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November 15, 2003

MODERATES UNITE....Friedman's column is good today. It's been a while since I've said that....

Posted by Kevin Drum at November 15, 2003 06:25 PM | TrackBack


I thought it was good as well. And an interesting contrast to Brooks'. Friedman extolls moderates to find their voice. Brooks condemns us as shrill partisans for finding it. I'll go with Friedman on this one.

Posted by: libertas at November 15, 2003 06:38 PM | PERMALINK

Did you know that there is a way to link to NY Times articles so that those links won't break three days later when Times puts them in the archives? It involves linking to the item in the Times' RSS feed, and is endorsed by the Times, though they are not trumpeting it from the rooftops. For those of you who are interested I have some details on how to do it here:

Posted by: Lisa Williams at November 15, 2003 06:58 PM | PERMALINK

Yes. Let's give him a break so he can go back to his chores around the house.

Posted by: wren at November 15, 2003 07:03 PM | PERMALINK

Agreement here, too. It'll be interesting to watch the effects of their proposal -- I want to be optimistic, but history warns against it.

Lisa: Thanks for the information!

Posted by: logicalrealist at November 15, 2003 07:33 PM | PERMALINK

I've argued for years that Friedman is the best well-known American pundit on Israel and the Palestinians. This column is another confirmation.

Posted by: Andrew Lazarus at November 15, 2003 07:47 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, he's very good when he writes about Israel. He's just awful on globalization and Iraq. But still, it's not like there are many fanatical moderates writing about Israel. So he has some value.

Posted by: sym at November 15, 2003 07:52 PM | PERMALINK

Yes moderates of the world unite and especially here in the USA. By the way Kevin, I believe that you are a role model for moderation. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Cliff at November 15, 2003 08:02 PM | PERMALINK

Based on the headline, I thought the column was about Dean, who really is a "fanatical moderate." Oh, the Bushies, with the SCLM, will try to paint him as a fanatical lefty, but he isn't. He's Ross Perot running for a major party. He's McCain with an excellent chance for the nomination. Though I still think Clark has a better chance to win. The Dean phenom is fascinating.

Posted by: Upper West at November 15, 2003 08:17 PM | PERMALINK

Dean/McCain! That almost amounts to a revolution.

"we share the same biology,
regardless of ideology,
what will save us me and you
is if the republicans lo~o~ove
their children too"

Posted by: Troy at November 15, 2003 09:36 PM | PERMALINK

What Friedman is saying we all know:

Sharon worries more about missing his next meal than he worries about peace.

Posted by: -pea- at November 15, 2003 09:59 PM | PERMALINK

There's one thing about the plan that makes me suspect that it is in trouble from the begining.

Friedman points out that the plan will only succeed with support from the US. But he also points out that the plan is based on the "peace initiative first outlined by President Clinton."

Bush will never support it.

Posted by: Rick B at November 15, 2003 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Oddly, Bush pays lip service to reasonable ideas on Israel. Wolfowitz, of all people, is something of a dove by neocon standards (pro-road map).

Unfortunately, Bush was distracted by more important things, like how you get into a flight suit.

Posted by: Andrew Lazarus at November 15, 2003 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is putting some pressure on Israel behind the scenes, or at least behind the American scenes. He deducted some crap from Israel's loan guarantees as a penalty for illegal settlements, and I just read in Haaretz where Rice, whom he has watching that situation, is threatening more. This is the same manner in which Bush I helped push Shamir out of office.

Posted by: Brian Ulrich at November 15, 2003 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Friedman could learn more - from homeworkster

Posted by: homeworkster at November 16, 2003 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Friedman's sane columns are mostly about what a wonderful, open-minded guy Friedman is for coming up with sententious shit. His heart is only in the nutjob metaphor stuff where people drive around after throwing away the steering wheel (no problem, as long as they remember they threw it away). You can't stop reading until you find out what happens to the tender shoots growing into the spider web of the dice game in the rented car from the heart of darkness.

Posted by: Roger Bigod at November 16, 2003 04:13 AM | PERMALINK

I do agree with Friedman's praise of 'fanatical moderates', and it's that which many Arab countries are actually trying to encourage.

I was lucky enough to be sitting next to a minister in the new Jordanian cabinet when flying to New York last month (she was on her way to receive an award from the UN) and we got talking about the difficulties of creating a political discourse in a country where the loudest voices are extremist. So while the Jordanian government doesn't have quite the democratic credentials that others might like, its members are committed to a process of creating a climate in which political disputes can be between moderates. And it's that problem -- of bringing a politics of moderation to a country -- which should make critics of the Arab world's lack of democracy pause. And, you could say that it's a worthwhile lesson for an increasingly polarised American polity.

Posted by: nick sweeney at November 16, 2003 05:38 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is putting some pressure on Israel behind the scenes, or at least behind the American scenes. He deducted some crap from Israel's loan guarantees as a penalty for illegal settlements, and I just read in Haaretz where Rice, whom he has watching that situation, is threatening more. This is the same manner in which Bush I helped push Shamir out of office.

Maybe, sort of, not really. I always thought Bush I's role in the 1992 Israeli election was very overstated. It's true that he had butted heads with Shamir over large amounts of loans--Israel wanted it to deal with the huge new influx of immigrants from the collapsing USSR, Bush said they would have to agree not to use the money for the settlements, and Shamir refused--but as I understand it, that wasn't such a major issue in the '92 Israeli election. A lot of it had to do with the Likud having been in power for 13 out of the previous 15 years, 7 out of the previous 9 under Shamir, so a lot of people felt that there was too much stagnation in the government.

Posted by: Haggai at November 16, 2003 09:01 AM | PERMALINK

There is nothing more enraging than someone exposing your faults — and being right.

I wonder if this is a veiled reference to a slow awakening on Friedman's part.

Posted by: Brautigan at November 16, 2003 09:05 AM | PERMALINK

Today's Friedman column was halfway decent, though if you want to know what his hero Yossi Beilin thought about the original Camp David offer, you'll find it in the current November/December issue of Tikkun. Beilin didn't blame the Palestinians for rejecting it. He does say that it should have led to further negotiations, not violence.

I mention that because the usual line in the American press is that the Camp David offer in August was something the Palestinians should have accepted humbly and gratefully.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at November 16, 2003 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

It was a good article. Thanks for linking to it.

Posted by: ScottM at November 17, 2003 09:59 AM | PERMALINK

Friedman's first paragraph is just weird.
"There is nothing more enraging than someone exposing your faults — and being right."

Quick poll everyone:
Would you be more enraged if your spouse accuses you of not helping him/her
(a) after you've just spent a few hours helping her/him.

(b) when in fact you haven't.

Posted by: ch2 at November 17, 2003 03:19 PM | PERMALINK

Inglish Spocken Hier: some mangled translations

Various signs in Poland:

Right turn toward immediate outside.

Go soothingly in the snow, as there lurk the ski demons.

Five o'clock tea at all hours.

In a men's washroom in Sidney:

Shake excess water from hands, push button to start,
rub hands rapidly under air outlet and wipe hands
on front of shirt.

-- Colin Bowles, San Francisco Chronicle

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