I think I agree with Brendan Nyhan's take on the Brooks/Krugman spat over Ronald Reagan and race:
But can't both of them be right? The Philadelphia, MS anecdote has been exaggerated and oversimplified, but it remains true that Reagan exploited the issue of race in various ugly ways during his political career. Was that so hard?
I think this is part of the reason it would be better to allow columnists to argue with one another directly. It might make it harder for antagonists to metaphorically talk past one another were they not required to, um, talk past one another in terms of the formal construction of their columns.