The Inner Tom Friedman

Cliff Thier
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is one of the regular pundits who appear Sunday morning on Meet The Press. Host David Gregory asked a fairly practical politics question and Friedman responds with a discursive look into the inner Thomas Friedman instead:

MR. FRIEDMAN:  Well, David, it's been decimated.  It's been decimated by everything from the gerrymandering of political districts to cable television to an Internet where I can create a digital lynch mob against you from the left or right if I don't like where you're going, to the fact that money and politics is so out of control--really our Congress is a forum for legalized bribery.  You know, that's really what, what it's come down to.  So I don't--I, I--I'm worried about this, it's why I have fantasized--don't get me wrong--but that what if we could just be China for a day?  I mean, just, just, just one day.  You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment.  I don't want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness.  But right now we have a system that can only produce suboptimal solutions.

At times in my life I've fantasized about looking like and having the speaking voice of Laurence Olivier, the ability to write songs like Bob Dylan, play guitar like David Bromberg and center field like Mickey Mantle. To have the chess mastery of Bobby Fischer. To be tough like Bogart's Spade. To be cool like Connery's Bond. To be able to think like Einstein. Or to have the strength of will of Winston Churchill.

To have a small fraction of the bravery of an assortment of men and women.

Yet for all the innocent, adolescent reveries along the way in my life, unlike Thomas Friedman, I have never, ever, not even once fantasized about being a dictator for a day. I never yearned to have absolute power over other people. To tell millions of people how to run their lives. What they can have. What is prohibited to them. What they cannot do. What they must do.

I've never wanted to be the Politburo or the Fuhrer. Even for a day.

What's wrong with me?
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is one of the regular pundits who appear Sunday morning on Meet The Press. Host David Gregory asked a fairly practical politics question and Friedman responds with a discursive look into the inner Thomas Friedman instead:

MR. FRIEDMAN:  Well, David, it's been decimated.  It's been decimated by everything from the gerrymandering of political districts to cable television to an Internet where I can create a digital lynch mob against you from the left or right if I don't like where you're going, to the fact that money and politics is so out of control--really our Congress is a forum for legalized bribery.  You know, that's really what, what it's come down to.  So I don't--I, I--I'm worried about this, it's why I have fantasized--don't get me wrong--but that what if we could just be China for a day?  I mean, just, just, just one day.  You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment.  I don't want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness.  But right now we have a system that can only produce suboptimal solutions.

At times in my life I've fantasized about looking like and having the speaking voice of Laurence Olivier, the ability to write songs like Bob Dylan, play guitar like David Bromberg and center field like Mickey Mantle. To have the chess mastery of Bobby Fischer. To be tough like Bogart's Spade. To be cool like Connery's Bond. To be able to think like Einstein. Or to have the strength of will of Winston Churchill.

To have a small fraction of the bravery of an assortment of men and women.

Yet for all the innocent, adolescent reveries along the way in my life, unlike Thomas Friedman, I have never, ever, not even once fantasized about being a dictator for a day. I never yearned to have absolute power over other people. To tell millions of people how to run their lives. What they can have. What is prohibited to them. What they cannot do. What they must do.

I've never wanted to be the Politburo or the Fuhrer. Even for a day.

What's wrong with me?