It’s easy to find individual examples of women and racial minorities on either side.

              • Lyanna

                I think the demographics of Ron Paul voters speaks for itself on that count; there is no need for further “comprehensive” study.

                • tt

                  We’re talking here of a very specific set of “Ron Paul supporters” (some of whom have never supported Ron Paul) so no, that’s not enough.

          • -Mona-

            It’s interesting to me that the people opposing Greenwald seem even more concentrated in white males than his supporters. Are there even any women or nonwhites on the LGM staff?

            Greenwalds’s supporters are from many races, religions (or atheism), sexual orientations and genders. We are civil libertarians who find it appalling that so many liberal Democrats don’t care about the obscene precedent of Obama’s theories of power, in which he may extra-judicially assassinate via the civilian CIA, including American citizens.

            You who are not demanding that Obama stop immediately are responsible for a serious and corrupting attack on the American Constitution.

            As to Greenwald himself, and as he has pointed out, when he had his civil libertarian eye and take-no-prisoners style trained on Bush and Republicans, he was lauded and celebrated in the same precincts that suddenly, in January of 2009, found such a focus unseemly, and Glenn to be worthy of strong criticism. What changed?

            • “What changed?”

              1. The nature and validity of Greenwald’s attacks.

              2. Greenwald’s inability to keep up the charade that he’s an uber-progressive, and not, at least a libertarian sympathizer.

              • Pooh

                The first point can’t be overstated. When Glenn first came to prominence in the FISA issue around 2005, his prose was no less recursive or wordy, but it was certainly a lot less reliant on either personal attacks or misreading of opposing viewpoints so badly that calling it “willful” was probably the kindest interpretation. Go back and read and compare the ratio of “these people are making bad arguments” to “these bad people are making arguments” points being made and compare them to 2013 Greenwald.

  • SEK

    FTR:

    A new Gallup poll shows that 66% of respondents do not believe drone strikes should be used against suspected terrorists within the United States. And an even larger number, 79% of respondents, don’t believe strikes should be permitted in the United States against suspected terrorists who are US citizens.

    In other words, we now know that an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose a preposterous idea that no one had ever considered doing.

    • wengler

      …no one had ever considered doing.

      Someone doesn’t remember Dick Cheney?

    • Sebastian H

      Since this is a massive shift in public opinion you’ll be thanking Rand Paul for publicizing the issue any second now right?

      • Hogan

        Is it? What were the numbers before the filibuster?

      • Scott Lemieux

        DRONE! strikes against American citizens on American soil have never been the relevant issue, which is the whole problem with the Paul filibuster. Like Hogan, I’d love to see evidence that they were ever popular.

  • scott

    Good to know that LGM is tirelessly manning the ramparts, ever vigilant for sightings of the Nader and Greenwald foes who present such a threat to our way of life.

    • Right. Greenwald basically calls Loomis a racist, and Loomis responding is proof that he has some sort of obsession with Greenwald. Heal thyself.

      • Glenn

        Well, since we’re (rightly) taking GG to task for mischaracterizing his opponent’s arguments, let’s not do the same. He certainly misrepresents Erik’s argument, but I don’t really think he’s calling Erik a racist.

        • No, he’s not calling me a racist. He uses me as an example of excusing racism through being a “Democratic partisan.” It’s still a slander with overtones of being tainted as such.

          • Well, he’s not calling you a racist. But is saying this:

            That claim is supremely ironic. It reverses reality. That type of privilege is not what leads one to care about and work against these injustices. To the contrary, it’s exactly that privilege that causes one to dismiss concerns over these injustices and mock and scorn those who work against them.”

            Basically, if I’m reading that correctly, your privilege allegedly leads you to “dismiss the concerns” over drones, not to mention “mock and scorn those who work against them.” Of course, the irony of such a claim is ironic, but not for the reason Greenwald thinks it is.

          • David M. Nieporent

            Breaking news: Loomis has suddenly developed a dislike for the tactic of race-baiting… when it’s used against him.

            • Malaclypse

              Breaking news: Davey, like Greenwald, believes his own assertions, unlike those of lesser creatures, don’t need evidence.

              • Ya know, I’ve only in the last few months started commenting here. I like LG&M, but damn, ya’ll got some weak-ass trolls on this site. I mean, trolling with a sense of humor can at least be fun to read. Greenwaldesque trolling–in other words, humorless trolling–is a real drag.

