Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thomas Friedman is Right

Yes, it feels good to lash back at those knuckledragging Rightwingers who keep sabotaging and derailing everything Obama tries to do. How can you feel anything except hatred and contempt for America’s oligarchs, and the millions of inbred retards who keep enabling them?

But Thomas Friedman makes an excellent point — answering hatred with counter-hatred is not the answer. It doesn’t work.

Remember, America’s two most successful politicians of the late 20th century — Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — were always positive and upbeat. They talked about what they wanted, not what they didn’t want. And as far as I can remember, neither of them ever indulged in personal attacks or name-calling.

And speaking of personal attacks — sorry, brief diversion here — it turns out George W. Bush got a bad rap during his presidency. Liberals kept accusing him of being a tyrant, a dictator, and “shredding” the Constitution. And now we find out — funny story — Boy George simply imbibed a little too much Jim Beam one night, lost his balance, and fell on the Constitution.

Anyway — Thomas Friedman tells Obama: “If you think that the right response is to unleash a populist backlash against bankers, you’re wrong…Americans don’t rally to angry politicians…We rally to inspirational, hopeful ones.”

He also advised Obama not to try fighting the dumbfuck teabirther scumbags by stooping to their level. Actually, his exact wording was:

“We need to make 2010 what Obama should have made 2009: the year of innovation, the year of making our pie bigger, the year of ‘Start-Up America’…Obama should make the centerpiece of his presidency mobilizing a million new start-up companies that won’t just give us temporary highway jobs, but lasting good jobs that keep America on the cutting edge. The best way to counter the Tea Party movement, which is all about stopping things, is with an Innovation Movement, which is all about starting things.”


“Obama should bring together the country’s leading innovators and ask them: ‘What legislation, what tax incentives, do we need right now to replicate you all a million times over’ — and make that his No. 1 priority.”

I think this is an excellent approach. And if nothing else, it’ll be fun to watch the Republicans try to paint this with their usual “Socialism!” “Government Takeover!” drivel.

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Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

He has to do BOTH, like FDR and Harry Truman did. I'm afraid Friedman's wrong about this one; FDR was a success in large part because he combined charm with fairly fierce populism.

January 25, 2010 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JR: True, this isn't an either-or thing; he needs to do both. I like Friedman's idea of Obama getting advice from the country's top entrepreneurs and innovators. But I also have no problem with him rallying the public against Wall Street parasites; I assume that's what he'll be doing in his SOTU speech.

January 25, 2010 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

Populism can be a rocky road, but when it comes to sorting the banking industry it must be plain sailing. If any conglomerate needs a good sorting it's those wankers. The STOU will be very interesting and I bet he is rewriting it every day.

January 25, 2010 at 7:44 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Friedman: "And, at the same time, that grass-roots movement (that helped elect Obama) went dormant on its own, apparently thinking that just getting the first African-American elected as president was the moon shot of this generation, and nothing more was necessary."

No, for several months the grass-roots movement got out of the man's way so he could do his job his way. Then, around July and August, it started becoming clear to more and more grass-roots supporters that Obama's way wasn't looking at all like change they were led to expect and could believe in. Plus, they saw the job wasn't getting done. Since then, grass-roots people have been plenty involved, trying to warn Obama that he's blowing it.

BTW, it wasn't the Harry and Nancy show. It was the Big Pharma, health insurers, Max Baucus, Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman show.

"We need to make 2010 what Obama should have made 2009: the year of innovation, the year of making our pie bigger, the year of ‘Start-Up America’"

I'm at a point where Friedman gives me a pain where a pill can't reach. People in a never-ending state of being too full of themselves affect me that way.

Maybe when you're a globetrotting cheerleader for one-flat-world nonsense, gushing promoter of China, nonstop pitchman for your latest book and fabulously well paid Times columnist, little things like an economy deep in a ditch, banks not lending and unemployment at 10 percent escape your steel-trap mind.

Making our pie bigger and letting 10,000 startup blossoms bloom requires what's bolloxed up to be unbolloxed first. Duh.

Friedman is a like the family jerk telling someone with a broken back to put mind over matter, get up out of that bed and let's go jogging — good for what ails ya!

Yeah, right.

BTW, lest my remarks be all negative, I agree with JR's comment, and like you, Tom, have no problem with Obama getting input from go-getters. He by all means needs to impose gonzo re-regulation and oversight on Wall Street.

January 25, 2010 at 9:30 PM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

I think The Moustache's brain is flat.

No one likes bankers except other bankers. This is a populist no-brainer.

January 26, 2010 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Suzan said...

He's called Captain Obvious in many circles, you know. (See Driftglass for insights.)

And you must have forgotten their comments on "welfare queens." And how Clinton finished the job Reagan started on the safety net.

Please, Tom!

Let's not tout the frauds.


neither of them ever indulged in personal attacks or name-calling.

January 26, 2010 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Holte: I like some of the ideas in Friedman's column, but I also like populist anger toward Wall Street. This is a PR war the Democrats almost can't lose. Almost.

SW: I have to agree with you about Friedman's annoying traits, of which there are plenty. He'd probably tell somebody with a raging toothache "aw, come on, chomp down on that slab of steak; it'll do you good."

I do like his idea of Obama getting together with the country's leading entrepreneurs and innovators. It would be productive, and it would be a lot harder for Republicans to tar this with "socialism" and "big government." They'll find a way, of course.

Randal, Suzan: OK, the votes are in. Populism it is.

January 26, 2010 at 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is this Idiot?

I can't remember a president who has tried to go more to the people in recent times then this one. More town halls, more speeches, media addresses and an interactive web site.

He never stopped his momentum but unfortunately I fear many American People are in a "what have you done for me lately?" mode.

Jimmy Carter showed you can't ask the American People to sacrifice like FDR did - even when it came to terrorism it was 'sit tight, spend money and let the Government take care of it"

Besides Obama is trying to push Green technology which is quite possibly the last nationwide technology this nation can utilize that wasn't given away (like video and fuzzy logic), acquired by foreign investors, or outsourced.

The Conservatives would love us all to be mired in Finance and old energy again.


January 26, 2010 at 10:21 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I guess Thomas Friedman isn't too popular. I admit he oversimplifies things and sounds too much like a cloying cheerleader. But he has a much more global/international perspective than most columnists.

My biggest complaint about Obama is that he needs to be a stronger leader. He gives great speeches, and he does more public outreach than any previous president. But his leadership style is too hands-off. It was worth a try but it didn't work. He comes across like a substitute teacher, standing there helplessly while the whole class is running around and yelling and throwing spitballs.

January 27, 2010 at 12:03 PM  

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