11/28/2012 01:52 pm ET Updated Jan 28, 2013

Who Is the Most Reality Challenged -- Democrats or Republicans?

Nobel-prize-winning New York Times opinion columnist Paul Krugman is impressed that the leaders of the Republican party have buried their heads in the sand in a remarkable number of cases (e.g., Mario Rubio, Bobby Jindal), and are able to acknowledge neither evolution nor global warming. This leaves them at a disadvantage when confronting our greatest ecological challenge, as well as the dismal state of science education in this country.

But, unfortunately, they are not alone in their lack of contact with reality. Neither major American political party is capable of recognizing the U.S.'s growing isolation from the rest of the world in facing the Palestinian conflict, preferring instead to side in every conceivable way with the Israeli view of things, actions, and positions. Thus, leading Democratic spokespeople like Debbie Wasserman Schultz regularly appear on liberal cable channels (read MSNBC) and express essentially the Likud point of view about the need to bomb, invade, and segregate the Palestinians. This approach is not only bound to fail -- even from the Israeli standpoint -- it is morally reprehensible.

Chris Hayes -- whose weekend MSNBC morning shows regularly feature the Palestinian-Arab perspective -- had his usual diverse group of guests on Sunday (November 25) ALL of whom gave the Muslim point of view more respect than is visible on MSNBC's weekday programs. Included in the panel was Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen.

Cohen is an anomaly in the Democratic party -- in American politics. He explained that his district had recently been gerrymandered to remove his Jewish constituents, and his district is now largely African-American. Perhaps for this reason Cohen was able to give the Palestinian cause its due -- pointing out the constantly expanding West Bank Jewish settlements, and the Obama administration's complete inability (refusal?) to rein Israel and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in. Cohen observed that Netanyahu is completely isolated from larger world and Middle Eastern realities.

This nearly psychotic myopia was exactly Krugman's point about the Republican party and its leaders. In identifying such blindness, Krugman distinguished them from Democrats: "Liberals, being human, often give in to wishful thinking -- but not in the same systematic, all-encompassing way." Except that Cohen might have said the same thing about Schultz's and the Democratic party's priorities in the Middle East that he said about Netanyahu's and the Likud party's. And the consequences of this obtuseness may be easily as critical for America's role in the world and our future as is the Republicans' denial of science.