Left vs Left: Matt Osborne on Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher

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Ben Cohen
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Matt Osborne comments on the battle raging between progressives:

Both Hamsher and Greenwald are libertarians, not progressives. you'll recall that Greenwald is hunky-dory with Citizens United, for example. Their "uncompromising" stance leaves no room for actual politics to take place because they aren't interested in actually accomplishing change, merely tearing down government as much as any teabagging libertardian. FDL has become a useless echo chamber, a Plato's Cave every bit as wrong as World Net Daily and just as fake as Big Government.

I love Matt's work and think he is an enormous force for good in progressive politics (if you don't read his site, you really should - Matt is one of the rare bloggers who does actual original reporting), but I think Matt is dangerously oversimplifying the work that people like Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald do. I won't speak on Hamsher because I don't actually read much of her work, but I regularly check in on Greenwald's blog. Again, I generally agree with Greenwald's basic analysis, but disagree with his tactics.

Greenwald is not 'hunky-dory' with Citizens United - his position on the issue regarding corporate financing of political parties is constitutionally based, not emotional or personal. Greenwald is a constitutional lawyer so does not necessarily view politics in a 'Left-Right' context. He is clearly a progressive based on his pro government views on taxation (redistribution of wealth, government run health care, education, infrastructure etc), but also takes the founding document of American democracy seriously. I don't agree with Greenwald when it comes to the supreme court ruling that allows unlimited funding of political candidates by corporations, but I understand his point of view. It is highly nuanced, and Greenwald recognizes the dangers of corporate funded elections - he just believes freedom of speech supercedes it (Greenwald also believes that public funding of elections can redress the balance).

To state that Greenwald and those like him are not interested in change is, I think, massively unfair. I can't speak for Greenwald personally, but I believe he sees the enormous structural problems in America, and does not believe the two major political parties are offering anything remotely useful in fixing them. While I will gladly take the lesser of two evils, some reject the system entirely and believe in building a new movement that will hopefully weild enough power to have real political influence in the future.

Teabaggers and libertarians are dedicated to destroying government and empowering corporations. People like Glenn Greenwald are dedicated to transparency in government and reforming it to make it work for its citizens. While one may disagree with the tactics, it is not fair to dismiss the motivations.