Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Mar/10

25

David Frum’s unstable equilibrium

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It looks like David Frum has been purged from the conservative mainstream. I can’t but help find this ironic insofar as Frum was the drawer of bright lines himself in years past. Additionally, though Frum is moderate on social issues, and skeptical of libertarianism in economics, he is arguably more populist than many elite conservative intellectuals when it comes to immigration. In relation to foreign policy Frum seems to exhibit neoconservative sympathies. As a descriptive matter I think Frum’s current “position portfolio” does not fit well anywhere in the current coalitions.

19 comments

  • TAS · March 25, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Good riddance. Maybe he can go work for the SPLC. I’m sure they love him after the hitpieces his FrumForum followers wrote about Alternative Right.

  • Elroy · March 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I don’t know. Frum may be right. I was all for the Republicans fighting to the death against any of the reforms the democrats proposed and I do believe we lost. Now Republicans are going to run on a platform to repeal it. The argument is no longer about freedom, it is now and forever shall be about losing benefits. Show me an election won on the promise of reducing benefits.

  • John · March 25, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    It’s going to be very tough to repeal this bill. I don’t see it happening for at least a generation. Besides basic freedom, I think the GOP’s best shot at arguing against the bill will be cost. Obamacare will increase both taxes and premiums. The GOP won’t win on a platform of cutting benefits, but they might be able to win on a platform of saving money.

  • Clark · March 25, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Interestingly while I consider myself quite conservative I tend to agree with Frum on a lot of issues. Certainly more than I agree with Limbaugh, Beck, or many of the other major figures of conservatism. While I don’t care for the current bill I think Frum is right in that it really isn’t that different from what Republicans proposed in the 90′s against Clinton nor that different from what Romney supported.

  • kurt9 · March 25, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    The Egregious Frum excommunicated from the conservative movement all those who were opposed to the invasion of Iraq. It appears that he is now getting a dose of his own medicine.

  • kurt9 · March 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Romney is DoA as a presidential candidate since he supported the Massachusetts health care reform 4 years ago, which is now self-destructing.

  • A-Bax · March 26, 2010 at 5:21 am

    Frum seemed to take a particular delight in being the sort of conservative liberals could have a Chablis with while tsk-tsking the fire-breathers on the right. While I’m not in favor of “litmus-tests” for a movement, it was becoming increasing clear that Frum was drifting towards “party of one” status. (Which is what the excitable Andrew Sullivan is, and what I fear David Brooks may become).

    If the more egregious portions of Obamacare are to be undone (if not repealed entirely), the opposition will need to be unified. Those of us who consider Obamacare to be a dreadful mistake need to be unified in our continued opposition to it. This is not to say that there can’t, or shouldn’t, be debates about tactics and strategy, but it’s become clear over the years the Frum kind of liked to oppose other conservatives for his own quirky (contrarian?) reasons.

    I say good riddance to him. Brooks seems to be on the fence very often, and I hope he comes to understand that – given the new legislative “fact on the ground” – he’s really going to have to take a side. At this point, neutrality or squeamishness over decorum is de facto support of the (new) status quo: Chicago socialism.

  • Mike H · March 26, 2010 at 6:26 am

    I don’t know how Frum could be surprised, it seems like he wanted to be seen as a maverick so I guess now he gets to be a maverick.

  • Don Kenner · March 26, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Frum’s skewering (falsely, in my view) of Bat Yo’er and Robert Spencer didn’t help his standing any among conservatives. He set up a straw man by claiming that Spencer regarded Islam as a plaque to be eradicated; a view Spencer has never put forward in print or speech.

    That kind of thing doesn’t go down well around the conservative water cooler. On the other hand, he wrote a lot of good conservative columns in a place desperately in need of some balance. I’m sure he will continue to do so, unless this ousting from AEI causes an ideological change of heart. I hope not.

  • djf · March 26, 2010 at 11:00 am

    As has been pointed out at the Corner, if Frum was purged from AEI for ideological reasons, how do you explain the continued presence at AEI of the Broder-like, utterly conventional center-leftist Norman Ornstein? What seems more likely is that, as suggested by Charles Murray (also at the Corner), Frum was pushed out because he’s been doing too little at AEI to justify his salary. BTW, I think Frum’s contrarian outlook is desperately needed on the Right (as antidote to rigid free marketeers no less than social conservatives), but, like anyone else, he can spin events in self-serving fashion on occasion.

  • cynthia curran · March 26, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Well, on immirgation it depends if its a lot of low skilled hispanics. Take Orange County Ca for example, Santa Ana and Anaheim have a lot of these immirgations. Now, Irvine, the Irvine company plan town has a lot of upper-middle class asians, approaching probably within the nest 4 years 40 percent asian. And Irvine is both hated by the left and right. The left hates it because its so suburbian and Irvine’s minorites are not black or hispanic. The right hates it because of the growth of asians in the city and the fact that the Dems could control again. Its a place if the Republicans could ever changed their image could pick up again since the liberal Dems favor Portland Oregon which has a poverty rate for whites around 12 percent while Irvine’s is only about 3.6 percent for whites. The liberatarians and moderates and conservatives should try to aim more at cites like Irvine which the dems complain is too suburbian and not urban and its the only city in Orange County with high growth rates during the decade.

