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Thomas Friedman And American Democracy At Risk

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on gerrymandering, the shutdown, and our democracy, he says, on the line — right now.

With the federal government out of money and out of time, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., center, meets with House GOP conferees as the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate remain at an impasse, neither side backing down over Obamacare, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. (AP)

With the federal government out of money and out of time, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., center, meets with House GOP conferees as the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate remain at an impasse, neither side backing down over Obamacare, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. (AP)

In the midst of a federal shutdown that now looks as if it could go on for weeks, House Speaker John Boehner came out of the White House last night saying just talk to us, Mr. President.  Just negotiate.  So far, President Obama is saying no – not under these circumstances.  Not as a hostage.  New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is saying hang tough, Mr. President – our democracy itself is at stake.  Big money politics, partisan media and ideologically-rigid redistricting, he says, are threatening to blow up majority rule. Up next On Point:  Tom Friedman, shutdown, and American democracy.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Thomas Friedman, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist and author of “That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back” and “Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—And How It Can Renew America.” (@TomFriedman)

Robert Costa, Washington Editor at the National Review. (@RobertCostaNRO)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Our Democracy is At Stake — “When extremists feel that insulated from playing by the traditional rules of our system, if we do not defend those rules — namely majority rule and the fact that if you don’t like a policy passed by Congress, signed by the president and affirmed by the Supreme Court then you have to go out and win an election to overturn it; you can’t just put a fiscal gun to the country’s head — then our democracy is imperiled.”

National Journal: The GOP Keeps Getting Whiter —  “In the process of quarantining Democrats, Republicans effectively purged millions of minority voters from their own districts, and that should raise a warning flag. By drawing themselves into safe, lily-white strongholds, have Republicans inadvertently boxed themselves into an alternate universe that bears little resemblance to the rest of the country?”

The Weekly Standard: Stand Pat — “The best thing Speaker Boehner could probably do now is to say it’s obvious Senate Democrats aren’t going to negotiate, that the House GOP remains ready to talk (and the GOP conferees are in town and ready to confer), but that he’s sending the rest of the Republican congressmen home for the next few days in order to talk with their constituents. The members would be liberated from the Beltway bubble, free to make their case where they can best make it, able to fight back against media attempts to exaggerate the consequences of the shutdown, and would have a chance to remind voters, in the exchanges’ first week of operation, of just how bad in how many ways Obamacare is.”

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