· Last month, more medical Stupid [Stuff] came to light when the horrors routinely occurring at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals where thousands - maybe tens of thousands - of vets have been denied basic health care on a regular basis while the highly-paid bureaucrats were busily hiding that very fact.
· On foreign policy, the Obama echo of Ronald Reagan's famous line, "Mr. Gorbachov, tear down this Stupid [Stuff] " as regards Russia, had to do with the mighty foreign policy triumvirate of Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton making merry over having pressed a programmatic "Reset Button" for the US/Russian relationship.
· However, "By the end of 2013," wrote James Goldgeier in the Washington Post this past March, "The reset has been over for some time, and there is nothing [in the relationship] to save."
· We had already seen Obama's violation of his own Stupid [Stuff] rule when he rhetorically drew a red line in the Syrian sand if Assad used chemical weapons, only to have to try to erase the line when Assad actually did it and Obama apparently decided making good on his vague threat would be Stupid [Stuff]
· "Your President is not a Stupid [Stuff]."
· I understand how this all came to be. In the White House the ever-tightening circle around the President needed something that they could portray as deceptively simple - but with a far deeper meaning for those smart enough to tease it out - while sounding modern and cool.
· It is a direct steal of the famous mandate of James Carville and Paul Begala during the Presidential election campaign of 1992 "It's the economy, stupid."
· A couple of things the geniuses in the West Wing missed:
1. It wasn't a policy prescription, it was a messaging frame.
2. Bill Clinton was the Governor of Arkansas, not the President of the United States.
· Later in his column, after recounting one foreign policy failure after another, Friedman who began it by suggesting Obama's foreign policy memoir be titled "Don't do Stupid [Stuff]," suggested a different title: "Present at the Disintegration."
· "Life is just a box of Stupid [Stuff]."
· On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Friedman and Goldgeier columns, and to the Wikipedia entry for "It's the economy, stupid."