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Who Moved Tom Friedman’s Cheese?


I regret to inform you that Tom Friedman has written about electoral politics again. Does he try to filter the Democratic primary through a mediocre 15-year-old bestseller that for some reason middlebrow pundits instantly determined had a lesson that was applicable to obviously inapplicable situations? You know the answer!

What would this super ticket look like? Well, I suggest Sanders — and Michael Bloomberg, who seems to be his most viable long-term challenger — lay it out this way:

It’s hard to see how a longtime Republican who is third in the national polling averages, leading in the polls in zero states despite a massive ad blitz, and coming off one of the most humiliatingly bad debate performances in the history of the contemporary primary system is Bernie’s “most viable long-term challenger,” but moving right along…

“I want people to know that if I am the Democratic nominee these will be my cabinet choices — my team of rivals. I want Amy Klobuchar as my vice president. Her decency, experience and moderation will be greatly appreciated across America and particularly in the Midwest. I want Mike Bloomberg (or Bernie Sanders) as my secretary of the Treasury. Our plans for addressing income inequality are actually not that far apart, and if we can blend them together it will be great for the country and reassure markets. I want Joe Biden as my secretary of state. No one in our party knows the world better or has more credibility with our allies than Joe. I will ask Elizabeth Warren to serve as health and human services secretary. No one could bring more energy and intellect to the task of expanding health care for more Americans than Senator Warren.

“Bloomberg or Bernie for Secretary of the Treasury — doesn’t matter, they’re basically the same. Oh, and let’s give Republicans an extra Senate seat for a crucial few months so that Elizabeth Warren can have a second-tier cabinet position in an area which is not only not her main area of interest but probably torpedoed her campaign. And let’s get someone who has been very successful winning elections in a purple state out of the Senate too. Does control of that institution really matter anyway?” Hard to see any flaws in this logic!

It goes on like this, some suggestions more reasonable than others on the merits and none that would have any effect on the outcome of the 2020 election, until we get here:

“I am asking Mitt Romney to be my commerce secretary. He is the best person to promote American business and technology abroad — and it is vital that the public understands that my government will be representing all Americans, including Republicans. 

Christ. “Bernie, Bloomberg, Mittens: all pretty much on the same page economically when you think about it!” Admittedly, I can think of no recent case in which a Democratic president appointing a Republican Daddy to a prominent executive branch position had any disastrous consequences.

If Bernie or Bloomberg or whoever emerges to head the Democratic ticket brings together such a team of rivals, I am confident it will defeat Trump in a landslide. 

I am just a country political scientist, but I am in fact very confident that naming some cabinet officials in advance would have no impact on the election whatsoever even if the suggestions made any sense.

Will Tom Friedman’s next totally proactive new paradigm involve Lean In? Dow 36,000? 7 Habits of Highly Compensated Hacks? Stay tuned!

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