Home / General / Area Man, Come Undone by Trump’s Election, Accuses Democrats of Coming Undone by Trump’s Election. And by “Area Man,” I mean “Glenn Greenwald”

Area Man, Come Undone by Trump’s Election, Accuses Democrats of Coming Undone by Trump’s Election. And by “Area Man,” I mean “Glenn Greenwald”

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I’ve been a member of the Lawyers, Guns and Money team for some months now, and yet I believe that I’ve written only one post criticizing Glenn Greenwald. As I’m clearly not meeting my quota, I need to say a few word about this particular monstrosity that he offered up on Monday.

One of the most bizarre aspects of the all-consuming Russia frenzy is the Democrats’ fixation on changes to the RNC platform concerning U.S. arming of Ukraine. The controversy began in July when the Washington Post reported that “the Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces.”

Ever since then, Democrats have used this language change as evidence that Trump and his key advisers have sinister connections to Russians and corruptly do their bidding at the expense of American interests. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke for many in his party when he lambasted the RNC change in a July letter to the New York Times, castigating it as “dangerous thinking” that shows Trump is controlled, or at least manipulated, by the Kremlin. Democrats resurrected this line of attack this weekend when Trump advisers acknowledged that campaign officials were behind the platform change.

This attempt to equate Trump’s opposition to arming Ukraine with some sort of treasonous allegiance to Putin masks a rather critical fact: namely, that the refusal to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons was one of Barack Obama’s most steadfastly held policies.

I can’t wait until Greenwald writes a column explaining how hypocritical and bizarre it is that the same people who want legal marijuana have a problem with murderous drug cartels making a profit from selling it.

I’m not a Greenwald fan. Still,  I never realized he has so much contempt for the intelligence of his readers. I imagine—although I don’t know, and neither does Greenwald—that the majority of Democrats supported Obama’s caution in providing lethal aid to Ukraine. I also imagine that most Democrats are outraged because we don’t think presidential candidates should trade important national-security decisions for favorable electoral interference from foreign dictators. This really isn’t a tough one.

But wait, there’s more….

In short order, Greenwald quotes a Politico story quoting an un-named “disaffected” Obama appointment who draws a comparison between Obama’s Reset and Trump foreign policy. He writes:

In other words, Democrats are now waging war on, and are depicting as treasonous, one of Barack Obama’s central and most steadfastly held foreign policy positions, one that he clung to despite attacks from leading members of both parties as well as the DC National Security Community. That’s not Noam Chomsky drawing that comparison; it’s an Obama appointee.

As luck would have it, I’m taking part in a panel on the Reset tomorrow in New York. This is hogwash. Obama never intended to pursue a ‘grand bargain’ at the expense of NATO and the liberal order. The Reset never envisioned a grand ideological war against Islam in which the US and Russia worked as close partners. Nor did the Obama Administration want to ‘turn’ Russia to pursue hostilities with China. I think the chances of the Trump Administration accomplishing either of these thing are slim, but they reflect a radically different geostrategic outlook and understanding of US-Russian relations.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not terribly hawkish on Russia. But I am capable of updating my priors in light of new information. This isn’t crass partisanship. It’s what human beings who care about facts and stuff do. Anyway, whatever the ultimate cause of their behavior, Moscow has found a mechanism—information warfare deployed in electoral politics—for undermining liberal democracy in the Euro-Atlantic zone. Democrats need to take that fact very seriously when considering Russia policy. What we can’t do is, per Greenwald, reduce the debate to a choice between ‘American warmongering hawks’ and ‘apologists for Russian imperialism.’ If you think my characterization is too strong, read this:

Put another way, establishment Democrats – with a largely political impetus but now as a matter of conviction – have completely abandoned Obama’s accommodationist approach to Russia and have fully embraced the belligerent, hawkish mentality of John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bill Kristol, the CIA and Evan McMullin. It should thus come as no surprise that a bill proposed by supreme warmonger Lindsey Graham to bar Trump from removing sanctions against Russia has more Democratic co-sponsors than Republican ones.

Do you feel that? That’s the feeling of whiplash. This bill prevents Trump from unilaterally lifting sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration as part of its response to, first, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and, second, Moscow’s interference in the US election. But wait, you say, didn’t Greenwald open by arguing that Democrats have gone insane because they don’t support Obama policies toward Russia? Why yes. Yes he did.

I can’t help thinking that we’re watching Greenwald’s own psychodrama play out at The Intercept. He knows that he did his part, no matter how small, to help elect Trump. He knows that he’s been carrying water—I assume unintentionally—for authoritarian regimes. And, indeed, it doesn’t take long to see the effects in action:

This is why it’s so notable that Democrats, in the name of “resistance,” have aligned with neocons, CIA operatives and former Bush officials: not because coalitions should be avoided with the ideologically impure, but because it reveals much about the political and policy mindset they’ve adopted in the name of stopping Trump. They’re not “resisting” Trump from the left or with populist appeals – by, for instance, devoting themselves to protection of Wall Street and environmental regulations under attack, or supporting the revocation of jobs-killing free trade agreements, or demanding that Yemini civilians not be massacred.

The fact that Greenwald can’t be bothered to pay attention to what the vast majority of actual Democratic politicians are doing, or how they’re voting, when it comes to these issues is no excuse for stupid. The fact that Greenwald has clearly never been to a rally where liberals and left-wingers join together to protest Trump’s Islamophobic  policies, his assault on the environment, and his pro-corporate policies is no excuse for stupid. The fact that virtually all of these regulatory changes—or proposed policy changes—are things that Hillary Clinton would’ve prevented is no excuse for stupid. The fact that the Democratic party moved in a protectionist direction during this election, and that Greenwald is objectively wrong about the likely economic consequences of revoking existing trade deals, is no excuse for stupid. And hey, is it remotely possible that opposition to Trump might make a difference with respect to US policy toward Yemen? Maybe, maybe not. But it is certainly the case that, back in September, over half the Democratic members of the Senate supplied almost all of the votes against a large military aid package to Saudi Arabia.

Back to the ratcheting rhetorical fervor:

Instead, they’re attacking him on the grounds of insufficient nationalism, militarism, and aggression: equating a desire to avoid confrontation with Moscow as a form of treason (just like they did when they were the leading Cold Warriors). This is why they’re finding such common cause with the nation’s most bloodthirsty militarists – not because it’s an alliance of convenience but rather one of shared convictions (indeed, long before Trump, neocons were planning a re-alignment with Democrats under a Clinton presidency). And the most ironic – and over-looked – aspect of this whole volatile spectacle is how much Democrats have to repudiate and demonize one of Obama’s core foreign policy legacies while pretending that they’re not doing that.

Say what you want about neoconservatives, but they recognized three things about Trump.

  • That he is completely unqualified to be President.
  • That he would undermine national security by doing stupid, and often racist, stuff.
  • That he poses an existential threat to not only the US, but the western democratic order.

This is pretty important stuff. And while Greenwald is busy positioning himself to the left of Noam Chomsky, I just want to point out that Trump does not, in fact, promise less militarism than the Clinton wing of the Democratic party. He just would like to pursue more war-crime-y and more crypto-fascist-y militarism.

In conclusion, we all make mistakes. I think Greenwald would be happier, and a good deal less ridiculous, if he just owned his.

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  • efgoldman

    Every time Glennie’s name shows up on the front page or in the comments I ask the same question: Who cares? What influence does he have? His audience is very small; most people don’t know or care who he is. In fact, sometimes it seems the only people who know or care are a few bloggers.
    Why bother?

    • jkfecke

      If you take time to comment on an article or post about a certain issue, it seems to me that you care about said issue. As for Greenwald, he has a narrow but significant amount of influence, mostly targeted at the Berniewouldaones, and The Intercept has a significant readership on the far left.

      This makes it very important to point out Glenn’s mendacity. Contrary to what most Berniewouldaones will claim, most leftists would rather work with liberals to move the ball forward than support Trumpism. But if “both parties are totally the saaaame, man,” then a few peel off — and it only takes a few, as we saw last November.

      As for this post, I’ll disagree with it to this extent: I don’t think Glenn regrets effectively supporting Trump. But I do think he is concerned that his effective support will destroy his influence on the left — which is why he’s flailing, and trying to argue that Obama is the Real Monster.

      (I will also note, sotto voce, that The Intercept was all over those leaked CIA documents that the FSB Wikileaks dropped the other day. Can’t imagine why.)

      • efgoldman

        he has a narrow but significant amount of influence, mostly targeted at the Berniewouldaones,

        I put him in the same influence space as Freddie, i.e. none.
        The difference is, GG is supported by Pootie-Kazootie, which should make his credibility and influence less than zero, whereas Freddie’s is exactly zero.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          He has far more influence than Freddie.

          • MDrew

            Have to agree here, though I would say it’s fallen far and is falling fast.

            • I suspect it’s falling, but reasonable liberals/progressives like Chris Hayes–who I respect a lot, this isn’t an indictment of him–who want all sides of the liberal/left to be heard, still give him a lot of attention. Where I suspect his influence is falling fast is with journalists who aren’t primarily opinion journalists. His sustained hackery is harder to take seriously as analysis.

              Of course, he should never have been given so much credibility by liberals/progressives/the left, because from the start he’s been neither a liberal nor a progressive. His politics aren’t much more more than “I don’t want anyone to tell me what to do, whether it’s sexual restrictions, or a rule imposed by my co-op that doesn’t allow me to do whatever I want with my condo.” And when it comes to political judgement, he’s got shit for brains. Why he was so easily conned on the Russia stuff, or why in 2011 he was calling for a rich guy not particularly beholden to either party to run for president, if, that is, Gary Johnson couldn’t win.

              BTW, he also has influence via his utility to the right, who love using him for “even the liberal Glenn Greenwald says Democrats are poopy-pants fascist” bullshit.

              • nemdam

                Yup, Glenn is basically a libertarian. He falsely brands himself as a liberal, or at least doesn’t dissuade anyone from describing him as one, because he wants credibility from liberals.

                And this is why it’s important to point out Glenn’s nonsense. Whatever its size, he and the ideas he promotes do have influence on the left and just as we spend time attacking bad ideas on the right, it is also important that we attack bad ideas on the left as it ultimately ends up hurting the cause.

                • FlipYrWhig

                  IMHO he’s a libertarian who doesn’t realize he’s a libertarian because he first achieved political sentience under George W. Bush and thought that meant he was an anti-imperialist leftist. He’s a bit like Christopher Hitchens or Nat Hentoff insofar as he’s mildly heterodox by left-right standards and thinks that means he’s smarter than you.

                • Hentoff is a comparison I’ve made in the past. But Hentoff waited decades before he went nearly completely bonkers.

                  But where the comparisons don’t work is both Hentoff & Hitchens were extraordinarily well-read. Greenwald has no broader context for any of this.

                  Finally, while Hitchens especially was bombastic & self-promoting, they both were deeply committed to their political ideas & beliefs. If you read that piece he did with Out in 2011, he pretty much lets slip that what’s most important is to keep getting attention.

              • Lost Left Coaster

                he also has influence via his utility to the right

                That’s a big one right there. I couldn’t help but notice how Greenwald’s line about McCarthyism is also being used by many Republicans in Congress. I’m not saying that they got it from him, just that the rhetoric fits together, and he’s helping them to make their case.

        • kped

          I usually agree with you, but he is far more influential than Freddie. Runs a decent size website, interviewed on TV constantly, Pulitzer price. 840K Twitter followers (FdB has about 20K for comparison).

          So I see no problem with pushing back on his mendacity. He’s a hack.

          • No Longer Middle Aged Man

            Yes, this. Also consistent in his opposition to actions that inconvenience Russian interests.

            Note also the timing of the latest Wikileaks dump, forcing CIA to play defense and successfully diverting attention from most recent information about Trump campaign links to Russia.

            I’m not saying there is a general conspiracy but yes that someone somewhere is seizing opportunities to push some buttons when other events create favorable circumstances. Some of it may be random, but I do not believe that all of it is.

          • Lost Left Coaster

            Yeah, and a news program I love and respect, Democracy Now!, has him on every once in a while and gives him a lot of time to air his views with no pushback, because for some reason they consider him to be part of the team.

        • rea

          Let’s call Freddie as influential as Greenwald when Freddie get played by Zachary Quinto in a movie.

          • Joe_JP

            Let’s call Freddie as influential as Greenwald when Freddie get played by Zachary Quinto in a movie.