    • Chester Allman

      Given the fact that Erik was just dishonestly attacked by Greenwald on a major international news site, I’d say the topic was relevant today.

    • DrDick

      So if I publicly and prominently call you a pedophile serial killer, I can expect you not to respond and defend yourself? Asshat Naderite!

      • Pooh

        But then you repeat yourself? (Several times, if I’m going for the over the top punch line)

        • DrDick

          Redundancy for effect and emphasis!

    • wengler

      Hating on Greenwald is an honorable internet tradition.

      Blaming Nader for the 2000 election is comparable to a Campos BMI post. It’s the lutefisk of LGM.

    • La la la I can’t hear you over all the awesome organizing that’s happening here.

  • cs

    Here is how Greenwald describes your position in the linked post:

    some Democratic partisans…claim that only those who enjoy the luxury of racial and socioeconomic privilege would care so much about these issues.

    Here is what you said

    left-wing white men…who live privileged enough lives that they can find the one issue where there really aren’t any differences on the two parties

    To me that looks like he described your position accurately. Where is the contradiction?

    • Simple: Greenwald is clearly implying that Loomis thinks you shouldn’t “care so much” in a vacuum, which is quite a bit different than saying you shouldn’t “care so much” relative to half a dozen other very important issues where there’s a gigantic difference between the parties. Keep in mind, the Friedersdorf piece Loomis was responding to at the time was literally an endorsement of supporting Gary Johnson over Obama.

    • sharculese

      Greenwald is playing games with ‘so much’. He wants it to mean just caring a great deal about the issues he writes about, when it’s clear from the context that Erik is talking about caring ‘so much’ that you’re willing to risk an election outcome that would lead to markedly worse results on every other issue.

      • cs

        I don’t know. Glenn is contrasting the view (of others) that being priveliged makes this issue more salient (at least in some cases), with his claim that being priveliged makes the issue less salient. I don’t think you can fairly read any more into that paragraph.

      • rea

        Also, look at the particular remark at issue in the larger context of the whole article, in which he argues that those who don’t support his positon are racists

      • John

        when it’s clear from the context that Erik is talking about caring ‘so much’ that you’re willing to risk an election outcome that would lead to markedly worse results on every other issue.

        FTFY

        • John

          To elaborate on this, anyone who doesn’t think a President Romney would be measurably worse than Obama on virtually every civil liberties issue Glenn Greenwald claims to care about is fooling him or herself.

    • Chester Allman

      Do you know the difference between 1) the question of whether or not someone cares about an issue, and 2) the question of whether or not one believes that supporting futile third-party challenges based on a single issue is a good idea?

      Also, you missed a nice bit of slander in that elipsis.

      • DrDick

        I don’t think he actually missed it so much as aided and abetted it.

      • cs

        Yes, I deleted “in order to belittle these injustices”. That bit I cut out was certainly unfair.

        On the other hand, I also cut out the “angry [white men]” from Loomis, which also could be seen as an unfair slander.

        I wasn’t trying to make Greenwald (or Loomis) look better, I was just trying to focus on the part that looked like a provable factual claim.

    • DrDick

      That Erik is clearly talking about caring about this single issue to the exclusion of all other issues on which the parties and candidates differed significantly.

  • MosesZD

    Eric, I’ve never seen you be honest in your criticisms of Greenwald. So I think you’re, once again, playing your little dishonest quote-min/characterization game because Greenwald, unlike you won’t play ‘team Democrat.’

    And that’s what it’s all about. Greenwald, who is pretty much a civil liberties issue guy, doesn’t play Team Democrat. He has standards vis civil libterties to which he holds.

    You, OTOH, lack standards on civil liberties. You, when Bush did terrible crap, routinely bashed him. When Obama has done the same, or even worse, you hide behind the ‘excuse’ of ‘real politick.’

    Many of us see through this standards-free BS and really wish you’d just give it up. The hypocrisy is overwhelming and obvious.

    • because Greenwald, unlike you won’t play ‘team Democrat.’

      And that’s what it’s all about.

      Yeah, Erik, how come you’re always giving Obama a pass on, say, labor or environmental issues?

      Freaking O-bots, I’ll tell you….

