He Ain't Beanbag, But He's My Friedman!


I want my own tee-tee party!

Last month, with all the subtlety and real-world sophistication of my 21-month-old daughter demanding pasta for breakfast, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman blurted out:

I want my own Tea Party. I want a Tea Party of the radical center.

Today, an anxious Tea Party nation finally received word from a guy they don't like and have nothing in common with about how to make theirs a lasting and powerful political force:

Become the Green Tea Party.

I'd be happy to design the T-shirt logo and write the manifesto.

In crayons, I'm sure.

Ground zero for the radical center

Along the way, Friedman escalates his usual "win, win, win, win, win" formulation to describe carbon tax with yet a sixth win, quotes T. Boone Pickens as if he was a disinterested observer of energy economics, posits that his fantastical "radical center" is a place populated by John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joseph Lieberman; and complains that "the Tea Party is heading to the hard libertarian right." Which is all mere set-up for a closing flourish of telltale Sinophilia/phobia:

In short, the [cap and trade] bill is a step in the right direction toward reducing greenhouse gases and expanding our base of clean power technologies so we can compete with China in this newest global industry. It ain't perfect, but it ain't beanbag. And if we don't start now, every solar panel, electric car and wind turbine we'll have to buy when climate change really hits will come with instructions in Chinese. Go Green Tea Party.

Is there a worse successful columnist in America?

UPDATE: In a telegram from the real world, would-be Green Tea Radical Centrist Lindsay Graham has withdrawn support from the cap-and-trade bill. Some bumper-sticker slogans are apparently not built to last.

NEXT: Reason Writers on TV: Matt Welch (and John Stossel) Talk About Wall Street Regulation on Fox Business Channel

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This is the loser who praised China for their authoritarian ways and has yet to move there.

    1. kids

      1. You mean Librarians right 😉

    2. He is useful tool, but we no want him. YOU keep.

  2. Does he say how the next 6 months will be important in how this tea party movement will play out?

    1. I love China’s brutal, oppressive government. Why should anyone take anything I say seriously?

      1. We love you, Thomas!

      2. Matt Tiabbi certainly doesn’t

        1. Tommy lives in an 11,400 square foot shack? Poor guy!

          1. AND he has the audacity to piss and bitch about capitalism… the very system that allows him to live in that ramshackle mansion his wife bought.

            What a shitheel.

            1. No! No! Notice ME!!!!1!!

          2. When my Thomas is writing or appearing on Morning Joe, it keeps him out of my hair, and the housekeeping staff can get the fart stains out of the couch cushions.

            1. Can I come live at your house?

              1. Me too! Me too!

                1. If your “wife” (gender is debatable thus unconfirmed) doesn’t shape up and get us our gummint goodies, both of you are outta DC!

        2. Oooh! Me likes. Muchly.

  3. If we put a Patriot Fee on all of those imported barrels, we would use less, cease enriching bad regimes, strengthen our own dollar, make the air cleaner and the climate more stable, foster the exploitation of domestic and renewable energy sources, promote electric vehicles, help bring down the global price of oil (which hurts Iran and helps poor Africa), and we could use the revenue to shrink the deficit. It’s win, win, win, win, win, win …

    God there are so many things wrong with this paragraph. A strengthened dollar is going to make oil cheaper for foreign buyers? The import fee is going to bring the price of oil down? And not provoke a trade war?

    1. Patriot Fee? Is this the Democratic response to the torture of language the Republicans started with Freedom Fries?

    2. I don’t like Friedman’s columns either: too self-satisfied, too much name dropping, ignorant of economics, and just not very insightful. But he has a point: an oil import tax would reduce US demand for oil and push down the world price of oil (though increase the after-tax price in the US of course).

      1. Why should we want to reduce demand for oil? So we can pay twice as much for other sources of fuel/power? So we can continue to subsidize GM’s attempts to produce a zero-emission vehicle? So we can ape Al Gore?

      2. And why again should have an oil import tax to reduce the US demand for oil? Because it penalizes the poor? So as to reduce our disposable income? To keep our economy from growing out of control?

  4. “Is there a worse successful columnist in America?”

    I’m not sure he’s successful. I’m not even sure he’s a columnist anymore, but there is William Kristol.

    1. Yeah, Krugman’s still worse. Friedman is obviously a total blowhard, but Krugman inexplicably has a Nobel, so people actually take him seriously.

      1. Ah yes, one can comfortably predict financial futures by simply acting in complete opposition to anything Krugman predicts.

