THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Useful idiot or fellow traveler? You decide.

I quote from his Op-Ed in the NYT yesterday:

Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today. [Well, we tried to warn you, but you won’t listen.]

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened [The infanticide programs, Tibet, internet censorship, incarceration for political opinion and coddling of North Korea aside.] group of people, as China is today, [If China is led by such paragons, what’s Obama and his crowd, then, unenlightened? Is that possible for a Harvard graduate?] it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult [as may Democrats, if they absorb the courage of their lobbyists] but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century. It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power. [It is also not an accident that all those examples involve electricity, that China is building a coal fired power plant every 2 weeks or that we’re not building any nuclear plants at all.] China’s leaders understand that in a world of exploding populations and rising emerging-market middle classes, demand for clean power and energy efficiency is going to soar. Beijing wants to make sure that it owns that industry [So why, again, did we finance nationalizing our auto industry and defunct banks by selling T-bills to China?] and is ordering the policies to do that, including boosting gasoline prices, from the top down. [Good, let them lower their demand.]

Our one-party democracy is worse. [I did not make that last sentence up.] The fact is, on both the energy/climate legislation and health care legislation, only the Democrats are really playing. With a few notable exceptions, the Republican Party is standing, arms folded and saying “no.” [Thank you.] Many of them just want President Obama to fail. [Another way to say this is that we don’t want him to succeed in the way of a Chinese totalitarian oligarchy.] Such a waste. Mr. Obama is not a socialist; he’s a centrist. [The President would be a centrist in China, it’s true.] But if he’s forced to depend entirely on his own party to pass legislation, he will be whipsawed by its different factions. [Obama’s own party is not even as cohesive as China’s totalitariat, and America is poorer for it, go figure.]

Not since Walter Duranty fawned over Josef Stalin, ignoring the show trails and denying the Soviet government created famine in the Ukraine where 20 million were deliberately starved to death, have we seen such disingenuous praise of totalitarianism on the pages of the Gray Lady. Aside from Hugo Chavez, of course, but he’s a piker.

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