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Posted by on Nov 12, 2009 in Politics | 2 comments

Clash of the Not-Quite Titans

And now for some amusing inside-the-Beltway gossip:

A debate between Time’s Joe Klein and New Republic’s Jamie Kirchick spilled off the dais Tuesday into a hallway confrontation where Klein called the younger pundit a “dishonest [expletive]” and “[expletiving] propagandist.”

Leaning left, Klein was raised on the old media but is adjusting to the new. Leaning right, Kirchick was raised on the new media, but enjoys the imprimatur of the old. Recognizing all that, I suspect this kerfuffle was less about politics and paths to punditry, and more about a tiff between generations; the resentment of the older and younger for each others’ baggage and blinders, respectively.

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A note to Mr. Klein: I don’t follow Mr. Kirchick, but I suspect I would differ with him on multiple points of domestic and foreign policy. That being said, if you want Kirchick or anyone else to respect “the nuance of [your] arguments,” you might want to be more careful in the phrasing of those arguments. When you dismiss Sen. John McCain’s opinions on matters of foreign policy and war, because the Senator, while in service to his country, “fought from the air,” you deserve a dismissive response. Words matter. You, of all people, know that.

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  • JSpencer

    I thought James Wolcott’s reference to Kirchick as “the Eddie Haskell of neoconservatives” was pretty amusing. Here’s the rest of his take on it:http://www.vanityfair.com/online/wolcott/2009/1…I suppose it was a clash of generations to some extent, but Joe Klein seemed to feel that Kirchick was long on opinion and short on facts.It would have been fun to be there… I’m guessing..

  • adesnik

    Full disclosure: I consider Jamie a friend. Now here’s my point: This was not a clash of generations. Joe Klein hardly counts as a representative of the older generation.

    Second, this really was about ideology. It started as a disagreement about politics, then Klein introduced a measure of profanity.

    Which isn’t to say that age ain’t nothing but a number. In any number of fields, older professionals react more fiercely to criticism from younger colleagues. We all tend to dismiss people younger than ourselves as less well informed. But the issue is the criticism, not the age.

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