  • Clark · March 26, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    A-Bax that made little sense. It’s basically akin to saying that we all have to make a strategy of the tea party simply because we have to be unified against Obama. The question is unified around what? And what kind of opposition. The current scheme is basically giving carte blanche to a bunch of people who have strategies and aims many of us feel quite uncomfortable with. Some of us feel that after the past two elective debacles that the Republicans have learned nothing and are dooming themselves to years more ineffectiveness and being out of power. Which will help Democrats and Obama much more.

  • JL · March 27, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Charles Murray says that Frum quit AEI more or less voluntarily: http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MDk4NjA3NmU5NTI3ZDNhOGM4ODUzOWI2OTViNTg1NDM

  • Pangloss · March 27, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    It should not be called repealing – it should be called “Privatization” that will provide for competition of health insurance services across state lines.

  • A-Bax · March 29, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Clark: What will help Obama and the Democrats the most is infighting and petty bickering amongst those who oppose his drive towards socialism.

    Unified around what: Repeal and replace. (Replace with what? That is what the GOP primary is for).

    I voted for Barr in 08, largely because I couldn’t stomach McAmnesty O’Criminalizepoliticalspeech. However, facts on the ground have changed vis a vis the healthcare bill. At this point, I’d vote for a wet paper bag over Obama. I’d even vote for Palin or Huckabee, despite my deep misgivings about them.

    The primary goal must be to strip away power from Obama so that he can’t do any more damage, and hopefully undo as much as possible the damage he has already done. Call that whatever you want. This entails a) an electoral route in November so as to prevent amnesty and cap & tax from passing via the same tawdry process that healthcare did, and b) unseating Obama in 2012.

    I don’t care who unseats him. We know it won’t be a Democrat since no Dem will have the courage Kennedy did in 1980 to oppose Carter. Any candidate besides the GOP has no chance of unseating him (which is unfortunate, but true. We shouldn’t blind ourselves to the unpleasant reality of a two-party system.)

    Frum is not on board with the strong rallying cry to resist Obama’s march towards socialism. He wants to “tinker around the edges” a la Canadian and British weak-sauce conservatives. Thus, I have no use for him.

    We can get back to ideological purity and “feeling comfortable” once the clear and present danger to our liberties and national character is removed. Depriving Obama of power is the fundamental goal, and all other political considerations run far, far behind.

  • Clark · March 29, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I think that for many of us this idea that we should all unify around “destroy Obama at any cost” seems kind of ludicrous. We have to stand for something not just against Democrats. And that’s why many of us are becoming very, very depressed over what the Republicans are becoming.

  • A-Bax · March 29, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Clark: I hear you, in theory.

    Questions though: a) Are you happy with the substance of the Healthcare bill that was passed? If not, do you think that it maybe got some details wrong, but the overall framework is basically okay?

    b) Are you happy with the process used by the Dems (which yielded not a single opposition vote, and defied strong public opinion against it) to pass the Heathcare bill? If not, are you concerned that this same process might be used to pass an Amnesty bill and a Cap & Tax bill?

    I’m basically trying to get a sense of whether your disapproval of Obama’s actions (if you do indeed disapprove) is mild or strong, and whether it is based on deeply-held principles or mere distaste.

    Thanks.

  • Clark · March 29, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    No I’m not happy with the health care bill. In particular the way mandates is handled creates a very bad free rider situation due to the very, very small penalties. I also think that it didn’t address many of the fundamental problems. And honestly, while I favor health care reform, during the middle of a recession was not the time to pass it.

    That said, the apocalyptic rhetoric coming from far too many Republicans is just silly. Especially as Frum correctly pointed out the bill isn’t that far from what Republicans were proposing not that long ago.

    Regarding the way it was passed, I don’t think it’s a big deal and Republicans will almost certainly use the same maneuvers once we are in the drivers seat. I think there’s more than a little too much hot air there.

    My big complaint with health reform is that it is ultimately a dodge, will in practice really not improve things that much, and will cost too much for what we did get. But it’s more minor disapproval than major. I thought Bush’s prescription plan was far worse, all things considered.

  • A-Bax · March 30, 2010 at 5:58 am

    Clark: Thanks for responding. We’ll have to just disagree about the Healthcare bill, and what it says about Obama and the Dems.

    I’m much more of a “Don’t Tread on Me” sort, and Obana seems to have made it his business to stomp on the public. I suppose November will tell us how most of the country feels about all this. My guess is that the overall disapproval will be more than just minor, but we’ll see.

    Peace.

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