September 25, 2005

One Friedmanism too many.

"The tectonic plates of politics in this country have all shifted," said Thomas Friedman on "Meet the Press" today, causing me to impulsively flick off the TV. He'd just gotten done saying "[9/11] put the wind at [the President's] back. And Katrina brought that to an end. It put the wind in his face." I wish I could come up with an Earth Science metaphor for my reaction.


AJ Lynch said...

Friedman should stop viewing things thru left/ right prism and refrain from always predicting the Big One is around the corner.

Brooks had the right assessment. The Katrina debacle is not left nor right... he believes it will affect both parties as Americans want competence, efficiancy and effectiveness.

Brando said...

Well, I believe 9/11 truly distorted our politics, Tim, and it gave the president and his advisers an opening to take a far hard right agenda, I believe, on taxes and other social issues, from 9/10, that was not going anywhere from 9/10, and drove it into a 9/12 world. It put the wind at his back. And Katrina brought that to an end. It put the wind in his face. And I believe that unless the president steps back now and does what I would call his own version of Nixon to China, that is, a fundamental recasting of his position and his administration, I think this is not going anywhere.

I think Friedman's assessment is pretty accurate here. 9/11 made a basically lame president appear strong; Katrina reminded us of the reality, which is that we have a lame president.

Ann, you are against metaphors? Or what?

Sloanasaurus said...

Friedman is off base. 9/11 exposed the weakness of democrats on defense and revealed to the media why people voted for George W Bush in 2000 and again in 2004. 9/11 exposed the appeasment dominated foreign policy in the Clinton Administration, which was pushed by communist apologists such as Jimmy Carter, Albright and John Kerry. Fortunately, we discovered the that the attempted appeasement of North Korea failed before they were able to sell their bombs to those who committed 9/11. Lucky for Clinton, Carter, and Kerry.

In contrast, Katrina exposed the failure of liberal policies in the inner city, where the poor have given up their choices to liberal elites and are dependent on their liberal masters to provide them with subsistance and to make choices for them (all of them bad such as forcing them to attend crappy schools, adopt multi culturalism, and to remain psychological victims of history).

Ann Althouse said...

Brando: A metaphor is an ice cream sundae.

Meade said...

Brando, maybe she just can't stand to idly watch the cruel torture of innocent metaphors.

I wish I could come up with an Earth Science metaphor for my reaction.

How about something like gravity or centrifugal balance?

Earth Science metaphors for Friedman's brain: continental mental drift, subducted crust, or just plain old ordinary everyday entropy.

(completely off topic heads-up for Ann and others: Prepare to have your socks knocked off by 'No Direction Home.' Scorsese simply has made a masterpiece.)

Steve Donohue said...

What hard-right domestic agenda is this exactly? 50% funding increases in public education? The further expansion of big government?

Believe it or not, there's many, many right-wing nighjobs like myself that have been thoroughly disappointed in the domestic agenda of this president.

But like Ann has said before, a president's primary responsibility is foreign policy, and in one respect, Friedman is right. It took a 9/11 to recognize just how churlish the Clinton foreign policy had been.

amba said...

For want of an Earth Science metaphor, you could try a peristaltic one.

XWL said...

Let me at him, Let me at him;

"Like a sudden expulsion of toxic, noxious subterranean gases, Friedman spewed yet another tired and tortured metaphor that laid waste to reason like it was so many small woodland animals caught in the on rush of a deadly vaporous cloud"

Yep, that ought to just about do it.
(or maybe I should have made that prose a shade more purple, to match Friedman)

Horrible thought, now that they are behind the TimesSelect subscription wall the Times Op-Eders might feel compelled to make as many Sunday show appearances as humanly possible (in Biden like proportions, the mind shudders)

Bob said...

Mr. Friedman wishes us to be aware of geology because that helps is current literary effort, but it's the wrong metaphor for the current disaster. Save 'tectonic plates' for when things get all giggly. Instead, focus on metaphors that are wet and windy.

Steven Taylor said...

But Ann, didn't it just make you happy to know that you have access to NYT Select?a

Meade said...

Following AA's link leads to some fairly sensible thoughts by David Brooks.

Ann Althouse said...

Steven: A big part of why I read the NYT is to blog about it. If I can't link, what's the point? I guess I can break out quotes. I suppose I'll do that if they say something extra stupid. Otherwise, why bother with them?

PatCA said...

I watched for a while, amazed at the vacuity of one entire show devoted to three elite reporters clambering over each other to drop the memorable bon mot of the day.

I guess Rita let them down.

Jim C. said...

Go with a medical metaphor: the steel plate in Friedman's skull has shifted.

Hannah said...

Both Brooks and Friedman have good points. Per Friedman, the far right has shifted a little leftward in that some seem to realize that their small government ideal is exposed as completely untenable in the real world. They have been spending like mad and still don't protect all Americans from natural disaster. Per Brooks, now that conservatives finally see that government must be used as a mechanism to provide some basics for all Americans, they would like our leaders to use authority competently. Fancy that.

I agree that Friedman's language reveals a little too blatantly how pleased he is with himself. At least it wasn't "plug 'n play" that we had to endure on his "The World is Flat" book tour.

SippicanCottage said...

Riffle riffle riffle.

I'm filing that under "wishful thinking."

Wow, that filing cabinet is full already.

I liked Maureen Dowd's comments better: Bush should throw himself and his family in a hole and pull the dirt in after him, after he apologizes to the universe for his very molecules.

Riffle riffle riffle. Geez, the seventeen filing cabinets for "infantile unreasoning hate accompanied by a total lack of insight" are filled too.

I'll be at Staples, if you need me.

Bob Mitze said...

Let's see. If we combine amba's peristaltic with bob's wet and windy, perhaps we should shift from earth sciences to just plain earthy and say that the wind in Bush's face came out of Friedman's a..

Beldar said...

If you turned off Meet the Press, you missed the end bit in which Friedman explained that because we didn't enact a $1/gallon gasoline surtax immediately after 9/11, we've "financed both sides" in the Global War on Terror.

(Our regressive tax policy and blind faith in market economics having caused those planes to hit the World Trade Center towers, y'know. I guess.)

Russert, MoDo, and Brooks just nodded.

AJ Lynch said...

"If you turned off Meet the Press, you missed the end bit in which Friedman explained that because we didn't enact a $1/gallon gasoline surtax immediately after 9/11, we've "financed both sides" in the Global War on Terror."

Beldar- I saw the whole show too and this Freidman snippet made no sense mathmatically nor economically.