Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thomas Friedman's "Third Party"

When he's on, he's really on.  Thomas Friedman assesses the sorry state of our politics, and forwards an interesting proposition.

We need to do four things at once: spend, cut, tax and invest. And unless we do all four at once we’re not going to break out of our slow decline. But to do all four at once will require a new hybrid politics, which does not conform to the political agenda of either major party.

The Democrats are ready for more stimulus but have refused to signal any serious willingness to cut entitlements, like Medicare, that we know are unsustainable in their present form. The Republicans are all for spending cuts but refuse to accept any tax increases that we need to pay for the past and invest in the future. So what we’re basically saying as a country is that unless the market or Mother Nature make us pay, we are going to hand this whole bill over to our children.

Maybe it is just my friends, but I find more and more people completely disgusted by this situation and looking for a serious Third Party candidate who could run in 2012 and deliver the shock therapy to the corrupt, encrusted, two-party duopoly now running the show in America.

Such a Third Party would have a simple agenda: 1) Inject a short-term stimulus. 2) Enact Simpson-Bowles. 3) Shrink our presence in Afghanistan. 4) Raise automobile mileage standards. 5) Impose a gasoline tax to pay for a massive increase in government-supported scientific research and a carbon tax to pay for new infrastructure and stimulate clean-power innovation.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Obama seems set to at least launch item 3 this evening.  Petraeus is unhappy; Max Boot will be ranting (see his LA Times piece today) - and I can only imagine what Graham and McCain will howl from the Senate floor.  Gates and Hillary were reluctant to sign on.  But Obama's advisers know that without some significant drawdown in Afghanistan before the election campaign ramps up, their guy is in trouble.  And, this also robs the probable GOP front-runner, Mitt Romney, of some fire, as he too (much to McCain's disgust) favors such a drawdown.

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