Center for Mediocrity

I enjoy reading Thomas Friedman, at times. He has his gems and his worthless crap. His latest New York Times editorial (TimesSelect) brings both to light. Here’s the good:

So here is my fervent wish: For the sake of the country, I really hope the Republicans lose the House and the Senate to the Democrats — by one seat in each chamber.
It is so important that the Republicans lose, because if the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice team can get away with the grotesque incompetence they have exhibited in Iraq — a war that was not preordained to fail, but was never given a proper chance to succeed — it makes this country look like a banana republic.
If on the morning after the election these people come out smirking that their efforts to scare the public into voting again for their candidates worked, and therefore they can just stay the present course in Iraq — which is not working — it will send a terrible message about our democracy. It will tell us that the country is so divided, and so many districts gerrymandered in favor of Republicans, that performance does not matter any longer. Unless you are caught sending e-mail to a Congressional page soliciting sex, your seat is safe.

But, Friedman’s weakness (and coincidentally why he is continually called on for his opinion despite being wrong most of the time*) is that he thinks we need to govern from the center and that the center is where everyone should be. I heartily disagree and believe that we need more extremist politicians (on both sides) in Washington. How can you have healthy debate and fully vetted policies when everyone is stuck in the mediocrity of the centrist. Sure final laws and decisions may reflect compromise and that is a good thing, but we won’t get that from starting in the venter. We need actual leaders in Washington, with actual opinions. We don’t need people watching polls and campaigning for their entire term. We need more Wellstones. We need more Hatches. We need less cowards. We need less opportunists.
* Friedman has said the tide in the war in Iraq would turn in six months so many times, people have coined the term Friedman to mean “a period of six months”.

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