Very Serious Pundit Thomas FriedmanShow of hands: who is sick of Tom Friedman using his column to call for a moderate third party whose purpose is primarily oriented around catering to wealthy people who are exactly like Tom Friedman or alternatively, doing exactly what Obama already does? Well good, because you’re in luck, since his most recent column is calling for a conservative party wherein Jeb Bush is in charge of education policy and deficit reduction is headed up by Tom Coburn. Also, let’s see what Rupert Murdoch has to say about immigration! We have one great issue facing America, he says, and it is made up of three subparts, and we also have four challenges that are really important, and if only we had real conservatives in charge of the GOP platform, then maybe the next four years can really amount to something! (Yes, this is a pretty accurate summary of his entire column.)

The bar for this campaign is so low that we celebrate the fact that it might include a serious debate about one of the four great issues of the day, though even that is not clear yet. And even if Ryan’s entry does spark a meaningful debate about one of the great issues facing America — the nexus of debt, taxes and entitlements — there is little sign that we’ll seriously debate our other three major challenges: how to generate growth and upgrade the skills of every American in an age when the merger of globalization and the information technology revolution means every good job requires more education; how to meet our energy and climate challenges; and how to create an immigration policy that will treat those who are here illegally humanely, while opening America to the world’s most talented immigrants, whom we need to remain the world’s most innovative economy.

We need deals on all four issues as soon as this election is over, and I just don’t see that happening unless “conservatives” retake the Republican Party from the “radicals” — that is, the Tea Party base. America today desperately needs a serious, thoughtful, credible 21st-century “conservative” opposition to President Obama, and we don’t have that, even though the voices are out there.

Who are these voices? Maybe Olympia Snowe, the soon-to-be-retired senator from Maine? Or how about David Stockman, former budget director for President Reagan? Or maybe Buddy Roemer, the former Louisiana governor who has expressed concern about Citizens United and recently endorsed Gary Johnson for president? No, wrong, none of these people need bigger voices in the Republican party. You know who does, is Tom Coburn, a Tenther from Oklahoma.

Imagine if the G.O.P.’s position on debt was set by Senator Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who has challenged the no-tax lunacy of Grover Norquist and served on the Simpson-Bowles commission and voted for its final plan (unlike Ryan). That plan included both increased tax revenues and spending cuts as the only way to fix our long-term fiscal imbalances. Give me a Republican Party that says we have to put real tax revenues and spending cuts on the table to solve this problem, and you’ll get a deal with Obama, who has already offered both, although not at the scale we need.

Oooh wouldn’t it be WONDERFUL if Tom Coburn set the GOP position on debt? He thinks the Department of Education is unconstitutional along with Pell Grants and student loan assistance, and opposes raising taxes on the wealthy, so yeah, let’s put him in charge, because these positions really set him apart from the radical Tea Party fringe elements of the GOP.

Imagine if G.O.P. education policy was set by former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, without having to cater to radicals, who call for eliminating the Department of Education and view common core standards as some kind of communist conspiracy. Mr. Bush has argued that a conservative approach to education for 21st-century jobs would embrace more effective teacher evaluation and common core standards, but add a bigger element of choice in the form of charter schools and vouchers, the removal of union rules that limit new technology — and combine it all with greater autonomy and accountability for individual principals. When parents can choose and school leaders can innovate, good things happen.

It would be fascinating to see how Jeb and Tom would get along, given that Tom Coburn wants to balance the budget by eliminating education subsidies as well as the entire Department of Education. Also, Jeb Bush seems to think that actually GOING to school is entirely optional, so yes, that sounds very “conservative” and not “radical” at all. And if you have any doubt about the value of charter schools, vouchers, and technology, just look to the progress being made on all these fronts in the Great State of Louisiana.

Imagine if the G.O.P.’s position on immigration followed the lead of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of the News Corporation. Bloomberg and Murdoch recently took to the road to make the economic case for immigration reform. “I think we are in a crisis in this country,” The Times quoted the Australian-born Murdoch, who’s now a naturalized American, as saying last week. “Right now, if we get qualified people in, there shouldn’t be any nonsense about it.” Regarding the “so-called illegal Mexicans,” Murdoch added, “give them a path to citizenship. They pay taxes; they are hard-working people. Why Mitt Romney doesn’t do it, I have no idea, because they are natural Republicans.”

