Green Room

David Frum’s missed opportunity

posted at 12:49 pm on March 23, 2010 by

I love David Frum. Not for his views on how conservatism should change, since his writings lately seem to consist of nothing more than finding new and interesting ways to criticize Rush Limbaugh while pretending to stay above the fray. My affection is based entirely on the fact that he’s given me so much material over the years. One of those posts was my first ‘promotion’ to the main page at Hot Air, so…thanks Dave!

So naturally, I couldn’t resist commenting on his latest bit of nuance. On Sunday, when the health care bill passed in the House, Frum decided that there was only one person to blame: Rush Limbaugh. His nefarious motive? There were beds to sell:

When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

Of course, Frum has to ignore the fact that since 1988, Limbaugh has been making these arguments pretty consistently and Republicans have had some rather significant victories between then and now. Frum doesn’t stop at making a nonsensical argument, though. He tosses in a gratuitous insult for good measure, accusing Limbaugh of wanting the GOP to fail so can make us more angry which will increase the radio show’s ratings and allow Rush to sell more ads for Sleepnumber beds.

Frum’s insulting implication is that Rush doesn’t really believe what he’s saying, and that Limbaugh is only ratcheting up the rhetoric to increase his own personal wealth. It’s a remarkably nasty knock on Rush from a guy who only a few paragraphs before was urging moderation in political discourse.

Fast forward to today. The Wall St. Journal zings Frum, saying he “now makes his living as the media’s go-to basher of fellow Republicans, which is a stock Beltway role.” Frum’s response: how dare you accuse me of selling my views!

I do want to answer, finally, the Journal’s ugly personal remark. I worked on the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page for three years. Through much of that time, one of my duties was to see into print the column written by Paul Gigot, now the paper’s editor. We know each other pretty well. Paul cannot seriously believe that my views are for sale. But if he did believe it, surely he’d credit me with the acuity to know where the highest price is paid: and that it’s not where I’ve raised my flag.

What’s most amazing to me is how effortlessly Frum jumps from accusing Limbaugh of selling his views to being outraged at having the same accusation made of him. A more self-aware writer would acknowledge that the WSJ accusations made him realize how insulting his previous rhetoric was toward Limbaugh. Such an acknowledgment would have been a classy move that might have ever-so-slightly decreased some of the antagonism between him and more conservative commentators.

Like the headline says, it was a missed opportunity, but at least we know now he’s a fan of Emerson.

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

So, Frum is a hypocrite? Shocker of the century. Show me an Obama apologist who isn’t.

Kataklysmic on March 23, 2010 at 1:35 PM

So basically Frum is arguing that the GOP should work with the Dems to only go slower with the growth of government. How about arguing instead for the GOP to challenge the Dems to decrease the control of government over the citizens. A “well it’s not as bad as it could have been, glad we compromised” view is the same as “not sucking as much as the other side.”

It’s called individual liberty, Frum.

rbj on March 23, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Frum Here to Stupidity.

JammieWearingFool on March 23, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Not hypocrite.

Worse. He was never a conservative at all.

faraway on March 23, 2010 at 1:44 PM

It isn’t so much hypocrisy as it is narcissistic elitism. He assumes he is better than Rush.

SurferDoc on March 23, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Frum suffers from a similar condition that the ‘One’ suffers from…narcissism

He fancies himself to be one of the intellectuals that are looking down at the masses and receiving their adoration for giving them direction. If the Republicans had followed his advice they country would already be a Banana Republic.

No thanks, I can decide for myself…I don’t need Frum.

Other than that, good rticle.

belad on March 23, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Frum has gone from being a douchebag to being an enema nozzle.

single stack on March 23, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Frum doesn’t stop at making a nonsensical argument, though.

That’s because making nonsensical arguments is in his nature.

Physics Geek on March 23, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Frum is a mindless jackass.

d1carter on March 23, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Frum’s main goal in life is to be King of the Pundits within the Republican Party hierarchy, much in the same way a decade ago Arianna Huffington was trying to turn herself into the Queen of the Power Brokers for the GOP, before she realized that nobody on the right was bowing to her and she discovered she could fool celebs like Warren Beatty easier, as long as she supported a few of his pet concerns.

David wouldn’t get anywhere trying to become Lord High Poobah of the Liberal Pundits — there are way too many ahead of him in line for that to ever happen — but he does believe that by trashing everyone who doesn’t see things his way, he can somehow forge a program around Frum’s strategerie that won’t be demonized by the Democrats and the big media. Of course, to believe this is to believe the Dems and the media weren’t going after their former BFF Republican, John McCain, way before he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, and that even if the GOP was daft enough to follow David’s advice Frum himself wouldn’t end up with the same big media image Limbaugh has today. But Frum’s ego won’t let him see the obvious.

jon1979 on March 23, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Frum was a flack for the ‘compassionate conservative’ nonsense under Bush. He still can’t figure out why it flopped.

He was a scribbler for the most inept communicator ever to hold the White House, for an administration whose inability to defend even the most basic and straightforward of policies was directly responsible for that which is Obama.