    • You evidently don’t read what I write, given the many times I have criticized Obama over the last 4 years.

    • DrDick

      You obviously have never read what Erik writes, so I think we can safely ignore your uninformed opinions.

    • Chester Allman

      Wut? When has Loomis ever made excuses for the Obama administration? This is some bizarro-world reading.

    • So as to make up for embarrassing yourself with that comment, how about you provide some evidence to your points. I have hundreds of columns floating around here. Find some where I have apologized for the Obama Administration on these issues.

      • What Moses means, of course, is the exact same thing that Greenwald means when he makes similar accusations: That people who were in general agreement with him when he was bashing Bush now don’t agree with him so much when he’s similarly bashing Obama (and, it should be noted, routinely attacking progressive writers/bloggers as well) proves that anyone who disagrees with Greenwald is a hopeless Partisan Tribalist.

    • What the others above said. I will, however, acknowledge that you really whipped that strawman’s ass. So you got that going for ya.

  • Another broad question: if we accept Greenwald’s “mock and belittle” standard, don’t we then have to accept that Glenn and everyone who agrees with him that DRONES! are vastly more important than the difference between the parties on, say, reproductive rights are mocking and belittling the people who “care so much” about the reproductive rights?

  • Why did you have to hold your nose to vote for Sheldon Whitehouse?

    That’s guy’s pretty awesome.

    • That’s what I’m saying–Whitehouse and Reed are real good. So no nose-holding voting for those guys.

  • Bitter Scribe

    This is why I stopped reading and paying attention to Greenwald years ago. Of the many irritating things about him, what I find most annoying is that he considers himself clearly superior to 99% of working journalists, on no evidence at all.

  • witless chum

    The thing being ellided here, weirdly by both sides, is that Loomis was attacking Friedsdorf for arguing specifically you should vote for Gary Johnson if you’re against the drone war. He wasn’t attacking Friedsdorf for caring “soooooooooooooooo much;” he was attacking him with the 100 percent true observation that his privilege as a rich white dude (or just a rich dude) insulates him from the consequences of a Romney presidency on various domestic policies. (The other great idiocy to the argument is always that even for someone who cares only about foreign policy and civil rights, narrowly defined, the idea that Mitt Romney in charge of U.S. foreign policy wouldn’t mean a great deal more death and destruction is rather implausible. A candidate who doesn’t care much about foreign policy, plus neocons, what could go wrong?)

    Greenwald gets constantly tarred as supposedly urging people not to vote for Democrats, but I haven’t ever seen him do so.

    • Even this, I think, is giving Friedersdorf far too much credit, since Gary Johnson actually winning would have been a pretty disastrous outcome all in its own right, to say nothing about the impact, from a leftist standpoint, of throwing the election to Romney.

    • Greenwald gets constantly tarred as supposedly urging people not to vote for Democrats, but I haven’t ever seen him do so.

      “Urging not” is probably too strong, but in the Yonder Days of Paul the Senior, he did argue that the progressive case for Obama and for Paul were essentially isomorphic:

      Progressives would feel much better about themselves, their Party and their candidate if they only had to oppose, say, Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann. That’s because the standard GOP candidate agrees with Obama on many of these issues and is even worse on these others, so progressives can feel good about themselves for supporting Obama: his right-wing opponent is a warmonger, a servant to Wall Street, a neocon, a devotee of harsh and racist criminal justice policies, etc. etc. Paul scrambles the comfortable ideological and partisan categories and forces progressives to confront and account for the policies they are working to protect. His nomination would mean that it is the Republican candidate — not the Democrat — who would be the anti-war, pro-due-process, pro-transparency, anti-Fed, anti-Wall-Street-bailout, anti-Drug-War advocate (which is why some neocons are expressly arguing they’d vote for Obama over Paul). Is it really hard to see why Democrats hate his candidacy and anyone who touts its benefits?

      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. An honest line of reasoning in this regard would go as follows:

      Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs, and America’s minorities imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands for no good reason, and the CIA able to run rampant with no checks or transparency, and privacy eroded further by the unchecked Surveillance State, and American citizens targeted by the President for assassination with no due process, and whistleblowers threatened with life imprisonment for “espionage,” and the Fed able to dole out trillions to bankers in secret, and a substantially higher risk of war with Iran (fought by the U.S. or by Israel with U.S. support) in exchange for less severe cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, the preservation of the Education and Energy Departments, more stringent environmental regulations, broader health care coverage, defense of reproductive rights for women, stronger enforcement of civil rights for America’s minorities, a President with no associations with racist views in a newsletter, and a more progressive Supreme Court.

