Oct
17
2012

Judging Candidates on Their Resemblance to Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman

Friedman: Which candidate is willing to proclaim my wisdom more boldly? (photo: Charles Haynes)

The day after the second Obama/Romney debate, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (10/17/12) offered a sort of scorecard for the debate–for the benefit of those watching on DVR, presumably. "I thought the most useful thing I could do is to offer the scoring system I’ll be using to determine who did best," Friedman wrote, adding generously,  "You can fill in your own scores."

Friedman stressed that his "system is not based on zingers or extra points for energizing the base, but rather on what I believe many Americans really want from the next president." First  point: "an honest diagnosis of where we are and how we get out of this mess"–something, he notes "neither candidate has been willing" to give us.

There follows 500 words of boilerplate Friedman: "The merger of globalization and information technology has transformed how goods and services are bought and sold," etc., etc. So which candidate sounds more like a Thomas Friedman column? That candidate wins round one.

Next, Friedman is looking for "a plan that rises to the true scale of that challenge"–"job-creating infrastructure investments tied with a program to stimulate more start-ups," and so forth. Does either candidate sound like he will actually use a collection of Thomas Friedman columns as a blueprint for governing?

Friedman offers a caveat: "Yes, I know, Obama has many such initiatives, but he has not made them the centerpiece of his campaign." Emphasis in the original, reflecting the importance of not only governing according to Friedman's principles but doing so proudly and openly.

If neither candidate does so, Friedman warns, one of the candidates will still win, "but the country will lose by a mile." He's being overly pessimistic: The voters could always cast a write-in vote for Thomas Friedman.

P.S. Sounds like Dean Baker won't be voting for Friedman this year.

 

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.