Now he works to expiate his part in that mess by flogging Compassionate Conservatism Part Deux ever harder.

JEM on March 23, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Frum is looking for a promotion to Chairman (no, Chairperson) of Comrade Zero’s Board of Useful Idiots.

Cicero43 on March 23, 2010 at 1:54 PM

You’d be bitter too if you had to face this every day…

Knott Buyinit on March 23, 2010 at 1:57 PM

I do want to answer, finally, the Journal’s ugly personal remark.

Hey, Frum, the WSJ is just one of many others who are paying you back for the nasty slime shot you threw at Robert Novak in 2003.

When will you get it, backstabber Frum? This is no time to “get the best deal you can.” The Republicans did their base and themselves the greatest favor ever by saying NO TO OBAMACARE, and it’s rather whiny of you to complain you’re not getting your bipartisan crumbs thrown your way.

BradSchwartze on March 23, 2010 at 2:01 PM

I love David Frum. Not for his views on how conservatism should change ….

You lost me half way through the second sentence. Frum is not now, nor has he ever been, a conservative. Like fellow Canadian David Brooks, Frum is nothing more than a well-paid sock puppet for his liberal masters.

He spends just as much time bashing Sarah Palin or any true conservative as he does Rush Limbaugh. With his “New Majority” (renamed the “Frum Forum”), he hoped to make a major impact in the Republican party. To date his site has been pretty much ignored (except at HA) and has become a home for losers like Bruce Bartlett.

bw222 on March 23, 2010 at 2:19 PM

I do want to answer, finally, the Journal’s ugly personal remark.

It’s not funny when someone does it to me!!

MamaAJ on March 23, 2010 at 2:22 PM

The point that Frum is pushing, which plays so nicely into what a lot of the left-press is pushing, is the GOP should have lined up at Pelosi’s feet and taken whatever crumbs she offered.

She wasn’t offering anything more than “you’ll drop your trousers, you’ll bend over and grip your ankles, and when we’re done you’ll smile and say ‘thank you’.”

It wouldn’t have made any substantive difference in the final result if the GOP had been willing to play along with Miss Nancy’s Prison Shower Scene, except that the GOP would share ownership of the fiscal mess that spins from this bill.

Perhaps the GOP’s learned one thing from the Dems’ behavior regarding the Iraq war: if you want credibly to challenge a policy, you’ve got to start on day one.

JEM on March 23, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Frum who? Didn’t he cheat on his wife, then try to commit suicide by ramming his wagon into a tree?

Tim Burton on March 23, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Hmmm.

Frum’s a non-entity.

memomachine on March 23, 2010 at 2:37 PM

Definition of “Frumpy”: a melon headed, bitter RINO that refers to himself as a conservative since he masturbates, in private, while watching BO DVD’s.

David in ATL on March 23, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Frum is a liability.
My sleep number is 55. The wife is 35.

chicagotrauma on March 23, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Do we really need all the “go to, willing to bash other conservatives” pundits we have? Shouldn’t there be some way of disowning some of them as Conservatives? Why should there be more than one to make the rounds of MSNBC, CNN and one for the regular networks.

katiejane on March 23, 2010 at 3:05 PM

I love David Frum. Not for his views on how conservatism should change ….

You lost me half way through the second sentence. Frum is not now, nor has he ever been, a conservative.

bw222 on March 23, 2010 at 2:19 PM

He didn’t say that Frum was a conservative. He said that Frum has ideas on how conservatives should change.

Do you get the difference?

MarkTheGreat on March 23, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Do we really need all the “go to, willing to bash other conservatives” pundits we have?

katiejane on March 23, 2010 at 3:05 PM

We aren’t bashing conservative pundits. We’re bashing Frum.

MarkTheGreat on March 23, 2010 at 3:38 PM

I know who Rush is but just who is Frum?

Herb on March 23, 2010 at 3:42 PM

What’s most amazing to me is how effortlessly Frum jumps from accusing Limbaugh of selling his views to being outraged at having the same accusation made of him.

Pretty unsurprising, coming from a guy who constantly complains about “purists” trying to read people out of the GOP, while trying to…read people like Rush out of the GOP.

Mike H on March 23, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Frum really has become a very willing stooge for the left.

He’s joined Sullivan on the “Why do we bother with this guy?” list.

BD57 on March 27, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Frum’s insulting implication is that Rush doesn’t really believe what he’s saying, and that Limbaugh is only ratcheting up the rhetoric to increase his own personal wealth.

Not to mention that Limbaugh became so wealthy so long ago that if he were in it for the money only he would have quit more than ten years back.

JDPerren on March 28, 2010 at 5:42 PM

Addendum: I doubt Frum believes half the garbage he spouts. Like any smart Progressive, there’s no way he could not know that half of it is patently, and obviously, false. But, he does delight in the attention gained from being a provocateur. Sounds like a classic case of projection.

JDPerren on March 28, 2010 at 5:44 PM