Kennicott manages to demonstrate, first, that he has no real interest in ideas or in education: he dismisses Kagan’s argument as "boilerplate," asking "who really cares whether poetry or philosophy or history sits at the top of the humanities heap? Is it really a contest?" Anyone who takes education or philosophy (Kennicott’s major at Yale) seriously cares. A "culture critic" ought to care.
Then Kennicott tries to hoist Kagan by his own petard, accusing him of partisanship. We go from a dismissal of Kagan’s pedagogical and intellectual concerns to an attack on his politics. If you don’t care about the former, isn’t the latter all that’s left (the double entendre is intentional, by the way)? In other words, Kennicott offers a partisan attack on Kagan’s alleged partisanship, all the while arguing that partisanship gets in the way of "sane evaluation of real threats."
His example of Kagan’s failing in this regard was his worry, in a book published in 2000, about WMD in Iraq. It seems to me that in 2000, worrying about WMD in Iraq was a bipartisan and multinational activity. Only when it became convenient to claim that Bush and Blair "lied" about WMD did people on the Left forget what they had thought just a few years earlier.
It is instructive, by the way, to contrast Kennicott’s fawning portrait of Columbia University Middle East Studies Professor Rashid Khalidi, who "straddles a difficult line between academic historian and political commentator," with his treatment of Kagan, whose straddling clearly doesn’t meet with Kennicott’s approval.