Thomas Friedman Says GOP Looking for Someone as 'Smart and Mellifluous' as Obama

Appearing on Sunday’s Meet the Press, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman brought his usual lecturer’s arrogance and said he was really worried about President Obama’s chances at re-election: “I really, really worry about him.” The answer, of course, is more “stimulus” and increased spending on overpriced college tuitions: “I really hope he gives us a big choice.”

Friedman also said the Republicans are looking for someone who can be as smart and “mellifluous” as Obama: “And I think Newt's rise is speaking to us. And what it says to me is, is that I think there's a lot of Republicans who are starved for a candidate for their party who would be able to debate Obama head-to-head, they think is as smart and mellifluous as the president.

Friedman thinks the secret to unlocking the economy is always more spending, which will make the Dow Jones index skyrocket:

FRIEDMAN: But the other point I want to make, just to wrap up and react to my colleagues here, is that, as, as bad as things are, what's really sad is that with just a few big political decisions, we could be on a whole different track, okay? If, you know, President Obama and the Republican leadership could agree, to me, on just two things – one is a small stimulus bill focused on getting more young people through vocational school and, and four years or two years of college education, an infrastructure for our cities, and then for me Simpson-Bowles, a long-term fiscal plan to resolve our problem – I think you'd see the stock market go up 1,000 points, you'd unlock enormous amount of investment here. Companies would hire again. I think the country today it not only is economically down, but it's emotionally depressed. We feel like we're children of permanently divorcing parents; and, in this environment, a lot of people just are holding back.

“Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked “are we as a country going to have to react to chaos, or are we going to react strategically to threats and opportunities posed by China?”Friedman found Obama too successful at Bush’s foreign policy:

FRIEDMAN: And it's ironic, I think, what--again, if you're writing the book today, you'd say, "How interesting. Barack Obama has been much better at fulfilling George Bush's national security policy than his own foreign policy." Now, why do I say that? I think he's, he's really finished the war in Iraq, and he's prosecuted the war against--on terrorism I think really smartly and effectively. But these other issues that, that Marc has raised--how do we deal with China? How do we manage Asia? How do we deal with rising, you know, powers from India to Brazil--those all depend on domestic strength. You can lecture China all you want, but if you don't have a savings rate and they're sitting on $3 trillion of your money, you can lecture the Middle East all you want, but if you're addicted to oil. See, all of these things now that are--we consider foreign policy in how we manage the world, what they really depend on is totally different domestic politics, and, and we're not there yet as a country. Certainly not Obama's fault, you know, entirely.

That last utterance was Friedman realizing he was a little too anti-Obama as he ran down the currently compromised standing of the United States. Gregory and Friedman also worried about ObamaCare and how he can convince the American public it should not be repealed:

GREGORY: But is the president going to communicate this, Tom, as his story, that he was able to bring greater, you know, financial security through delivering health care acts as to so many Americans, no longer will preconditions be an issue to forcing denial of coverage? Can he tell that story in the course of the campaign?

FRIEDMAN: I don't know if he can tell that story anymore. I mean, I, I, I really, really worry about him. I'm sure he will tell a story and there'll be lots of parts to it. But does he have a narrative about where we are today in the world, connecting it up in what we want and need, speaking frankly to people and honestly? I go back to where we started this conversation. We're in a different time. The advantages America had coming out of World War II, a world of walls, we stood astride the world, and we kind of got through a long period by having--creating a housing bubble. Those days are over. You want the American dream now, David, it takes homework times two. I wish it wasn't that way but it is. And we ought to start the conversation there.

MARK MORIAL, former Mayor of New Orleans: But I think the, the important thing about an election is an election is about a choice. So it's not just going to be President Obama, it's going to be President Obama and a countervailing vision, a countervailing set of ideas, a countervailing set of proposals.

FRIEDMAN: I hope he gives us a big choice. I really hope he gives us a big choice.

Friedman suggested to Obama “Surprise us....Wake up one morning, pick up the paper and say, ‘Wow. Barack Obama, he just took such a political risk. You know, if he took that risk, I'd like to take a risk, too, and get behind him.’”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis