Saturday, March 10, 2012

Greenwald does it too

I'm going to use Glenn Greenwald as an object lesson. The truth is, I don't care for his style much as has been demonstrated by some of my writing. But I'm going to pick on him today mostly because he thinks of himself as morally superior to those of us who support President Obama. And yet he engages is the very thing of which he accuses us.

To demonstrate, I found his last two posts at Salon to be breathtakingly hypocritical. In the first one he criticizes the authoritarian mind as evidenced by Davis Guggenheim's lack of criticism for President Obama.

Guggenheim explains that nothing critical can or should be said of our President other than the fact that he is so Great that his Greatness cannot be sufficiently conveyed in a single film; other than noting the obvious — how creepy his Leader worship is and how perfect of a guest-host he’d be for several MSNBC shows — all I can say is that this is the pure face of the Authoritarian Mind, but it is as common as it is repellent:

Of course Greenwald is exaggerating what Guggenheim actually said simply to make a point. But we find out in the very next column Greenwald writes just how repellent he thinks this kind of "creepy Leader worship" really is. Apparently not so much when it comes time for him to talk about his hero Dennis Kucinich.

In sum, Kucinich was one of the those rare people in Washington whose commitment to his beliefs outweighed both his loyalty to his Party and his desperation to cling to political office. He thus often highlighted the severe flaws, deceit and cowardice of his fellow Democrats and their Party as well as the broader political class.

I doubt that many of you are interested enough to read Greenwald's whole article devoted to the greatness of Kucinich. But it you care to give it a go - I challenge you to find one word in there reflecting anything negative about the Congressman.

So in the end, does Greenwald suffer from "the authoritarian mind" too? Perhaps. But I don't think that's what is at play here. He agrees with Kucinich and finds him under attack. The response is to defend. We all do it. That's mostly because when someone we agree with is under attack is NOT the moment to pile on.

Since Greenwald STILL fails to see the difference between Republicans and Democrats (all I can say is OMG!), he feels no need to defend someone like President Obama from the constant onslaught that has been unleashed against him. As those of us who do see it rise to defend the President, he feels free to label us as "authoritarian." But when the tables are turned, Greenwald does exactly the same thing.

I write this because Greenwald isn't the only one who has tossed out these charges against those of us who defend President Obama. I don't know about the rest of you - but I've certainly heard it many times from different people. What this example shows is the truth of the old saying about the principle at work here..."it depends on whose ox is being gored."


  1. Since I've stopped forcing myself to see Greenwald as a Liberal or even a "Progressive" my expectations more accurately align with his writing.

  2. No, no... both parties are exactly the same. A president Gore would definitely have ignored the PDB, subsidized SUV sales, started an unnecessary war in Iraq, drove our country to the poor house with massive tax cuts for the ultra-rich, left the poor people of New Orleans to die in squalor, approved torture and weakened the EPA just like Bush did, right?

    People who say there is no difference between the parties amaze me. It must take a lot of effort to remain so obtuse.

    1. Stealing a terrific quote: "purity politics preaches the virtue of all or nothing wherein liberals always get that nothing." People should certainly beware "both parties are the same" partisans.

    2. That really is a terrific quote.

    3. People who say there is no difference between the parties, in my experience, tend to be rich and also privileged by virtue of gender and race, so they don't, for example, have to worry about abortion rights or access to contraception, or being disenfranchised, or facing harsher penalties for crack cocaine than powder. (Did Greenwald ever credit Obama for getting rid of those disparate sentencing laws from the Clinton years? I'm betting not.)

      Or they're expats who live in a country where they conveniently keep mum about horrendous human rights abuses in the slums so as to not to jeopardize their privileged existences.

  3. Greenwald's attacks are classic right wing projection. Of course Kucinich is the ideal lefty politician for this Cato Institute contributor: Kucinich is strident, an ineffective salesperson of liberalism, and most importantly, *out of power.* Thanks for making note of the hypocrisy.

  4. As far as Greenwald is concerned, I think there is more than a little racism at play. I think guys like Greenwald who are so filled with their own ego, just cant admire PBO for the "road he travelled". His arrived at the White House and Greenwald's arrived at Salon. I am sure he weeps at the unfairness of it all! How could this "Black man" have done this and he could not? How could he possibly be deserving? Glenn is one step above the birthers for me.

    I can't feel his pain but I sure hope he does and plenty of it.

  5. 'Eve'nin', Ms. Pants

    Firstly, may I say that you have just been JAMMin', girl. Your posts over this past week...(stops. and just sits down with hand over his heart and shakin' his head).


    Help me, here....

    My introduction to him came a bit back while I was runnin' around on Jack and Jill Politics and noted they were making a to do over how this guy just SAVAGED this very nice diarist on "The Orange" who did these impressive picture collages of PBO (therein, the "butterfly effect" that, amongst other things, lead me to finding you).

