The New York Times’ Tom Friedman has for some time now been a leading promoter of the “false equivalency” nostrum – the idea that Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame for America’s current problems and that a new “middle of the road” third party is therefore necessary. Along with the Washington Post’s Matt Miller, Friedman has been the most visible poster boy for this infuriating notion, one which is as empirically false as it is morally and intellectually unfair to Obama and the Dems.
But now Friedman has finally come out loud and clear with a column that unequivocally says that Republican extremism is the fundamental problem:
Here is the gist of Friedman’s “heave-ho” as he finally throws the “false equivalency” nonsense out the window:
I’ve argued that maybe we need a third party to break open our political system. But that’s a long shot. What we definitely and urgently need is a second party — a coherent Republican opposition that is offering constructive conservative proposals on the key issues and is ready for strategic compromises to advance its interests and those of the country.
Without that, the best of the Democrats — who have been willing to compromise — have no partners and the worst have a free pass for their own magical thinking. Since such a transformed Republican Party is highly unlikely, maybe the best thing would be for it to get crushed in this election and forced into a fundamental rethink — something the Democrats had to go through when they lost three in a row between 1980 and 1988. We need a “Different Kind of Republican” the way Bill Clinton gave us a “Different Kind of Democrat.”
Because when I look at America’s three greatest challenges today, I don’t see the Republican candidates offering realistic answers to any of them…
…when all the Republican candidates last year said they would not accept a deal with Democrats that involved even $1 in tax increases in return for $10 in spending cuts, the G.O.P. cut itself off from reality. It became a radical party, not a conservative one. And for the candidates to wrap themselves in a cartoon version of Ronald Reagan — a real conservative who raised taxes, including the gasoline tax, when he discovered his own cuts had gone too far — is fraudulent…
…Until the G.O.P. stops being radical and returns to being conservative, it won’t provide what the country needs most now — competition — competition with Democrats on the issues that will determine whether we thrive in the 21st century. We need to hear conservative fiscal policies, energy policies, immigration policies and public-private partnership concepts — not radical ones. Would somebody please restore our second party? The country is starved for a grown-up debate.
Now if only Matt Miller over at the Post would man up like Friedman and come on back to reality, the “false equivalency” nonsense could be driven back into the corner of Fox News where it belongs – you know, the place where all the over-the-hill, has-been Democratic pollsters who can’t get a real job with the GOP go to sit in lawn chairs, play dominos and whine for the cameras about having been “betrayed” by the Democratic Party.