Memo to Tom Friedman: You're a dolt.
New Yorker essayist Hendrik Hertzberg is pig-biting mad over a recent, classic Friedman missing-the-boat column in the NYT. Friedman argues that Obama and the G.O.P. leadership are equally to blame for the gridlock on resolving the debt crisis. Neither will compromise.
If I found Tom Friedman at the bottom of my Cracker Jack box I'd take it back for a refund.
Hertzberg reminds us that:
Obama has proved over and over, as in the debt-limit horror show, that he is willing - all too willing - to compromise. The Republicans have proved that they are not. They are re-proving it at the moment by again threating a government shutdown, this time by holding disaster relief hostage.
So we're clear on the one thing the G.O.P. cabal cares about:
All of them are aware that if the economy improves Obama will do better in next year's election...As they showed during the debt-limit 'crisis' they created, they see a nice upside to economic disaster.
Hertzberg skewers Friedman's attempt at even-handedness, the faux consensualism among the D.C. elite that has for decades made me retch:
One the one hand, the Republicans are lunatics dedicated above all to destroying the Obama Presidency. On the other hand, Obama didn't endorse all the provisions of the Simpson-Bowles report [on deficit reduction]. See? They're equally bad...
[But] they're not equally bad and equally god - not remotely. One side rationally understands (and fears) the consequences of inaction and is demonstrably willing to compromise. The other side irrationally dismisses (and might even welcome) those consequences and is demonstratively unwilling to compromise.
Hertzberg says to forget about a "Grand Compromise," that Obama's real choice is between a Grand Surrender and a Grand Fight. I know which of those two I want him to choose."
Judging from Obama's too-infrequent take-no-prisoners tone in addressing Congress earlier this month, we know he has it in him to take up the "Grand Fight." But I'm not getting my hopes up about a latter-day Harry Truman in 1948 securing an unlikely election victory by beating up on a "do-nothing Congress." Obama's just too cerebral for that. I dearly hope he proves me wrong.