Indeed, we were just thinking this morning that Rupert Murdoch doesn’t have a big enough voice in American politics, particularly insofar as “illegal Mexicans” are concerned. Also, we’re not clear on why this is a “conservative” position on immigration, especially since it’s essentially the position that Obama has taken and Friedman says in the last paragraph that Obama has taken a “center left” position on everything, including immigration.

We are not going to make any progress on our biggest problems without a compromise between the center-right and center-left. But, for that, we need the center-right conservatives, not the radicals, to be running the G.O.P., as well as the center-left in the Democratic Party. Over the course of his presidency, Obama has proposed center-left solutions to all four of these challenges. I wish he had pushed some in a bigger, consistent, more daring and more forceful manner — and made them the centerpiece of his campaign. Nevertheless, if the G.O.P. were in a different place, either a second-term Obama or a first-term Romney would have a real chance at making progress on all four. As things stand now, though, there is little hope this campaign will give the winner any basis for governing. Too bad — a presidential campaign is a terrible thing to waste.

Yes, if only Jeb Bush and Rupert Murdoch and Tom Coburn were given bigger voices in today’s Republican party, Obama might be able to get something done next term!

[The New York Times]

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  • I'm just plain sick of Tom Friedman. Take him and David Brooks and dump them 500 miles out at sea.

    • What is it with you people hatin' on my fish friends, hengh?????

      This one wants Friedman to pollute the North Atlantic, that one wants the RNC to fall into Tampa Bay….what did a person of fin-enhancement ever do to you????

    • HogeyeGrex

      Fuck Tom Friedman with a rolled up David Brooks.

      And vice-versa.

      • proudgrampa

        Kinda like a two-person ouroboros.

    • fatbob54

      Out of compassion, I suggest we give the bloated carcass of Jonah Goldberg to cling to.

    • HempDogbane

      But then who would be in charge of mixed metaphor in this new party's administration?

    • ThankYouJeebus

      And I am fucking sick of these fucking fuckers calling SSI and Medicare an 'entitlement.'

      They are insurance programs and I have been paying into them since I was 15 years old you fuckers.

    • Willardbot9000_V2.5

      Yes the Moustache of Concern is in full concern mode here. Tom Friedman is what is wrong with America…how could an uninspired, boring, millquetoast corporate ball licker who spends years telling us how awesome outsourcing is be so acclaimed and wealthy? He's the Joel Osteen of politics, a completely wimpy idiot who thinks that if he only emphasizes the positives of the crap he says no one will notice he offers nothing substantive whatsoever.

  • Will he give them another FU (Friedman Unit of six months) if they fail to comply?

    • Roger_of_Arabia

      Tom Friedman is wonkery's GE Smith, that ugly fucker who used to play guitar in the SNL band. They are both so god-damned easy to hate.

    • Willardbot9000_V2.5

      Yes and then another and another and another…why can't he give us a few Friedman Units and just disappear for six months? Then if we're still sick of him he can give us another six months and so forth…that's an FU I'd get behind.

  • IncenseDebate

    Doesn't Friedman have a Middle East war to sell somewhere?

  • Vote Reasonable People's Party: What have YOU done for Tom Friedman Today???

    • I'm sorry, I'm voting Very Silly.

      I think Malcolm Peter Brian Telescope Adrian Umbrella Stand Jasper Wednesday (pops mouth twice) Stoatgobbler John Raw Vegetable (whinnying) Arthur Norman Michael (blows squeaker) Featherstone Smith (whistle) Northgot Edwards Harris (fires pistol, then 'whoop') Mason (chuff-chuff-chuff-chuff) Frampton Jones Fruitbat Gilbert (sings) 'We'll keep a welcome in the' (three shots) Williams If I Could Walk That Way Jenkin (squeaker) Tiger-drawers Pratt Thompson 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' Darcy Carter (horn) Pussycat 'Don't Sleep In The Subway' Barton Mainwaring (hoot, 'whoop') Smith has the right policies to keep America the greatest nation on the planet.

  • freakishlywrong

    The Head is Fat.

    • bobbert

      I do not know why this has so few upfists.

    • Willardbot9000_V2.5

      ….and the brain is suspciously small…what else is knockin' round that brain pan?!?

  • Callyson

    You had me at "who is sick of Tom Friedman"

  • I'm with Tom Coburn on his obsession with teenage lesbians. I find my mind wandering toward that theme on a pretty reliable basis.

