A regular blog reader, knowing of our great affection for Lou Dobbs, dropped us a line last week to ask if we knew that globalization guru Tom Friedman called Lou “a blithering idiot” in a lecture at Yale Law School last week. Apparently, they knew someone who was in the room and heard it. Our interest, of course, was piqued and so we did a Google search and found nothing. Turns out, the session was not open to press.
Unfortunately we were not able to download and excerpt it, but we found the actual time sequence.
If you click on the video link and move the slider to the one-hour mark, you’ll see a student in a blue button-down shirt stand up and ask a question. In his question, he references Dobbs and asks about “the nativist spirit” and protectionism, asks about the way issues are presented, and whether this is all more about mindset than about policy.
Friedman, three time Pulitzer Prize winner and author of bestsellers “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” and more recently “The World is Flat” (which sold a million and a half copies, far more than Dobbs’ viewership — or ours, by the way), begins his answer. “One of the problems”, he begins, explaining that we need leaders who can explain the complexity, not who will just stir the pot, “is we have politicians that are making us stupid, who are throwing sand in our eyes.” But then he goes on:
“And then you have a blithering idiot like Lou Dobbs, in my view, who’s using the platform of CNN in…the frame of a news show. This is not news. And so we have a political class not making sense of the world for people and that’s why the public…is so agitated.”
We know that an hour long video may be too long to watch, but Friedman is at times downright spellbinding. “We can’t protect our way to prosperity”, he says (didn’t the President say that in the State of the Union Address…?), and launches into an explanation of the difference between the old model of lifetime employment vs. the new model of lifetime employability. “Education isn’t a place”, he says simply, “It’s a process.”
So while we were coaxed in by the Dobbs line, we stayed to watch it all because it’s so damned interesting. No two ways about it, though, his message is the anti-Dobbs, and is ultimately one of hope and optimism.
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