If only...

I worry sometimes that the New York Times’ Tom Friedman is blowing a lot of his advantage as a columnist by spending too much time telling readers what should happen and not enough time telling them what’s happening. It’s always easier to write “If only” columns because you can ignore all the annoying reasons why people don’t behave according to your ideal. The resulting made-up people are invariably more boring than real people. If I read one more bit of made-up fantasy dialogue Friedman has written for a Middle East leader, I’m going to plotz. But this, from the bottom of today’s column, sure caught my eye:

If only — if only — we could come together on a national strategy to enhance and expand all of our natural advantages: more immigration, most post-secondary education, better infrastructure, more government research, smart incentives for spurring millions of start-ups — and a long-term plan to really fix our long-term debt problems — nobody could touch us. We’re that close.

Immigration, research, start-up incentives, and a long-term debt plan? Compare that list with the items in Stephen Harper’s Davos speech.

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