            Yup. When “Spock” plays you in a movie, you have a certain cachet. I saw Quinto promoting that movie on Colbert, and damn if he sounded like an asshole. Maybe, he was method acting or something.

            Seriously, his connection to Snowden alone makes him somewhat worth responding to. Also, it’s partially that some remember when he was a sensible critic of the Bush Administration (shades of Keith Olberman in a way) when there were so few. He showed his work etc. though even then he soon showed some bad tendencies, including a lack of perspective and not being handle criticism.

        • djw

          I put him in the same influence space as Freddie, i.e. none.

          This really seems like wishful thinking to me.

    • I’m pretty left-wing and so are many of my friends, so I’m far from representative, but I can tell you that I have seen many Intercept articles on my Facebook feed courtesy of Facebook friends. The Intercept being Greenwald’s publication, it seems to me that Greenwald still has influence in certain circles, an impression reinforced by the fact that he gets interviewed more than once in a blue moon by Democracy Now. Again, this is limited influence since it is confined to a fairly leftist realm, but it is hardly non-existent or innocuous.

      A related point: whether or not Greenwald is himself “leftist” (it seems not) it seems his main sphere of influence is on the left and the arguments he makes that resonate most are packaged as coming from the left on foreign policy and security, so I think people miss the point when they argue that if he’s not really leftist “in his heart” his arguments aren’t associated with a leftist worldview. Clearly they are.

      Whether they are arguments that actually further progressive goals is of course another matter entirely. At this point, I’d say “hell no!”.

    • brewmn

      Just stop with this. Greenwald was interviewed on these issues pretty extensively on the BBC just this week. He has an audience, and he has way more influence on the debate than any of the front pagers here (sadly).

      Your ignorance of or unwillingness to accept those facts doesn’t make them not facts. You post this comment every time Greenwald is the subject, and it’s flat out wrong. If you don’t like reading about him, don’t read about him. But many here feel he and his arguments are influential enough to be taken on when they pop up in an especially obnoxious form. Which may be redundant in Greenwald’s case.

      • Solo Law

        Yeah it never ceases to amaze me that this low readership blog composed of second tier academics practically nobody in the world has ever heard of, much less their scholarship, (except Loomis labor work, Campos’ soda pop BS and of course the now likely unemployed Lemieux who poaches a few lines every couple of months in the Guardian, which doesn’t even constitute table scraps related to the prominence they gave Glenn) nevertheless like to run their mouths constantly employing straw man arguments aimed at anything Glenn writes while employing straight up character assassination and non-sequiturs because Glenn isn’t partisan enough for them. As everyone knows that’s the trifecta of good argument for purported professional scholars.

        Here’s the thing, Glenn isn’t afraid to contend with any of your petty little critiques of his works, on the merits and on the record. So if you think he’s such a muddle-headed thinker/analyst, you know the guy who has more readers, more best selling books, and more awards for his journalism (from actual journalism organizations) than the combined front pagers of this little whine fest, and you believe you have the facts and argument to knock him down a peg, correspond with him and ask him to put you on a podcast at The Intercept debating whichever pieces of his work you’d like. My guess is he’ll gladly set it up. He isn’t afraid to have his viewpoint challenged, and certainly not by some second rate academics toiling away in near anonymity. Hell the same goes for any of you anonymous commenters at this blog who like to run your mouths about Glenn. Come out from behind your anonymity and put your professional reputation, credentials, facts and argument up against Glenn in an open public forum and show him up. Hell how about opening up a comment account at The Intercept and try BTL at his place. Or just run your mouths anonymously here in your little echo chamber.

        But nobody second rate academics sitting around this blog scratching their genitals and lamenting every utterance from Glenn, like anything you all have to say on any topic via this sad sack little blog is ever going to influence anyone in the real world except your little anonymous collection of regulars in the comment section is, for a bunch of purported “academics”–pathetic.

        I just think it’s amusing that the collective nominal brain trust of this place, and your LOTE worldview, the one practiced by the majority of Dem centrists for decades, is catastrophically wrongheaded as policy and politics and has turned the Democratic party nationally into a smoking pile of rubble. But notwithstanding that we should take people like you and your opinions seriously, or show fealty or solidarity with the Democratic party at this point because you say so? Laughable.

        Sort of like the lack of introspection you practice instead projecting onto Glenn Greenwald–you know the guy who is single-handedly responsible for Trump’s election. Oh wait, or was it Comey and the release of his letter which The Intercept barely covered? No it was Berniebros (totally erasing the 10s of millions of women that supported him). Oh wait, wasn’t it Freddie’s fault, and Putin, and bigots and misogynists in the Rust Belt states, and Florida . . . ?

        Is this the part where you ban me for mocking you? Oh no wait this is the part where the “Kewl Kids-In Crowd” in the LGM comments section take apart the lack of sophistication of my insults, call me a Greenwald sockpuppet, or double down on how “Glennie” (talk about weak argument to infantilize someone’s name–let me guess, you’re an academic of some sort somewhere) is a “libertarian” and not a “liberal” like all those in good standing at LGM?

        Amusing because if any you have actually read Greenwald’s work over the years or done even a minimal amount of research, Glenn has addressed many times the policies he’s in favor of, domestically and as function of foreign policy (as opposed to labels like “liberal” or “progressive” or “libertarian”). Interestingly they all look an awful lot like democratic socialism or “progressive” policies and nothing like libertarian policies except in the civil libertarian sense.

        I’m curious why the great great “liberals” of LGM rarely cover the war in Yemen, or the destruction caused by America’s war on terror approaching two decades when a Democratic party is in majority, or when Obama was President, even half as much as they cover US football, baseball, music videos, cartoons and comic books, or in the case of Farley US weapons programs–because you know every good liberal likes to keep up on the weapons trade in America except when those weapons kill people on the other side of the globe?

        Laughable and pathetic.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          *fap fap fap fap fap fap blort*

          • kped

            Knowing Glenn’s history with sock puppets…I wouldn’t be shocked if this was him.

            • Q.E.Dumbass

              I’m pretty sure he was behind the Galactus-867-530whatever a while back. What other sockpuppets has he used?

            • CP

              I wouldn’t be shocked if this wasn’t him.

              Speaking for myself, at least. YMMV.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                Diiiiitto.

              • MyNameIsZweig

                I dunno, the prose isn’t quite Greenwaldian enough in a few key respects.

                • Lost Left Coaster

                  Word count is right on the money, though. Maybe a little short…

            • sibusisodan

              I think its more likely to be a long term fan of the writer, one who has known him for a long time and has similar professional qualifications.

              • The Temporary Name

                I got about the same language from a GG fan who is not related. It’s viral apologetics.

        • kped

          BTW, I’ve even commented on the Intercept, but you want to talk about a bubble? My god that comment section is a den of stupid and conspiracy theory that would be right at home on Inforwars. The level of outright stupid is breath taking.

          Also, what laughable and pathetic? How’s this:

          Glenn isn’t afraid to contend with any of your petty little critiques of his works, on the merits and on the record. So if you think he’s such a muddle-headed thinker/analyst, you know the guy who has more readers, more best selling books, and more awards for his journalism (from actual journalism organizations) than the combined front pagers of this little whine fest, and you believe you have the facts and argument to knock him down a peg, correspond with him and ask him to put you on a podcast at The Intercept debating whichever pieces of his work you’d like. My guess is he’ll gladly set it up.

          Are you saying that the only way to engage in criticism of him is to do it on his grounds? Are you saying criticism of his arguments is illegitimate unless it is done on a podcast hosted by him, or on his own blog? What stupidity!

          Also, he can defend himself (and has tried on occasion here), so he doesn’t need your pathetic hero worship to help him out. You are embarrassing yourself.

          Also, don’t whine that other people are anonymous behind your anonymous nyme. Hack.

        • Hogan

          The people who hate him the most are all in their twenties and early thirties. There’s this awful suck-up named Scott Lemieux–his “writing” is sweaty with panting obsequious ambition–who keeps distorting everything Greenwald writes–the only way this no-talent can get him. And I ask myself: why is it the young guys who go after Greenwald? Must be because he writes the way young guys should be writing: angry, independent, not afraid of offending powerful people. They on the other hand write like aging careerists: timid, ingratiating, careful not to offend people who are powerful. They hate him because they want to write like him but can’t. Maybe if they’d let themselves go and write truthfully, they’d get Amy Goodman to notice them too.

          • witlesschum

            Heheehehehehehe.

          • Lost Left Coaster

            Wait…what?

            • sibusisodan

              It’s an internet tradition you have to be aware of.

              • Lost Left Coaster

                Oh my god thank you. I thought that I was aware of all Internet traditions. But I had missed that one. That is gold.

          • Scott Lemieux

            +1 Sprezzutra

        • brad

          Anyone actually bother to read all this?

          • sibusisodan

            I enjoyed it! It’s a classic of the genre.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              If I weren’t pretty sure it’s Glenn, I would think it’s someone who failed at academia.

              Anyone know if he got rejected from any PhD programs?

            • Lost Left Coaster

              Is this the same guy who posted another classic comment recently about the LGM bloggers being professors at universities that no one has even heard of? I thought that was a great line. Seem to be some similar attempted sick burns in this one too.

              • sibusisodan

                Same nym, yes.

        • brewmn

          This was awesome. No, I didn’t bother reading beyond the first twenty words. Why do you ask?

        • “Don’t you know who I am, you second -rate nonentities?

          Who Glenn is, I mean…yes, that will do.”

        • JMP

          Christ, what an asshole. How does it feel lying all the time, claiming to be liberal while letting irrational hatred of the Democratic party lead you to being a willing tool of the extreme right and supporting fascists like Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin?

        • Steven Tucker

          You have compelled me, after months of reading, to register and post a comment…just so I can say:
          Funny how a whiny little bitch talks smack about anonymity and non sequitur and strawmen, all in a festering pile of verbal dogshit nonsense posted under a pseudonym.
          You laid down a challenge, I accept – I’ll debate your whiny bitch ass about anything you choose, anywhere, anytime, with only one condition:

          Put your own reputation and name on it. Own your words, bitch. Publish a profile that states your profession and your real name. Otherwise, you are nothing but a scared, bullshit-spewing, hypocritical WHINY LITTLE BITCH.

    • I think it’s a fair question in spite of the points people have made.

      • brewmn

        Of course you do.

        • Not sure what you mean. There are hundreds of equally prominent and/or more interesting or intelligent writers. Why hate blog the same couple, over and over again? If I want to read Greenwald, I’ll read the Intercept. If I don’t, I probably don’t want to read about him over and over, either.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            Why hate blog the same couple, over and over again?

            Well, in Frederik’s case, the fact that it annoys him should be enough…

          • brewmn

            Then don’t. The “write about what I want your to write about, and nothing else” argument is almost certainly the most pointless and annoying criticism leveled at bloggers. You have tons of other reading options in the vast spaces of the internet; spend your time doing that instead of complaining about what a particular blogger chooses to write about.

            • What prevents your argument from being an argument against ever commenting on any blog post, ever?

              • djw

                What prevents your argument from being an argument against ever commenting on any blog post, ever?

                I think it’s fairly obvious, no?

                “You shouldn’t write about this, write something else instead” is an annoyingly common but still relatively narrow subset of blog comments. Other templates include:

                “You’re wrong, here’s why.”

                “Your characterization of the problem could be improved thusly…”

                “There seems to be an implied premise in your argument that should be made explicit and defended.”

                “Your move from A to B is underexplained and/or dubious.”

                “Your argument rests on the assumption that X is true, but here’s some compelling evidence that X is false.”

                “If your argument here is true, here’s an implication of it that seems important, or troubling, or interesting”

                And on, and on and on. All of these templates, and many more, engage the post on which they are commenting, a standard that “write about things I find more interesting than this” does not.

                • But I didn’t say that Dan shouldn’t write anything.

                  If my comment is equivalent to telling Dan not to write about things that don’t interest me, yes, taken seriously, how is that not an argument that I shouldn’t comment st all?

                  Very few comments here meet the standards you propose and it’s not at all obvious they would be appropriate here either.

            • Also, if I reword my earlier comment as “I agree with the objections made but think considering ef’s question might be worthwhile anyway” do you still have the same objection to it?

              • Aaron Morrow

                Is it still based on the false assumption that Greenwald has the same influence space as deBoer? Despite there being more interesting or intelligent writers, Greenwald literally has the power to shape discussions of policy whether one mentions his name or not.

