Like so much of our reality, this reads like an over the top parody of what it actually is:
In short, if this isn’t the time to leave behind the hyperpartisanship that has made it nearly impossible for us to do anything big and hard for two decades, then when?
How to be a Very Serious Centrist:
Step One: Assume that everyone more or less shares your world view and ideological priors, and that the political party that currently controls most of the federal government and the majority of state governments isn’t really sincere about preferring to see huge numbers of people die rather than giving those people things they haven’t earned, like food, shelter, and health care.
Step Two: Call for a Unity Government that merely requires the ruling party to discard all of its central tenets in order for anything to actually happen. To wit:
Biden should enlist people ready to embrace these values:
1) They have to believe in science — and not just around the coronavirus but around climate change, which is the next train coming at us.
2) If they were in power during this crisis, they have to have led their city, state or business in a way that took the science of this epidemic seriously from the start and cared for those under them.
3) They have to be open to taking extraordinary measures to help the poor, the unemployed and the bankrupted get back on their feet.
4) They have to believe that America thrives when there is a healthy balance between the public and private sectors, so anyone subscribing to the old idiot mantra of the G.O.P. thought policeman Grover Norquist — “my goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub” — is not welcome.
5) They have to want to extend health care to every American, for starters by strengthening Obamacare and adding a public option.
So Republicans can’t be involved in governance, right? I mean this list of requirements literally means no Republican or even anyone who is vaguely GOP-adjacent can be allowed near any position of power. So naturally the next step is to make Mitt Romney Secretary of State and name a bunch of guys fighting for the last shrimp cocktail at an Aspen Institute event to key government positions, because they have a lot of money and know Tom Friedman:
With those criteria, Biden could name his team of rivals. (I proposed an earlier version of this when the race for the nomination looked deadlocked, but the world has completely changed since.) My recommendations:
For vice president, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala or Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island; for Treasury secretary, Mike Bloomberg; health and human services secretary, Bill Gates; secretary of oversight for the trillions of dollars in emergency coronavirus spending, to make sure it’s done fairly and productively, Elizabeth Warren.
Attorney general, Merrick Garland; homeland security secretary, Andrew Cuomo; secretary of state, Mitt Romney; defense secretary, Michèle Flournoy; labor secretary, Ro Khanna (who co-chaired Sanders’s campaign).
Secretary of national infrastructure rebuild, a new cabinet post, Walmart C.E.O. Doug McMillon; commerce secretary, former American Express C.E.O. Ken Chenault; O.M.B. director, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio; education secretary, Laurene Powell Jobs; U.N. ambassador, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
HUD secretary, Ford Foundation chief Darren Walker; Interior secretary, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico; energy secretary, Andy Karsner (a green Republican who led renewable energy for George W. Bush); E.P.A. administrator, Al Gore.
The column, which I heroically read so you don’t have to, then predictably floats on into a miasma of B-school buzzwords about leadership and radical innovation and shifting the paradigm (It was worth it just to learn some sleight of hand).
You will be shocked to hear that there isn’t a word anywhere in this panegyric to reasonable centrism acknowledging that it’s literally inconceivable that Friedman would ever float anything like this idea to a Republican administration, because Republicans destroy everything Thomas Friedman supposedly values — expertise, science, not starving the poor into submission, having a functional health care system — as predictably as great white sharks eat seals. They just can’t help themselves you know, so Tommy don’t preach to them.