Tom Friedman: Special-Needs Pundit


Earlier today, I noted some moronic statements from Tom Friedman (and Bob Woodward) on Meet The Press this Sunday. Jesse Walker sends me this tidbit from the World is Flat author, this time yapping on CNN with Fareed Zakaria:

We're talking about Afghanistan. And we're talking about America in the middle of the great recession. I feel like we're like an unemployed couple who just went out and decided to adopt a special needs baby. You know, I mean, that's really kind of what we're doing. And that's like, whoa, y'know, that terrifies me.

More here, via TPM. Video below:

Just remember, kids: People in very powerful positions are often really, really stupid.

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  1. You know, I mean, that's really kind of what we're doing. And that's like, whoa, y'know, that terrifies me.

    Well, you know, he's like, you know, out there and I am, like, whatever... and that, like, terrifies me.

  2. I have special needs Tom, and I can't wait to be released in to your, custody.

  3. Friedmans's mustache vs. Krugman's beard...GO!

    1. Hopefully neither of them are preparing any food.

    2. K-beard loses points because every hair seems to be perpendicular to the plane is grows on. This gives an untended, as opposed to a truly uninhibited, look. A beard that does not mind is a moral failing on the wearer. The beard is wearing a Krugman, an obvious fashion fail on its part.

      The F-stache is much more florid. It looks like it could stand on its own. But it comes almost to a draw when you consider that F-stache really only looks good because Friedman didn't pair it with a hideous neck-beard. And Friedman is ripe for a neck-beard, considering its primary function would be to hide his wattle.

      1. Damn, SugarFree, did you used to write for GQ style?

      2. It has always seemed to me that Krugman has his beard in order to hide his Australopithecus-like lack of chin. we can salute him for the attempt while deriding its failure.

        1. Don't mind me, I just had to link to this image/ Who says scientific illustrators can't have fun?

          1. Bitch needs to shave.

            1. hairy arms usually means a big bush. And I like a big bush.

      3. Or the C. Everett Koop "chin-Slinky". My God, I still laugh at that schmuck - especially since he started endorsing the latest version of "I've fallen and I can't get up" electronic gimmickery...

  4. So many morons, not enough column-writing jobs at the New York Times.

  5. Apparently writing skill doesn't translate into speaking skill.

    1. On the contrary, I think it translates perfectly in his case.

  6. What's with the 70's porn star mustache, Tom?

  7. What's with the 70's porn star mustache, Tom?

    He's jealous of Stossel.

  8. Just remember, kids: People in very powerful positions are often really, really stupid.

    Unfortunately, this is something which cannot be repeated often enough.

    1. Maybe if SugarFree comments we will see it twice as often.

    2. Add to this sentiment: Just because you can get people to vote for you doesn't mean you have any other useful skills or knowledge whatsoever.

  9. Are we really bitching on this thread that his analogy isn't PC enough?

    1. I thought it was posted because, whether PC enough or not, it's a really fucking stupid analogy.

  10. That's my thought. I don't think we are quite as bad off as the analogy requires, but I do see some logic that quote.

  11. Well, is Friedman wrong? I don't like anthropomorphizing a whole group or multiple tribes of people as the next guy, but the analogy is not a terrible one. The "baby" is going to require a lot of time, money and effort (read: lots o' cash), which "we" don't have, and the results are going to be dubious and doddering at best.

    Works for me.

    1. I agree--what's so idiotic about the statement? The analogy between a bankrupt country embarking on an endless, pointless war and a broke couple adopting a handicapped child isn't too far off.

      1. Except for the fact that the precious little mongoloid didn't suddenly drop from the sky as the analogy implies.

    2. Yes, I believe the analogy is quite wrong.

      It would be more apt if the analogy were a married couple who was doing well, adopting a special needs baby, and then becoming unemployed.

      Afghanistan didn't just happen yesterday, we've been there for quite some time....much before the great recession.

      SO yes, the analogy is quite dumb, IMHO.

      1. That one sounds about right.

        Maybe it is more like, two ne'er do wells with family fortunes backing them hook up, she wants a baby, he wants to please her, she gets pregnant. Meanwhile, they go through half the fortune (debt ceiling just got raised to 13 trillion), and while all this is going on they discover the bundle of joy to be has Downs Syndrome. So, they have to decide whether or not to keep the 'tarded fetus.

      2. So the correct approach is to... euthanize the special needs baby? Give it up to another couple?

        Either way the analogy doesn't really work as far as suggesting what the hell to do.

        1. I thought we were talking about either turning Afghanistan into a permanent welfare state protectorate of the United States or nuking it into the stone age. Sorry, guess I got the wrong signals.

  12. Damn you, Nick, for making me stick up for Tom Friedman. Watch your back at the Oxford Chipotle, young man.

  13. I think his fundamental point is right, which makes me want to scrub my ears w bleach because I can't quite understand how he might be saying something right. It sounds like his central point is: "Yo, Barack, WTF dude? We got tons of shit to deal with here. Why you trying to build a central gov't in Af-griggin-ghanistan bro?

    I should add that I would hardly agree with the F-stache's support of Domestic Obamanomics, but at least F-stache is saying that we probably shouldnt be farting our massive Chinese borrowed money away on trying to build a government on a place that never has and never will have a functional government. In that respect, I think his analogy is surprisingly accurate.

  14. I also don't see what's wrong with the quote. What's so great about nation-building when we're poor ourselves?

    1. I rethought my original defense of F-stache below. Whats wrong with the quote is that it implies and actually reinforces the idea of the US as the patriarch of the globe. He's just saying that we're a little too poor right now to adopt the special needs kid, but the implication is that once we rebound (which presumably he thinks will happen because he's too vapid and insular and ignorant to notice the unfunded liabilities issue), we will be not only right, but righteous, to help out this poor little special needs nation which so desperately needs its Western daddy.