      Without my adopting it, that is at least an honest, candid, and rational way to defend one’s choice. It is the classic lesser-of-two-evils rationale, the key being that it explicitly recognizes that both sides are “evil”: meaning it is not a Good v. Evil contest but a More Evil v. Less Evil contest. 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?).

      While, per usual, there’s care to preserve deniability, I don’t find it very plausible.

      • witless chum

        So, he made sorta positive noises about the completely hypothetical concept of Ron Paul as Republican nominee? I think the plausible deniability is that everyone knows Ron Paul is not going to get the Republican nomination anymore than I am. I take that as Greenwald using Paul as a cudgel to beat Obama with.

        • Our first order reactions are so different I don’t know if we’re going to find common ground.

          It’s hard to see how, “Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs” is anything but an incitement not to vote for Democrats. The whole article is about how Paul is a reasonable alternative and, when Greenwald gets into the details as he sees fit to present them, you might find yourself hard pressed to think Obama wasn’t a reasonable alternative.

          This is all besides the fact that Paul being better on these issues is either wildly implausible (i.e., he can stake them out only because he’s wasn’t going anywhere) or easily shown false (e.g., he voted for AUMF, he made noises about options on the table wrt Iran, etc.).

          I think we do need to be careful about reading between the lines, but Greenwald has so many lines and so much in them that it’s pretty unavoidable. In this case, however, saying “I urge no course of action in particular and even support the idea that killing Muslim babies with bombs is worth avoiding chained CPI for relatively wealthy US seniors” is definitely urging a course of action.

          • David M. Nieporent

            Paul voted against the AUMF in Iraq. He voted for the AUMF in Afghanistan, but it’s hard to see how that’s a problem, since, you know, 9/11.

            As for Iran, the “noises” he made about “options on the table” involved denouncing the idea that some options should be on the table. Not only did Paul vehemently oppose any sort of military force against Iran, but he opposed sanctions as well. The only policy he supported with respect to Iran was trade and diplomacy.

            • Chester Allman

              Paul voted against the AUMF in Iraq. He voted for the AUMF in Afghanistan, but it’s hard to see how that’s a problem, since, you know, 9/11.

              Okay, but isn’t it the AUMF in Afghanistan that created the legal framework for most of the things that civil libertarians are opposing?

            • Hi David,

              Re: AUMFs, I’ll outsource to Chester below.

              Re: Iran, I believe there was more wobble in Paul during the campaign than you’re noting.

          • witless chum

            I guess because I say something pretty similar to that before I vote for the Democrats I don’t read it as stacking the deck, but rather being honest.

            I see the Obama administration’s actions on the war on terror and civil liberties in similar terms to Greenwald and I think that U.S. foreign policy is too often murderous foolishness. Not always (Libya, Serbia) but often. I also don’t think we should be fighting a war on Al Qaeda because it’s a bad idea tactically. I don’t think we should be arming Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc.

            When it comes to voting, I’m voting for what I think is the less-evil party on foreign policy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still think they’re pretty evil.

            As for Ron Paul, I haven’t particularly cared to learn the nuances of his positions because like Scott and Erik for often pointed out, on the few issues he’s on the correct side of, he got there for reasons I don’t share. But anyone who Rudy Guilliani denounces for forgetting about 9/11 is on the right track to some extent. Maybe Greenwald was suggesting something more, but I always thought of Paul as being a good thing to let loose in a Republican debate, but that’s it. If he embarrasses the Democrats a little bit and forces them to move even a tiny bit less militarist in response, it’d be more good than I expect from the racist old goldbug.

            • This

              I guess because I say something pretty similar to that before I vote for the Democrats I don’t read it as stacking the deck, but rather being honest.

              with this

              As for Ron Paul, I haven’t particularly cared to learn the nuances of his positions because like Scott and Erik for often pointed out, on the few issues he’s on the correct side of, he got there for reasons I don’t share.

              marks a fairly big difference with the Greenwald that I quote.