  5. I like Friedman’s books O.K., but my main concern here is the beanbag phrase. I’m a pretty literate guy and I read a lot, but I’ve never heard of that phrase before.

    1. Assuming that this isn’t a troll:

      “Politics ain’t beanbag” is a vastly overquoted phrase about politics. “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother” is a famous ballad title. The phrases are intentionally mixed and mangled to mimic Friedman’s own habit and terrible writing style.

      1. He truly is an awful writer. It’s pathetic how in love with himself and his ideas he is.

      2. I like his style.

    2. And, naturally, Friedman has used the “ain’t beanbag” phrase before, in a column last year on the same topic.

  6. I like Friedman’s books O.K., but my main concern here is the beanbag phrase. I’m a pretty literate guy and I read a lot, but I’ve never heard of that phrase before.

    1. I like his books too. Krugman’s books don’t take the shit off quite as well.

      1. It’s all in the technique sage.

  7. I have stopped clicking on his columns on the New York Times web site. Maybe if more people joined in and stopped viewing the page with his ridiculousness, the editors at the Times will get the message: No one is buying his stupid shit anymore.

    1. We buy his stupid shit!

      Oh, wait…

  8. “Is there a worse successful columnist in America?”

    Sadly, Krugman is even worse than Friedman.

    It amazes me that anybody takes these jokers seriously.

    1. They’re both Nobel Prize winners. I take their word above some random net.wanker.

      1. Why? Because some Nordic elites decided to bestow a golden necklace upon them?

      2. So are Obama and Arafat…so, yeah.

        1. don’t forget about al gore & jimma carter

      3. The Nobel winning Friedman was Milton, not Thomas. Big difference.

    2. This is what happens when people win “prestigious” awards, especially in the field of journalism. It gives them a free pass to belch whatever crackpot notion they came up with that morning to an adoring nation that should feel oh so thrilled and gratified to have this national treasure as their very own. And it’s for life. There’s no getting rid of them. “X-Prize-Winner So-and-So” will be their royal title forever, regardless of the trash they produce after the fact.

  9. I think what he means is that it ain’t beanbag chair.

  10. I wonder whether Friedman or Krugman will turn into Howard Beale first. They’re both hard up against the imminent meltdown.

  11. Could someone help me with this Netflix envelope? I wanna watch this movie, but the tabs may tear, and I’ll have no way to send it back.

    1. LOL, just got Netflix and I’ve ruined my second return envelope already. The people who work there must wonder about the person who has to use tape.

    2. The solution is simple. Have one of the servants do it.

  12. I want my own Tea Party. I want a Tea Party of the radical center.

    You can be the pee party. And I’ll urinate right into your cakehole, you useless scum-lapping shitbag.


    2. Stop it. Some people are offended by references to imbibing urine.

      1. We certainly aren’t. You don’t live in a place with little water. In fact, it’s vital to our religion!

        1. The Fremen didn’t imbibe urine. Their stillsuits distilled the water from the urine which they then drank. But then again, is Theseus’s ship the same ship?

          1. It is true that the Fremem did drink the water distilled from the urine and feces processed by their stillsuits; since the stillsuit is self-contained (and the Fremen did put a very high value on water both practically and spiritually speaking; they referred to the bile of immature sandworms as “The Water of Life”) they were drinking their own purified urine and solid waste. As we all do, via water treatment plants; it just seems less gross that way.

            Though in most cases drinking urine won’t kill you, as a DO, I certainly don’t recommend it.

      2. Is that the real Tulpa, or is some one doing a dead on parody of our most snooty one?

        1. I don’t believe Tulpa to be snooty at all. I’ve had numerous debates with him and have found him thoughtful, well spoken and has conviction in his beliefs. I also think he puts too much stock in centralized government as a necessary evil. There is nothing wrong with holding tact in high regard, though personally I find tact to be overrated.

          You may want to check your sarcasmometer.

          1. You may want to check your sarcasmometer.

            Sarcasmometer is fine. I am not the only one around here who has noticed a certain compulsion to correct other people and their behavior coming from Tulpa of late.

  13. ROTFL, now thats some pretty funny stuff dude.


  14. “Is there a worse successful columnist in America?

    Well he’s not successful and truth be told barely a columnist. Really little more than an idiot child who got hold of a thesaurus (and really, you Chron editors should have a gun safe to lock the things up when he’s around so as to end his torture of the English language) but since he gets paid I nominate:

    Mark Morford of the SF Chronicle!

    The main reason to ban/criminalize the publishing of newspapers! Followed by a salting of the Earth where they once stood.

