New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, appearing on Meet the Press on Sunday, repeated his view that the Chinese autocracy is superior to American democracy, because at least under a totalitarian state you can get things done.
It's a running theme with Friedman, his solution to a variety of American ills. In a September 10, 2009 column he wrote of China:
Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.
One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages.
And in an August 27, 2008 column during the Summer Olympics, hosted by Beijing, he praised the "concentrated state power" of China:
China did not build the magnificent $43 billion infrastructure for these games, or put on the unparalleled opening and closing ceremonies, simply by the dumb luck of discovering oil. No, it was the culmination of seven years of national investment, planning, concentrated state power, national mobilization and hard work.
In an appearance on The Colbert Report on Comedy Central in November 2008, Friedman wished America could be "China for a day" to push Friedman's green agenda through.
COLBERT: Now you have a concept called, you talk about "China for a day." What is China for a day?
FRIEDMAN: Well, China for a day is a fantasy, basically. What if we had a government here that could actually make decisions? Okay? That could actually come together, Democrats and Republicans, and make a long-term plan and pursue it?
Which brings us to Friedman's Sunday appearance on Meet the Press (Hat tip Mark Finkelstein, who posted a transcript and video at NewsBusters) discussing Obama's struggles to pass his version of big government health-care "reform":
HOST TOM BROKAW: Tom, are we at a kind of turning point in America in terms of being able to make this a functioning country again, or are we dysfunctional?
TOM FRIEDMAN: Well this is what worries me. That, you know, I've been saying for awhile Tom, there's only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, the Chinese form of government, and that's one-party democracy. You know, in China, if the leadership can get around to an enlightened decision it can order it from the top down, OK. Here, when you have one-party democracy, one party ruling, basically the other party just basically saying no, every solution is sub-optimal. You know, and when your chief competitor in the world can order optimal and you can only produce sub-optimal? Because what happens, you know, whether it's health care or the energy bill, votes one-through-fifty cost you a lot. Fifty to fifty-nine cost you a fortune. And vote sixty: His name's Ben Nelson! And by the time you've made all those compromises, you end up with the description David [Brooks] had of the health care bill, which is this Rube Goldberg contraption. I really hope, I hope personally it passes. I hope it works. But I can't tell you I think it's optimal."
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