              Furthermore, I don’t see any Paul as having a useful effect on the debate or overton window precisely because they are so noxious and crazy. They tend to embarrass allies rather than embarrass opponents. E.g., is it particularly likely that a Democrat is going to say, “Oh, well, EVEN racist, goldbuggy Ron Paul opposes the drug war…” and be moved? Unlikely.

  • I used to read Greenwald every day, but finally gave it up- it was too depressing, left me feeling frightened and powerless. I am surprised that LG&M and Greenwald dislike one another, though. Hmm.

    • Vance Maverick

      Why, because LG&M makes you feel frightened and powerless too?

      • pills

        because LG&M makes you feel frightened and powerless too?

        Apparently you skip the Loomis posts on labor and climate.

  • Jimothy

    It is interesting that Greenwald lambasts “Democrats” (i.e., Toure and people who troll Greenwald’s Twitter feed) as close-minded nativists for not caring about drone attacks in Arab countries because “they” aren’t like “us”… and yet Greenwald can’t seem to get enough of mentioning that al-Awlaki was an American citizen and that his son was born in Denver. Those facts are apparently really important to him.

  • If enough progressives voted for a 3rd party candidate to give Romney the election, the message would have been what exactly?

    It would have been that Democrats can’t always rely on liberal votes the way they taken them for granted in the past.

    Of course, you’d never be able to hear that message past all the cheering from the right, which is Loomis’ much larger and more accurate point.

    • Right, because not all liberals can’t always be relied upon to do the right thing vs the emotionally satisfying thing; for instance, voting for someone who wouldn’t be their preference for the good of the country, vs indulging a protest vote, using the ballot as a form of therapy and as a way to signal political purity.

      It’s worth point out, btw, that Nader did far, far better among self-identified independents who were also liberal or moderate & typically vote Democratic. In other words, people who themselves are liberal but also have to hold out their individualism over joining with others to act for the greater good of everyone.

      • “It’s worth point out, btw, that Nader did far, far better among self-identified independents who were also liberal or moderate & typically vote Democratic. In other words, people who themselves are liberal but also have to hold out their individualism over joining with others to act for the greater good of everyone.”

        I want to focus on this for a second because it’s a very important point. As I said over and over in the war on the self-righteous before the election, politics should not be a consumer choice. It’s not a place for people to express their individualism. It’s a place where people must express solidarity for the greater good. Solidarity does not mean that you only agree with people who think exactly as you do on every issue, or even on your pet issue. In fact, it means quite the opposite, that you subsume your personal beliefs into the greater whole for the greater good.

        In other words, people should not be wearing their politics like the cool new tattoo they just got.

        • And you don’t have to look at the relationship between Greenwald’s attacks on progressives who disagree with him and his ever waning influence for a great example of this (though that’s not a perfect analogy, of course, since Greenwald’s narcissism adds a particularly unique element to his situation).

        • Also, Nader got hardly any African-American votes. It was mostly white namby-pambies who cultivate their individual self-image over identifying and acting on their common bonds with others.

          • front

            You were pretty good at the self-image cultivation back in the day.

        • David M. Nieporent

          And remember, if Loomis cares about something, it’s the “greater good.” If he doesn’t, it’s just a “pet issue.”

        • Sebastian H

          Beware the person who always wants you to give up what you think is important for “solidarity” but surprisingly never has to give up what he finds important…

          • In this case, “giving up” is being defined as not entertaining the notion that you should ignore the vast differences between the parties because on DRONES! they aren’t very different at all (though Republicans are indeed worse, if only slightly)…including going so far as to continually flirt with the notion that maybe large amounts of progressives should consider voting for a right-wing libertarian and throwing the election to the Republican nominee who would be worse on every single issue across the board, including DRONES!.

            Why, again, are we supposed to be pretending that this is offered up as a good-faith discussion?

    • Malaclypse

      It would have been that Democrats can’t always rely on liberal votes the way they taken them for granted in the past.

      And taking that message to heart was what helped lead to Bob Akavian’s nomination in 2004.

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  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    GG and Erik’s mutual attempte to blame each other’s arguments on demographic facts about the other are equally silly. As I noted at the time when Erik wrote that only a white man could make Conor F’s argument that progressives ought not to vote for Obama, the tiny, politically irrelevant rump of progressives making this kind of argument against Obama actually included people of color as well as whites.

