“Trump? How Could We?” – Thomas Friedman

Another of my favourite editorial writers is Thomas Friedman.  Friedman has won the Pulitzer Prize three times, and currently writes a weekly column for The New York Times. Friedman has written extensively on foreign affairs, global trade, the Middle East, globalization, and environmental issues. He is, by any definition of the word, a learned man, a well-educated man.  His post-debate column yesterday is the best I have read.  I will share the first part with you here, but I strongly urge you to go read the entire column for yourselves.

Trump?  How Could We? By Thomas Friedmanfriedman

“My reaction to the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton debate can be summarized with one word: “How?”

How in the world do we put a man in the Oval Office who thinks NATO is a shopping mall where the tenants aren’t paying enough rent to the U.S. landlord?

NATO is not a shopping mall; it is a strategic alliance that won the Cold War, keeps Europe a stable trading partner for U.S. companies and prevents every European country — particularly Germany — from getting their own nukes to counterbalance Russia, by sheltering them all under America’s nuclear umbrella.

How do we put in the Oval Office a man who does not know enough “beef” about key policies to finish a two-minute answer on any issue without the hamburger helper of bluster, insults and repetition?

How do we put in the Oval Office a man who suggests that the recent spate of cyberattacks — which any senior U.S. intelligence official will tell you came without question from Russia — might not have come from Russia but could have been done by “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds”?

How do we put in the Oval Office a man who boasts that he tries to pay zero federal taxes but then complains that our airports and roads are falling apart and there is not enough money for our veterans?

How do we put in the Oval Office a man who claims he was against the Iraq war, because he said he privately told that to his pal Sean Hannity of Fox News — even though he publicly supported the war when it began. Trump is so obsessed with proving his infallibility that he missed scoring an easy debate point for himself by saying, “Yes, I supported the Iraq war as a citizen, but Hillary voted for it as a senator when she had access to the intelligence and her job was to make the right judgment.”

How do we put in the Oval Office someone who says we should not have gone into Iraq, but since we did, “we should have taken the oil — ISIS would not have been able to form … because the oil was their primary source of income.”

ISIS formed before it managed to pump any oil, and it sustained itself with millions of dollars that it stole from Iraq’s central bank in Mosul. Meanwhile, Iraq has the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves — 140 billion barrels. Can you imagine how many years we’d have to stay there to pump it all and how much doing so would tarnish our moral standing around the world and energize every jihadist?

How do we put in the Oval Office someone whose campaign manager has to go on every morning show after the debate and lie to try to make up for the nonsense her boss spouted? Kellyanne Conway told CNN on Tuesday morning that when it comes to climate change, “We don’t know what Hillary Clinton believes, because nobody ever asks her.”

Say what? As secretary of state, Clinton backed every global climate negotiation and clean energy initiative. That’s like saying no one knows Hillary’s position on women’s rights.

Conway then went on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” and argued that Clinton, who was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, had never created a job and was partly responsible for the lack of adequate “roads and bridges” in our country. When challenged on that by MGM Resorts’s C.E.O., James Murren — who argued that his business was up, that the economy was improving and that Clinton’s job as secretary of state was to create stability — Conway responded that Clinton had nothing to do with any improvements in the economy because “she’s never been president so she’s created no financial stability.”

I see: Everything wrong is Clinton’s fault and anything good is to the president’s credit alone. Silly.”

I could not have said it better!


20 thoughts on ““Trump? How Could We?” – Thomas Friedman

  1. This may be totally irrelevant but please bear with this ADD mind working. This afternoon I read an article from The Atlantic called, Murder by Craigslist (I believe the article is from 2010 or 2011). It’s a compelling story about a serial killer who targeted the middle aged, white male. The author posed this question:

    “At what other moment in history could a serial killer
    identify middle-aged white men as his most vulnerable targets?”

