Over the last 5 years we've watched the Republicans take their obstruction to such extremes that they are now in a post policy position. Their efforts are not about proposing solutions to problems - but simply doing everything they can to obstruct anything the Democrats propose.
Now overlay that with Glenn Greenwald's approach. He has spent almost a month now writing and talking about the horrors he sees in various NSA programs. For all his attempts to embrace the idea that he can be an "advocacy journalist," have you ever - in all that time - seen him propose an alternative and/or solution? No. Sound familiar?
I'm sure Glenn would say that's not his job. But isn't that convenient? Its the classic stance of a powerless victim. The minute you step up with a solution or proposal to solve a problem, you assume power. And as we saw the other day, that is something Glenn avoids.
The other thing Greenwald and the GOP share in common with this kind of positioning is that to propose a solution opens up a conversation...something President Obama said he welcomes when it comes to surveillance. But to do so would lead to a potential critique of your solution and an unravelling of the ability to depend solely on hyperbole and purity. In other words, it means getting your hands dirty in dealing with the world as it is - not as we want it to be.
And so ultimately Greenwald will never know what Teddy Roosevelt so eloquently called "the man in the arena."
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.