Thursday, March 25, 2010

In Which I Respond to Jay Nordlinger's Defense Of David Frum

David Frum is a conservative thinker for whom I have long had respect. He's cut out of the Bill Kristol/David Brooks mold of intellectual thinkers, and he's got a wide-ranging field of view. And today, he was fired from his position at the American Enterprise Institute. Some say it was retribution for a weekend blogpost entitled "Waterloo" in which he takes the Republican Party to task for its intransigence in the healthcare battle, and warns of consequences to be paid.

In The Corner, National Review's irreplaceable blog, the irreplaceable Jay Nordlinger (along with Mona Charen) write posts in defense of David Frum. They cite his long history of conservative thinking, his service in the Bush Administration, and his general bonhomie. I take a backseat to no one in my judgment of Jay Nordlinger's good judgment (and bonhomie for that matter), but Frum's offense here isn't one of history--it's one of incredibly bad analysis. Read the Waterloo blog entry again--and then ask yourself if it comports with your memory of recent history. President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid never considered Republican support of any real importance--why? Because as Frum aptly put it--they didn't need it. Frum's assertion that Obama "badly" wanted Republican support is zany--he badly wanted Republican support for Democratic ideas. It wasn't just Rush and Beck who were complaining that Republican ideas were being left out of early proposals--it was the ADULTS in the Republican party. There were serious, serious policy differences between Republicans and Democrats. That Frum can now point to a bill that he believes is insubstantially different than past Republican ideas is a direct RESULT of the kind of insurgent movement among Republicans and others that Frum now seems to rail against. Without it, we would have a far different bill. And let's also not forget--it was SPLITS IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY that kept the fight going as long as it did--these were splits largely aided and abetted by people more in line with what Republicans were thinking.

Do I think this bad analysis was a firing offense? No. Do I think his body of work is defensible? Absolutely. Do I think this blog entry was? Absolutely not.


Bill said...

1. I agree with him that there is no way this bill will be repealed. The GOP is not going to win any Veto overriding majority in November.
2. Whether negotiating with the Dems would have helped is a good question. What would have been better would have been to repeatedly invite Pres. Obama to meet with them in public to discuss GOP ideas. The Dems shut them out of their discussions and then the President just beat them up as the party of "no" and did a damn good job of it.
3. Going back to #2 the GOP waited far too long to put forth their ideas for health care reform. If they had simply stated no recision, high risk pool for pre-existing conditions for adults, no pre-existing condition prohibition for children and then got into cost control they would have had a plan many would swallow. Instead they looked crass and mean. The average voter is not that bright and easily swayed but they don't want to be associated with "mean baby hating politicians."

Anonymous said...


Phil A. O'Physh said...

Anon - Yes, repond. Apparently the new fish is just a tad more uppity than the previous fish and doesn't think the pond he inherited is quite up to his standards. He's really been on CW's case for weeks with incessant: "Re-Pond!! Re-Pond!! Re-Pond!!" You can hardly blame CW for the Freudian, or is it Pavlovian, slip. Unless you hold him entirely responsible for bringing this priminnow donna into our midst.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Spellcheck does not apply to the titles....I will try to be more careful.

Hey Kool-Aid! said...

Fine, you see the world differently through you own lens. I hope that you recognize that you, too, are subject to the errors of confirmation bias. Counterfactuals are counterproductive. MURDER is indefensible. Having a different view of how the present might have turned out isn't. It isn't as if he said 2 + 2 = 5.
Can you identify major changes that were made because of GOP intransigence or were those changes made to entice Democratic holdouts over to the, ultimately, winning side?

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