Run for the hills: Thomas Friedman is making a lot of sense

You know the Bush administration is truly cycling off into space when Thomas Friedman, hardly a bleeding-heart liberal, is a clarion voice of reason.

He argues that Bill Clinton remains more popular around the world than the Bush regime, because Clinton represents “American optimism” — the earnest, kinda naive desire to make the rest of the world a better place. Okay, it’s easy to argue with that statement, but the thing I quite liked was Friedman’s neat description of just how peculiarly ugly the Bush folks seem:

Bill Clinton is viewed by the world as the epitome of American optimism — naïve optimism maybe, but optimism. And the Bush team — the President, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Condi Rice (Colin Powell is an exception) — strike the world as cynical pessimists who believe only in power politics, much like 19th-century European statesmen. For the world, Bill Clinton is another J.F.K. and George Bush is another Thomas Hobbes, a man who, after witnessing Europe’s religious wars, became deeply pessimistic about human nature and concluded that only one law prevailed in the world: Homo Homini Lupus — every man is a wolf to every other man.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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