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Obama in Control

March 15, 2010

Tom Friedman is still trying to convince us that the Chinese are to be envied:

TOM BROKAW:  Tom, are we at a kind of turning point in America in terms of being able to make this a functioning country again, or are we dysfunctional?

TOM FRIEDMAN: Well this is what worries me. I’ve been saying for awhile Tom, there’s only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, the Chinese form of government, and that’s one-party democracy. In China, if the leadership can get around to an enlightened decision it can order it from the top down, OK.  Here when you have one-party democracy, one party ruling, basically the other party just saying no, every solution is sub-optimal.  And when your chief competitor in the world can order optimal and you can only produce sub-optimal? Because what happens, whether it’s health care or the energy bill, votes one-through-fifty cost you a lot.  Fifty to fifty-nine cost you a fortune.  And vote sixty: his name’s Ben Nelson!  And by the time you’ve made all those compromises, you end up with the description David [Brooks] had of the health care bill, which is this Rube Goldberg contraption.  I really hope, I hope personally it passes. I hope it works. But I can’t tell you I think it’s optimal.

My advice to Monsieur Friedman would have been to emigrate to China if he is so sure that life over there has so many advantages. But then I found that Friedman may not have to leave: The columnist does not have to go to China to enjoy dictatorial conditions when dictatorial conditions are coming to the columnist:

When I go to political events, I generally like to talk to people who attend them. You learn a lot that way.

Not today. I arrived at the President’s health care speech at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pa., about 45 minutes early, hoping I might chat with some of the Pennsylvanians who were here. No such luck. The press was stuck behind two sets of barriers. I tried asking several times (nicely, I promise) to wander a bit and talk to people, but was told I would have to wait until after the event. (Both the crowd and I had been through security screening.)

Okay.

So after the event, I attempted to talk to people as they left. That effort, too, was shut down by the security people.

The French Cowboy can’t help but think that Obama would agree with Friedman’s idea that life could be so much better if only messy democracy in the United ‘Ingovernable’ States of America could be replaced with oh so orderly and pragmatic Chinese autocracy…

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