Tom Friedman Likes Countries to Our Left– So Advocates Moving Ours Rightward

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is doing what he does best–traveling the world. In today’s column (3/28/12) he finds that other countries’ political systems– Australia and New Zealand–are well to the left of our own:

In New Zealand and Australia, you could almost fit their entire political spectrum–from conservatives to liberals–inside the U.S. Democratic Party.

And somehow both countries manage to confront big issues head on: a carbon tax and cap and trade. They have single-payer healthcare, income support for the poor, and so on.

So what’s the lesson for American politics? The same as always, according to Friedman. We need more of The Middle:

We lack any credible third party that could capture enough of the center to force both Democrats and Republicans to compete for votes there. So we’ve lost our ability to do big, hard things together. Yet everything we have to do–tax reform, fiscal reform, healthcare reform, energy policy–is big and hard and can only be done together.

Huh? From the sound of it, if you believe those are good policy ideas worth adopting here, we don’t need a centrist third party–we need to get rid of the Republicans.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.