According to Tom Friedman, there are no adults in charge in Washington. We know this because Eric Cantor is acting like a partisan jerk, Congress is objecting to the AIG bonuses, and President Obama, the top person in Washington... well he went on Jay Leno, so he's just as bad as a third world dictator.
It's probably the laziest column to write -- "a pox on both their houses" -- while you pontificate on what real leaders would really do - take the high, non-partisan road, of course. Weirdly, though, Tommy still believes in business self-regulation, and of course he believes corporate executives, Wall Street financiers even, basically have hearts of gold and sleep wrapped in Betsy Ross' American flag.
See, all Obama had to do was go on national tv and ask the bonus recipients to give the money back. This would be a "great national mission" - giving back millions in unearned, undeserved tax money while remaining obscenely rich being much like going to the moon, or landing on the beaches of Normandy. This would elevate the President, says Friedman, although, oddly, the bonus recipients themselves would be worse off than under the so called "punitive" tax Tommy finds too "banana republic" for his taste. Strangely, he capitalizes the term, perhaps unable to distinguish between the concept of third world nation and a high-end retail chain for bored suburban teenagers.
Anyway, he caps it all by quoting his anonyous Indian buddy and the CEO of some company which helps reluctant businesses "build ethical cultures". Also he quotes fictional anonymous friends who tell him they are depressed listening to the news. Finally, Friedman channels the DJ robot from the Simpsons, attacking - no really - the "clowns" who are balloning in importance and distracting us from the really important stuff. How does Tommy stay so topical?