                • In my case it is an open ended question. Why? I can’t speak for ef, Dan, or anyone else, but what is the reason for thinking his question is “based on an assumption”?

                  My own reason for comparing him to FdB in this context, if I was going to do that) is that the obsession with him was also a little odd (in that case it was also gendered because of his history).

                  Can G shape discussions more than others? Or if there are others, what about him makes attacks on him fruitful? It seems because it gets commenters riled up, possibly, because of the history with him (bloggers who used to have active comments sections, seem to have that in common). I’m just throwing outs possibilities here.

                • I don’t think the obsession with G is gendered, to be clear (I think comments here suggested it was a while back).

                  There used to be a certain kind of person who would respond to discussion/criticism of certain writers with insinuations that the author was gay and thus comments on him should be by boys, but that was a long time ago. I don’t recall even a single instance of this in years and years.

                • Aaron Morrow

                  @bianca steele

                  efgoldman said that Greenwald’s “audience is very small” as a reason to ignore him, which is another way to say “based on an assumption.” That’s the original post you responded to saying that you thought it was “a fair question.”

                  My belief that Greenwald is influential was already stated; while I disagree on that point I do share your memories of the second comment.

          • kped

            …that just sounded so dumb. “if i want to read him, i’ll go to the intercept”…so therefore, never mention him or his writings?

            Do you and efgoldman realize that these things aren’t about you,and you don’t have to read if you don’t want? Why should Glenn be exempt from criticism if he presents stupid ideas?

    • Rob in CT

      This looks like wishful thinking. IF ONLY GG had no influence. If only.

    • cleek

      i have a lot of leftier-than-thou FB friends who post his stuff, constantly.

  • Darkrose

    It boggles me that GG is a gay man who is defending Putin’s Russia.

    • The Great God Pan

      It's because only warmongering imperialist neocon U.S. nationalists criticize Russia's stance on LGBT rights. Don't be a dupe!

      • Darkrose

        I shouldn’t have clicked the link. My list of people I want to punch in the face (with votes! ™Wonkette) is getting very long.

    • ColBatGuano

      I’m still trying to figure out why he thinks defending Putin is a leftist stance. While McCarthyism was a horrific overreaction, that hasn’t made those folks in the 30’s who defended Stalin look any better.

      • jkfecke

        Right? The problem with McCarthyism wasn’t that the Soviet Union was actually good. The problem was that McCarthyism took aim at basic civil liberties in the same way the Soviets did.

        • Also, liberals are now the new McCarthyites. so if liberals say Russia is bad, that means they’re just doing what McCarthy did, which is red-bait. Also, Russia was communist, & Putin was a KGB agent, so they’re always the same as they were 30 years ago. It’s easier to believe if you don’t know crap about the rest of the world.

          It’s the foreign policy equivalent to “today’s Democrats are racists because Dixiecrats supported Jim Crow.”

          • kped

            And Robert Byrd, never forget to mention he was in the KKK. Probably invented it too. And was buried in his Grand Wizard robe.

        • nemdam

          No, the problem with McCarthyism is that it was a distraction from reminding us all that Adlai Stevenson sucks.

          • Rob in CT

            Oh, well played.

      • I’m still trying to figure out why he thinks defending Putin is a leftist stance.

        I never really considered Greenwald a spokesman for the left. He’s more of a muckraker who likes to layer his bullshit with smartie sounding words so that he can sound oh so smart as he prods what he considers to be the establishment. Pony riding in the service of spouting bullshit.

        • fleekon

          Greenwald refuses to accept “labels.” Nothing makes him more furious than being called a right-winger, but he doesn’t object when people call him a left-winger. Like many right-wing fakers, what he protests about is the thing to watch. He’s a left-winger who “just happens” to rail against the left wing exclusively, and who also tries to tell left-wingers that all sorts of left-wing positions are “stupid” and worse. Citizens United, Cato Foundation, Ron Paul, Iraq war, Assange, and on and on–these are the left-wing causes we should all rally around.

          I’m not saying Greenwald is a plant, but he sure functions as one of the best forces for halting left-wing politics in their tracks that I’ve ever seen.

          Also, what are Glennie’s left-wing credentials? Why, he supported the Tea Party! you think I’m joking, but it’s true, I’m just too sickened to Google up that monstrosity.

          and yes we have to keep this up because even now SO.MANY lefties rally around GG and even use his positions as major talking points.

          the funny thing is, perhaps to counter Glenn’s bizarre no-politics politics, The Intercept has gotten some much clearer voices recently, especially Robert Mackey. I assume Mackey just pretends there is no such thing as Glenn Greenwald as their reporting is often seriously at odds with each other.

          • It’s very difficult to reconcile Mackey with Greenwald/Jilani/Fang. He’s a reporter. Greenwald is a nasty, purity-preening, contrarian attention whore. Jilani is insane. And Fang hates liberals and progressives because Neera Tanden didn’t keep him around, not because it was clear he was a sloppy journalist and muddle-headed nitwit, but because corporations wanted his type purged from progressive politics or something.

            • Q.E.Dumbass

              Liliana Segura, Jeremy Scahill & Murtaza Hussain are pretty good reporters, and Jon Schwarz is a pretty good columnist (Sam Biddle is also tolerable).

              But the constant firebagging from the GG/Jilani/Fang faction makes reading the Intercept a fucking chore.

              • Scahill spent the month before the inauguration mocking the notion that the Russians played an active & malign role in the election and the Trump transition. It was that “they’re so pathetic they want us to believe Russia did something bad when we know it’s just that Dems are losers and as untrustworthy as Republicans, which I know because I was in Kosovo which was the fault of Clinton and Wesley Clark” stupidity. He does go out & report stuff, but his impulsive “but Dems are almost as bad on everything” bullshit makes his analysis of US politics buffoonish.

                And Schwarz shares almost all the same idiotic dumbtakes about Democrats as Scahill & Greenwald.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  Oh – I was thinking of his most recent tweets, which what I gathered weren’t especially anti-anti-Russian – at least, not to the extent of GG/Fang/Jilani. I might be misremembering, and thx for the heads-up (I was made aware his poor showing on Kosovo on the last Intercept thread).

                  That said, the rest of the reporters I listed definitely care far more about opposing the prospective damage to come from Donald and the Repubs than settling scores with those goddamned perfidious neoliberals.

                • nemdam

                  Scahill does some decent reporting, but his politics is all about how the Dems need to be completely reformed cuz they are just as bad as the Republicans. I put him in the same bucket as Taibbi in that when he is talking about his beat, he is fine. When he ventures into political analysis, he is godawful.

              • The Great God Pan

                I can’t speak to Segura’s overall body of work but I find it sketchy that she staunchly defended David Protess, the disgraced former Northwestern journalism prof who successfully spearheaded a bizarre plan to exonerate a guilty convicted murderer and replace him with an innocent man.

            • nemdam

              Wait, is that why Lee Fang and his crew hate Neera Tanden so much? Because she fired him? It would make sense as their hatred of Neera is legit creepy.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                She also personally ruined Matt Bruenig’s childhood and adulthood and LIFE.

                • louislouis

                  Because getting someone whose wife is expecting fired from his job for Twitter snark is hilarious, right? Oh, she’s also a troll and a liar:

                  http://coreyrobin.com/2016/06/25/neera-and-me-two-theses-about-the-american-ruling-class-and-one-about-neera-tanden/

                • Origami Isopod

                  Because getting someone whose wife is expecting fired from his job for Twitter snark online harassment is hilarious entirely justifiedFixed that for ya, sparky. Also, ISTR Corey Robin at least winking and nodding at that harassment, so pardon me if I don’t take his word on the subject.

                • nemdam

                  louislouis:

                  Corey Robin’s name gets thrown around a lot on here, but I have never read any of his posts until that link. My god. If your beef with her is that she may or may nor have rolled her eyes and at worst mischaracterized which parts of the Israel/Palestinian talks she was there for, then the problem is you. The fact that this triggered a 5000+ word screed suggesting she is a lying and duplicitous person is downright creepy.

                  And for the record, Neera rolling her eyes at Cornel West just makes me like her more.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Because getting someone whose wife is expecting fired from his job for Twitter snark is hilarious, right?

                  That would be very sad.

                  Someone who has a history of harassing women online losing his side gig blogging after multiple warnings to stop harassing women online isn’t hilarious either, but it is wholly reasonable and predictable.

                • JMP

                  His wife was pregnant, therefore his employer should have let him harass people in peace!

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  His wife was pregnant, therefore his employer should have let him harass people in peace!

                  Or at least given him the opportunity to say he would cease future harassmen–oh, they did do that? He refused to? Huh.

                • It’s never “his wife was pregnant, so maybe he shouldn’t have been such a reckless jackass if they were relying on that extra income that put them over $100K per year before you even factor in his wife’s income.”

                  Women of color are always keepin’ the white man down…

      • JMV Pyro

        I think another commenter here pointed out a reason once. The idea is that the US is such a powerful and malignant force on the international stage that any country that is able to check it or that criticizes it is worthy of support.

        It’s an incredibly simplistic and ironically America-centric reason, but it’s a reason.

        • wjts

          There’s also the slightly less sophisticated theory “America is an imperialist nation; ergo, all opposition to any American foreign policy is anti-imperialist.”

          • Neither of you understands how systems work.

            We need more bros (you know, people who can explain college stuff so us dumb commenters will get it) in this comments section.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            As Davis X. Machina has pointed out (in his characteristically wry humor), this isn’t a repudiation of the fundamentally narcissistic ‘Murican Excuepshunallism, but a mirror image.

            • Lost Left Coaster

              Bingo.

        • Davis X. Machina

          There’s more than one kind of American exceptionalism….

          • rea

            It is quite true that Americans are exceptionally ignorant about a lot of things, including but not limited to foreign policy.

        • nemdam

          I’ll go even further and say it’s just as dumb and arguably just as dangerous to human rights as a right wing war hawk. To say that US intervention always causes harm and is the result of imperialism is as simplistic and naive as saying US intervention can always fix our problems because foreigners are always trying to destroy us.

    • It boggles me that GG is a gay man who is defending Putin’s Russia.

      I boggles my mind that 50 something percent of white women voted for a notorious pussy-grabbing misogynist over another highly accomplished and highly capable white woman, but there you have it.

      • That’s because white women suck and malign all progressive men with the terrible, horrible slur “bro” (God only knows what’s in their minds) which messes them up. Easy.

        ETA I’m not relitigating the primary and would be happy to discuss Bernie’s proposals honestly now that the election is over, but obviously that’s not going to happen.

        • Yeah, I find the whole Bernie-could-have-won fight now to be silly. Who knows? Maybe Spider Man could kick Batman’s ass in a fight! We’ll never know, so why fight about it!

          I think the current configuration of the DNC is very promising, and as a Bernie supporter I’m quite happy with the party being center-left, as I think that’s the best we’re going to get out of a coalition party. I find the whole backbiting about Bernie Bros and Clintonistas to be self-destructive and exhausting.

          • Hogan

            Yeah, well, he hit me first.

          • I find the whole backbiting about Bernie Bros and Clintonistas to be self-destructive and exhausting.

            I’m inclined to agree with this. Then I think, maybe I just don’t understand systems well enough.

            Seriously, what I think is that maybe it’s just because I’m a chick and chicks don’t like to argue, and that makes me mad, so I think maybe I should argue about it. Because, after all, maybe I’m wrong that it’s counterproductive and a waste of time, and it really just that I don’t understand systems well enough. Who am I to decide that my behavior is counterproductive, just based on the fact that it makes me grumpy and cynical?

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Objection: Peter Parker is able to lift at least 1.5 tons, and he generally holds back in fights to avoid killing those without superhuman strength and durability – in point of comparison, he nearly killed the Kingpin in an effortless beatdown during Civil War. So in a no-holds-barred fight between Spider-Man and Batman he totally would kick Batman’s ass.

            Ergo: Your comparison is invalid.

            • CP

              LMAO thank you, I was just about to post this.

            • I dunno. If Spider-Man jumped on him out of the blue, I’d have to concede your point. But if Batman knew it was coming, I think he’d have cooked something up in the batcave that would knock Spidey on his ass ;-)

              • cleek

                a big jar in which to capture him and a giant toilet down which to flush him!

