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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-03-10 04:26 PM
Original message
Friedman's third party mess
Edited on Sun Oct-03-10 04:26 PM by ProSense
FRIEDMAN'S THIRD-PARTY MESS....

Thomas Friedman joins a long list of centrist media figures to call for a third party to offer a sensible alternative to Democrats and Republicans. To put it charitably, the column is wildly unpersuasive.

The general pitch is common, but lazy -- the parties are beholden to special interests, and refuse to tell Americans what we need to hear. To turn the country around, honest independents will swoop in and save us from ourselves and shake up the "stagnating two-party duopoly that has been presiding over our nation's steady incremental decline."

I didn't care for this column the first hundred times it's been published over the years, and it's not improving with age. Indeed, the more one thinks about the details of Friedman's case, the weaker it appears.

He argues, for example, that President Obama has delivered on some real accomplishments in less than two years -- health care reform, Wall Street reform, stabilizing the economy, launching education reform, successes on counter-terrorism -- but the system has prevented broader and better gains.

Obama probably did the best he could do, and that's the point. The best our current two parties can produce today -- in the wake of the worst existential crisis in our economy and environment in a century -- is suboptimal, even when one party had a huge majority. Suboptimal is O.K. for ordinary times, but these are not ordinary times. We need to stop waiting for Superman and start building a superconsensus to do the superhard stuff we must do now. Pretty good is not even close to good enough today.

And what would be better than "pretty good"? A more ambitious health care policy that conservatives blocked; a more ambitious stimulus that conservatives opposed; a comprehensive energy/climate package that conservatives killed; more crack downs on Wall Street that conservatives have vowed to fight; and an education reform agenda that the president has already launched.

In other words, Friedman has effectively endorsed the entirety of President Obama's agenda, most of which has passed, can't pass, or has to be severely watered down because of unprecedented Senate obstructionism. But instead of calling for reforming the legislative process, or calling on Republicans to start playing a constructive role in policymaking, or calling on voters to elect more candidates who agree with the agenda the columnist espouses, Friedman says what we really need is an amorphous third party that will think the way he does.

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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-03-10 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
1. I'm supposed to listen to Friedman about special interests?
Edited on Sun Oct-03-10 04:33 PM by Radical Activist
Oh, that's a good one! Maybe next week he'll go back to telling us why we should continue the march to a corporate world government organized by the WTO and World Bank. I suspect that one special interest he doesn't want influencing a third party is unions.

I wrote some time ago that if there were a primary challenge to Obama that it would be from his right. That could still happen or it could be a conservative Democratic running on a third party ticket. Either way, the challenge to Obama won't be from his left.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-03-10 06:10 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Like Lieberman? Bayh? Blanche Lincoln? Baucus?
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-03-10 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Yes.
Someone like that. Or someone not in office who has no record to be judged on.
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tularetom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-03-10 04:47 PM
Response to Original message
2. Never trust anyone named Friedman
Thomas, Milton or Kinky.
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Ninga Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-03-10 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Do they all wear black hats too?
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asjr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-03-10 04:54 PM
Response to Original message
3. Why have a third party. There is only
one party working for the country now (Democrats.) Do we want another to just sit there and say NO?
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Kdillard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-03-10 06:28 PM
Response to Original message
6. If a viable third party has not happened by now I doubt one ever willl
in the future. The problem seems to be their platforms and the lack of discipline, financial support and organization to build an organization that can compete with the two major parties.
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