    Though you wouldn’t know it from this thread, there are actual substantive disagreements between GG and Erik (and the rest of LGM). Better to focus on them.

    • What substantive disagreements?

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Somewhere, under all the nonsense, GG thinks that the Pauls are more useful to progressives than Erik Loomis does. One could actually have a discussion about this without refering to either Ralph Nader or Erik and GG’s shared race, gender, and class.

        • But it’s such an obviously stupid argument, I don’t very well see why that would have more merit than the reasons someone could possibly think that in the first place.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks

            Well then just ignore it. People believe all kinds of idiotic things for all kinds of reasons, and arm-chair psychologizing about why GG is GG is unlikely to get us anywhere. The “brogressives” / “only white guys can believe these stupid things” argument illuminates very little and can easily be thrown back in Loomis’s face (GG did) generating even more heat and even less light. It certainly generates comments, tho’!

            • I don’t see how Greenwald threw anyone back in anyone’s face, other than by proving Stan’s initial characterization of “brogressives” 110% correct.

              • Hmmm. I can’t really agree.

                The problem with these clever bits of rhetoric is that you end up precisely in this situation of having to explain why you aren’t subject to that rhetoric or like rhetoric. Which makes it fairly easy to derail conversations, witness Greenwald. When dealing with dishonest people, it’s much easier for them to misuse the rhetoric than for you to use it.

                Even if you just resist that move, you tend to lose parts of the larger audience unnecessarily.

                • I’m not sure I’m fully appreciating your point, but mine was basically that when you consider what Stan (and Carpenter) have previously said about the rhetorical tactics and form of the “brogressives” (basically being hyper-aggressive/masculine), and then compare it to the way Greenwald handled himself in that comment thread yesterday (repeating the same points over and over, hurling insults, refusing to acknowledge when his “questions” had been answered and badgering everyone else) they’re essentially a perfect match.

                  I do think that’s something worth noting, especially since the ultimate crux of the substantive issue here is that Greenwald, Sirota, etc. are generally dismissive of women’s issues.

                • Hi Brien,

                  There’s two things to consider: 1) whether you make the charge and 2) whether you do so via some clever rhetoric. When evaluating their success you can consider their effect on the target (does it persuade them) or bystanders (of various levels of engament) and on future moves made by both sides.

                  Let’s consider the exchange between Greenwald and you and Joe and Erik. I think it’s not hard for a random observer to either 1) think that you’re all roughly the same or 2) think Greenwald came out ahead (or 3) that you came out ahead, for symmetric reasons to 2). And this is not attending to the relative merits of y’all’s cases.

                  And, well, isn’t LGM a bit aggressive and masculine? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy LGM, both the posts and the commentary (though the troll subthreads wear on me a bit). But the tone is definitely brash, sarcastic, often dismissive. Let’s grant, for argument, that it is always correctly so (e.g., it is only dismissive of things worthy of being dismissed, e.g., Scott’s recent comment that anyone who says “the liberal Charles Murry” isn’t worth engaging). In point of fact that it’s easy for many people to think that because the tone bears a family resemblance to Greenwald’s that the content (and tactics) are similarly Greenwaldian (for good or ill).

                  So, Erik goes a bit hyperbolic and that gives Greenwald an opening. That Greenwald is dishonest doesn’t really help because (as we know) just making a charge can damage the target even if it’s proved wrong (among opponents).

                  I’m not saying that anything follows from this. In particular, I’m not concern trolling. After all, the Donalde clearly shows that being polite doesn’t inoculate you from vicious, dishonest attacks.

                • I think about it this way. If I find myself disagreeing with Bijan on analysis of rhetorical strategy, I would consider myself wrong with high probability based on the track record. (comment at 7:35 below or maybe above, not sure where this reply will be slotted) pretty much has it. BP routinely says things that I think I mean but does so more elegantly and in a more polite fashion.

                • That was very kind of you to write, Pinko, and caused me a great deal of pleasure to read. Thanks!

            • I feel this way- argue against GG’s bad, obvious points, and don’t expose yourself with supremely inflammatory stuff, even if you have convinced yourself of it. Nobody will look good in the end, and we all look like internet flame champions. Be an arguing robot.

              • This makes no sense. To the extent that Greenwald is substantively wrong, it’s really not that big of a deal, so far as it goes, and if the only problem was that he put too high of a priority on “civil liberties” and DRONES and not enough on economic/gender issues it would just be a bog standard discourse on prioritization.

