Tom Friedman thinks that George W. Bush should have responded to 9/11 by imposing a $1 tax on gasoline at the pump, and the idea of regressive taxes as a tool of environmental policy would obviously appeal to a tool for globalization like Tom, oscillating between his 11,400 square-foot cottage in Bethesda and after-dinner speeches @ $50,000 for his corporate clientele.
Now Friedman has identified the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill as "Obama’s 9/11," and likewise re-evaluated the rest of recent American history into a never-ending demonstration of…
The genius of Tom Friedman!
President Bush’s greatest failure was not Iraq, Afghanistan or Katrina. It was his failure of imagination after 9/11 to mobilize the country to get behind a really big initiative for nation-building in America.
I suggested a $1-a-gallon “Patriot Tax” on gasoline that could have simultaneously reduced our deficit, funded basic science research, diminished our dependence on oil imported from the very countries whose citizens carried out 9/11, strengthened the dollar, stimulated energy efficiency and renewable power and slowed climate change.
Ethnic cleansing in New Orleans and genocide in Iraq could have been mere footnotes to the brilliant Bush/Friedman gas tax, which would have simultaneously solved almost every problem in America and the world today!
And all for one regressive tax, which millionaire shills for globalization like Tom Friedman wouldn’t even notice at the pump.
And of course down-playing the invasion of Iraq simultaneously protects Tom Friedman’s reputation as an economic and foreign-policy prophet, because…
If the invasion and occupation of Iraq are recognized as crimes against humanity and in general catastrophic blunders, then cheerleaders for war like Tom Friedman might look like idiots, instead of geniuses.
This war is so unprecedented that it has always been a gut call — and my gut has told me four things. First, this is a war of choice. Saddam Hussein poses no direct threat to us today. But confronting him is a legitimate choice — much more legitimate than knee-jerk liberals and pacifists think. Removing Saddam — with his obsession to obtain weapons of mass destruction — ending his tyranny and helping to nurture a more progressive Iraq that could spur reform across the Arab-Muslim world are the best long-term responses to bin Ladenism.
What a fucking idiot!
And now the self-proclaimed economic and foreign policy genius Tom Friedman is bashing Barack Obama, and for what?
Sadly, President Obama seems intent on squandering his environmental 9/11 with a Bush-level failure of imagination.
Squandering his environmental 9/11?
But let’s resist the temptation to lose ourselves in admiration of Tom Friedman’s triple-Pulitzer-Prize-winning rhetorical glory, and remember that…
Barack Obama had already squandered the possibility of using Deepwater Horizon as a "teaching moment" by rolling out his vast expansion of offshore drilling only three weeks before Deepwater Horizon exploded.
"Don’t use drugs," says the teacher, with a needle in his arm!
So what could Obama do now, if he kicked out all his Friedman-lovin’ "centrist" advisors, and devoted the rest of administration to helping ordinary American citizens and protecting the environment?
I personally favor most of the same programs as Dennis Kucinich and Raul Grijalva, which are typical of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but virtually none of those policies is even on the table, and what do we get instead, if we’re lucky?
Nothing but a feeble and indirect version of Tom Friedman’s gas tax, which would add less than $0.25 to the price of a gallon of gas, and won’t that scare all those gas-guzzlers right off the road?
So what’s the point of this apparently aimless little odyssey around the regressive center of American politics?
Figure it out for yourself!
But one possible point is that Obama is now getting bashed from the left, right, and center of the triangular firing squad of American politics, except for his mindless TV cult of personality, and the most significant difference between progressive Obama-bashing and all the rest of it is that progressives aren’t promoting anti-government know-nothingism or out-of-control corporate predation.