Thomas Friedman tells Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer that Rahm Emanuel left the White House to run for mayor of Chicago because he didn't want to put up with "unpleasant" people on social media and blogs.
April 6, 2014

This is why they pay him the big bucks, folks. Moustache of Wisdom Thomas Friedman wants the viewers of Face the Nation to believe that Rahm Emanuel decided to leave the White House and run for mayor of Chicago because of some meanies on social media and blogs. I guess all of that went away for him once he was mayor instead of Obama's Chief of Staff.

This was during yet another of the countless discussions by our Beltway Villagers about how our the Republicans in Congress might have cooperated with President Obama if he'd just learned how to schmooze with them and kiss their butts a little more, like President Johnson did back in the day. Yeah, that would have made all the difference with this crop of Republicans we've got in office today. And then we're treated to this nonsense by Friedman:

SCHIEFFER: You know, Tom Friedman, and you've been around here not as long as I have, but you've been around here a long time. I think the whole talent pool has changed. The people from the pool from which our elected officials are now drawn. Because when you come right down to it, if you want to be in politics today, you have to say up front, "Okay, I'm willing to spend five or six hours a day begging people for money. And then get up the next morning and ask the same group of people to give you some money." And the result is some of those people are elected. They're not bad people. For the most part, they're good people. But it is a very different group of people it seems to me than the people who used to be involved in our politics.

FRIEDMAN: Right. I think of the quality of the senators and congress people I dealt with when I came here 20 years ago on foreign affairs how different it is. You know, Bob, I was thinking the other day that when archeologists a thousand years from now dig down to this layer, they're going to puzzle over something, the way we did when we dug down to the Roman layer.

They're gonna say, wait a minute, the president's chief of staff, arguably the second most powerful man in America, quit his job to go run (not get the job) run for office in a Midwestern city. That's Rahm Emanuel who went to run for mayor of Chicago. Can you imagine someone who was an advisor to Caesar quitting his job to go run for Mayor of Carthage, okay? So why did he do that?

I think one reason he did it is, well, obviously, we've got the gerrymandering of political districts, which is a huge problem, over and above all the things that have already been said. I think there's something else going on, which is to be in public life today, in the world of Twitter, Facebook, blogging, whatnot is so unpleasant.

And we've got now instant polling. So our politics has become like American Idol. We no longer have representative democracy. We're going to direct democracy now. And as a result, that's having a huge, I think, perverting effect on the decisions people make and what we can accomplish.

There are a lot of reasons that Rahmbo ran off to be mayor of Chicago, but I don't think any reasonable person would believe it's to escape social media or criticism in blogs. In Friedman's world, gerrymandering isn't as big of a problem as politicians possibly having to hear directly from their constituents. The horror!


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