One of my favorite things about Krugman is that, agree with his politics or not, he’s both a brilliant and compassionate man; he’s smart enough to give you a good argument for progressive policy and you truly believe that his reason for being liberal is that he feels that someone of conscience has no other choice. I respect this about him and always have. When I shrug off the often shrill and selfish criticism of Greenwald — and it is selfish in the sense that, like it or not, it risks the greater good in the pursuit of perfection that he seems to demand on his personal pet issues — it’s because I don’t feel that there’s any real sense of conscience behind it. I’ve actually come around on the idea that Greenwald isn’t simply interested in getting people to pay attention to him — although I do believe he enjoys being able to think of himself a thorn in the side of the world — and I now accept that he genuinely seeks to adhere to a very strict laundry list of political issues because he considers those issues important above all. The problem is, and always has been, that he’ll sacrifice everything else — burn down the whole village if he has to — just to get his way on them. He believes that it’s worth the short-term loss to go all Nader on the Democratic party if it means a sea change in American politics. From a logical perspective, this might be true. But once again, the difference between Krugman and Greenwald is one of conscience — and anyone who’s watching what Republican and Tea Party policy is doing right now in Wisconsin or Michigan, or federally with Paul Ryan’s disastrous budget plan, can see that the choice of who leads the country and makes the laws in America isn’t one made between equals.
I couldn’t agree more. What it comes down to for me is, 1) Krugman is generally right and operates in a reality-based universe, 2) Greenwald, while obviously a very smart and talented writer, is more of a professional instigator than someone who understands the realities of how American government functions. For all of his smarts, he can’t seem to grasp both the notion of pragmatic change in this country, and the utterly deliberative slowness of our three-branch system presiding over a nation of 300 million people –150 million of whom vote.