Democracy is messy

Pajamas Media columnist M.P. MacConnell writes, regarding the “How the Netroots Brought Down Obama’s Spymaster.” (Via Glenn.) Get this:

Regardless of political affiliation, the “Netroots” (a term used to describe those whose political activism is primarily manifested online) are a mob, and as is normally the case in mob attacks, there are ringleaders. In this particular instance it was Glenn Greenwald, an attorney and contributing writer for, who took it upon himself to lead those self-appointed champions of liberty in their quest to speed John Brennan’s downfall. Greenwald, who has no background in intelligence, law-enforcement, diplomacy, or international relations, felt himself to be in a position of supreme moral authority in questioning the fitness of Brennan – a 25 year veteran of government, intelligence, and counter-terrorism service – to assume the role President-elect Obama seemed to have him earmarked for.

I wasn’t too impressed, and wrote the following in the comments:

What an odd article. It starts out — well, I don’t know how it starts out; is there a missing topic sentence? — but at the beginning the complaint is, “Bad new media!” Then a quote from William Safire about money and megaphones. Does this mean that non-expert writers have had an effect on political and government decision-making prior to the advent of the Internet? Why, I think it does! In fact, while [Glenn] Greenwald is merely a lawyer, and not an expert on intelligence or the like, he is no worse credentialed than Horace Greeley, Carl Bernstein or Rush Limbaugh: Lay people with opinions, agendas and sometimes information that can affect public policy. The Internet has nothing to do with this.

Having said that, the remaining four-fifths of the article is a defense, on the merits, of Brennan. It may very well be a great defense of Brennan — I’m only a lawyer, not an intelligence expert! But it’s a non-sequitur as regards the first paragraphs, the title and the concluding paragraph.

Guess what, M.P.: Political decisions, or decisions by politicians regardless of merit, need to be supported, defended and sustained in political environments such as the media, online or off. If you haven’t gotten used to that, or if you don’t like it, why on earth do you write for Pajamas Media?

Posted originally on Likelihood of Success, the pretty good blog by Ron Coleman, democratically-elected president-for-life of all social media.

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