    I could not read this article without thinking of that. Trump- and the middle aged, white voter. I think if you read the article you would understand the grasp of this more but this election seems to be an assertion of unspoken vulnerability by the white, middle aged male. It doesn’t matter what Trump says or does, it doesn’t matter what his inconsistencies are or repugnant way he treats people. To a certain crowd, he is speaking to their vulnerabilities to which society has often neglected or not understood. The emotional overlay throughout this whole election had illuminated that from the beginning, along with the real biases and prudences coming out from the woodwork.

    I pose the same question seeing Trump as more of a social predator than a candidate-

    “At what other moment in history could an obnoxious, disrespectful, disillusioned presidential candidate identify middle aged white America as his most vulnerable targets? Everything he says is to exploit their fears of security.

    I don’t know, just something to think about. I know I sound crazy for saying this but I am convinced that he will not win. He has lost the votes of the minority base which is interesting because many middle aged white voters have stated that they feel like the minority… hmmm. I will be so glad when he loses!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not crazy at all … and you are right, there is a parallel there, but while some see it as vulnerability, I see it as arrogance. White men have felt superior for so long, and now more than ever they are being told “No, you aren’t superior … you are equal, but not better” and they simply cannot abide that notion. But yes, Trump plays on their fears of losing their superiority and being … just like everyone else. I’m with you in believing that Trump cannot win. I am fairly certain that those who are not responding to polls (I refuse to) and are not registered to either party (I’m not because I refuse to deal with all the phone calls requesting donations) will vote for Hillary. Even those who are not enamoured of her must surely realize she is the only candidate qualified for the job. At least I hope I am right.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There is a real chance that Trump will become president. As ridiculous as it may sound, I think the DNC Leak sabotaged the party. Hilary is the better candidate, but that is not always the case for who becomes president. Its basically a popularity contest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think his odds are far lower than anybody believes. I believe at the end of the day we will see that there is a ‘silent majority’ of voters who still have some sense and who understand that Trump in the White House would be even worse than a ‘bull in a chinashop’. At least, that is my hope. But yeah, you are right that for many it is a popularity contest. I have asked several Trump supporters to explain to me what policies, what part of his platform they like, and have yet to find a single one who could do it. A few have even ended friendships with me over my asking them to think! I cannot help wondering … if a man with the same baggage Hillary has was running against Trump, would things be different? I’m not “playing the woman card” here, just thinking that her gender is one of the reasons some won’t vote for her. Ah well … I just hope that common sense prevails.


  3. Jill, his is a voice of reason. His book with Michael Mandelbaum called “That Used to be us: How America fell behind in the world it created and how it can come back” should be required reading for every legislator. We forgot how we got here and now make decisions off erroneous or simplified talking points which is asinine.

    Which brings us to Trump. The last sentence defines him in spades. An attorney who worked for him and wrote an op-ed piece as to why we should not vote for him, said this. This man has disdain for doing the homework necessary to do the most important job in the world. The issues are complex.

    Globalization has growing pains, but overall the concept is good and it needs to be looked at holistically, in terms of the jobs created here, as a result. The key reasons for manufacturing job losses are businesses chasing cheap labor and technology improvements, both of which will continue and will accelerate. These have been going on for sometime now. Look at the textile industry and the closed plants in the UK from the early 1900s, the closed plants in the Northeast during the mid-1900s, and the closed plants in the South in the late 1900s.

    Friedman is dead on accurate about Trump. If we don’t believe his economic reason, we may want to check out this quote from UK based Oxford Economics:

    “Donald Trump’s agenda risks putting the U.S. economy in recession while Hillary Clinton’s plans would have a modest positive impact, a new analysis shows. Oxford Economics, a forecasting firm, put the two candidates’ proposals side by side and analyzed them. Its conclusion: Clinton would be better for the economy.”


    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I have read several of Friedman’s books, although not the one you mentioned. And I owe you a debt of gratitude … I used the Oxford report in an argument this evening and my antagonist, a long-time friend, was left with nothing to say … speechless. Those moments are so rare that I savour them 😀


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