    • Willardbot9000_V2.5

      Yes we all have that problem…plus, who wouldn't like to have a lifetime positioned guaranteed by rambling on about shit you don't actually believe from time to time while doing nothing productive for six years a stint? Imagine how many callgirls would be impressed by hearing "Senator Willardbot requests a lesbian threesome and to be hush-hush about it"? Sounds like a sweet gig to me…gotta love that work ethic of Republicans…

  • Tom Friedman would probably be much happier if he could just be mayor of SimCity.

    • SorosBot

      Hey, the game's "9-9-9" default tax structure worked for Herman Caine.

      • UW8316154


        • You know, from the Caine Mutiny.

  • Blunderthing

    It's just candidate remorse. They wish they had someone less toxic now. But you can't throw bacon into the grease fire. It's a waste of bacon.

  • HRH_Maddie

    Wonkette staff should save their energy and just write "Tom Friedman is the worst" in every article relating to his awfulness.

    (Hi! – first time poster, long time lurker. I hate Tom Friedman enough to finally create an account)

  • fatbob54

    Tom Friedman wouldn't recognize an original idea if it crawled up his ass in a desperate attempt to look him in the eye and tell him what a mundane self-serving clown he is.

    • Willardbot9000_V2.5

      he wouldn't recognize an original idea if it cloned him, climbed out of his ass (like the rest of the bullshit) and looked him right in the eye…all he'd say is "nice moustache" and then get back to concern trolling…

  • sudsmckenzie

    I need context, what airport Cinnabon inspired this?

    • fatbob54

      I think it was a cab driver in Mumbai.

    • elviouslyqueer


  • mavenmaven

    He's just trying to brown nose for power in case the GOP wins, f@#$ing lackey.

  • Callyson

    Obama has proposed center-left solutions to all four of these challenges. I wish he had pushed some in a bigger, consistent, more daring and more forceful manner

    Whereas I wish Obama had pushed some Reeps in a bigger, consistent, more daring and more forceful manner (with votes!) but that's the difference between me and Tom Friedman…

    • Willardbot9000_V2.5

      yes…pushed them into a space shutle with votes, hit ignition and watched the votes push them into the sun. The amount of nitrate and methane in your average teabagger would give the sun a ready supply of energy to last another 50 billion years on top of the several billion years scientists give it now (or in the words of the Daily Mail when it heard about what Laacher See is, "we're all gonna die! It's going to explode next WEEK!")

  • SorosBot

    But the "center-right conservatives" already have a party, it's called the Democratic Party. We liberals meanwhile just keep getting left out.

    • MinAgain

      I want a Labor Party, dammit!

    • WhatTheHolyHeck

      I have a deeply religious friend who took 2 hours of explanation to realize she was actually pro-choice and not anti-choice. Strongly held perceived identity trumps actual ideas every time.

      Wait, that wasn't snark. Um.

      Friedman's cockbucket is filled with 10 units of weasels. There. quota met.

      • sullivanst

        But where's the perfidy?

    • Willardbot9000_V2.5

      Sad but true…Soros I like what Bill Maher had to say about it, "the Democrats have moved to the right and the right has moved into a mental institution" Tom Friedman is like every other bullshit artist in the media which has plenty to spare…unless Obama is enacting laws Republicans say they like (even when they flip-flop on shit they once loved) he's center-left. Forget about I dunno…not placing Wallstreet on trial (a few arrests or smashing B of A to pieces would have done A WORLD OF GOOD) and bailing them out instead. Making it possible for idiots to carry guns in national parks, or not pushing very hard to close Gitmo or making us all subject to the tender mercies of the insurance companies and not even getting a public option to make at least some liberals happy…Republicans demagogue it, he must be a COMMONIST! Fucking porn 'stached reprobate…

  • MinAgain

    **waves hand in the air**

    I'm also pretty pissed off that every damn conversation about education is about training people to work for business. Remember when a well-rounded education was an end in itself?

    • SorosBot

      Sadly it seems employers don't – I'm seeing so many job listings that demand a business degree, it pisses my unemployed ass off. And here I went to a college that didn't offer business degrees, and everyone always said you should major in whatever you enjoy, you get jobs based on having a college degree and not what your major was.

      • sullivanst

        I'm seeing so many job listings that demand a business degree

        But why would an employer want an incompetent entitled fucking moron?

        • HistoriCat

          You're afraid of hiring someone with competence because you might get shown-up?

