I've noticed two funny things.
1. The people who are generally opposed seem to treat the argument as economic intuition/relevance vs. mathematical economics. This is a category error. Economic intuition/relevance is something we expect to be in all good economics, whether it is literary or mathematical. And there's definitely examples of both with and without good relevance and good foundational economic principles. That's the substance of a piece of economics. The math/literary question is the medium. The real question is the comparative strength of the medium.My view is that both are important and we should expect people going through the PhD process to be able to write and do math well and be excellent consumers of both. I am not worried that good people are kept out because of math standards. There is a substantial enough demand for PhD slots that there's no reason why programs can't be choosy and get people good at both. So I don't think we should lower our math expectations - if anything we should raise our literary expectations. This is coming from a guy whose writing is certainly stronger than his math and for whom that certainly made a difference in his PhD application experience, so I'm not giving math expectations a pass because I'm some kind of hot shot.
2. If find it interesting that there is a fight about math's role in economics but there seems to be little fight at all about the role of literary economics. In other words you've got people talking as if the highly mathematical papers have somehow gone off the rails but you don't have anyone criticizing the major literary contributions. I find that interesting.