  15. Take out the "whoas" and "you knows," which Friedman presumably would've done if he were writing rather than speaking, and I think it's a great metaphor: we're taking on a super-expensive and time-consuming project which we absolutely can't afford to do.

  16. Are we really bitching on this thread that his analogy isn't PC merely enough?

    I don't know about anybody else, but I consider this to be further (and utterly unnecessary) proof that Friedman is a drooling imbecile.

    1. Because...?

  17. I felt his comment was condescending toward the Afghan "government", but other than that I suppose it's apt.

  18. Sometimes a simple declarative statement of the facts is better than a dopey analogy.

  19. Actually, now that I think about it a little more, there is something fundamentally wrong with his quote. By suggesting that we're the unemployed parents adopting a special needs baby, he implies that if we were the wealthy, well-to-do, and capable parents, we would be absolutely right in playing the role of global patriarch and shaping the life of this poor defenseless little special needs country. Although his conclusion with his analogy is right for the current circumstances, it provides the possibility to be grossly wrong in other slightly different circumstances.

    1. The inverse of his statement is that a responsible adoption of a special needs child requires rich parents. It does not infer that a responsible adoption is the "right" course of action for rich parents.

  20. Art - I am not sure that you can condescend to the Afghani government.

    P Brooks - fine, here is your declarative statement: the Afghani government and/or people are either too dumb, corrupt or lazy, or all three, to govern themselves effectively, and it is not our job to fix it.

    See why he perhaps used the analogy? 😛

    1. His analogy is less about Afghanistan and the merits of nation building per se than it is about his observation of the US. He is saying, let's get a job first so we can support the adoption Afghanistan, by referring to it as a special needs kid, he is all but sayiung how righteous we will be to play parents once we have the means, thus making his analogy dangerous should our own domestic circumstances improve dramatically.

  21. What's so great about nation-building when we're poor ourselves?


  22. did Friedman just call Afghanistan a retarded fetus?

    JB, he's stealing your schtick.

  23. Adopting and raising a "special needs" child implies a plan, with a clearly defined goal; something utterly lacking in Obama's Afghan surge project.

    Just to eliminate any possible confusion, here: I am one hundred per cent opposed to wasting American and Afghan lives in a pointless and misguided attempt to "transform" that country and culture.

  24. I think it's a great comparison. Goes right to the point. A metaphor about a country with economic problems and debt attempting to massively and expensively reconstruct another country (which has traditionally been resistant to reconstruction).

    Like many metaphors, it falls down if you try and take it too far. If it's meant to suggest that we could take up our White Man's burden if only we had enough money, then it would be wrong. But it seems to be aimed purely at the immediate situation.

  25. Only about 10% of the Afgan military is literate. Any country whose primary defense from a host of hostile internal and external threats is 90% comprised of people who need a picture menu for the Kabul McDonalds is aptly described as a special needs baby.

    Nothing we could possibly accomplish over there at this point is worth a single American life.

    1. What percent of the hordes of Genghis Khan or Attila do you think were literate?

      1. Must I really remind you that this is not 1220 c.e.?

        1. Aw, man...

          :::drops scimitar, trudges back over to seat:::

          1. Art, that was real damn funny. LMAO

  26. I feel like we're like an unemployed couple who just went out and decided to adopt a poor needs baby.

    1. DAMN: Meant to write:

      I feel like we're like an unemployed couple who just went out and decided to adopt Rosemary's baby.

  27. Russia is like a special-needs baby. Afghanistan is like a crack baby.

  28. I think most of us are in agreement that Nick's position that this is "really, really stupid" is, in fact, not the smartest thing Nick has said.

    Sudden, I take your point, but I think MP has the inverse correct here.

  29. It's liking raping a hobo and then trying to train whatever came out of his ass nine months later to be a concert pianist.

  30. It's liking raping a hobo and then trying to train whatever came out of his ass nine months later to be a concert pianist.

    Your schlong plays the piano?

  31. No one here is interested in your RP fantasies, with the exceptions of Steve Smith and Episiarch.

    1. You don't get to speak for me, asshole. I'll be the arbiter of which particular hobo rape fantasies I am interested in. Just because you happen to be right that I am in fact interested in this one doesn't change things.

  32. It's like paying two hobos to fight and then taking the winner to Arby's. So he can fight nausea.

    1. Wait, that scenario is actually awesome.

    2. Arby's? Pizza hut, dude.

    3. "We're broke. The Russians are broke. It's like two junkies negotiating over a plastic spoon." - Robin Williams (an old bit, but still funny)

  33. It's like a broke couple adopting a baby that can beat up hobos.

  34. It's like a rich single white guy adopting two black orphans so he can teach them important life lessons when he should have been paying attention to his daughter to keep her from being a crack whore cum dumpster.

    1. Racist!

  35. It's like a rich special needs hobo adopting a broke couple who always smell like beef stew.

    1. This is probably one of the funniest sentences I've ever read.

  36. "I gotta take a dump."

    "Must have been all that beef, Stew."

  37. It's like cavemen adopted Superman and glued hair all over his body so he could maintain his cover as the flint-chipping features reporter Arrrk K!t.

    1. Awesome. A simile so muddled I simply have no idea what it means. 🙂

  38. It's like Maureen Dowd adopting a Princeton Economics professor, and getting him a job cleaning the men's room at Arby's.

    1. Or more like, it's like Tony adopted Chad

      1. ...and they spend all their time blowing each other, instead of looking for meaningful work.

        1. I could hire them and kill two birds with one stone...

  39. You really shouldn't insult the retarded kids by comparing them to this guy.

    There's special needs and just plain stupid.

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