Losing Thomas Friedman

LOSING THOMAS FRIEDMAN…. With each passing day, the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman seems to be slightly more daring in his denunciations of John McCain. His membership in “The ‘Enough’ Club” is clearly secure.

[McCain’s campaign is] now built on turning everything possible into a cultural wedge issue — including even energy policy, no matter how stupid it makes the voters and no matter how much it might weaken America.

I respected McCain’s willingness to support the troop surge in Iraq, even if it was going to cost him the Republican nomination. Now the same guy, who would not sell his soul to win his party’s nomination, is ready to sell every piece of his soul to win the presidency.

In order to disguise the fact that the core of his campaign is to continue the same Bush policies that have led 80 percent of the country to conclude we’re on the wrong track, McCain has decided to play the culture-war card. Obama may be a bit professorial, but at least he is trying to unite the country to face the real issues rather than divide us over cultural differences. […]

I don’t know how much steel is in Obama’s belly, but I do know that the issues he is focusing on in this campaign — improving education and health care, dealing with the deficit and forging a real energy policy based on building a whole new energy infrastructure — are the only way we can put steel back into America’s spine. McCain, alas, has abandoned those issues for the culture-war strategy. […]

There is no strong leader without a strong country. And posing as one, to use the current vernacular, is nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig.

Identifying random voices expressing disdain for McCain may seem inconsequential, but Friedman is not only influential among the chattering class, he helps shape the conventional wisdom.

To that extent, Friedman’s obvious disappointment with McCain’s metamorphosis from independent thinker to far-right hack may very well matter.