Steyn the joking defeatist; Frum the conservative strategist
Count on Mark Steyn to declare premature defeat. Just as he’s said a hundred times, in a hundred different ways, that there’s nothing for the West to do but accept Islamization, now he’s speaking as if the GOP nomination fight is over and there’s nothing to do but resign ourselves to what he sees as the miserable choice between McCain and Hillary. Amazingly, Steyn in this column not only fails to mention the possibility of supporting Romney in order to stop McCain, he doesn’t even mention Romney’s name—just he has never mentioned the possibility of stopping or reducing Muslim immigration into the West, even as he jokingly bemoans the Islamization of the West.
However, while Steyn is the last person in the world you’d want to be in a foxhole with, since instead of fighting the enemy he’d be making jokes about surrendering to the enemy, his column does have some salutary honesty about his neoconservative colleagues and their foolish support for Giuliani, with particular attention on David Frum:
Yet Sen. Edwards can’t even claim the consolation prize of Most Inept Candidate of 2008. The Rudy Giuliani campaign went from national front-runner to total collapse so spectacularly that they’ll be teaching it in Candidate School as a cautionary tale for decades to come. As each state’s date with destiny loomed, Giuliani retreated, declining to compete in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina. “America’s Mayor” turned out to be Hizzoner of a phantom jurisdiction—a national front-runner but a single-digit asterisk in any state where any actual voters were actually voting.Steyn sure has nailed David Frum’s political judgment. How reliable can a book on political strategy be that is called “Conservatism That Can Win Again,” when its author endorsed and joined the campaign of a candidate who ended up winning one delegate? As someone said last week with regard to the collapse of the Giuliani campaign, everything the neocons touch turns to ashes. Yet they never learn from their mistakes, they just go on to the next disaster.
It’s like John Podhoretz in 2000, declaring after George W. Bush won the Iowa primary, that the race was over, that Bush was the nominee; and then, when McCain crushed Bush in New Hampshire a week later, Podhoretz declared with equal assurance that the race was over, McCain would be the nominee. The spectacular discrediting of his sweeping prediction after Iowa did not prevent him from making an equally sweeping—and wrong—prediction a week later.
But the chronic cluelessness of the immature and clownish Podhoretz doesn’t count next to that of the more intelligent Frum. As Amazon commenter Theodore A. Rushton points out about Frum’s new book, “Comeback: Conservatism that Can Win Again”:
It’s hard to understand the premise of this book. After seven years of the George W. Bush presidency, why is a “comeback” needed to create a “conservatism that can win again”?To restate and expand on Rushton’s point, if conservatism is in such bad shape now, after seven years of President Bush, that it needs to “come back,” isn’t Frum saying that conservatism needs to “come back” from the very direction and leadership that Frum himself recommended for it when he called Bush the “right man”? If Frum was so wrong five years ago about what was good for conservatism, why should we give the slightest credence to his latest prescriptions for conservatism?
And this is even more the case if he has not admitted that he was wrong about Bush.
James P. writes:
You write:LA replies:
“A guy who wrote a book on how conservatives can win wound up endorsing and working for a liberal loser.”A reader writes:
Good. I disagree that the McCain ascendency is because the war is still a big issue, as Ledeen is cited saying in the article. McCain’s becoming front-runner had everything to do with name recognition, the name recognition that the conservatives might have helped come to Romney if they had not considered themselves too good to support him.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 02, 2008 12:21 PM | Send