    • I thought education was about indoctrinating the youths to hate God and America, and to turn them ghey. Did I miss a memo?

    • IonaTrailer

      Librul colleges, turnin' out libruls

    • I saw an article the other day that ranked universities based on how much money their graduates make. Ugh.

    • UnholyMoses

      But what makes his comment classic Little Tommy: he would have education ran by a guy who wants to kill every single federal penny spent on educating Teh Poorz.

      So, basically, he doesn't give a shit about educating. What he really wants is training.

      There's a big, BIG difference.

      • Biff

        Get the best education you can afford, borrow from your parents if necessary!

  • LastGasp

    I'm all for a third party of "center-right conservatives." This will drain votes from the Republican party's candidate and ensure a Democratic win.

    • NellCote71

      Aiken! Aiken! Aiken!

    • UnholyMoses

      "Center right conservatives" already have a party.

      They're called "Democrats."

      What our nation really needs is a truly liberal party–one in which the likes of Bernie Sanders and Al Franken are the leaders.

  • I hate to defend Friedman, but his main point that if the Republican Party would adopt and champion the more moderate ideas of its member instead of always (at least for the last 20 years) going with what ever batshit crazy idea they think will scare people into supporting them, the country would be better off. And if both parties would just negotiate in good faith (instead of the Democrats usually capitulating and the Republicans threatening to blow everything up unless they get their way), we might be able to actually get stuff done.

    All that being said, when you have to reach to Tom Coburn as an instance of moderation, you really should sit down and re-write what you are saying.

    • IonaTrailer

      Oh just let them run off the cliff like the lemmings they are…

    • UnholyMoses

      Well … that's only kinda sorta true.

      What The Mustache of Freedom really wants is a bunch of typical conservative bullshit policies — slashing education funding, still letting the rich fleece our nation's Treasury, unending wars, etc.

      He just wants it wrapped up in a "moderate" label so the peasants won't revolt.

      After all, if he gave a shit about coming together and getting shit done, he'd support Obama, as that's exactly what Obama has tried to do.

      But he doesn't. So he doesn't.

  • HogeyeGrex

    Christ. I think I had 50 IQ points just go into hiding merely from reading the excerpts.

    What a twunt.

  • SorosBot

    What about a party that addresses the issue of old men who don't realize the 1890s are over and mustaches look hideous?

    • proudgrampa

      What do you have against mustaches?

      proud mustache-wearer

    • UnholyMoses

      Hey now! I make a mustache look good.

      I'm like a white Billy Dee Williams in that way …

  • IncenseDebate

    Needz moar Lexus and Olive treez.

  • kittensdontlie

    Also, Mr. Friedman, in your case, 'a MIND is a terrible thing to waste'.

  • Come here a minute

    Without a reference to wisdom learned from his cab driver, Tom Friedman has failed to make an effective argument. Maybe if he had a ride in the center-left or center-right lane on the way in to work, things would have been different.

  • Wadisay

    Has Friedman really not yet noticed the perfect correlation between GOP extremism and the price of asperigus in Quito, Ecquador?

    • sullivanst

      Maybe he'll notice it in six months.

  • Angry_Marmot

    Can't you tell by that serious expression that he's pooping out little pills of wisdom?

  • gullywompr

    Pfft! Just ask the lemonade stand girls, they understand conservative economics better than anyone. Right Fox?

  • Billmatic

    I wonder how Tom Friedman would explain how babby is formed.

  • How in the hell is this guy considered a "legitimate" thinker?

    • He sits on a toilet with his chin resting on a fist?

  • The mediocrity — IT BURNS

    • PogoBock

      Suffering from burning mediocrity? Try Preparation F. Tom Friedman will personally crawl up your ass to get inside your head and convince you that war will cure all that ails you.

  • IncenseDebate

    Well, Tom was evolutionary biological enough to marry a rich guy's daughter.

  • no_gravity

    Learning is already optional in Florida whether you go to school or not.

  • docterry6973

    Because when I think of rational government, the first names that come to my mind are Jeb Bush, Tom Coburn, and Rupert Murdoch.

  • widestanceromance

    We are all glad that picture is cropped as it is, since he looks to be squeezing out some policy, while smelling it and still posing for a camera.

    • Jus_Wonderin

      Maybe we need a courtesy flush?

  • elviouslyqueer

    Over the course of his presidency, Obama has proposed center-left solutions to all four of these challenges. I wish he had pushed some in a bigger, consistent, more daring and more forceful manner — and made them the centerpiece of his campaign.

