And it is incredibly stupid!
Honestly, if you can stomach it, click the link (if you do not have a Times online subscription, please don’t waste one of your 20 free articles — I promise to excerpt enough for you to get the gist). I laughed and laughed and laughed. And then I laughed some more. Friedman begins thusly:
This is a scary economic moment. The response we need is not easy, but it is totally obvious. We need a Grand Bargain between America’s two parties — and we need it right now. Until you read the following news article, we’ll be stuck in a world of hurt.
This paragraph portends bad things for two reasons. One, Friedman is a hack. Two, it signals that he’s about to engage in a creative writing exercise. Gauge my eyes out with a spoon! Egads, what inanity shall unfold?
All sorts of inanity. Remember, THIS IS THE NEWS STORY TOM FRIEDMAN IMAGINES MUST BE WRITTEN IN ORDER FOR THE COUNTRY TO GET BACK ON TRACK!!!!!!
Washington (AP) — It was a news conference the likes of which the White House had never seen. President Obama stood in the East Room, flanked by the House speaker, John Boehner; the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell; the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid; and the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi. The president asked Mr. Boehner to speak first.
Friedman used to write hard news before he became such a gigantic buffoon. Maybe it’s all the years he’s spent spouting his trademark buffoonery, but this is a terrible, terrible lede. He might as well have begun, “It was a dark and stormy night and the world was about to change, as an epic and historic news conference broke out at the White House.” What sort of news conference would have Tom Friedman creaming his pants so suddenly?
This kind of news conference:
“My fellow Americans,” the Ohio Republican began. “We have just concluded a meeting with the president, prompted by this moment of extraordinary economic peril. Our party, as you know, is convinced that the main reason for our economic decline is that we have too much debt, that government has grown too big and that taxes and regulations are choking our dynamism. But I have to acknowledge that, over the years, our party has contributed to this debt burden and government spending binge. We are not innocent, and, therefore, we owe the country a strategy for governing and for fixing a problem that we helped to create — instead of just blocking the president. The G.O.P. is better than that and has more to offer the nation. Therefore, we have informed the president that our legislators are ready to reopen negotiations immediately on a ‘Grand Bargain’ to address all these debt issues once and for all and that everything will be on the table from our side — including tax reform that closes loopholes and eliminates wasteful subsidies, and, if need be, tax increases.”
OMG. LOL. This is his idea of “the likes of which were never seen”? Because we had the Grand Bargain bullshit a couple of weeks ago, Boehner got 98% of what he wanted, and the stock market started to tumble. Whatever, Tom Friedman. What else did your fantasyland orange congressman say in this orgiastic revelry you just awoke from?
“…both sides will have to bend if we are going to get the kind of comprehensive budget agreement the country needs. To my Tea Party colleagues, I say: thank you. Your passion helped spur the nation to action, but the country cannot be governed, and our future secured, by bowing solely to the passions of any single group — liberal or conservative. I know that the Tea Party activists are true patriots and they will work with us as well.”
The Tea Party is comprised of a group of know-nothing cynics who just want guns and government handouts. (Hey, fuckheads, howz about me and the rest of da cosmopolitan libruls stop subsidizing your shitty, backwater welfare states? Then we’ll get to talking about cutting social security. K?) They aren’t patriots; they’re crybabies. And they’re crybabies, moreover, who think their tears are proof of their UltraMegaAmerica patriotism. But Tom Friedman, centrist extraordinaire, thinks they’re onto something, thinks that if John Boehner just whispers the right sweet-nothings into their ear that they’ll acknowledge that they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about, step aside, and let the grown-ups handle cleaning up the mess they’ve made of our national affairs. What can I say? GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!
Oh. And then there’s Friedman’s fantasyland Obama speech. Let’s take a look at that.
“Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell, thank you for your commitment to act in our nation’s highest interests. Let me say publicly what I committed to you privately: I have asked Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson to revive their deficit commission and to use their recommendations for how to cut spending and raise revenues as the starting point for our negotiations. But it will now be called ‘The National Commission for American Renewal.’ Because in addition to the original Bowles-Simpson members, it will include Senator McConnell, Speaker Boehner, Senator Reid and Congresswoman Pelosi, and its goal will indeed be a comprehensive plan for American renewal.”
Goodie! We’ll rename the Catfood Commission, come up with some even craftier ways to dismember the social safety net, and it will be Very. Very. Serious. And Good. For America. Just not the America Tom Friedman inhabits.
Continue, Imaginary Obama!
“I, too, have a confession: I’ve done a poor job integrating my nation-building ideas, including health care, into a single vision so people understood where I was going. I also let tactical political considerations — like abandoning the Bowles-Simpson commission — intervene, so Americans lost sight of my priorities. That will not happen again.”
Shorter Imaginary Tom Friedman Obama: “Fuck it, let’s just adopt Paul Ryan’s plan and call it good, eh, America?”
Finally, the imaginary, poorly written “news article” that prompted Tom Friedman’s wet dream (and prompted Tom Friedman’s wife to suggest that they should perhaps start sleeping in different beds) concludes on this triumphant note:
At that point, all five leaders shook hands and retreated into the Oval Office. It was exactly 9:29 a.m. One minute later, the New York Stock Exchange opened. The Dow was up 1,223 points at the open — an all-time record.
Aye, and that’s the rub, isn’t it? “Pretty” speeches aside, the only good thing about this fantasyland “news article” is that the Dow is magically up to 1,233 points one minute after the speeches conclude. Friedman seems to be saying, “IT ONLY TAKES ONE MINUTE TO HEAL THE COUNTRY, PEOPLE! THAT’S ALL IT WOULD TAKE! COUPLA SPEECHES, SOME ‘CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG’ SPIRIT, AND BLAM-O! PROBLEM SOLVED, DOW’S UP A BILLION POINTS, CAN I HAZ BOOK DEAL NOW?”*
This man gets paid by the New York Times and sells millions of copies of books. The only people who deserve what is coming in our inevitable imperial experiment comes crashing to the ground will be people like Tom Friedman, people who helped precipitate it. Alas, I think he’ll be just fine.
*(Edited second to last paragraph because I can.)