Friedman Goes Transpartisan?
Transpartisan Note #149
by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner
Thomas Friedman, the New York Times opinion writer with deep roots reporting from the Middle East, asks, in his January 11, 2022 column, why look to Israel’s current government for insight into contemporary American politics?
“Answer,” he writes, “it’s the most diverse national unity government in Israel’s history, one that stretches from Jewish settlers on the right all the way to an Israeli-Arab Islamist party and super-liberals on the left. Most important, it’s holding together, getting stuff done and muting the hyperpolarization that was making Israel ungovernable … [and] I,” Friedman writes,” pay close attention to the Israeli-Palestinian arena … a lot of trends get perfected there first and then go global … It’s Off Broadway to Broadway …”
Then he asks a second question:
“Is that what America needs in 2024 – a ticket of Joe Biden and Liz Cheney? Or Joe Biden and Lisa Murkowski, or Kamala Harris and Mitt Romney, or Stacey Abrams and Liz Cheney, or Amy Klobuchar and Liz Cheney? Or any other such combination. Before you leap into the comments section, hear me out.”
We suggest hear him out.
He says, “… [R]ightist Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and left-of-center Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid (they are to switch places after two years) … swallowed their pride” and came together to defeat then-Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, “a smarter Donald Trump.” For the first time, an Israeli Arab party, the Islamist organization Raam, played a vital role in cementing an Israeli coalition.” Could it happen here?
We see normal politics as featuring adversaries promoting single-quadrant solutions, which, by resisting the other three quadrants, inevitably fail. We see and are committed to including in the political debate integrated, four-quadrant solutions to individual issues. We see this as emerging transpartisan politics illustrated by Our Towns Deborah and James Fallows’ book on local America reporting that “a local-level wave of renewal and re-engagement is already underway.”
Friedman’s article cites Israel’s United Government, bringing together all-quadrants on all issues as a democratic republic’s response to threats to democracy. He offers it as a government form and possible model for Americans to follow in resisting threats to democracy by Netanyahu/Trump-style administrative state paralysis. He hints that a unity (transpartisan?) government holds countries together, gets stuff done, and mutes the hyperpolarization that makes a country ungovernable. Does he have a point?
Read Friedman on the Biden-Cheney ticket impulse and Find the Matrix.
FIND THE MATRIX…PENETRATE THE NEWS!
(Images from Wikimedia Commons.)