Why Won’t Kaus Debate Klein?

On a recent installment of Blogging Heads TV, Robert Wright tried to instigate a debate between Mickey Kaus and Ezra Klein — apparently to no avail. Some excerpts from the exchange:

    Robert Wright: Clearly the thing to do is to get you and Ezra [Klein] on Blogging Heads TV and have you slug it out. I dunno, unless you’re afraid of Ezra. Would you be afraid of that?

    Mickey Kaus: I’m not afraid, I’m just not impressed with Ezra Klein. He seems to be, uh…

    Robert Wright: Oooh, fightin’ words. Well, Mickey, I’ll tell you one thing. After saying that, if Ezra is game for a Blogging Heads TV duel with you, you cannot say no. Right? You can’t say that about a person, and then they say “would you mind stepping outside” and then you go “oh no, I can’t.”

    Mickey Kaus: I can say no. He can say whatever nasty things he wants about me when he’s on Blogging Heads.

    Robert Wright: No, I’m afraid you have to accept any challenge Ezra sends your way, Mickey.

    Mickey Kaus: Make me, buddy.

    Robert Wright: You wanna step outside?

    Mickey Kaus: I’m sorry. Anybody can be a blogger, and he’s proof of that.

    Robert Wright: So you’re saying you will not grapple, you will not go hand to hand, mano a mano, hombre against hombre, liberal against neoliberal on Blogging Heads TV with Ezra Klein. Is that what you’re telling us, Mickey? You refuse?

    Mickey Kaus: I think that’s what I’m telling you.

    Robert Wright: You’re kidding!

    Mickey Kaus: Sorry.

    Robert Wright: Wait a second, what’s your excuse? He’s not worthy of you?

    Mickey Kaus: Uh…I don’t respect the guy, yeah.

Come on, Mickey. If you’re Klein’s intellectual superior, what’s the big deal?

Ezra Klein tells us:

    I guess I’m just surprised. Kaus comes out of the Charlie Peters’ Preparatory School for Young Writers, where one of the most honored commandments is to always face up to your opponent’s strongest arguments. Kaus called me young and part of the “far-left,” then refused to debate me. That’s fairly contrary to the spirit of the movement he purports to be defending.