Noah Smith in general is a clear thinking, well educated, smart person. His thesis advisor, Miles Kimball, is better in all of these qualities. John Cochrane is, in general, a clear thinking, well educated, smart person. I tend to agree far more often with Smith than Cochrane, but I often find both of their views worthy occasionally of at least a few hours of the critical thinking I get every day walking my dog or riding my bicycle.
What is a bit odd is that Noah is mostly an empirical economist, and his best writing reflects this, but although he worked for Kimball, he isn’t that well versed in macro-economic theory.
Why Cullen has a beef with him is a mystery because mostly he writes really intelligent stuff. On macro-economics he is lacking (because he is really a data based micro-economist). But he is a smart person and I enjoy reading his articles.