I can’t agree with my conservative cousin from New York when he compares Thomas Friedman unfavorably to Paul Krugman. But my cousin’s critique of Friedman’s latest piece is otherwise on the money:
With his column in today’s New York Times Tom Friedman has surpassed his colleague Paul Krugman in their race to the bottom. Freedman posits that Bush used 9/11 to drive a “radically uncompassionate conservative agenda – on taxes, stem cells, the environment and foreign treaties – that was going nowhere before 9/11”. To accept this thesis you would have to believe the American public that has reelected Bush and given the GOP increasingly large Congressional majorities really supports the liberal agenda. The public in Friedman’s view must be pining for higher taxes, protectionism, national health insurance, rationing, and environmental regulations that cripple industry. Absent 9/11, liberals would rule, and be adopting all those liberal measures advocated by The New York Times editorial board.
But Freedman is optimistic that the reign of conservatives is coming to an end. In his view the failures of the Bush administration to properly manage the New Orleans catastrophe will illuminate the benighted voters as to the true nature of the Bush administration.
Unfortunately, Friedman’s thesis has no basis in fact. There well maybe inadequacies in the response of FEMA. But the main responsibility lies with state and local officials. The City of New Orleans has experienced four Category 4 hurricanes since 1899. It’s obvious that local and state officials should have placed their evacuation plans in motion days before the storm reached them. The school buses submerged in the flood, the 500 unaccounted New Orleans police officers and the lack of security at the Superdome are symbols of their failure to help residents without cars trapped in New Orleans.
Sorry, Tom. The American public will not be clamoring for a return to the halcyon days of Jimmy Carter or for a Hillary care system of health insurance because New Orleans failed to plan adequately for a severe hurricane.
Market forces will provide better solutions for our energy needs than government rationing. A rise in gas prices will spur development of alternative energy sources. For example, if Mr. Freidman had read his own paper’s business section today he would have learned how Toyota is expanding its efforts to develop hybrid cars.
Friedman joins a long line of liberal progressive thinkers who are oblivious to the ways market-driven technological change transforms our economy. The Progressive movement of the early 20th century devoted much time and energy towards developing ways to curb the supposed monopoly railroads had on our transportation system at the very time that competition from long distance trucking emerged. Environmentalists in the 1920’s worried that there would be a coal shortage and people in the tenements of New York City would freeze. This at the very time that technologies were being developed to heat buildings using oil and gas.
I may have digressed, but I had to get a lot off my chest after hearing a week of nonstop liberal drivel about this human catastrophe from the MSM.
ROCKET adds: I didn’t read Friedman’s column–I dissected Krugman’s offering this week, and duty only demands so much–but if Friedman really writes that President Bush’s “conservative agenda on taxes” was going nowhere before September 11, he’s wrong. The Bush tax cuts were signed into law in June 2001, three months before the terrorist attacks.