    • rea

      It boggles me that GG is a gay man who is defending Putin’s Russia

      In this brave new world of equality, gay men are every bit as free to do stupid shit as straight men.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    I have no idea why GG writes what he writes. But it seems to me that your explanation — he just doesn’t want to own up to mistakes he made during the campaign — is the kindest possible understanding of what GG is up to. I suspecf it’s too kind. But that might be because I am so tired of the anti-anti-fascist left’s bad arguments about Russia which, as you point out, are built on a series of false equivalencies and false policy choices.

    • He writes what he writes because he has a niche that pays him to write it. I’m sure he probably believes most of it, but still: $$$

    • sk7326

      He likes Russia – they’re keeping Snowden safe. (snark – but maybe not)

    • cleek

      he hates America.

      whatever America does is wrong and therefore anyone who opposes America must have a point.

      that’s what i get from his writing anyway.

  • heckblazer

    At the time I thought the Ukraine change in the platform was right on the merits, and I still do. That doesn’t change how I wonder why the fuck that was the one change Trump wanted in the platform, most especially since it was a radical departure from the orthodoxy then current with Republicans.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      Trump is famously uninterested in most policy details, so when he does focus on one of them you have to try to figure his motivation.

      GG is a useful idiot.

    • witlesschum

      Ding, ding, ding.

      If it honestly represented our Republicans learning that starting wars was not the solution to every international problem, great. If it represented Trump doing the first of many favors for his pal Putin, less great.

      • rea

        If it honestly represented our Republicans learning that starting wars was not the solution to every international problem

        More like: it represents our Republicans changing which side to ally with in forthcoming wars.

  • ForkyMcSpoon

    [Democrats are] attacking [Trump] on the grounds of insufficient nationalism, militarism, and aggression

    What the fuck is he talking about? Who has criticized Trump for insufficient militarism or aggression? Or does he just mean “not being nice to Putin” is militaristic aggression?

    And at any rate, not wanting to lift sanctions against Russia is hardly the same thing as pushing for war with Russia.

    • tsam

      Not enough drones.

  • petesh

    I do have sympathy with efg’s disdain, but I cannot resist. “Obama’s accommodationist approach to Russia”? Try selling that to Putin. … “they’re attacking [Trump] on the grounds of insufficient nationalism, militarism, and aggression”?? No, Glenn, just no. Everyone (except perhaps you, god knows why) is scared witless that Trump may start a war or, even worse, drift inadvertently into one precisely because he is so nationalistic, militaristic, and aggressive, among his many other flaws.

    Back to the OP: best takedown of Greenwald I’ve read in ages. But then people with Nexon’s qualifications don’t usually bother to take his meandering inconsistencies apart. I enjoyed that.

    • Jewish Steel

      I think what Dnexon wrote qualifies as a fisking. And it was gratifying indeed.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Yes, it is always shocking and gratifying when the Glenn Greenwalds of the world get taken on by people who actually know what they’re talking about.

      GG has never allowed his lack of knowledge about an issue to prevent him from writing tens of thousands of words about it. Nice to see dnexon mount some serious, substantial pushback against this idiocy.

  • liberalrob

    As I’m clearly not meeting my quota, I need to say a few word about this particular monstrosity that he offered up on Monday.

    Well done. You’ll fit in nicely with Lemieux and Loomis; you can mischaracterize Greenwald every bit as well as they can.

    • Nick never Nick

      In fairness, it’s hard to accurately characterize someone who writes with great precision, at great length, and also incoherently and inconsistently.

    • Murc

      The comment box has a sky-high word count limit and all the front-pagers here welcome long form comments.

      If you have a case to make, make it. I’ve yet to see you do this.

      • Hogan

        Not successfully, anyway.

    • Cheerfull

      In what respect did Dnexon mischaracterize GG? Can you point to anything in his post that is factually inaccurate or tendentious? I personally find it physically hard to read GG at times because his outrage is always at 11. But thanks to dnexon for going to the trouble and, substantively, what is inaccurate about his description of how GG himself mischaracterizes both Obama’s policies and current Democratic/progressive/sane people objections to Trump’s ties with Russia?

      • rea

        How dare Dnexon mischaracterize Greenwald by giving us 7 paragraphs of direct quotes from the man.

    • Scott Lemieux

      You’ll fit in nicely with Lemieux and Loomis; you can mischaracterize Greenwald every bit as well as they can.

      LOL. Every single one of your attempts to identify a “mischaracterization” was a massive FAIL. I’m not sure why you’re so determined to defend Glenn by attributing arguments to him that he hasn’t made, but it’s rather pathetic.

      • liberalrob

        You’re one to talk about attributing arguments someone hasn’t made (“Greenwald has never affirmatively agreed with me that the Comey letter was hugely impactful, therefore he believes it was not!”). Whatever. I agree with you, every single one of my attempts to point out how you’ve mischaracterized Glenn’s words has massively FAILED to convince you. I stand by what I said, all of it.

        • gmack

          Because I’ve known you to be a good citizen of this blog, I’ll respond to this: In the passage in question, Greenwald explicitly listed the Comey letter as one of the scapegoats that they’re using to blame the loss on, and that this scapegoating is preventing them from engaging in a more systematic reflection on what went wrong in the election. (Specifically, Greenwald accuses democrats of “constructing scapegoats and villains,” including Comey and a bunch of other things)

          Now, maybe I’m idiosyncratic, but when I hear someone says that “X person is constructing a scapegoat,” I take that to mean: X person is taking some innocent thing and turning it into an object to blame for some set of failures. From whence it follows that the thing X person is scapegoating is in fact not really blameworthy, that it is innocent, and that X person’s blaming of the of the thing is is in fact a social ritual designed to place the community’s sins onto some external object that we can purge (which, after all, was what literal scapegoating was). So the conclusion that I infer from Greenwald’s explicit words is that he doesn’t think Comey is really to blame and that the real blame lies elsewhere. Indeed, I take that to be the plain inference from calling Comey a scapegoat.

          So here’s my question: why is this reading incorrect? You seem to think that it is–that it’s a blatant and hate-driven misreading–but I do not understand why.

          • liberalrob

            Now, maybe I’m idiosyncratic, but when I hear someone says that “X person is constructing a scapegoat,” I take that to mean: X person is taking some innocent thing and turning it into an object to blame for some set of failures. From whence it follows that the thing X person is scapegoating is in fact not really blameworthy, that it is innocent, and that X person’s blaming of the of the thing is is in fact a social ritual designed to place the community’s sins onto some external object that we can purge (which, after all, was what literal scapegoating was). So the conclusion that I infer from Greenwald’s explicit words is that he doesn’t think Comey is really to blame and that the real blame lies elsewhere. Indeed, I take that to be the plain inference from calling Comey a scapegoat.

            That’s where I think the disconnect occurs. I don’t believe (or I refuse to believe, if you prefer) that Glenn thinks that Comey’s act “is in fact not really blameworthy, that it is innocent.” He doesn’t say that at all. He says it is being used not “to place the community’s sins onto some external object that we can purge,” but to place the Democratic Party leadership’s sins onto some external object that we can purge, thus absolving them of any need to reflect on their own actions.

            He’s not saying Comey isn’t to blame. He’s saying Comey’s being blamed is being used as a distraction. (Which may or may not be true, but it’s certainly not “Greenwald thinks Comey is a patsy!”)

            I’ll take Scott’s word that it’s not a hate-driven misreading. (As I said, he has been complimentary to Greenwald in the past.) But he seems totally convinced his misreading is the truth.

            • sibusisodan

              Here’s the quote I think we are discussing:

              …blaming everyone except for themselves, constructing a carousel of villains and scapegoats…

              Comey is in the longish list that follows. A few points:

              – a scapegoat is an innocent thing who doesn’t bear any responsibility for the events
              – do the villains bear responsibility? Maybe, but:
              – the entire quote is made of hyperbole. Democrats aren’t just identfying problems, they are ‘flailing around’ doing so. There aren’t a list of problems, it’s a carousel. I think it’s at least evens that ‘villains’ is hyperbolic too.
              – because the external problems are being presented in a frame of absurdism, it follows that none of that list are to be taken seriously: they are either scapegoats, so innocent, or “villains”, not a word anyone outside of a Hanna Barbera cartoon uses to describe a serious problem.

              Finally, here’s the conclusion at the end of the list:

              the responsibility that the Democratic Party, and it alone, bears

              You can’t say the Democratic party alone is responsible if Comey is also to blame.

              Your reading faces an uphill struggle, at best.

              • liberalrob

                What is the basic reason for the existence of the Democratic Party?

                the responsibility that the Democratic Party, and it alone, bears: to elect Democratic candidates.

                That’s it. That’s the entire reason the Democratic Party as an organization exists, what differentiates it from just being a particularly large and well-funded interest group. If the party can’t get candidates elected, then the party has failed its primary objective.

                They failed to get their nominee for President elected.

                One would assume that the operatives and loyalists of such a weak, defeated, and wrecked political party would be eager to engage in some introspection and self-critique, and to produce a frank accounting of what they did wrong so as to alter their plight.

                Isn’t that reasonable?

                At least thus far, there is virtually no evidence of any such intention. Quite the contrary, Democrats have spent the last 10 days

                Ten whole days! He wrote this on Nov. 18th, 10 days after the election. Five months on, I’m still waiting for the 100-page report breaking down what the Democratic Party could have done differently or better in order to get their candidate elected. Meanwhile there’s no dearth of commentary on how Comey and the Russians stole the election. Which is probably true! But does that mean we hold the Democratic Party apparatus harmless? How did it reach the point where it was possible for Comey and the Russians to steal the election? Are the Democrats blameless there?

                flailing around blaming everyone except for themselves, constructing a carousel of villains and scapegoats — from Julian Assange, Vladimir Putin, James Comey, the electoral college, “fake news,” and Facebook, to Susan Sarandon, Jill Stein, millennials, Bernie Sanders, Clinton-critical journalists, and, most of all, insubordinate voters themselves — to blame them for failing to fulfill the responsibility that the Democratic Party, and it alone, bears

                Did this not happen?

                a scapegoat is an innocent thing who doesn’t bear any responsibility for the events

                I addressed this in a comment above. This is a misreading given the context of his usage. Comey can simultaneously be guilty of the events and have those events be used as a scapegoat to distract from scrutiny of other possibly uncomfortable factors.

                the entire quote is made of hyperbole. Democrats aren’t just identfying problems, they are ‘flailing around’ doing so. There aren’t a list of problems, it’s a carousel. I think it’s at least evens that ‘villains’ is hyperbolic too.

                Oh my god, he used hyperbole. How gauche. That renders his entire argument invalid.

                because the external problems are being presented in a frame of absurdism, it follows that none of that list are to be taken seriously: they are either scapegoats, so innocent, or “villains”, not a word anyone outside of a Hanna Barbera cartoon uses to describe a serious problem.

                And he used absurdism. The horror.

                • liberalrob

                  Lest I be accused of ignoring the inconvenient:

                  You can’t say the Democratic party alone is responsible if Comey is also to blame.

                  Literally true. I can only say that Glenn isn’t perfect. I am sure he meant it in the sense that you also can’t say Comey alone is responsible and leave it at that. Or at least you shouldn’t.

                • sibusisodan

                  What is the basic reason for the existence of the Democratic Party

                  I don’t know if you intend to change the subject, but that’s what you’re doing.

                  The question at hand ‘what does Greenwalds writing in this passage tell us about who he thinks is responsible for Democratic party failure – the party alone, or also external factors?’

                  From this passage, what do you think the correct answer to that question?

                  I addressed this in a comment above. This is a misreading given the context of his usage.

                  No. Scapegoat has a meaning. A scapegoat which is partly guilty isn’t a scapegoat. If you can point me to an alternative definition I will be glad to educate myself.

                  While it’s possible that GG could believe Comey is both not innocent and also unjustly blamed, the issue at hand is how reasonable it is to say he thinks this based on what he wrote.

                  Which means paying close attention to how he makes his argument. Which leads us to:

                  Oh my god, he used hyperbole. How gauche. That renders his entire argument invalid.

                  Pointing out the use of rhetorical tropes and how they are used to frame points is precisely the opposite of what you claim: it’s taking the argument seriously on its own terms. It’s assuming he says what he means and means what he says.

                  Do you think my reading is wrong? It could well be.

                  I’d be very happy for you to show me how my reading is mistaken and will gladly read your argument. But at the moment all you’ve provided is eisegesis.

                • sibusisodan

                  I am sure he meant it in the sense that you also can’t say Comey alone is responsible and leave it at that.

                  That’s fine! But I hope it’s clear to you that you can’t come to that conclusion from what is written in the article.

                  Your argument isn’t ‘this is being mischaracterized.’ It’s ‘this is being accurately described, but I don’t think he meant what he wrote – he should have expressed it better.’

                • gmack

                  Your argument isn’t ‘this is being mischaracterized.’ It’s ‘this is being accurately described, but I don’t think he meant what he wrote – he should have expressed it better.’

                  I think that’s basically right. Liberalrob is offering a charitable reading of Greenwald (and that’s fine! I do that a lot too, though not for Greenwald because I don’t care at all about him, nor do I care much about the discussions of him). But he hasn’t shown that the other reading is a mischaracterization.

                  So I propose the following fantasy dialogue:

                  GG: [Insert original quote here]

                  GGcritic: Are you trying to say that the Comey letter cannot explain the whole of why the Democratic party is in such a dismal position in the present? ‘Cause your actual assertion seems to imply that Comey isn’t to blame at all for Clinton’s loss.

                  GG: Yes, thanks for the clarification. I didn’t mean to imply that Comey is totally blameless. I’m just saying that the Democrats would do well to look beyond Comey as they figure out what went wrong in the recent series of elections.

                  GGcritic: Then there is no real disagreement. Huzzah! We’ve avoided a 3000 word essay and a 1000-comment thread that ends up going nowhere!

                • sibusisodan

                  GG: Update #1 Yes, thanks for the clarification. I didn’t mean to imply that Comey is totally blameless. I’m just saying that the Democrats would do well to look beyond Comey as they figure out what went wrong in the recent series of elections.

                  That’s better.

                • liberalrob

                  I don’t know if you intend to change the subject, but that’s what you’re doing.

                  I was trying to return to first principles; what is it about what Greenwald wrote that is so objectionable? Why did he write what he did? What was he trying to say?

                  The question at hand ‘what does Greenwalds writing in this passage tell us about who he thinks is responsible for Democratic party failure – the party alone, or also external factors?’

                  From this passage, what do you think the correct answer to that question?

                  That’s the wrong question, if what you are trying to analyze is Greenwald’s column and not Greenwald himself. Greenwald’s column was not about who he thinks is responsible for the Democratic Party failure. His column is about his belief that the Democratic Party is attempting to avoid any possible responsibility for their having any part in the failure.

                  I don’t know who he thought was responsible, on Nov. 18th, for the election loss. I don’t know what he thinks now. I do know that what he wrote on Nov. 18th seems to me to be quite accurate, that there were numerous explanations for the loss floating around and curiously none of them had anything to do with the Democratic Party itself.

                  Scapegoat has a meaning. A scapegoat which is partly guilty isn’t a scapegoat.

                  It’s possible for a scapegoat to be entirely innocent. The meaning of being a scapegoat is that it is something assigned the entirety of blame for an event, regardless of whether it actually is uniquely to blame or not.

                  I don’t know how much clearer I can make it. My reading of the column is that Greenwald’s mention of Comey as a scapegoat was a reference to Comey’s action being used as such, not a value judgement on whether Comey was guilty of misconduct in so doing. Just as he was not making a value judgement on any of the other scapegoats he listed.

                  Pointing out the use of rhetorical tropes and how they are used to frame points is precisely the opposite of what you claim: it’s taking the argument seriously on its own terms.

                  So you’re saying that 99% of what goes up on LGM’s front page is unserious, because they often use rhetorical tropes to frame their points. OK then!

                  I’d be very happy for you to show me how my reading is mistaken and will gladly read your argument. But at the moment all you’ve provided is eisegesis.

                  I didn’t know what “eisegesis” meant. Had to look it up. This is another reason I come to LGM.

                  For my reasoning on the misreading of the column, I refer the commenter to the comments I made some moments ago. Whether that constitutes exegesis or eisegesis, I’m not prepared to say. Offhand I’d say practically all political analysis is eisegesis; we all have our own biases and agendas that color our interpretations of what is written, no matter how carefully we try to be objective. All we can do is present our interpretations and defend them as best we know how.

                • sibusisodan

                  It’s possible for a scapegoat to be entirely innocent.

                  I’ll go round on this one more time.

                  When someone uses the word ‘scapegoat’, they are referring back to the term in Leviticus. The whole point of the scapegoat is to take blame off other people. The scapegoat is a vehicle for carrying off problems of other people.

                  It’s not just possible for the scapegoat to be innocent, it’s necessary. It’s buried in the entire logic of the sacrificial system.

                  When someone says scapegoat you’re supposed to think ‘innocent fall guy.’

                  It’s possible for it to be used carelessly in this case, but there’s no reason to think that is what’s happening.

                  So you’re saying that 99% of what goes up on LGM’s front page is unserious, because they often use rhetorical tropes to frame their points. OK then!

                  Dear goodness. Massive comprehension fail.

                  The reason I was careful to show GG’s use of rhetoric – in this case, hyperbole – was to show how his argument works.

                  It’s evidence that he’s trying to make the reader say ‘yeah, all that list aren’t real reasons to dwell on.’ That is, none of the items in that list are true things. They are deflections from the real business of working out where the D’s went wrong.

                  It’s not a comment on whether it’s a good or convincing argument. It’s merely describing his argument.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                eanwhile there’s no dearth of commentary on how Comey and the Russians stole the election. Which is probably true! But does that mean we hold the Democratic Party apparatus harmless? How did it reach the point where it was possible for Comey and the Russians to steal the election?

                When 45% of the electorate decided that it would vote for a 35 year old natural-born shoelace if it had an (R) next to its name.

            • kped

              Why do you care if it is hate driven? There is a lot of hate all over, why does hating Glenn wound you so much?

              • liberalrob

                why does hating Glenn wound you so much?

                Because I like Glenn, and I like Scott. Why do Mommy and Daddy fight all the time?

                I could(n’t) care less what the LGM commentariat thinks of Glenn. Hate away!

          • The Great God Pan

            The first rule of Greenwald Club is that drawing inferences from what Greenwald writes and attributing them to him is not allowed.

            If Greenwald didn’t explicitly write, “I, Glenn Greenwald, hereby declare that the Comey letter had no impact on the election” and have it notarized, then you cannot attribute that opinion to him no matter how often he mocks Democrats for claiming that the Comey letter had an impact on the election.

            Greenwald is always careful to phrase things in such a way that he can deny them later. His mantra is “I never said that.”

            • liberalrob

              TIL that “deniability” is a Glenn Greenwald original.

            • rea

              The first rule of Greenwald Club is that drawing inferences from what Greenwald writes and attributing them to him is not allowed.

              Really, that’s only fair–Greenwald’s writing is so imprecise that the only rational interpretation often is, “God only knows what he means”–as the discussion above rather clearly shows

        • You can stand by what you say if you wish, but you might want to ask yourself why it has failed convince anyone here.

          Your “attempts to show” that we’ve “mischaracterized” Greenwald tend to run aground on the fact that words and phrases have generally accepted meanings.

          For instance, if someone says that the Comey letter is a “scapegoat” invoked by Democratic elites to deny their own responsibility for Trump’s electoral victory, for which, he further says, they are “completely responsible”, most readers will interpret that as a dismissal of the Comey letter as a factor worth discussing. Why? Because of the commonly accepted definitions of terms such as “scapegoat” and “completely responsible”. It is quite clear what argument Greenwald is making there, and it is the very argument you keep insisting he never made.

          • liberalrob

            You can stand by what you say if you wish, but you might want to ask yourself why it has failed convince anyone here.

            This is such a great comment. I’ll give you three reasons, let’s see if any of them resonate:

            1 – It’s pointless to ask myself why what I said has failed to convince anyone here. I have no clue, because what I say seems completely reasonable and logical based on my own knowledge and experience. Could I be wrong? Sure. But I don’t think I am, or I wouldn’t have said it.

            2 – I don’t care why I’ve failed to convince anyone here. While it would be gratifying to have my arguments validated and everyone ooo and ahh over my superior intellect and insight, that’s not the reason I comment on things. I comment because I want to participate in the discussion, and I think I have something to contribute. Having done that, I have done my bit to try to influence what people think about the topic in question. That’s all I can reasonably hope to accomplish.

            3 – I’m not trying to convince “anyone here.” I’m only trying to convince Scott, a person I respect, that he is mistaken about something. Having failed in that, I’m disappointed. But I still don’t think I’m wrong.

            Your “attempts to show” that we’ve “mischaracterized” Greenwald tend to run aground on the fact that words and phrases have generally accepted meanings.

            That is abundantly clear at this point. But it seems a waste to have what I consider a perfectly reasonable column by another person I respect dismissed out of hand because of “generally accepted meanings.” One thing I’ve learned about language is that generally accepted meanings can be quite different from, or at least disruptive of, intended meanings. Maybe Glenn is a poor writer in that sense.

            I don’t know what it means that the meaning I get from reading his columns can be so different from the readings others get. Maybe because I’ve been reading his work for so long I’m used to it, and know what he means? Or I give him more benefit of the doubt than others do? That’s possible. Whatever it is, I just read his stuff differently. I don’t see him as the enemy, but many here do.

            • One thing I’ve learned about language is that generally accepted meanings can be quite different from, or at least disruptive of, intended meanings. Maybe Glenn is a poor writer in that sense

              Well, possibly, because it is not up to the reader to guess what’s in Glenn’s heart when he writes things.

              I prefer to take things that people say at more or less face value, based on commonly understood meanings of the things they say (because a writer who operates according to highly idiosyncratic meanings of commonly accepted terms is, it would seem, writing in a private language rather than engaging in public communication of ideas).

              So, unless Greenwald clarifies his meaning elsewhere, or the context makes it clear that the argument he is clearly making there is not actually meant seriously but meant facetiously, possibly as a sarcastically satirical take on certain types of attacks on the Democratic “establishment”, yes, I take it that Greenwald means what he says because that reading practice seems “completely reasonable and logical based on my own knowledge and experience” as a reader.

              None of us are mind readers, after all. If we were, why write at all? While it is good practice to read others’ arguments “charitably”, charitable readings still have to make sense given the actual words used. It is no use saying, “well, he couldn’t have actually meant to make such a strong argument as that” if the terms he uses are that strong.

              • I meant to say it’s no use saying “well, he couldn’t have actually meant to make such a strong claim as that because that wouldn’t be reasonable”. It’s the claim that’s strong, not the argument, and I am tired and making mistakes.

            • TroubleMaker13

              That is abundantly clear at this point. But it seems a waste to have what I consider a perfectly reasonable column by another person I respect dismissed out of hand because of “generally accepted meanings.” One thing I’ve learned about language is that generally accepted meanings can be quite different from, or at least disruptive of, intended meanings. Maybe Glenn is a poor writer in that sense.

              Or maybe he does it on purpose to be deceptive and dishonest. It’s not like it hasn’t been pointed out to him repeatedly.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I stand by what I said, all of it.

          So when Glenn said that “elites across ideological lines opposed Trump” he means “Democrats oppose Donald Trump.” When he says “Comey is a scapegoat and the Democratic Party is solely responsible for Hillary Clinton losing,” and doesn’t mention Comey in lengthy rants about the Deep State that mention irrelevant op-eds written by ex-CIA officials, he means “James Comey bears substantial responsibility for electing Trump.” Again — either you’re dishonest or illiterate.

    • veleda_k

      Liberalrob, I don’t get it. When I think of your comments, I generally remember them being pretty smart. Except on freaking Greenwald, when you throw all rationality out the window in the name of defending him. And most of your defenses amount to, “It looks like Greenwald said X, but X is stupid and wrong, so clearly he didn’t say that. Let’s tilt our heads and squint and pretend he said Y.”

      • witlesschum

        I believe I’ve repeated this before, but I used to defend Greenwald on here like five-six years ago. Greenwald didn’t mean what Lemieux was saying he meant by some statement, I said. That was nonsense.

        Then, Greenwald showed up in comments and said he did mean exactly what I said he didn’t and I learned my lesson about that.

        • Lots of people do exactly that. They’re not going to quit doing it because the author showed up in a comments section and gave them what for. Not when half the time when the author shows up it’s to do the opposite. So good work there by Glenn.

        • Lost Left Coaster

          I used to defend Greenwald like, at least on some grounds, within the last year. I used to think that while many of his points were disagreeable, at the very least, attributions of hackery and bad faith were misplaced.