                But the larger problem with Greenwald is (and really always has been) his dishonesty and the way he characterizes anyone who doesn’t share his priorities or conclusions on the difference between the two major parties as objectively evil supporters of massacring Muslims. It’s hard to push back against that without getting “inflammatory,” if only because Greenwald himself will inevitably bust out the flamethrower.

                • Sebastian H

                  The reason Loomis and Greenwald are so mad at each other is they act like mirror images of one another but with different priorities. In the quoted piece, Loomis gratuitously frames his post with a racial attack in exactly the same way Greenwald gratuitously attacks Loomis. Both are willing to sling vague and demographically unanswerable charges to muddy the waters and then retreat to “why aren’t you talking about my REEEEAAAAL argument later”. Both are willing to be charitable to those who agree with them and hyper uncharitable to every word if you disagree. (See for example how quickly calling homosexual Greenwald cocksucker via fluffer vanished. The level of charity there would never have gotten anywhere if he had been a Loomis opponent in a place where nearly everything gets counted as a racist dog whistle.)

                  Like fundamentalist Christians and Muslims, they hate each other because they act just the same against everyone else. In a good world Loomis would learn that gratuitous race charges are gratuitous and that arguments are more productive when you treat people who disagree with you like real humans instead of evil demons.

                  Greenwalds attack is ridiculous, even though the original post is justifiably attackable. But it is hard not to see that there really justice in the world (though maybe only a little) when Loomis ends up having to defend himself from the very attacks he loves to use without thought against others.

                • “The reason Loomis and Greenwald are so mad at each other is they act like mirror images of one another but with different priorities.”

                  Well no, no they’re not.

                  “In the quoted piece, Loomis gratuitously frames his post with a racial attack in exactly the same way Greenwald gratuitously attacks Loomis.”

                  I wouldn’t say it’s gratuitous at all. I think it’s pretty fair given that Friedersdorf was explicitly endorsing the notion of voting for Gary Johnson instead of Barack Obama (something that Greenwald omits to mention, I might add). We’re not merely talking about “caring a lot” about the issue of DRONES or the WOT in general.

                  “(See for example how quickly calling homosexual Greenwald cocksucker via fluffer vanished. The level of charity there would never have gotten anywhere if he had been a Loomis opponent in a place where nearly everything gets counted as a racist dog whistle.)”

                  I see. So Erik used a term he claimed to not know the genesis of, was informed of the reference, and then (I guess) deleted the offending post? Funny, it seems like this is exactly what you would do if you honestly weren’t aware of the referential nature of the term and, when made aware of it, regretted using the term.

                  Now, compare that to Greenwald’s “raping a nun” moment, and tell me again what the equivalence is supposed to be.

                  “Like fundamentalist Christians and Muslims, they hate each other because they act just the same against everyone else. In a good world Loomis would learn that gratuitous race charges are gratuitous and that arguments are more productive when you treat people who disagree with you like real humans instead of evil demons. ”

                  It would help if you could first demonstrate how noting the white privilege of a young, white, male, libertarian writer at The Atlantic explicitly making the argument that progressives should have voted for Gary Johnson is gratuitous. Until then you’re just begging the question.

  • Erik, correct me, but it seems that your saying we shouldn’t care about U.S. aggression in the rest of the world until we’ve taken care of inequality and injustice here at home.

    And I say–hey, we can do both! But only if we strongly advocate both!

    Can you walk and chew gum? Cause I can. It’s not that hard. Someone here can teach you.

    • 1. If you bothered to read, you’d already know that the answer is, “no, no one is saying that.”

      2. On the other hand, Greenwald most certainly seems to be arguing the converse, so perhaps you ought to take to lecturing him.

  • Reilly

    Check out Bob Cesca’s piece Greenwald: ‘Drone Apologists’ and ‘Democratic Partisans’ Are Racists:

    Glenn Greenwald’s ongoing crusade against anyone who dares to see nuance in the debate over targeted killings and the war on terrorism has risen to a not-so-surprising new level. Namely, Americans who oppose targeted killings of American citizens on American soil, but who also support the targeted killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki are racists.

    Cesca also does a good job exposing Greenwald’s flawed use of polling data.

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