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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thomas Friedman, "Obama’s Best-Kept Secrets": Not the Rashid Khalidi Tape in the Los Angeles Times's Safe

"What I wouldn't give for a large sock with horse manure in it!"

- Woody Allen as Alvy Singer in "Annie Hall," 1977

Obama's "best-kept secrets"? No, Thomas Friedman, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Obama’s Best-Kept Secrets" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/opinion/sunday/friedman-obamas-best-kept-secrets.html), is not referring to the tape of Barry's tribute to Palestinian "activist" Rashid Khalidi, which is locked away in a safe at The Los Angeles Times. If this tape were to be aired, Obama's chances of re-election, already dubious, would evaporate into thin air.

So just what are these "best-kept secrets"? Surely the suspense is killing you!

Tom begins this gem of an opinion piece by observing:

"While I don’t know how Obamacare will turn out, I’m certain that my two favorite Obama initiatives will be transformative."

Ah, yes, Friedman's favorite Obama initiatives. Surely everyone must have at least one. Tom kindly informs us of the Obama intiatives which are closest to his heart:

"His Race to the Top program in education has already set off a nationwide wave of school reform, and his Race to the Top in vehicles — raising the mileage standards for American-made car and truck fleets from 27.5 miles per gallon to 54.5 m.p.g. between now and 2025 — is already spurring a wave of innovation in auto materials, engines and software. Obama mentioned both briefly in the last debate, but I want to talk about them more, because I think they are the future of progressive politics in this age of austerity: government using its limited funds and steadily rising performance standards to stimulate states and businesses to innovate better economic, educational and environmental practices."

You want to score schools on the basis of test results and fund them on the basis of evaluation systems for student and teacher performance? My goodness, we're looking at a whole new opportunity for manipulating test scores and engaging in fraud, although nothing near the malfeasance which plagues Medicare and Social Security.

Obama’s doubling of vehicle mileage by 2025? I don't know if I'll be alive by then. Certainly, Obama will no longer be president.

But let's suppose the US auto industry fails to reach these standards: Does any sane person believe that a future American president will cut the ground out from under GM and Ford, which are struggling to remain competitive, and in GM's case, is struggling to remain afloat after a multi-billion dollar federal bailout?

Me? Like many others around the globe, I already drive a hybrid, which saves me a ton of money on gas. The federal government doesn't need to tell the auto industry that it is in their best interests to manufacture more fuel efficient cars. If GM and Ford won't manufacture such cars in the future, which are competitive with Hondas and Toyotas, they will again be facing financial ruin.

In short, there is no need for the federal government to hang this Sword of Damocles over the heads of US auto industry executives. They know much better than Obama and his team of federal bureaucrats what needs to be done to stay solvent in these troubled times.

So, these are Obama's "best-kept secrets"?

Yes, in case you didn't know by now, the man with that silly thing atop his head (is it alive or dead?) is not one of your brighter lights.

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