          I was wrong. Wrong. Wrong. He’s a hack who writes in bad faith.

      • liberalrob

        In this case, Greenwald said X and Lemieux said he said Y. And Y is stupid and wrong, therefore we should ignore what Greenwald said. Lemieux continues to insist he said Y, I continue to believe he rather clearly said X, and apparently nothing I can think of to explain my position is going to change his mind; so I lose. But I said my piece.

        I know it’s useless to try to defend Greenwald here. Greenwald has in fact done some head-scratchingly stupid things, like going on Fox News shows and praising Breitbart’s journalistic integrity in providing an outlet for the crazy conspiracy theorists who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get their voices heard. But I have yet to see him actually write something I completely disagree with or that wasn’t backed up by some sort of evidence. Generally I agree with the things he writes. So when the front-pagers here (who I universally regard as intelligent, fair-minded, knowledgeable people) continually bash him for saying things he hasn’t said or that have been mischaracterized, it gets under my skin.

        Obviously I disagree that I throw all rationality out the window. But “rationality” is a subjective measure.

        • Rob in CT

          How about this post, by dnexon, which quotes GG repeatedly?

          I mean, GG apparently wrote this:

          They’re not “resisting” Trump from the left or with populist appeals – by, for instance, devoting themselves to protection of Wall Street and environmental regulations under attack, or supporting the revocation of jobs-killing free trade agreements, or demanding that Yemini civilians not be massacred.

          • Lost Left Coaster

            Yeah, exactly. You want to talk about statements that are not backed up with evidence! Greenwald simply ignores things that are inconvenient for the point he is trying to make.

          • liberalrob

            Yes, he did write that. He also wrote this immediately following, which dnexon manages to quote after spending two graphs snarking and armchair-psychoanalyzing:

            Instead, they’re attacking [Trump] on the grounds of insufficient nationalism, militarism, and aggression: equating a desire to avoid confrontation with Moscow as a form of treason (just like they did when they were the leading Cold Warriors). This is why they’re finding such common cause with the nation’s most bloodthirsty militarists – not because it’s an alliance of convenience but rather one of shared convictions (indeed, long before Trump, neocons were planning a re-alignment with Democrats under a Clinton presidency).

            dnexon describes this explanation of Greenwald’s presentation of the evidence supporting his observation (“Democrats now demonize the same Russia policies that Obama long championed”) as “ratcheting rhetorical fervor” and “positioning himself to the left of Noam Chomsky.”

            In other words, Democrats are now waging war on, and are depicting as treasonous, one of Barack Obama’s central and most steadfastly held foreign policy positions, one that he clung to despite attacks from leading members of both parties as well as the DC National Security Community. That’s not Noam Chomsky drawing that comparison; it’s an Obama appointee.

            I guess the reasoning goes like this: Greenwald mentioned Noam Chomsky, and considers himself a leftist of some kind, and it wasn’t Chomsky making the comparison, therefore he’s saying his comparison must come from the left of Chomsky…I have no idea how it works. I don’t see Greenwald “positioning himself to the left of Chomsky.” (With the implied insult that it’s a superficial, cynical, self-serving attempt at such positioning. Because Greenwald.) I’ll leave it at that.

            As I said, this all fits in perfectly with the ability of Lemieux and Loomis to make snarklicious hay out of anything Greenwald says. It’s fun! Welcome to the team.

            • witlesschum

              The thing is, Chomsky or no Chomsky, Greenwald is completely barking madly wrong about what the Democrats are arguing re: Russia.

              No one is arguing that advocating any particular policy is treasonous. They might be arguing that advocating a particular policy because you’re paying back the Russian strongman for his assistance in swinging your election as president is treasonous. That could be a slight rhetorical overreach, as I like to define treason as narrowly as possible.

              However, Greenwald writes as if the Democrats are using Trump as an excuse to attack Russia, rather than the opposite. Their trying to discredit Trump by tying him to Putin and probably neocons are along for the ride, but tellingly, the exact opposite of what Greenwald says is happening. The idea that Democrats care more about Russia than Trump seems insane to me.

              • djw

                Yeah, this. Getting hung up on the rhetorical deployments of Noam Chomsky is a way of avoiding that it’s pretty much impossible to plausibly interpret this:

                In other words, Democrats are now waging war on, and are depicting as treasonous, one of Barack Obama’s central and most steadfastly held foreign policy positions, one that he clung to despite attacks from leading members of both parties as well as the DC National Security Community.

                As an intellectually honest statement. It’s such an obvious and gross mischaracterization, for reasons that could hardly be described more clearly in the post or again in the comment I’m replying to. On some level I acknowledge that it’s possible liberalrob somehow can’t see this, but I struggle to believe it.

        • TroubleMaker13

          So when the front-pagers here (who I universally regard as intelligent, fair-minded, knowledgeable people) continually bash him for saying things he hasn’t said or that have been mischaracterized, it gets under my skin.

          You might consider that this is could be a sign that you are the one misunderstanding or mischaracterizing. Just a thought.

          • liberalrob

            I’ll give your wise observation its due consideration.

  • urd

    He knows that he did his part, no matter how small, to help elect Trump.

    Should I expect to see a scathing post about how Clinton was the main culprit in Drumpf becoming president via her inept campaign?

    No, of course not.

    Greenwald is a favorite target here; pity people let their own petty biases get in the way of discussing what really gave us Drumpf as president.

    Let me know when you start to cover that.

    • heckblazer

      James Comey’s letter pretty clearly was the proximate cause.

    • sigaba

      Let me know when you start to cover that.

      What blog you readin’ broheim?

      I agree with Pan below, GG is positively gratified he could help Heighten the Contradictions. Liberal America is a contradiction that GG cannot allow to live.

    • Should I expect to see a scathing post about how Clinton was the main culprit in Drumpf becoming president via her inept campaign?

      No, because clearly the front-pagers here, while not uncritical of Clinton’s campaign, clearly do not believe that “Clinton was the main culprit in Drumpf becoming president via her inept campaign”. Since they are not obligated to write “scathing posts” making arguments they don’t support in the interests of “balance”, and since your own attempts to argue this case over many weeks have themselves been singularly inept, you are not in much of a position to complain about that.

    • dnexon

      You know that a bunch of us supported Bernie? That the two foreign policy bloggers here volunteered on his campaign?

      It is possible to think that Clinton was a flawed candidate and that her campaign was less Obama than a replay of her 2008 primary fiasco and still think #BernieBros and #Intercept types (a) behaved appallingly and (b) played some role in depressing left-wing turnout by flogging the emails and the “Podesta files” while making absolute rubbish arguments about evil neoliberalism, how Clinton was going to start WW3, and telling us that because Garland wasn’t to the left of Sotoymayer SCOTUS wasn’t something to worry ourselves about.

      • CP

        You know that a bunch of us supported Bernie? That the two foreign policy bloggers here volunteered on his campaign?

        Wrong. You are all Hillbots. We know this because to come to any other conclusion would be to destroy the facile whine of “you’re all just brainwashed hippie-punching neocon neoliberal McCarthyist Hillbots!” which GG’s defenders depend on to explain away all criticism of him. And then where would we be?

        (Sorry, I don’t know where the sarcasm font button is).

        • You don’t understand how systems work.

          • Hogan

            This sounds like a reference I’m missing . . .

            • Don’t mind me. I’m expressing my own frustration.

        • Scott Lemieux

          The fact that no LGM front-pager endorsed Clinton in the primaries just makes the conspiracy more nefarious!

          • wjts

            Remember when you gave the keys to the guy whose first post claimed this place was “a hive of Hillary-mania”? It was a ludicrous accusation; anyone who’s spent five minutes clicking through the archives knows it’s a Freakin’ Country Hillbot Jamboroo around here.

            • Q.E.Dumbass

              I still refuse to believe that this post wasn’t the result of one of the stupider commenters hacking Erik’s account.

            • sibusisodan

              The backtrack on that one was equally impressive. Great times!

          • Abbey Bartlet

            The fact that no LGM front-pager endorsed Clinton in the primaries just makes the conspiracy more nefarious!

            That was just Deep State intervention.

          • veleda_k

            Truly, the machinations of Hillary Clinton are as complex as they are nefarious.

            • CP

              Truly, the machinations of Hillary Clinton are as complex as they are nefarious.

              Aren’t they, though? No wonder she’s the president of the United States. With such vast conspiracies on her side, Donny never had a chance.

              … oh.

              Bugger.

        • Hogan

          (Sorry, I don’t know where the sarcasm font button is).

          (It’s the one that says “code.”)

    • nemdam

      Comrade urd coming in to defend Comrade Greenwald.

      • liberalrob

        With friends like these…

    • Harkov311

      I’m confused as to why Hillary Clinton somehow bears more responsibility for not being able to convince the public on enough of the right states that Trump is dangerous, while Greenwald somehow bears no responsibility for suggesting that being suspicious of Russia is somehow not justified.

      So apparently, if I tell a lie, and you call me out on it, but aren’t able to convince people that I’m lying, is the blame on you for not being convincing? That seems to be what you’re saying.

    • TroubleMaker13

      Greenwald is a favorite target here; pity people let their own petty biases get in the way of discussing what really gave us Drumpf as president.

      Yes, you’re getting it now. Greenwald and his sycophants truly are petty, pitiful people.

  • The Great God Pan

    [Trump] poses an existential threat to not only the US, but the western democratic order.

    At this point, I find it difficult to escape the conclusion that Greenwald is fully aware of this and in fact desires it. His seeming transformation from America’s Greatest Champion of Civil Liberties to dishonest crypto-Trumpkin, which puzzles so many, makes a lot more sense if you try on the assumption that there has been no shift or transformation, that he never cared about civil liberties except as a convenient cudgel against his actual enemy.

    It would explain the arc of his career, from his repeated legal defenses of a neo-Nazi leader who took out a hit on a federal judge and inspired a deadly shooting rampage to leveraging his influence to convince people that the staid “warmongering neoliberal” status quo is more dangerous than Trump/Bannon’s groovy anti-establishment disruptions. His enemy is not repressive government (he never met a repressive non-western government he couldn’t rhetorically defend by pointing out the evils and hypocrisy of the West), it is the U.S. itself and possibly Western liberal democracy as a whole.

    • Srsly Dad Y

      No. Come on.

    • witlesschum

      Defending neonazis’ rights is par for the civil libertarian course. And trying to coax a mustache-twirling evil consistent rationale out of Greenwald and his writings makes as little sense as trying to trying to find a coherent positive ideology of liberalism in there.

      • sonamib

        +1

        GG also writes about Brazilian issues, and there he does say some sensible things. That’s because he doesn’t hold an irrational hatred of the main Brazilian left-of-center party. I really don’t know why he hates the Dems so much.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Because he only became aware of politics when George W. Bush was president (kinda hard to believe that a gay man who lived through the 1990s was a political naif but that’s what he says) and was apparently stunned that Barack Obama and the Democrats weren’t the immediate antithesis of George W. Bush and the Republicans in every jot and tittle. Which he concluded meant the two-party system was all a farce. The whole thing is reminiscent of how Gulliver by the end of _Gulliver’s Travels_ is enraged that British society hasn’t entirely changed yet to embrace principles of pure rationality, even though he’s taken a lot of trouble writing a whole book.

        • pillsy

          As far as I can tell, he hates the Dems because they disappointed him on civil liberties and foreign policy. They disappointed him because, during the Bush years (after he got over his Bush boosterism) he somehow convinced himself that the Dem platform on national security was identical to his own.

          He didn’t grasp that there were a wide range of reasons to oppose the Bush approach to foreign policy, not all of which involve the ACLU’s level of commitment to privacy and a comprehensive objection to any and all use of military force against terrorists in foreign countries.

          This kind of objection kept expanding endlessly, because the Democratic Party kept disappointing him by continually refusing to be organized around his allegedly consistent ideology, and instead stubbornly insisting on being a fractious coalition of hawks and doves, civil libertarians and boosters of the security state, Wall Street-friendly centrists and Bernie-boosting barn burners.

          • FlipYrWhig

            If there is an actual, intellectually coherent reason for why Glenn Greenwald is the way he is, it’s this. The other option is that he’s just a dick.

            • petesh

              In opposition to each other, these options are not.

