Columns like this one from Thomas Friedman leave me baffled.
As for America, we’ve thrived in recent decades with a credit-consumption-led economy, whereby we maintained a middle class by using more steroids (easy credit, subprime mortgages and construction work) and less muscle-building (education, skill-building and innovation).
It’s put us in a deep hole, and the only way to dig out now is a new, hybrid politics that mixes spending cuts, tax increases, tax reform and investments in infrastructure, education, research and production. But that mix is not the agenda of either party.
It’s not? Let’s see, a combination of long-term cuts, combined with additional revenue, with an emphasis on boosting investments in infrastructure, education, research, and production. Why does this sound familiar? Because it’s President Obama’s agenda. It’s not as if the White House has made an effort to keep the president’s vision under wraps — the president has been touting this approach for a long while. He recently wrapped up a bus tour in the Midwest in which Obama talked up this vision a few times a day.
How could Friedman have missed this?
I’ve heard jokes over the years about high-profile media figures who go on vacation in August, and just recycle generic pabulum in their columnist slots while they take a break, but I’m beginning to wonder if those jokes aren’t intended to be funny.
What’s more, this seems to fit into a larger pattern that keeps coming up.
Last month, David Brooks demanded some bold candidate to step up and present a “Hamiltonian/National Greatness” agenda, and then presented a wish list that might as well have been copy and pasted from an Obama speech. More than 100 business leaders have rallied behind Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s pledge to stop making campaign contributions unless policymakers adopt a series of economic measures, apparently unaware that the White House already wants all of those same measures.
Either a few too many key political observers are struggling to keep up with the basics of current events, or the drive to blame “both sides” in all instances has gone wildly off the rails.
I can appreciate why Friedman is reluctant to write a column effectively endorsing the entirety of the Obama vision of government. But for Friedman to pretend that Obama’s vision simply doesn’t exist is misleading, and bordering on irresponsible.