Greenwald's latest, "Obama’s New NSA Proposal and Democratic Partisan Hackery," is a fascinating though cringe-worthy exercise in a minor obsession run hopelessly amok. Nearly half the post, which runs redundantly a full 1,663 words long, is devoted to a thorough scathing of blind and hypocritical partisanship--a view to which I and virtually everyone of any intellectual integrity are sympathetic, but come on, 766 words of scrutinizing and scrutinizing and then scrutinizing again the same regrettable but all-too common fault? I completely understood Greenwald's rather less than earthshaking point about midsentence in his lede, but he proceeds to interrogate the matter with a gleeful enhancement that, by degrees, only waterboarding itself could make inviting.
Having proven beyond any bearable doubt that blind and hypocritical partisanship is indeed blind and hypocritical, Greenwald, at word 767, gets to the first half of his post's title: Obama's new NSA proposal. This poses a gargantuan problem. For Greenwald, it seems, rather likes it. "This proposal differs in significant respects from the incredibly vague and cosmetic 'reforms' Obama suggested in his highly touted NSA speech in January," he writes, and it "clearly constitutes an attempt by Obama to depict himself as trying to end the NSA’s domestic bulk surveillance program."
So what, really, is the problem? Ay, the problem is for Greenwald to somehow stay on the attack over a proposal that Greenwald supports. And that brings us back to Greenwald's logorrheic denunciation of blind and hypocritical partisanship.
If [Obama's most partisan supporters] had even an iota of integrity or intellectual honesty, they would instantly and aggressively condemn Obama. After all, he’s now claiming to want to end a program that they have been arguing for months is vital in Keeping Us Safe™. Wouldn’t every rational person, by definition, criticize a political leader who wants to abolish a program that they believe is necessary to stop terrorism and preserve national security?
There is, once again, an undeniable and even hefty element of truth in what Greenwald says (and says, and says) here. Yet, at root, today's story is about Obama's new NSA proposal, not yesterday's partisan obsequiousness. Nonetheless, Greenwald had to find a way to turn a praiseworthy story into a negative one. In that, I suppose, he succeeded brilliantly. Still, I would think that any rational person, by definition, would at least momentarily suppress his justified contempt for blind partisanship so as to praise instead the political leader who wants to abolish a program that said rational person had been inveighing against for months.