    Dude is supPOSED to be some kind of intellectual heavy weight and national voice. And, yet...

    He. Does. Not. VOTE.

    WHY am I supposed to give the proverbial rat's tookus?????

    1. Evenin' Blackman.

      therein, the "butterfly effect" that, amongst other things, lead me to finding you

      Silver linings everywhere.


  6. GG's article is not so much about Kucinich per se, but about the need of certain persons to portray him as 'wacky'. I personally think that the policies supported by K that Greenwald praises are all laudable, and I am not a Democrat. The problem is that these laudable stances do not receive the attention they should because people snarkily dismiss Kucinich as bizarre.

    I don't see the comparison between Guggenheim and Greenwald holding up. Piers Morgan directly asked Guggenheim if Pres. Obama had any negative qualities, if he was a 'perfect' person, and incredibly he couldn't think of any. Greenwald wasn't presenting a quasi-documentary on Kucinich. Rather, as he usually does, Greenwald was commenting on the narrow limits in which political debate must take place in the U.S., and how the parties and the media collude in this limitation.

    1. Yes, GG didn't like it when people called Kucinich "wacky." So he offered a pretty full-throated defense of the Congressman.

      And people like me don't like it when people like GG basically call PBO a war criminal. So we offer a pretty full-throated defense of the President.

      GG thinks he gets to suggest that we are exhibiting an "authoritarian mind" when we react exactly as he does.

      That's really all there is to it.

    2. Petrus calls you out on the weakness of the post and you ignore it. Did Greenwald repeat the same level of praise -- that no criticism was possible of K? No.

      You do make your own program clear, however. Obama's wars and other murders are a bummer that he and his proudest supporters shouldn't have to answer to, because that's not how elections are won.

    3. quagmiremonkey

      I'm really not interested in a semantic battle with Greenwald fanatics...been there, done that.

      When he writes a balanced, nuanced view of Kucinich, let me know. I'm not going to hold my breath though - because he's engaging in exactly the same thing he's accused people like me of doing in regards to President Obama...defending someone he supports who is under attack. Its really not any more complicated than that and the truth is we all do it.

  7. I repeat....

    ALL of us have opinions. This guy is supposed to be LEGEND.

    However, he doesn't vote and voting is what makes the difference - for any of us. There's a reason why a number of people died to have this as a right. Otherwise, we can yammer all we want.

    I just don't get giving full validation to a guy that throws rocks but isn't really working to bring about what he would say he wants to see.

    1. You have to understand that part of what drives Glenn & Co. is a need to feel superior, the sneering and contempt with regards to their remarks about POTUS and POTUS' supporters are rivaled only by the hardcore right wing. In GG's case, he admitted to trusting Bush during the runup to the Iraq War, and as is fairly typical of new converts, is now a zealot in the other direction. Overrated doesn't begin to describe him, and his band of true believers who fly from comments section to comments section thumping the bible according to Glenn and expressing their contempt for the first black POTUS. /it is what it is, and it's gone be what it's gone be.

  8. Excellent comments, GN and Samartypants! Isn't amazing that people who believe Glenn Greenwald can do no wrong are the first to jump all over people who support and defend President Obama? Talk about projection! You see, according to Greenwald and his apostles, it's o.k. to accuse the president of all sorts of made up crimes; but no one should dare to question the saintly Glenn Greenwald! Any one who dares to challenge Greenwalds' logic, or many of his manufactured facts, in his relentless attacks on President Obama, is immediately labeled an Obama robot.

    Clearly, for Greenwald and his apostles, any one who supports and defends President Obama does so out of "blind" loyalty and hero worshiping. Whereas any one who supports and defends Greenwald does so based on his/her superior, independent, and critical thinking intellect. It's no wonder that Greenwald and his loyalists get so angry when people, like Smartypants did in this essay, reveal that, when it comes to morality and objectivity, emperor Greenwald is not wearing any clothes!

  9. It seems that the general assumption here is that support for the person comes first, then support for whatever policies they stand for. When someone criticizes, say, Obama, it must be that they don't support him, the person. And if Greenwald has praise for Kucinich's policy ideas, he must be in love with the guy. But sometimes we need to criticize precisely those persons we care about, if their choices are bad.

    I find Greenwald's writing persuasive because of the specific ideas he writes about--most of the time. Ideologically, Greenwald and I are about as far apart as two persons can get, and I would guess that we wouldn't much like each other if we met. Anyway, as I suggested above, G's post wasn't actually about Kucinich except as another object-lesson in how the media and major parties control the message. And on that, I think that he continues to be a very important commentator, whether or not one agrees with the content of Kucinich's policy views and whether or not Greenwald lives in Brazil or whatever.