You know what they say about a stopped clock being right twice a day? Tom Friedman, the New York Times‘s second most predictably dismal columnist, had one such moment in yesterday’s column.
You knew something was up from the lede, which began with “I was talking the other day to. . .” Already you’re groaning: will it be a taxi driver, a celebrity intellectual, or the Swiss store clerk with pink hair again? But no: he was speaking with “a wise executive friend.” He didn’t say who, but since this person is “wise,” we can rule out the management of the New York Times.
Anyway. The main point of the article was a list of four issues where, Friedman says, “Trump has a point.” I assume Friedman is safely sequestered in Martha’s Vineyard this week and beyond the reach of pitchfork-wielding Times readers. (Actually, since most Times readers wouldn’t know which end of a pitchfork to pick up, just what do angry Times readers brandish? An old Smyth & Hawken trowel perhaps?)
What issues? Here’s my list:
• We can’t take in every immigrant who wants to come here; we need, metaphorically speaking, a high wall that assures Americans we can control our border with a big gate that lets as many people in legally as we can effectively absorb as citizens.
• The Muslim world does have a problem with pluralism — gender pluralism, religious pluralism and intellectual pluralism — and suggesting that terrorism has nothing to do with that fact is naïve; countering violent extremism means constructively engaging with Muslim leaders on this issue.
• Americans want a president focused on growing the economic pie, not just redistributing it. We do have a trade problem with China, which has reformed and closed instead of reformed and opened. We have an even bigger problem with automation wiping out middle-skilled work and we need to generate more blue-collar jobs to anchor communities.
• Political correctness on college campuses has run ridiculously riot. Americans want leaders to be comfortable expressing patriotism and love of country when globalization is erasing national identities. America is not perfect, but it is, more often than not, a force for good in the world.
Friedman goes on to suggest that Democrats need to acknowledge these four points. Good luck with that, Tom.
Good thing Friedman doesn’t work at Google.
JOHN adds: So, Tom Friedman is on board with pretty much President Trump’s entire agenda. That’s good to know. I’ve sometimes wondered what it would take to get fired as a New York Times columnist. Sloth and incompetence obviously aren’t enough. Maybe we have finally come across something that will be a firing offense–endorsement of the Trump agenda. It will be interesting to see whether Friedman still has a column next week.