    1. Being able to write columns for the New York Times, the most prestigious newspaper in America is “not successful”?? It doesn’t mean his columns are good, but that’s a different story.

      Actually, I kind of liked “The Lexus and the Olive Tree.” It was not without flaws – over-reaching analogies, associations, and over-optimistic about the future of capitalism – but still a decent book.

      1. I agree about that book; I read the first few chapters and I thought this guy was all gung-ho about capitalism and globalization. But he obviously doesn’t have a very deep understanding of economics and politics. He truly is like a child.

      2. “Being able to write columns for the New York Times, the most prestigious newspaper in America is “not successful”?? It doesn’t mean his columns are good, but that’s a different story.”

        He was talking about Mark Morford.

      3. I hadn’t connected these two. I thought he was an idiot when I read how he behaved in a Tokyo hotel, demanding that an orange be delivered to his room. He kept sending it back when it came peeled or otherwise prepared, as one would expect a top Tokyo hotel to do. Then he used the experience (and his expense account) to make some half-witted assumption about Japanese service – that they were unable to simple bring a fresh orange to his room.
        The real question is why Friedman used his expense account to demand that room service bring him an orange for $20 when he could have just gone downstairs to the nearest convenience store and bought one himself for $1.

        And he’s the one talking about economics??

    2. Being able to write columns for the New York Times, the most prestigious newspaper in America is “not successful”?? It doesn’t mean his columns are good, but that’s a different story.

      Actually, I kind of liked “The Lexus and the Olive Tree.” It was not without flaws – over-reaching analogies, associations, and over-optimistic about the future of capitalism – but still a decent book.

  15. “Is there a worse successful columnist in America?”

    Is there really a big difference in badness between him and Frank Rich and Paul Krugman? Their columns seem almost interchangeable.

    1. They exist to be quoted as experts on the Sunday talking points shows.

    2. The difference is Rich and Krugman can write.

      1. I can’t agree with you. I can sometimes finish one of Tom’s columns, and even Krugman occasionally, but it’s just not possible to take in all of Rich’s blather.

        I do agree with some earlier posters. The 3exus and the Olive Tree was a decent book, if a bit simple. Since then, not so much. Hot fat and crowded was to a good book what a day at Coney Island is to a week in Bora Bora.

        1. The difference is Rich and Krugman can write anti-capitalist/pro-statist bullshit with an eager if meager audience.

  16. Chinese poliburo admirer Thomas Freidman writes

    “the Tea Party is heading to the hard libertarian right.”

    demonstating once again that he knows not a goddam thing about libertarinism.

    It ain’t a left right thingee you blockheaded jackass.

  17. Still, Friedman’s rants haven’t reached the intensity and comprehensiveness of Frank Rich’s hallucinations –

  18. Hey, before posting my previous I didn’t read the priot comment – now I see that Rich and Krugmann appear often in describing Friedman’s act. This placebo situuation proves that mister Friedman is in very difficult situation –

    PS. I’ll add to this crew Dionne fron WaPo –

  19. Friedman is a laughing stock, amongst people with an independent brain. The idea that he writes and lectures and is fawned over by a public is analogous to Kenny G. being a very successful music artist. Both very successful, both without any mastery of craft, or an ounce of artistic integrity…

  20. Neh, Paul Krugman is far worse on political advising.

  21. My vote for worst successful columnist is Paul Krugman-the only economist who believes that, (If I may paraphrase Winston Churchill), “Capitalism is the worst form of economics, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Except that Krugman leaves off the last part.

  22. Can you be white and an Uncle Tom?

  23. there are so many valid points for which you can criticize friedman and yet this article merely quotes him in a sarcastic tone without any actual rebuttals… If matt welch were successful he might qualify for a worse columnist in america.

  24. Friedman, in my opinion, has long ceased to be a relevant and must-read NYT columnist(along with his facile colleague Maureen Dow). For perception, readability and passion, give me Krugman, Gail(The Great) Collins, Bob Herbert and Roger Cohen.

  25. Thomas Friedman proves that with the right connections and a statist mentality virtually anyone can handle a NYT regular column. I give him credit though, few people are paid so well for so little talent.

  26. For perception, readability and passion, give me Krugman


  27. I made this very point earlier on a News Buster .com

    Friedman and Krugman are far left liberals, and for that they are awarded Pulitzer’s and Nobles, and we all know what those are really worth.

    I find it hilarious that Tommy wind turbine Friedman lives in a 11,000+ sq foot mansion. Absolutely amazing. .