    Tom, Tom, Tom. Barry tried that (repeatedly, in fact), and the GOP's response was, briefly and consistently, "An uppity ni**er says what now?" Please STFU, you flat-earthed blowhard.

    • dennis1943

      The ONLY consistent adult in the room……….

  • HeadsIWin

    In six months we'll have this problem turned around.

  • lumpenprole

    "Show of hands: who is sick of Tom Friedman…"

    "From an evolutionary point of view,” harrumphs Kevin Williamson of the National Review Online…"

    "Perfidious cockbucket Todd Akin received enthusiastic support…"

    "Here is a video of a man — looks like, but is not, Hugh Hewitt — droning on…"

    I just can't face getting through the first sentence today.

  • IonaTrailer

    Shut the fuck up Tom Friedman, this campaign is about rapeyness, magical uteruses, where are the motherfucking tax returns???, dancing horses, Seamus, and polygamy.
    DO NOT try and change the subject.

  • poorgradstudent

    He can get his Conservative Party if I get my STFU Bankers Party.

  • anniegetyerfun

    Tom Friedman is nothing if not incredibly brave and original all the time.

    • SorosBot

      He'll become more original, we just need to give him six months.

    • bobbert

      So, nothing, then?

  • sullivanst

    Anyone who holds up Dr. No as a role-model of moderation seriously needs to be fired from their job immediately. Whatever that job is, they suck at it, but if it's supposedly journalism-related? Holy shit fire that fucker right now, and while you're at it, fire yourself for not having fired him already!

  • MissTaken

    I like Tom Friedman. Same with Niall Ferguson. I find it amazing that two grown men can write several paragraphs consisting of words and sentences and not a single one includes logic or the correct use of facts. It's amazing.

  • comrad_darkness

    Tom Friedman is proof that meritocracy is dead.

  • "If only there were some way to vote for Republicans and not totally fuck our chances of survival!"

  • An_Outhouse

    So much FAIL, so little time …
    "the removal of union rules that limit new technology"

    Yes, that's a union's purpose, to block new technology. I wonder what those giant robots are used for on the auto assembly lines.

    What a fucktard.

  • An_Outhouse

    "create an immigration policy that will treat those who are here illegally humanely, while opening America to the world’s most talented immigrants"

    Time for racist Tommy to emigrate. I don't care where, just go. Deport yourself.

  • Is that pictures suppose to make him look serious and intellectual 'cause it just makes him look like a douche.

    • sullivanst

      It's not the picture that makes him look like a douche.

  • Oblios_Cap

    Another asshole named Freidaman. Why won't the line die out? (Except for Kinky, of course)

  • ratcityrebel

    "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, and you can have Thomas Friedman."

  • UnholyMoses

    Imagine there's no pundits
    It isn't hard to do
    No stupid fucks to cheer wars
    And no "Another six months" too …

  • proudgrampa

    Well, he has a point. The Republican Party has been overtaken by a shrill, ignorant, reactionary element of American society that does not and cannot compromise on issues.

    On the other hand, as has already been noted, if Jeb, Tom Coburn and Rupert are his idea of moderation, we are indeed fucked.

  • Katydid

    I think this has been posted before, but it's worth repeating. Matt Taibbi reviews Friedman's awful book, Hot, Flat, and Tired or somesuch.

    • MosesInvests

      Wow-thanks for the link. That was one inspired rant.

      • Katydid

        And the thing of it is, it's all true.

  • BZ1

    Does Friedman know what a period is or he is just prone to write wall-sized statements that signify not much?

  • Allmighty_Manos

    Hey remember when the individual mandate was a center right idea?

  • barto

    Guys, I bet Tom would be really flattered if we asked him to run for president. C'mon guys, let's do it! Let's ask Tom to run for president, like right now. Guys?……Guys?……

  • C_R_Trogloraptor

    Funny. Every time I take a cab, the driver tells me that Tom Friedman is a fucking moron.

  • Caelan Aegana

    Tom…Tom…Tom… you can't be scared of educating our population at the nexus of the merger of technology revolutions. The most obvious solution is to make education affordable, and allow people to band together to demand comfortable lifestyles.

    Hello? Tom? Is this thing on? Helloooooo?

  • ttommyunger

    Why does anybody pay any attention to this doughy pant-load; Wonkette?

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