Tuesday, March 23, 2010

David Frum - I'm calling BS

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum has become a bit of a darling among liberals celebrating the new health reform law.  It's all because of this article where Frum declares the health care vote the biggest defeat for the GOP in forty years and how awful it is that the Republicans "allowed" the fringe extreme to control the party and get them here.  He's right of course, but his embrace by liberals is undeserved.

First of all a quick glance at his website, the Frum Forum, tells us that he is no friend to anyone on even the slightly left.  It's chock full of articles by him and others about how awful all of us are.  The health care bill stinks, Obama is not to be trusted, our positions on foreign policy are what they are because we all hate Israel and on and on.  The usual far right crap.  OK, not unexpected - after all, he worked for Dubya.

The case could be made that he isn't a fringe Republican with his journalism credentials, membership in the American Enterprise Institute and that he initially opposed John McCain's pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate.  Of course, to do that you'd have to accept the idea that the Bush administration was mainstream GOP. 

That's where his "regrets' about how the "extreme right" took over the party falls apart.

The problem with that isn't that it isn't true, it's that he doesn't really mean it.  Frum and his ilk loved the crackpots and fruitcakes just a few years back. 

When the people he now decries were calling patriotic people who opposed the Iraq war (that gave him the opportunity to coin the phrase the Axis of EvilAmerica-hating traitors, there was no wringing of hands about extremists coming from Frum.  When groups like the debunked Swift Boaters were smearing John Kerry's military record, Frum's reaction was silent assent.  When delegates to the 2004 Republican Convention wore Purple Heart bandaids to mock Kerry's combat medals on the convention floor, there was no wailing and moaning from Frum about how awful it was that such people had the influence they had on the Republicans.  Had he ever spoken out before now about people like Rush Limbaugh and his clones and how what they were saying on the air was harming the Republican Party?  Not a word.

Nope, Frum thought Rushbo and groups that pre-dated but matched in ideas like the newer Tea Party and anti-choice crazies were just dandy back then.  Of course there is another major difference between then and now - then they were winning and in control of the federal government.  This was going to be the American Right's Thousand Year Reich, assured that they were the vanguards of a permanent Republican majority that would keep the Democratic Party irrelevant and delegated to the political wilderness for generations to come.  Their reaction to 9/11 was going to cement the GOP as the party to be trusted on defense and this would be their chance to finally dismantle FDR's New Deal. 

Now those dreams are in tatters. Conservative ideas that sounded so good to voters in the abstract ended up not working out the way they were supposed to in the real world - in fact, they crapped out big time. Democrats took back control of Congress in 2006 and the nation rejects conservative policies and supports progressive ideas now more than ever. A majority of voters not only increased the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate in 2008 but elected a Democrat President to complete the ousting of the right from power.

The Republican plans to obstruct everything the Democrats wanted to do (so they could claim the Democrats did nothing come election time)  wasn't working out too well either.  They slowed things down, even watered some bills down, but in the end they:

  • Didn't defeat the Stimulus bill.
  • Failed to turn back the nomination of Sonya Sotomayor to the Supreme Court
  • Didn't stop extensions to unemployment
  • Couldn't prevent stem cell research
...and other things they assured their supporters that they would do.

To date - after a year of lies, smears, scare stories, fact twisting - the biggest FAIL was not killing what is now the law of the land:  health care reform.

David Frum didn't write what he wrote because he's "alarmed" at the turn of the Republicans to the misinformed, know-nothing-but-what-FOX-says crackpot right.

Fess up, Frum - you wrote what you wrote because you and your party lost. And that is the only reason.

1 comment:

Jason_M said...

You're right of course. He wrote it because the party lost and has an analysis of why. I'm not sure that silence = assent, but no matter. Interesting to me is that he is among the few Republicans who are willing to make this analysis at this point.