  28. There’s a reason why Tom Friedman is a best-selling author and nobody in the world gives a rat’s ass about libertarianism.

    This column and associated comments is merely one example why.

    1. “There’s a reason why Tom Friedman is a best-selling author and nobody in the world gives a rat’s ass about libertarianism.”

      I’m guessing you also enjoy Nickelback, Everybody Likes Raymond, and the works of Mitch Albom.

      1. “Loves” durrr

        1. “Everybody Likes Raymond” works better for your point 😉

          “Everybody Fucking Hates Raymond” just wouldn’t have made sense.

      2. Not to mention the artistic triumph that was Transformers 2.

  29. There’s a reason why Tom Friedman is a best-selling author and nobody in the world gives a rat’s ass about libertarianism.

    Public schools, right?

    What did I win?

    1. titcr

    2. Quote: Public schools, right?

      Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

  30. Is is proper to post the picture of his house along with a map?

  31. Regarding your premis question, E.J. comes pretty close.

  32. I took a class with this clown when I was a student at his alma matter (Brandeis). All we did during the semester was make fun of his moustache and share this article with friends:


  33. “Sounds like a lot of angry people who want to get the government out of their lives and cut both taxes and the deficit. Nothing wrong with that ? although one does wonder where they were in the Bush years.”

    This is a tiresome refrain from liberals.

    Did Friedman ever hear read Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause by Richard A. Viguerie (2006)? Or Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy by Bruce Bartlett (2006)? Or Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservativism Brought Down the Republican Revolution by Michael D. Tanner (2007)?

    Did Friedman read any of the hundreds of articles written by Will, Buckley, de Rugy, etc. as early as 2002 excoriating Bush for his big government policies?

    Did Friedman notice the fall off of GOP donations and party affiliation numbers throughout Bush’s years in office? Or did he believe Republican’s were discontent because government wasn’t quite big enough?

    1. If the Bush administration betrayed the conservative cause so badly, where were all the indignant tea-party clowns from 2000-2008?

      1. And the chorus continues the refrain.

  34. She’s really cute and would look better still without the mustache.

    If you’ve followed Friedman at all, you know he gets on one hobbyhorse and rides it to death. He’s been on this one since hot, fat and crowded (sounds like a day at Coney Island). What else is new?

  35. Mr. Welch,

    You shouldn’t complain when your own writing is so bad. This column or post or whatever about Friedman is atrocious. Friedman does frequently suck, I’ll grant you that. But why write a column saying so unless you’re actually going to make the case? Instead, you alluded to his childishness, quoted him a few times, and then, voila, had apparently made your point. Um, sorry, you didn’t.

    1. It’s true. Mr. Welch declined to provide the approximately 27,000 page 53-volume set containing a complete description of Friedman’s thumb-sucking babbling. Really, he should have linked to it at least.

      Anyway, he made his case. It’s not his fault if you couldn’t see it. The reference to the pro-China column alone should be enough to satisfy you.

  36. “He ain’t heavy…” ain’t from a ballad. It’s from Boystown and Father Flanagan.

  37. Don’t forget Paul Krugman. The gibberish he spouts is much worse. A real black eye for the New York Times. Or is using the phrase “black eye” somehow viewed as racist?

  38. Ironically, someone forwarded me this link as I just finished watching Sting on CNN proclaim: “It’s the Green Tea Party! We want big government!” They showed images of the hippies at the climate rally in DC and, I don’t want to be the first to point this out…but, awful lot of honkies in the crowd. Racists! Obviously…

    1. Proving that Sting has no other talent but singing… which he should stick to exclusively.

  39. Classic conservative column, lots of name calling, plenty of red-meat rhetoric and no fact based argument. You should go work for Fox news.

  40. Whatever you do, don’t give away Friedman’s status as a double agent. His fawning over the Chinese government will lure them to devoting far too much of their planned economy to “green energy” contraptions that governments only pretend to want. When they can’t sell, factories full of giant corn plastic windmills will shut down and the economy will collapse. Then in the middle of the night, Jack Bauer will steal back all our Treasury bonds, financing Obamacare for a generation.

  41. Matt – This feels like a rant. I don’t get your point.

  42. friedman didn’t even make the telegraphs(uk) list of the 100 most influential liberals.

    as for his tea party obsession…

    obama (and liberals) problem isn’t the tea party, it the 50% of america who doesn’t really care for the messiah.

  43. That’s some house Friedman lives in; but where are the wind turbines and solar panels?

  44. Maybe if the Department of Energy, which will celebrate its 33rd anniversary in August of this year had fulfilled its mandate to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, then cap and trade, etc. would not even be on the agenda. One more reason to reduce government.

