Anyone who says it doesn’t matter whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton wins this election needs their head examined. The damage that Trump could do to our nation with his blend of intellectual laziness, towering policy ignorance and reckless impulsiveness is in a league of its own.But it's "both sides do it" time after that:
... What interests me most right now, though, is a different question. It’s not, “Who are they -- our politicians?” It’s, “Who are we -- the voters?”Can you gives us some examples, Tom?
To be specific: Are we all just Shiites and Sunnis now?
More and more of our politics resembles the core sectarian conflict in the Middle East between these two branches of Islam, and that is not good. Because whether you’re talking about Shiites and Sunnis -- or Iranians and Saudis, Israelis and Palestinians, Turks and Kurds -- a simple binary rule dominates their politics: “I am strong, why should I compromise? I am weak, how can I compromise?”
Politico last week reported that while some G.O.P. officials may vote for Hillary, they are already sketching plans “to stymie a President Hillary Clinton agenda.” Liberals are already warning Clinton not to bring Republicans into her cabinet or explore meeting them halfway. Have a nice day.Friedman knows that those two aren't parallel, doesn't he? In the case of the Republicans, people with actual government power are devising ways to keep a newly elected president from governing. (I thought we were supposed to be talking about voters, not politicians, but never mind.) In the case of the Democrats, it's just (unnamed) people complaining.
That kind of sectarian/tribal thinking, now reinforced by left-right social media enforcers, gerrymandering and giant campaign funders, gives you the sorry spectacle of House Speaker Paul Ryan saying, without embarrassment, that Trump’s pronouncements are a “textbook” example of racism, but he’s supporting Trump anyway.Actually, it's not obvious that foundation donors got special treatment -- but even if it were, Friedman said that Trump is so obviously unqualified to be president that a Clinton vote is a necessity in November. So why shouldn't her defenders stick up for her?
And it gives you the sorry spectacle of Clinton surrogates turning themselves into pretzels to defend her, even though it’s obvious that she embraced a pattern of major donors to the Clinton Foundation being given preferential access to her as secretary of state.
... right now, everything suggests that the next four years will be just like the last eight: a gridlocked, toxic, Sunni-Shiite, Democrat-Republican civil war, with little search for common ground. That’s how you ruin, not run, a great country.Hillary Clinton is already reaching out to Republicans -- she's doing it more than any Democratic presidential candidate in my adult lifetime, and she's doing so knowing it distresses a lot of many Democrats and progressives. She's boasting of support from dozens of former Republican officials. She's campaigning with Meg Whitman.
How will we improve Obamacare? How will we invest in infrastructure? How will we recreate the compromise on immigration that a few brave Republican and Democratic legislators tried in 2013? How will we get corporate tax reform, a carbon tax and some fiscal policy that we so desperately need to propel the economy and control the deficit?
There is no doubt that Republicans during the Obama presidency pioneered and perfected this scorched-earth politics and have now paid a price for it. They let themselves be led around by a group of no-compromise talk-radio gasbags, think-tank ideologues in the pay of one industry or another, Fox News know-nothings and an alt-right fringe, who, together, so poisoned the G.O.P. garden that an invasive species, Donald Trump, just took it over.
That is all the more reason for Clinton to reach out, at the right time, and see if any of them have learned their lesson. There is no way she’ll get anything big done otherwise. We have to break this fever.
She'll do a lot of outreach as president, too. And she'll have doors slammed in her face.
Republican intransigence isn't the reason Clinton should reach out -- it's the reason she's crazy to reach out. But I understand why she thinks the fever might break eventually. In a healthy country, it would. Compromise would be possible. And every mainstream voice says it will, any day now. So she tries. I accept that.
But she doesn't even get credit for trying. Friedman knows the blame isn't shared equally -- he says so -- and yet writing a column with "balance" is so easy he can't help himself.
I know most of you think Friedman is the worst. Sometimes, though, he isn't. And then he regains focus, and he goes back to being the worst again.
UPDATE: Yestreblyansky's version of the Friedman is much funnier.