There Will Be Sacrifice

Tom Friedman approvingly quotes a Singaporean diplomat:

There will be no painless solution. ‘Sacrifice’ will be needed, and the American people know this. But no American politician dares utter the word ‘sacrifice.’

That’s right: it’s yet another chapter of Tom Friedman apparently pays no attention at all to the President of the United State of America.

From an obscure web site called Whitehouse.gov, let’s see

September 5 in Detroit, the big Labor Day speech:

That’s the bedrock this country is built on. Hard work. Responsibility. Sacrifice.

He took a call from college student body presidents in August, so he could tell them (according to the WH blog):

President Obama jumped on the call to speak with these young Americans about the need for a solution that finds a shared sacrifice for all Americans. Just as was pointed out in the letter, he said that solving this problem is about investing in our future and making sure young people today have the same chances past generations had. 

Here’s a weekly address from July. Hint: he says it three times.

The big budget speech in April (note, by the way, the URL on that link):

But we are going to have to ask everybody to sacrifice. And if we’re asking community colleges to sacrifice, if we’re asking people who are going to see potentially fewer services in their neighborhoods to make a little sacrifice, then we can ask millionaires and billionaires to make a little sacrifice.

The federal employee pay freeze last November? Yup:

The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require broad sacrifice. And that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government…I did not reach this decision easily. This is not just a line item on a federal ledger. These are people’s lives. They’re doctors and nurses who care for our veterans; scientists who search for better treatments and cures; men and women who care for our national parks and secure our borders and our skies; Americans who see that the Social Security checks get out on time, who make sure that scholarships comes through, who devote themselves to our safety. They’re patriots who love their country and often make many sacrifices to serve their country.

In these challenging times, we want the best and brightest to join and make a difference. But these are also times where all of us are called on to make some sacrifices. And I’m asking civil servants to do what they’ve always done — play their part.

Is that enough?

OK, so I don’t blame Friedman for missing the phone call to the student body presidents. But the rest of these were all major public statements (and I tossed in the college one because it hints that he’s been throwing the word around constantly, as you would expect of something he includes in so many major speeches).

For previous chapters of this incredible saga of how one of the most prominent columnists in the nation apparently has no clue who is currently president or what he says or does, see Steve Benen here and Greg Marx here and here. For my critique of sacrifice talk, see here.

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.