  45. Friedman sucks up to China because he wants the Big Invite to hobnob with Hu/Wen/future dictatorial leader.

    One frustrating thing about him is that once in a while he is dead on. Like it or not, China is going to move ahead of the US in manufacturing renewable energy technology, not just because of its massive investments, but also because it has a lock on several rare earths used in high tech production. Friedman may approach these issues like a nine-year old struggling to get the wedgie out of his ass crack, but that doesn’t make him completely wrong.


  46. Unfortunately, Friedman is not even the worst columnist in the NY Times, not as long as Charles Blow, Frank Rich, and Paul Krugman contribute.

  47. Who really cares about what the NYT says. They are an obvious tool of the left. I sometimes pick up a pre owned issue of the Times just to laugh at their hysterical superficial coverage of third tier news they choose to use to prove an already biased point of view. They are so shameless in their bias a Mexican billionaire needed to prop them up. I guess the Mexicans think the NYT’s is too big to fail, and their government will need the NYT to push amnesty. The day I’ll have the biggest smile on my face (after the Brown win in Mass, that will never be duplicated) is when the times finally sinks taking with it the mindless blather and rantings of Krugman, Friedman et al. They are simply lonely sissy beta males that live in a fantasy world of sexual exploits with Nancy Pelosi.

  48. There is no difference between leftist in journalism. They all use the same talking points and filteer them through the same indoctrination. The only differences is in their talent at turning a phrase. Save time and energy and select one and just read him or her. You will get all the talking points in a short time without the hassel.

  49. Ok, enough is enough. It is time that we people who are really concerned about the environment bring a new lawsuit. I say that we sue on behalf of the plants. Anyone who wants to stop CO2 wants to kill plants. Plants need CO2, so what is the evil environmentalist real agenda? That’s right, the total and absolute destruction of every fern, fauna, and flower. LOL

    1. I shall destroy you foul broccoli!

  50. It sounds stupid, but no more than anyone who claims Carbon Dioxide is a poison.

  51. Other than marrying to a rich women Friedman has always been an a-hole.

    1. a pompous one

  52. Other than marrying to a rich woman Friedman has always been a pompous a-hole.

    1. Worked for me!

  53. Friedman isn’t part of the center.. he’s out there on the fringes of both extremes. Seriously, the man is out for whatever profits himself. I remember five or six years back, watching him on one news program or another, he’d gone to Europe and was reporting on the EU, lead by France urging a ban on US made cosmetics, because ingredients used were purportedly carcinogenic. He interviewed greens, young people on the street, a politician and a “scientist” who worked for a French cosmetic company.

    Friedman feigned outrage, but the piece was essentially intended to imply that the US had to bow to the more “savvy” and powerful foreign marketplace. Hint, hint, that the US consumer, food, drug and product safety provisions, everything should be considered irrelevant. As a woman, I was very well aware that US cosmetics were superior, vastly safer than cosmetics made in Europe or anywhere. In fact, just as in China and other countries that don’t really regulate such things, Europe actually turns a blind eye to questionable ingredients and unsanitary conditions. Perhaps not always in very high priced cosmetics, but in the average brands, which Friedman was contrasting with Cover Girl and Maybelline, brands, that has been well known for decades.

    The “science” cited, wasn’t really science, but anti-American, and targeted at attacking any US industry that hadn’t outsourced production. Friedman is a shill for whatever makes him money, and that is all he is in advocacy or. I’ll wager that his recent trip, to kiss the hem of the robes of the Chinese overlords is what frames these current articles.

    1. Being anti-american IS a science nowadays….

  54. Needs more cowbell.

  55. No matter what we do, China will dominate in the manufacture of all things green. What makes Friedman think this will be any different than what’s happening now? Union thugs will get the contracts, which will jack up the cost, and their prices will doom our “green” manufacturers. Friedman needs to reduce his sizable carbon footprint before he writes another article about conserving energy. Typical Gorish hypocrite.

  56. This guy is not even original, I just saw a clip of Sting talking about a Green tea party on CNN.


  57. ….and in further news the Taliban has advice for the IDF.

  58. If he loves China and Europe so much, why does he torture himself by living here? He could move to Greece and raise the average IQ of both countries.

  59. Yes. Frank Rich.

  60. Friedman is in a tie with Richard Cohen for worst columnist in the U.S.
    I hope the NYT never plans to charge for its website because they will LOSE some $$$$$

  61. hello,Nice post i really liked it..!!!
    Seo company

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.