March 10, 2009

David Frum: apologize

In the previous focus of the Obama administration playground spat with Rush Limbaugh, I'd looked at why I thought the short-term gain for President Obama would give way to long term loss and long term gain for Republicans, and for Rush. Obviously it will take time for that to be borne out. It's a lot easier to gauge the short term gain. It seems the Republican party and conservatives will never be immune to Keystone Cops moments, the most recent blunder being the David Frum Newsweek hit on Rush.

For shame Mr. Frum. You've played right into the short term benefit of the Democrats - not only do you provide a distraction from the real issues, you sew discord within the conservative ranks. Every word fired in anger at another conservative is a moment wasted that could have been used to fire at the debacle of economic malaise (that's right - I said it), that has began to settle in over the Obama economy.

David Frum spends a paragraph at the beginning of his Newsweek article trying to prove his conservative bona fides. He even uses the phrase. And the list is impressive. But David Frum you are wrong on this and you have managed to squander in a single article all the bona fides you listed.

Rush is not assuming the mantle of leadership - he's simply outlining his positions on issues, most of which, if not all, are deeply rooted in conservatism. The fact that you find him bombastic in style is of NO consequence. Not everyone has a Canadian's temperament. And to say that he is not the face of conservatism belies the fact that his accomplishments for conservatism far outweigh your own.

Further, Mr. Frum, you state;
Rush knows what he is doing. The worse conservatives do, the more important Rush
becomes as leader of the ardent remnant. The better conservatives succeed, the
more we become a broad national governing coalition, the more Rush will be

Isn't that exactly what you are trying for your own relevance to do by bombastically disparaging Rush?

Really Mr. Frum, you owe Rush, and all conservatives an apology. Rush is not your enemy. Know your enemy. It is the liberal press, the liberal leadership, and liberal institutions. Use your knowledge to fight the real enemy. Otherwise, don't waste your breath.


  1. I wouldn't completely throw Mr. Frum under the bus. He makes a couple good points about how the party needs to respond with conservative solutions to the problems of the day. That's not a controversial statement at all. That's politics. The modern republican party will die if it continues the same political strategy that made Reagan successful because 2008 is not 1980 or 1984. Nixon used a strategy of appealing to middle America that got him elected (along with crime, of course)-that had conservative roots (I realize Nixon was not the most conservative guy out there but you get my point). The reality is that David Frum and Newt Gingrich are spot on in this regard. Holding on to past political strategies will only lead to the party treading water. Second, Frum makes an important distinction between making Limbaugh a face for the movement and a thinker who fights for conservative principles. I was thinking the same thing after I watched his speech at CPAC. Rush is the man behind a microphone helping the conservative cause but he is a failure our in front of the camera for the reasons Frum mentioned in his article. If the left is successful in painting him as the leader of our party, we are screwed because everyone who isn’t a base conservative does not like him. The reality is that we have to work together. The Frums, Limbaughs, Hannitys, Gingrichs, etc are all in the same boat and need to realize that each plays a unique special role to the cause. Domination by one perspective would doom the entire movement. With that being said, there is a strong attempt by the conservative base of the Republican party to completely shut out new tactics to make our cause successful in the future. If successful, our ideas and our party will fail.

  2. Thoughtful commentary Matt, thank you. I agree with the Big Tent philosophy, but I disagree with watering down core conservatism to achieve that goal. You need to educate and bring others into the light of understanding instead. Reagan's conservatism was based on core principles - it was applied to the issues of the day. The same can be done now.

    As for Rush, I'd argue that if you take him out of context you have a point. But i think the ploy will ultimately backfire on the Democrats:


Disagreement is always welcome. Please remain civil. Vulgar or disrespectful comments towards anyone will be removed.

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