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October 03, 2012 12:46 PM Why the Conventional Wisdom Matters

By Mark Kleiman

DougJ at Balloon Juice mocks Mark Halperin for noting that Mitt Romney has decisively lost “the Tom Friedman primary.”

Granted, as a thinker Friedman is a couple of chapters short of a dissertation, while as a writer he’s a skilled typist. But he can sometimes smell b.s. if he has a stack of it shoved under his nose, and he’s not buying what Romney’s selling on foreign policy. Leave off Friedman’s name, and you have a pretty good indictment of why GOP ideas for overseas are just as bad as their ideas for the home front.

And Halperin is right to notice that this matters: a little bit as a cause, and a lot as a sign. As a cause, Friedman gives all the other Villagers a little bit more permission to forget the even-handedness and moral equivalence and just come out and say that R-money is so full of it his eyes are brown. And as a sign, it shows that one more person with a strong aversion to being on the losing side – a characteristic Friedman shares with Halperin – has decided to put some daylight between himself and the trainwreck.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the University of California Los Angeles.
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