Patterico's Pontifications


Tom Friedman: I Don’t Keep Scorecards . . . For Democrats, That Is

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:23 am

Watch New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman on Howard Kurtz’s show. The hypocrisy I want to highlight is at 5:44:

KURTZ: I’m surprised you haven’t written a column saying what a disappointing year he’s had, and perhaps, expressing any frustration.

FRIEDMAN: You know, I tend to take the long view. I really don’t, you know, I mean, I’ve seen –

KURTZ: But does the country have that benefit?

FRIEDMAN: Well, whether we have the benefit or not, we’re gonna have to [crosstalk]

KURTZ: You’re saying that even if Obama — I don’t think even his fiercest defenders would dispute this — he’s had a lousy year, in terms of not getting bills through Congress, in terms of the health care debacle — that you are trying to look beyond that?

FRIEDMAN: Yeah, I’m not a big scorecard guy, I mean, generally, so, you know . . .

Yeah, Thomas Friedman is not a guy who keeps a scorecard.

For Democrats, that is.

For Republicans? You betcha!

Screen Shot 2013-12-22 at 10.23.51 PM

No scorecards here!

I was in a restaurant at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on Sunday, and it had an NCAA basketball game playing on the TV at one end of the bar and the Iraq war on the other. Most people were watching the basketball game — probably because it’s so much easier to keep score. How will we know if we are winning in Iraq?

[Blather follows]

If you see these things happening, you’ll know that the political ends for which this war was launched are being achieved. If you don’t, you’ll know we’re lost in a sandstorm.

Now, I’m not a big scorecard guy, generally, heh heh, you know.

But . . .

The scorecard here is easily read: My anonymous tipster: 1, Friedman: 0.


  1. I need a steam shower after listening to that anus.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 12/23/2013 @ 11:37 am

  2. This is one of those gotchas that aren’t really gotchas.

    He said he’s not a big scorecard guy, not that he didn’t do an occasional scorecard or two.

    Anyway, all he was saying here is that he didn’t want to look at just 2013 – i.e., Obama is eventually going to be judged over his entire record.

    Now maybe he didn’t want to rate 2013 because it is not good, but he is consistent.

    Even in 2003, he wasn’t giving a score for the Iraq war, but saying how eventually to score it.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (dbe090) — 12/23/2013 @ 11:58 am

  3. Is Tommy keeping score on China? Follow China, Tommy sez.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (e00f91) — 12/23/2013 @ 12:03 pm

  4. I think I have used this line before regarding Friedman, but he is the role model for insecure liberals who want people to think they are more intellectual than they really are. What is so fascinating about him is that hardcore leftists seem to have as much contempt for him as we do, so Friedman’s audience is decidedly for liberals with more academic credentials than street smarts, and a higher level of income than of productivity. I’ll bet Pajama Boy is a huge fan.

    Comment by JVW (709bc7) — 12/23/2013 @ 12:09 pm

  5. Even in 2003, he wasn’t giving a score for the Iraq war, but saying how eventually to score it.

    Was there a doubt? Heads Saddam wins, tails W loses.

    BUt for Friedman, if Obama ends his term without New York City being nuked, Obama will be a success. If he becomes President-for-life in a one-party state, Friedman will think it fabulous.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/23/2013 @ 12:12 pm

  6. Friedman gave this scorecard when the war had barely begun.

    There’s no 20-20 hindsight here.

    Let’s score it:

    (1) Have we occupied Baghdad — without leveling the whole city?


    (2) Have we killed, captured or expelled Saddam?

    It took a couple of years, and some imaginative tactics, but we eventually did.

    (3) Have we been able to explain why some Iraqi forces are putting up such a fierce fight?

    No, because actually they didn’t. What Rumsfeld and everybody didn’t foresee is that there would come another enemy. If it had been Saddam’s forces, it should have gradually declined in inetnsity. This is not what happened.

    Score that a maybe.

    (4) Have we won this war and preserved the territorial integrity of Iraq?

    Basically, yes. Give that an 85%

    (5) Has an authentic Iraqi liberal nationalist emerged from the U.S. occupation to lead the country

    No, too much of a political mess. I’d still gove that about 35%.

    (6) Is the Iraqi state that emerges from this war accepted as legitimate by Iraq’s Arab and Muslim neighbors

    Finally, yes. (although some of them, notably Syria – and Iran too as well, were sponsering terrorists.)

    At Arab Summit, Iraq To Display A Rebuilt Image


    Published: March 26, 2012

    BAGHDAD — As Arab leaders converge on Baghdad for a landmark summit meeting this week, they will be treated to carefully chosen glimpses of a new Iraq: gleaming hotel lobbies, renovated palaces and young palm trees lining an airport highway once called the Road of Death.

    For Iraqi diplomats and officials, the three-day meeting of the Arab League is a banner moment for a country emerging from decades of war, occupation and diplomatic isolation. Iraq’s leaders see a rare chance to reassert themselves as players in a transformed Arab world by hosting the first major diplomatic event here since American troops withdrew in December….

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (dbe090) — 12/23/2013 @ 12:14 pm

  7. Oh, if you ever see Friedman go on about global warming, well, here’s his house:

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/23/2013 @ 12:14 pm

  8. Is Tommy keeping score when- obama lies more soldiers die?

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 12/23/2013 @ 12:16 pm

  9. Let’s score it:

    How come Friedman never scored it himself?

    Oh. Right.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/23/2013 @ 12:16 pm

  10. Correction: actually it took only nine months to capture Saddam Hussein – and he nearly got killed.

    It was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, whom it took years to catch.

