Say what you will about Times columnist Thomas Friedman*, but he at least reports his lousy columns, usually. Not today!

No, today Thomas types letters into Google Suggest, sees what Google suggests, and uses that to write a "state of the nation's psyche" piece. Did you know that if you type "m-e-r-e" into the Google Suggest it doesn't suggest Family Ties star Meredith Baxter Birney, but rather the banking analyst lady who said Citigroup was moribund back when only a couple other people much smarter than Thomas Friedman dared suggest such a thing? After this bombshell, Thomas delivers one of his patented brilliantly simple insights:

Do you know how many people have to be searching for you if all you have to do is put in four letters and your name pops up first? A lot! But I am not surprised.

This shocking fact, that Google suggests a pessimistic banking analyst instead of the popular Latin dance merengue, is pretty much proof that Barack Obama's entire first term is basically doomed. More proof: when you type in "b-a" into the Google it thinks you are searching for "Bank of America" and not our wonderful new president!

Someone just showed Thomas Friedman the Google Suggest toy, and he spent a day playing with it instead of, like, going to an igloo to write about the Global Warming. He was probably perturbed to discover that fewer people are searching for his wise pronouncements than are looking to noted mass transit expert Thomas the Tank Engine.

(Dowd, today, is about John McCain's Twitter, and earmarks, and King Lear. So she's sticking with what works.)

*What we will say about Thomas Friedman: he has the mind and prose style of a child delivering a school report, the Iraq quagmire is partially his fault, his influence in the halls of power (though diminished) is one of the reasons we are doomed as a nation, and god, his mustache....