        • witlesschum

          I guess the Dem hate is staying pretty consistent. During the Obama Administration, I figured Greenwald was just interested in afflicting whomever ran the government. (And I have a lot of time for Greenwaldian criticisms of surveillance, endless counterproductive wars on quote unquote terror and government secrecy.)

          But if that’s the case he’s certainly taking his sweet old time to pivoting to afflict the Trump Administration.

          • liberalrob

            Others are doing a fine job of that, no need to waste his time. In fact the Trump Administration is doing a pretty good job of afflicting itself.

            IMO Glenn afflicts the Democratic Party because he realizes it’s the only party realistically capable of being convinced to implement the policies he favors. The GOP is an irretrievably lost cause.

            • Rob in CT

              This circles back to the “only the Dems are expected to govern” thing that one of our regulars has articulated.

              The GOP are known arsonists so the fire brigade just shrugs and concentrates on the people writing imperfect fire codes (because really, how terribly disappointing).

          • MyNameIsZweig

            I figured Greenwald was just interested in afflicting whomever ran the government.

            And you know, to me, that would be a completely legit position to take. It is in fact the one GG himself seemed to claim multiple times during the Obama administration.

            But yeah, if that was ever his actual philosophy, I haven’t seen any evidence of it in at least a few months ….

          • TroubleMaker13

            But if that’s the case he’s certainly taking his sweet old time to pivoting to afflict the Trump Administration.

            With this “New McCarthyism” bullshit, he’s actually been carrying water for the Trump Admin.

            He’s not just attacking Dems, but doing it precisely in a way that lends aid to the GOP.

            • liberalrob

              “Dems need to examine their own behavior, not just point to Comey and shrug” aids the GOP. OK.

              Hey, any criticism of the Dems lends aid to the GOP. If they’re valid criticisms, then they are valid critiques! So the message is, don’t point out Dems weaknesses? Or at least not so loudly?

              Or don’t do it if you’re Glenn Greenwald?

              • TroubleMaker13

                “Dems need to examine their own behavior, not just point to Comey and shrug” aids the GOP.

                No. It’s “Russia is a big nothingburger that Dems are flogging to distract from HORRIBLE CLINTON! I mean OBAMA!”

                Hey, any criticism of the Dems lends aid to the GOP. If they’re valid criticisms, then they are valid critiques! So the message is, don’t point out Dems weaknesses? Or at least not so loudly?

                Well, you do have Greenwald’s style down pretty well. I can see why you’re a fan.

              • JMP

                If Greenwald had ever made a valid criticism of the Democratic party that would be one thing, but none of that dick’s attacks on the Democratic party are valid in any way, shape or form.

    • brewmn

      This argument appalls me. There are plenty of things to criticize Greenwald about; defending the free speech rights of a member of a despised subgroup is not one of them.

      This is nothing more than the “Hillary defended a rapist, how can she be a feminist?” bullshit leveled against Greenwald. As dnexon show in the OP, liberals don’t have to lower themselves to this level of bullshit to make GG look ridiculous.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        A quick google indicates that his defense doesn’t seem to have been of the guy’s free speech rights?

        • witlesschum

          I waded through some fairly crazy sites for details, but it seems it was originally free speech-based.

          Nazi leader Matthew Hale was being sued by the families of victims of a murderous rampage one of his followers went on in 1999, basically alleging that his rhetoric about Jews and racial minorities amounted to him encouraging the murderous rampage in a sense that made him legally culpable, even though there wasn’t evidence he’d ordered it specifically. (There’s also dispute about that, it sounds like.) Greenwald defended him, arguing his statements about practically everyone being subhuman, etc were protected speech under the First Amendment and didn’t make him liable. Because he’s Greenwald, he also called the people suing his client “odious.” There’s also an allegation that Greenwald improperly questioned and improperly recorded people he’d subpeoned, which I don’t really understand.

          Hale later went to jail for attempting to get a follower to murder a federal judge. Not clear if Greenwald represented him about that or not. In 2014, Hale made news by offering to drop a lawsuit against the federal government in return for being allowed to play the violin in solitary confinement.

          • petesh

            Reminds me of Brautigan’s best short story.

            • witlesschum

              Nice.

          • There’s also an allegation that Greenwald improperly questioned and improperly recorded people he’d subpeoned

            Sheesh. Everyone knows that if you want to keep a conversation confidential, you do it sub rosa, not sub peony.

          • The Great God Pan

            Greenwald’s association with Hale began earlier than that, when he unsuccessfully defended Hale’s “right” to be granted a license to practice law (he had been denied one because of his neo-Nazi associations). It was this denial that led to Hale’s friend’s armed rampage and Hale’s attempted hit on a federal judge.

            Greenwald did indeed continue to represent Hale after Hale was convicted for taking out a hit on a federal judge. He even told the NYT that Hale was being wrongfully imprisoned.

        • brewmn

          What was it about then?

    • junker

      I think that hitting Greenwald for defending a Neo-Nazi is wrong; everyone deserves a fair legal defense. What I do think was wrong was that Greenwald acted pretty unethically during that case.

      • The Great God Pan

        Everyone has the right to a defense in a criminal case.

        Greenwald represented Hale in civil suits, and when their association began it was Hale who was the plaintiff. That’s not a defense. That’s not what “defense” means. Hale was the one suing.

    • nemdam

      I won’t go this far, but I do think as a libertarian, Glenn is more sympathetic to Trump than to the Democrats. He sees Trump as a disruptor who will tear down and expose the government which would help advance the country toward his libertarian ideals better than the Democrats would.

  • MDrew

    Whether the part he played in electing Trump was extremely small or not at all small, doesn’t that …matter rather a lot?

    I mean, there are people in Wisconsin who didn’t vote for Trump… or Clinton. You could argue (and it has frequently been argued here) that they also played their part. If Greenwald’s part was that small, doesn’t that somewhat affect the theory that his behavior today is defined by guilt over having elected Trump (sorry, “played his part, no matter how small”)?

    If you’re going to throw that kind of charge around, you should say what the role was and how big that is.

    • sibusisodan

      A feeling of guilt isn’t responsive to a rational accounting on ones actual responsibility. I feel guilty about things I have no reason to (it’s practically my superpower), and feel very little guilt about a bunch of things I should.

      Positing that a behaviour is driven by guilt – pretty much unprovable – doesn’t require one to say anything about the degree to which it is justified.

      • MDrew

        So we’re positing that Greenwald is potentially driven by guilt over a vanishingly small role in electing Trump functionally equivalent to none? Glenn friggin Greenwald? The hypothesis doesn’t require an accounting of actual guilt in order not to be conclusively rejected, but the larger the role actually was the more plausible the claim is – and the less, the less.

        Regardless, my last statement stands. If you’re going to go there, you should say what (how much) he has to feel guilty for.

        • rea

          a vanishingly small role in electing Trump

          Ignores his role in the whole “Emails!” thing.

        • dnexon

          I don’t know what motivates GG. I’m using the accusation as a rhetorical device in the context of GG’s incessant posting about how the entire center-left is acting out of unhingedness.

        • cleek

          a vanishingly small role in electing Trump

          all of my lefty purity pals follow him closely. and they spent most of the summer and fall telling everybody they know just how bad Clinton was, frequently using articles from Intercept (including from GG himself) as proof of her perfidy. i know several of them didn’t vote for Clinton. and today, they’re complaining about how Trump is ruining everything.

          maybe it’s hard to measure the exact scope, but Greenwald and the Intercept (along with many others) definitely played a role in Clinton’s loss. they cultivated and nurtured those anti-Clinton grievances that my friends still use to rationalize their vote (or lack thereof).

    • Scott Lemieux

      Whether the part he played in electing Trump was extremely small or not at all small, doesn’t that …matter rather a lot?

      No.

      One important reason that an extraordinarily unfit man won the Electoral College is that a large number of American journalists decided to focus on hyping inane bullshit about Hillary Clinton, creating a false sense of equivalence between the candidates. Glenn is one of those journalists — HILLARY CLINTON HAS A PUBLICIST!1!1!1!!!!1!1 is even sillier than EMAILS!, and as noted above Wikileaks became part of the whole EMAILS! attack on Clinton at any rate. By your theory, since no journalist’s actions were individually responsible, no single journalist can be held accountable. Nuts to that.

      And it’s also relevant when he’s advising those of us who — unlike Glenn — thought stopping Trump was a matter of the utmost urgency ex ante about How to Resist Trump the Right Way, which is pretty rich.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        Yeah, and Glenn and the Intercept were a major vector for transmitting that email shit into left-wing Facebook and Twitter feeds.

        • kped

          Just doing a search on “Podesta” on the Intercept reveals 15 articles about the emails from the 10th of October to the Election. I found 2 more just looking briefly at Zaid Jilani’s stories. So 17 stories. All on trivial nonsense. His site most definitely had a big part in spreading “THE EMAILS” close to the election.

    • djw

      This way of thinking about political responsibility will let virtually everyone except politicians and powerful state agents like Comey, except in highly unusual circumstances. It’s incompatible with the notion of politically responsible citizenship.

      Willing participation in a blameworthy and successful joint project, for which no individual’s contribution was strictly necessary for success, is either shared among participants, or doesn’t exist at all. The latter isn’t an approach to political ethics that makes any sense at all in a democratic context.

    • TroubleMaker13

      If Greenwald’s part was that small, doesn’t that somewhat affect the theory that his behavior today is defined by guilt over having elected Trump (sorry, “played his part, no matter how small”)?

      Yes, I too find it odd that someone would attribute feelings like “guilt” or “shame” to Glenn Greenwald.

  • Scott Lemieux

    This attempt to equate Trump’s opposition to arming Ukraine with some sort of treasonous allegiance to Putin masks a rather critical fact: namely, that the refusal to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons was one of Barack Obama’s most steadfastly held policies.

    This is just a massive non-sequitur. What’s being criticized is not the position on the merits, but the fact that it was changed for no apparent reason other than Trump’s ties to Russia.

    • sigaba

      Would GG care if he got his desired policy either honestly through bona fide policymaking, or through a payoff in a smoke-filled room? It’s all the same to him.

      In the end the actual merits of the policy AND how it was decided are irrelevant, he’s working one level higher to that. The events are just a substrate for him to impute malign motives on liberals he doesn’t like.

      Shriek about how any assessment of any threat from a Democrat is war mongering, studiously ignore everything else that's going on, and under NO CIRCUMSTANCE put any of this in a political context.

      • dnexon

        Yes. This.

        And, Scott, a few things.

        1) He doesn’t offer evidence of a massive change among Democrats in favor of lethal aid. He offers support for a bill to keep Trump from lifting sanctions, which those of us who supported Obama’s opposition to lethal aid saw as part of the correctly calibrated response.

        2) There’s always been a wing of the Democratic Party that supported lethal aid. The fact that it’s been empowered by Putin’s increasing overt efforts to break apart trans-Atlantic and European instituons is not, I would argue, atavistic partisanship. It’s a reasonable (although not necessarily correct) response to how events have developed. Indeed, given Russian behavior in Ukraine I would be willing to bet that a hypothetical third-term Obama would’ve looked seriously at that instrument.

        3) Note that he also implies that steps Obama did take to strengthen NATO deterrence and leverage Moscow—from speeding up EPAA deployment to getting NATO forces into Poland and the Baltics—are too hawkish. There’s a very good case to me made that these steps stopped Russia from moving on, say, Estonia.

        I could go on. The point is that Democrats have not shifted very much on Russia. The Reset fell apart years ago. Instead, GG is the one talking like Stephen Cohen as part of his whole “McCarthyism” line—which, as other commmentators have pointed out, bears no resemblance to the current political state of play.

        • CP

          The fact that it’s been empowered by Putin’s increasing overt efforts to break apart trans-Atlantic and European instituons is not, I would argue, atavistic partisanship. It’s a reasonable (although not necessarily correct) response to how events have developed.

          Yes. The United States’ commitment to NATO was a fairly uncontroversial bipartisan position until Trump’s candidacy. So, for better or for worse, was support for NATO’s acceptance of new members from Eastern Europe, though the expansion is pretty much over at this point.

          I see no reason for liberals to engage in some sort of reverse-Cleek’s-Law where we oppose everything Dick Cheney was ever for even if we used to be for it too. And the incessant whining from GG & co. about how everyone who doesn’t want to play nice with Russia is a McCarthyist just reads like a right wing parody of liberal/left views. “Apologist for Russia” was never the position of the overwhelming majority of American liberals, no matter what Tricky Dick and Tailgunner Joe claimed, and even when Russia still pretended to be the vanguard of social progress. If he thought it was or should be, I’m not sorry to disappoint him.

