This past week, The New York Times’ iconic, smooth-brained boomer wunderkind, Thomas Friedman, wrote a column about how uncomfortable he is with the leftward drift of today’s Democratic party. It probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that someone like Thomas Friedman — fattened from years of writing asinine books, torturing metaphors, and puffing up dictators — would object to any potential changes to a status quo that has provided him with a career so disproportionate to any apparent writing talent or critical thinking skill.
During a pearl-clutching sequence in which Friedman begins four consecutive paragraphs with “I was shocked…” (shocked!) he combines fusty, nonsensical metaphor (“I think people should have to ring the doorbell before they enter my house or my country”) with what were once rightwing talking points:
“I was shocked at all those hands raised in support of providing comprehensive health coverage to undocumented immigrants. I think promises we’ve made to our fellow Americans should take priority, like to veterans in need of better health care.”
The troops, the troooops, won’t someone think of the troops?
As long as Friedman is bemoaning some leftward drift in Democratic politics, it seems important to both puncture this dopey myth of “comprehensive health coverage for undocumented immigrants” and track its drift from rightwing call-in radio into the column of a theoretically left-leaning editorialist at the presumptive lead paper of the #resistance.
“This is not complicated! Just nominate a decent, sane person,” Friedman wrote, a paen to the kind of “rational” centrist we already had as president from 2008-2016, who couldn’t so much as wear a tan suit without getting called a Communist Muslim by the right-wing noise machine.
On June 26th at the second Democratic debate, NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie asked the candidates, by a show of hands, who would support “comprehensive healthcare for undocumented workers.”
The following day, the New York Post ran a picture of the raised hands along with a typically shrieking headline, “Who wants to lose the election?” “All major Dem candidates raise hand in favor of free healthcare for illegal immigs.”
Apparently, that’s Friedman’s latest grift, rewriting bellicose right-wing New York Post headlines as paternalistic centrist New York Times opinion columns. Sadly, it’s a typical example of the center right/center left simply agreeing to debate on terms defined by people who despise them. “Just be nicer!” they shout, as militiamen dip their pitchforks in pig’s blood.
“Foreigners are takin’ all your stuff!” is and has been the central tenet of rightist chuds the world over since the beginning of time, and there is literally no take easier to write than “let’s stop givin’ foreigners all this free stuff! After all, that’s free stuff we could be givin’ to us! And like, the troops!”
The “comprehensive healthcare for undocumented immigrants” canard is just the latest iteration of that, and what’s striking about it is how completely it falls apart under even the most basic scrutiny. Like most immigration rhetoric, it conveniently ignores the basic details of how things happen now, in the real world, in order to appeal to some vaguely fair-sounding kindergarten-wall principle.
So let’s break it down.