Frum on the make

A few weeks ago, when I pointed out how Canadian immigrant David Frum had vilely betrayed the conservative movement as part of his ongoing devotion to his one and only true commitment, his career, a reader suggested that no, Frum was really being consistent to the Canadian style “conservatism,” (i.e. polite statist liberalism) in which he had grown up. I replied that that didn’t seem plausible, since Frum over the years had taken positions that were very far from Canadian style “conservatism” and serially abandoned all of them—such as the quasi-tough guy paleoconservatism of his first book, Dead Right, his principled-sounding opposition to homosexual marriage, and his tongue-tied flirtation with immigration restriction (in a Zelig-like moment, he even laughably claimed to be a pioneer thinker of the immigration restriction movement). His publishing a cover article last spring in Newsweek in which he smeared Rush Limbaugh, and, by extension, all conservatives, followed by his article in Time, further suggested the real goal of Frum’s “New Majority” makeover of himself—a mainstream career as a media-acceptable “conservative,” as another David Brooks, who, like Frum, is a Toronto-born Jew. (VFR’s pieces on Frum can be seen here.)

And now guess where Frum has arrived. Six months after portraying Rush Limbaugh on the cover of Newsweek as a sweaty demagogue who should shut up and go away, he’s become a regular contributor at CNN, boasting of how excited he is about his new, “global” audience.

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Jeff S. writes:

Have you checked CNN’s ratings lately. This is like jumping on board the Titanic AFTER it struck the iceberg. I guess you could say this move speaks more to motive than it does to judgment, but still …

LA replies:

I didn’t know that. But isn’t that funny. It fits the Frum pattern I’ve written about before, that he’s both an unprincipled opportunist, and a schlemiel with laughably bad judgment, e.g., belatedly signing on to the Giuliani campaign just before it crashed.

Alan M. writes from Canada:

I don’t know if you caught David Frum on the Hugh Hewitt show yesterday. I heard it live and could not believe my ears.

Here is the transcript.

Hugh rightly took exception to an article David wrote and David came back and claimed it was humor (“a goof”) and accused Hugh of being narcissistic by taking it personally.

I no longer have a framework to explain David Frum’s behavior other than what you have put forward on your site.

LA replies:

I just read about half of it, but it’s very long and repetitive and I got the point.

I’m stunned. The article of Frum’s that Hewitt read clearly made it sound as though Hewitt was a hypocrite for supporting conservative third party challenger and spoiler Doug Hoffman in the 23rd NY congressional district, and opposing liberal third party challenger and spoiler Chris Daggett in the New Jersey governor’s race. Frum admits that he has no knowledge that Hewitt has supported Hoffman, yet Frum keeps defending the fact that it doesn’t matter that Hewitt never supported Hoffman, and he also says it doesn’t matter that he can’t name any Republican who has both supported Hoffman and opposed Daggett, and who is thus guilty of the hypocrisy of which Frum accuses Hewitt personally and Republicans generally.

You write: “I no longer have a framework to explain David Frum’s behavior other than what you have put forward on your site.”

Based on what he says in this interview, I think Frum’s problem is worse than anything I’ve previously said about his being an unprincipled opportunist. I think his arguments are so bizarre they could only be made by a person who is mentally disturbed and out of touch with reality. But perhaps the second explanation is just a result of Frum’s extreme case of the first. That is, he’s so set on finding ways to delegitimize conservatives, which is the central thrust of his new career, that he will say anything to discredit them, even things that are flagrantly nonsensical and that discredit himself. It’s his unique combination of being unprincipled and incompetent, with the latter having graduated into mental incompetence.

But career-wise, it doesn’t matter. It will not hurt him in the precincts in which he now works. Now that he’s got a broadcast slot in the MSM, and as an anti-conservative “conservative” no less, it doesn’t matter what crazy and irresponsible things he says. He’s arrived.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 27, 2009 12:15 PM | Send

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