    • TroubleMaker13

      What’s being criticized is not the position on the merits, but the fact that it was changed for no apparent reason other than Trump’s ties to Russia.

      I wonder if Greenwald is familiar with the concept of “pay to play”? Do you think?

  • Scott Lemieux

    Wait…

    They’re not “resisting” Trump from the left or with populist appeals

    You have to be shitting me. Has he followed the TrumpCare debate at all?

    • Dr. Acula

      It’s not one of his hobby horses, so he doesn’t give a shit about it, at all.

      • Darkrose

        He also missed the pushback against the Muslim ban and the deportations, but that’s no surprise.

        • brewmn

          Yes. Doesn’t much of GG’s anti-US animus stem from our killing of brown people in the Middle East? Is he aware that Syria is located there?

          • nemdam

            Glenn’s commitment to anti-Islamophobia was the only reason I ever took him seriously. It turns out he doesn’t care about it if the Democrats are the ones leading the fight.

          • FlipYrWhig

            Doesn’t much of GG’s anti-US animus stem from our killing of brown people in the Middle East?

            No. He evokes the killing of brown people as a sneery way to say that even in the hands of supposed liberals the US empire is an engine stoked by corpses. It’s a rhetorical riff in the service of arraigning Democrats and liberals, because he missed the 1990s debate about humanitarian intervention, because he’s a Glenny-come-lately about every fucking thing he supposedly believes.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              He evokes the killing of brown people as a sneery way to say that even in the hands of supposed liberals the US empire is an engine stoked by corpses

              And for some reason does not believe that killing *fewer* brown people is a worthy goal.

              • FlipYrWhig

                When liberals do things, or try them, or talk about trying them, it is bad, axiomatically. Here endeth the lesson.

          • CP

            Yes. Doesn’t much of GG’s anti-US animus stem from our killing of brown people in the Middle East? Is he aware that Syria is located there?

            This is actually the biggest reason I consider him to be full of excrement, speaking as someone who actually takes the Islamophobia seriously and has since long before Trump.

    • Sly

      Has he followed the TrumpCare debate at all?

      Apparently not. We’ll have to wait until Trump does something really perfidious, like hire Jon Gruber to do technical modeling.

      • kped

        I hadn’t seen that…Krugman murders him there.

        • petesh

          Wrote Krugman there, in 2010:

          One of these days, perhaps soon, we’ll have a genuinely corrupt administration again — but when whistleblowers try to call attention to the misdeeds, you can be sure that there will be claims that “even liberals said that Obama did things just as bad or worse.”

          • Rob in CT

            Sigh.

          • kped

            Don’t get why some on the left started to dislike Krugman last year (just joking, anyone who wasn’t a 100% Bernie supporter was deemed bad on the left…). But it’s amazing how prescient Paul was in 2010! And about the very person he was arguing with no less.

    • Robert Farley

      I’m old enough to remember when Glenn embraced the Hamsherite-Firebagger position that Obamacare was the biggest neoliberal sellout since cheese. This was around the same time that he and Jane thought it would be a good idea to ally with Grover Norquist to attack Rahm Emanuel, who Ironically was making virtually the same critique of Obamacare as Jane…

      • Scott Lemieux

        Or not ironically, come to think of it.

      • Joe_JP

        As “Russell” on Rules of Engagement once noted, its hard to keep on being ironical. So hard to keep track.

    • dnexon

      Amazing, isn’t it?

    • nemdam

      Yes, but if you are not resisting Trumpcare by advocating for single-payer, then it is not a left or populist appeal. This is my position because I am a serious progressive ideologue.

  • Abbey Bartlet

    Red-baiting!!!!!1111

  • Dr. Waffle

    If only Glenn spent as much time defending immigrants and Muslims as he does the Trump Administration . . .

  • Ever since then, Democrats have used this language change as evidence that Trump and his key advisers have sinister connections to Russians and corruptly do their bidding at the expense of American interests.

    Except that, you know, Trump and his key advisers actually do have sinister connections to Russians and corruptly do their bidding at the expense of American interests. You know, like it’s obvious to even the most casual observer.

    • Cheerfull

      And as a lawyer GG should be familiar with the distinction between evidence of a fact and proof. The platform change may not be final proof but it is reasonably good evidence, particularly given the effort taken by Trump et al to hide his interest/influence in the change.

      Of course proof of the sinister connections and corruption would take a fairly serious investigation, including e.g. tax returns. Such an investigation is something GG pretends to favor but every off hand reference to such a thing being a good idea comes in a cloud of accusations against Democrats and liberals for apparently calling for such an investigation in the wrong way, or for the wrong reasons.

      • He’s a LAWYER, not a JUDGE. Litigators don’t have that responsibility.

        • Cheerfull

          I am not sure I understand your point. Litigators are in the business of trying to persuade judges, so they generally should understand the language. GG is apparently claiming that the Ukraine intervention is not evidence of corrupt/sinister motives when that is exactly what it is – evidence, not proof.

          • I don’t know, I’m not a lawyer, but I thought lawyers fairly often present “X is in category Y because evidence Z” though they know the other side will claim part of that is false, as long as the claim supports their side, especially if their client believes it, and/or they sincerely even if wrongly believe its truth isn’t easy to determine.

            He also, just a few months ago, did a podcast with Brian Beutler where he expressed the view that what journalists do is just this kind of challenge to powerful people whereby, he believes, the truth arises eventually, spontaneously, and holds the powerful to account. Presumably everyone makes the objections they feel strongly about and the result is therefore as strong as possible. Yes, it makes no sense, but it justifies his current importance, which is what matters. Everyone deserves to feel what they’re doing is important, and some of us are lucky enough to get it.

            • The job of a trial lawyer is to create a story out of evidence and supposition, and then tell that story convincingly enough to sway a judge and jury. Prosecution and defense are merely competing stories, with the judge regulating delivery and presentation. This is simplistic, of course, but at the end of the day it’s who has the better story. Lawyers are story tellers :-)

              • guthrie

                The handful of legal people I’ve met here in the UK have impressed me with their willingness to argue the toss and lack of interest in actual real truth, insofar as such is attainable.

  • Murc

    I do gotta say, Dan, you’ve mastered the LGM style of headline writing very fast.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      I do gotta say, Dan, you’ve mastered the LGM style of headline writing very fast.

      I had the same thought.

  • Joe_JP

    Politico had a detail in an article last week, which got some attention by other sources like Chris Geidner who to me seem generally reliable, that DHS employees got an email to stay home last Monday (3/6). Seemed notable but they just dropped it in there without comment. Anyone know what the heck happened? Saw no news of some large amount of employees staying home. Was it a mistake or what?

  • wfrolik

    While the attacks on Greenwald have been great entertainment, I think you need to branch out…and take some shots at Thomas Frank post election! Lord knows he deserves it writing about the ‘intolerant left’ with white supremacists in the White House.

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      Personally I’m more interested in Erik doing a firebagger diagram as a corrective to Wolcott’s alt-left piece.

  • D.N. Nation

    My prediction that Greenwald and others in his orbit would devote themselves religiously to Calvinball-policing the response to Trump is so far undefeated. Dammit, Dems, you aren’t progressive-ifying right! You need to hoover all the Funyuns in the FOX green room, then go on Tucker Carlson and say that liberals suck! Like Michael Tracey!

    • They have Funyuns?

    • Abbey Bartlet

      Like Michael Tracey!

      Speaking of neo-Nazis.

    • No Longer Middle Aged Man

      Greenwald is a lawyer and is more or less following the ambulance chaser approach of forget actually liability, sue whoever has the deepest pockets. He’d get zero attention attacking Trump, just another voice among the chorus. Attacking Democrats on the other hand draws some of the spotlight to him. And that’s what it’s all about. Yet another case of “starts as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” You’ve arrived Glen!

      • Lost Left Coaster

        Boom. Insightful comment. I think you nailed it.

  • semiotix

    I’m not a Greenwald fan. Still, I never realized he has so much contempt for the intelligence of his readers.

    There’s an even more basic issue with Greenwald. It’s not just that he’s contemptuous of you, his average lefty reader. It’s that he’s more contemptuous of you than he is of his opponents. They’re merely incorrect; you’re an apostate if you disagree in any detail, and a useless hanger-on if you agree, because GREENWALD SAW IT ALL FIRST AND FRANKLY ISN’T PSYCHED THAT HE HAS TO TAKE THE TIME AWAY FROM BEING A VISIONARY EXPLAIN THIS TO YOU SCHMUCKS.

    Greenwald could probably have a spirited and friendly debate with your drunk uncle at Thanksgiving about whether or not we should build the Mexico wall all the way into space. He’d enjoy the repartee. With you, you traitorous neoliberal stooge puppet idiot McCarthyite so-and-so, he wouldn’t even bother pretending he could bear the smell of you.

    • Origami Isopod

      When it comes to his fanbase, that contempt is entirely deserved.

    • D.N. Nation

      Tangentially, Sarah Jones’s entire schtick is “you know that uncle who keeps FWD:FWD:FWD:FWD: nonsense about liberals? well you’re a jerk for not being cordial to him.”

  • sk7326

    I do not want to get into rumor-mongering or anything. But – and I was an admirer of a lot of Glenzilla’s work – given the accomodations Russia has provided Greenwald’s Pulitzer-Prize quarry … could there be a bit of “regulatory capture” with regards to the issue? Or possible more? He seems very blind to this.

  • Pete

    I’ve never paid attention to Greenwald aside from his early information/ surveillance state work — probably because I generally don’t read where he writes. I’ve heard and learned much more about his work from LGM than from anywhere else — which does not bode well for my view of Glenn.

    But THIS piece of his is simply absurd, internally inconsistent and incoherent, as Nixon describes. Too bad most of Glenn’s readers won’t understand that.

  • gccolby

    Glenn Greenwald and other prominent voices of the uh, Left (?) are general proponents of the theory that the Dems are in disarray, and the Discredited Centrist Neoliberal Power Brokers of the party are unfairly and foolishly clamping down hard on the Popular Left-Wing Uprising as part of a desperate effort to maintain corporatist control of the Democratic Party. The narrative that the Dems are focused entirely on anti-Russia hypocrisy is part of this larger complaint against corrupt, hippie-punching neoliberals who are villainously refusing to turn over control of the party to The Left.

    The much more boring reality of what’s going on is a pretty normal post-defeat debate about what went wrong, with one group believing the Obama-style political and ideological approach has been at least somewhat discredited and that the party needs some new, lefter-leaning voices in leadership and strategic roles. And which side has actually made considerable gains in influence, with plenty of party figures who aren’t necessarily ideologically well-aligned with them nonetheless signaling that they have a place at the table. But Ellison didn’t win the DNC chair vote, so they’re being totally shut out and the corrupt neoliberal cronies are putting their boots on Bernie Sanders’ neck while counting their donor money and laughing.

    Point being, Greenwald and the people who agree with him are highly committed to the idea that the Democrats are run by a corrupt machine in lockstep opposition to anyone left of Mitt Romney. It’s really hard to stay riled up writing pieces like “Dems are concerned about Russia, and also will vote against elimination of the EPA.” I don’t really understand this sentiment, because it doesn’t even seem ideological per se. I have a close friend who is really smart and reasonable who is on board with it, and I can only conclude it’s because we have very different views about the morality of advocating for anything less than the leftiest policy possible. I for example, am not sure Neera Tanden drew the correct conclusion in advising against specifically endorsing Fight For Fifteen, instead shooting for a vaguer and lower target of “raise the minimum wage.” To me, that’s a debate about whether caution or boldness are better strategy, but everyone at least wants to move the ball in the same direction. To my friend, this is sufficient evidence to declare Tanden a scumbag. A lot of people think this way, and I think it has more to do with anti-Dem anger on (part of) the Left than substantive ideological differences.

    The nonsense about Democrats saying “look over there – Putin!” feeds on this view of normal social dynamics in a political party as being fundamentally about maintaining a corrupt neoliberal (sigh) power structure at the expense of helping people or winning elections. In the case of people like my friend, it seems like we have fundamentally different worldviews on the morality of political compromise. In the case of Greenwald, it’s probably his worldview as well, but it also keeps the pageviews and $$$ flowing.

    (How come my comments keep being marked as spam when I edit to fix typographical mistakes!?)

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