Frum: History Began When I Decided to Remake Conservatism in My Image
posted at 2:15 pm on July 28, 2009 by Slublog
In May, while criticizing Rush Limbaugh, David Frum wrote “nobody as central to the left as Limbaugh is central to the right – ever accused either President Bush or Vice President Cheney of wishing to do harm to America.” He was wrong. At the time, I said Frum was either unable to use Google, or “he’s immune to evidence that contradicts his hyperbole.”
Although I’m not generally a fan of David Frum’s writing, I thought his “Quit Whining” essay made some good points on the progress of liberty in the US and around the world since 1975. Although the essay contained some of the hyperbole typical of Frum’s writing, it was a good reminder that not all is lost.
But then Frum published part 2, in which he once again ignores any recent political history that threatens to undermine his ability to lecture the rest of us from his lofty post.
The extremity of conservative pessimism attacks the foundational rules of the American political game. Since 1865, the United States has enjoyed amazing political stability. Americans have achieved this stability via tried and tested rules of the road, including the unquestioning acceptance of election results, an acknowledgement of the basic good faith of the other political party, and an absolute acceptance that people of all points of view are committed to the shared constitutional system.
As is his habit, Frum places the blame for political instability on conservatives. Also, with no sense of apparent irony, Frum outlines what he thinks makes this country’s political system so stable while refusing to even acknowledge what the opposition did for eight years to undermine that stability. I’m not suggesting we copy the left’s playbook, but think it’s unfair for Frum to pretend conservative pessimism is a level of villainy never before seen on the political stage.
…the unquestioning acceptance of election results…
I don’t even know where to start with this one. This seems like a good place.
The protests by the Congressional Black Caucus in 2001 seem like less than ‘unquestioning acceptance’ of the 2000 election results to me.
an acknowledgment of the basic good faith of the other political party, and an absolute acceptance that people of all points of view are committed to the shared constitutional system
“What we have now, however, is the result of decisions taken by a President and an administration for whom the best law is NO law, so long as law threatens to constrain their political will. And where the constraints of law cannot be prevented or eliminated, then they maneuver it to be weakened by evasion, by delay, by hair-splitting, by obstruction, and by failure to enforce on the part of those sworn to uphold the law.” – Al Gore.
If Frum had stopped there, he’d only be guilty of omitting inconvenient history. But no, the promotion of a ‘conservatism that can win again’ demands nothing less than a full-throated defense of the current administration:
As wrong and harmful as the Obama administration’s plans are, the administration is playing by the rules of the game. To agitate people into thinking otherwise is to corrode the foundations of the American constitutional regime.
Is Obama really playing by the rules of the game? There are legitimate criticisms to be made of this administration’s approach to politics. At the risk of shaking the very foundations of our republic:
The Chrysler bankruptcy agreement.
The appointment of un-accountable czars.
The ongoing IG scandal.
The firing of a private company’s CEO.
The suggestion that the president can bypass the senate on treaty ratification.
Surely our democracy can survive the horror that is conservatives asking whether some of these actions are legal or the proper role of a president. After all, we survived eight years of criticism from liberals before this. Why is asking valid questions suddenly off-limits?
Really, though, all you need to know about Frum’s essay is summed up with this sentence:
We should also have more charity to our political opponents – who after all are contending with hideous problems bequeathed to them by … by … well suddenly we Republicans cannot seem to remember who preceded Barack Obama in office.
Here’s a free piece of advice for Mr. Frum: if you’re serious about remaking conservatism, it’s best not to use Obama’s talking points against conservatives. Just a thought.
This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.
Breaking on Hot Air