    But even that was in June, 2006. That wasn’t the end of it, because there was support coming from outside Iraq.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (dbe090) — 12/23/2013 @ 12:23 pm

  11. Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/23/2013 @ 12:16 pm

    How come Friedman never scored it himself?

    The only person who ever looked at his – in his case it was predictions – was William Safire:

    He occasionally could mention something. At lot of his “predictions” or at least choices, were jokes.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (dbe090) — 12/23/2013 @ 12:31 pm

  12. unexpectedly, a lying liar lies… film @ 11.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 12/23/2013 @ 12:48 pm

  13. Terrific catch. He’s a hypocrite and he annoys me aplenty–but one on one he’ll never annoy me as much as Krugman. Let’s do Krugman next. Please, please. What can your anonymous tipster dig up on the tiny pompous Nobel Prize Winner?

    Comment by elissa (a65140) — 12/23/2013 @ 12:57 pm

  14. That was rhetorical, Sammy.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/23/2013 @ 1:06 pm

  15. He got his first big story, wrong, re who were the culprits of the Shatila massacre, and it’s been turtles all the way down,

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/23/2013 @ 1:11 pm

  16. Can we at lest get him a participation trophy?

    Comment by Ed from SFV (3400a5) — 12/23/2013 @ 1:23 pm

  17. Friedman is just acknowledging that it’s hard to keep score when everything you see is brown… since he’s got his head so far up Obama’s rectum, that’s all he can see…

    Comment by IGotBupkis, "Not Home For The Holidays" (155353) — 12/23/2013 @ 3:12 pm

  18. cut from teh same cloth
    Friedman’s a One Percenter
    Krugman’s a weasel

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (9b8057) — 12/23/2013 @ 4:09 pm

  19. Friedman’s refusal to make a public scorecard for Obama, is a poker-tell that he realizes Obama has been a disaster.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 12/23/2013 @ 5:36 pm

  20. Friedman and Krugman
    Benedict Arnold’s

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 12/23/2013 @ 6:16 pm

  21. Elephant Stone:

    Friedman’s refusal to make a public scorecard for Obama, is a poker-tell that he realizes Obama has been a disaster.

    I agree.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/23/2013 @ 7:48 pm

  22. Oh, if you ever see Friedman go on about global warming, well, here’s his house:

    Sheesh. The epitome of limousine liberalism. Where can I get in on the action?!

    What’s odd is that the environmental gasbags finally have a truly major ecological debacle to cover, namely all the radiation that’s spewing from Fukushima, yet they’ve been strangely quiet about that matter.

    Liberals are worthless coming and going.

    Comment by Mark (58ea35) — 12/23/2013 @ 8:03 pm

  23. ==Where can I get in on the action?!==

    Mark you gots to marry up like Tom.

    As the July edition of the Washingtonian Magazine notes, Friedman lives in “a palatial 11,400-square-foot house, now valued at $9.3 million, on a 7½-acre parcel just blocks from I-495 and Bethesda Country Club.” He “married into one of the 100 richest families in the country” – the Bucksbaums, whose real-estate Empire is valued at $2.7 billion.

    This 2006 article was written by a lefty who isn’t too fond of Thomas, either.

    Comment by elissa (a65140) — 12/23/2013 @ 9:24 pm

  24. As to scorecards, I gave Amb. Bolton a mulligan but he keeps hitting it out of bounds.

    A judge calling the NSA dragnet ‘unconstitutional’ puts us on the “road to doom”, eh?

    Check the Garmin, we’ve been on that road this whole trip, Gramps.

    Comment by gary gulrud (e2cef3) — 12/25/2013 @ 4:12 pm

  25. Actually, maybe things aren’t going so well in Iraq.

    Part of it has fallen unde rthe control of Al Qaeda, which also controls a neighboring part of Syria.

    Of course, a little bit too little and too late.

    The move follows an appeal for help in battling the extremist group by the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who met with President Obama in Washington last month.

    But some military experts question whether the patchwork response will be sufficient to reverse the sharp downturn in security that already led to the deaths of more than 8,000 Iraqis this year, 952 of them Iraqi security force members, according to the United Nations, the highest level of violence since 2008.

    Al Qaeda’s regional affiliate, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has become a potent force in northern and western Iraq. Riding in armed convoys, the group has intimidated towns, assassinated local officials, and in an episode last week, used suicide bombers and hidden explosives to kill the commander of the Iraqi Army’s Seventh Division and more than a dozen of his officers and soldiers as they raided a Qaeda training camp near Rutbah.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 12/26/2013 @ 12:35 pm

  26. Last week on Face the Nation – unless it was the week before – Thomas Friedman repeatedly said “Soviet Union.”

    One time he crrected himself to “Russia” – but then he did it again several times..

    And Bob Schieffer either didn’t notice or didn’t correct him.

    That’s because all these years when people said “Soviet Union” – they were thinking to themselves: “Russia.”

    “The Soviet Union” was just another word Russia.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (117043) — 12/28/2013 @ 8:15 pm

  27. Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal

    and Ross Douthat in The New Yoek Times

    Both provided some evaluations of their predictions for the past year.

    More Karl Rove, who makes some predictions for 2014 and scores himself for 2013. He says he got 10 right and 4 wrong.

    Ross Douthat never made official predictions but he thinks he made three wrong projections. He was too optimistic about House Speaker John Boehner preventing dysfunction in Congress; he didn’t think Pope Francis would change image of the Catholic Church, and he thought the Syria debacle would finish off Barack Obama as a credible actor on the world stage after Congress voted agaianst military action (which was prevented by POutin’s intervention)

    By the way, today is the deadline and no chemical weapons, or residue, have actually left Syria.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 12/31/2013 @ 8:41 am

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