Frum’s delusional take
David Frum argues (here is Free Republic discussion) that if we’d ignored Rush Limbaugh and other voices of the far right and sat down and negotiated with the Democrats, we could have improved the health care bill before it passed.
Frum notes how much stronger the left wing of the Democratic Party is in Congress, compared to when Clinton tried to pass HillaryCare, and also notes that Obama won by 53 percent of the vote. But he totally ignores why that happened. It happened because under George W. Bush the GOP moved to the left, culminating in the nomination of John McCain in 2008, the least conservative GOP nominee since Wendell Wilkie.
The “progressives” in the Democratic Party are so powerful today because every time the GOP moves to the center to work with them, they (the leftists) take it as another opportunity to lurch further leftward. The GOP once objected to federal control of public education. By the time W took office, they had thrown in the towel, Frum-style, on this issue. They teamed up with Ted Kennedy to pass No Child left Behind. The left noted the capitulation and decided it was time to push further left somewhere else, such as health care.
When this type of capitulation happens, the voters decide there’s no real difference between the parties and the Dems rise again. The great GOP victories in recent decades have all been when it’s very clear to the voters that the Dems are left-wing and the GOP right-wing, as in 1972, 1980, and 1994.
So it’s Frumism, which we can describe as compromise with the Dems on domestic policy, spreading liberalism worldwide through U.S. foreign policy, and open borders flooding the country with millions of new Democrat voters, that led to passage of ObamaCare, which Frum calls the GOP Waterloo.
Can the man really be this clueless?
The article is delusional—and the delusion is driven by Frum’s current operative paradigm which is that conservatism is the source of all ills. He says that Republicans turned down the chance to work on a compromise health care bill. But from the start the Democrats were set on a radical health care bill. The reason there was no bipartisanship was not that Democrats were reasonable and Republicans were radical; it was that Democrats were radical and in possession of unchallengeable majorities and set on getting what they wanted, and so there was nothing for the Republicans to do but go into opposition.
Frum’s constant self-repositionings over the years, driven partly by opportunism, partly by liberal belief, finally took him to a place which makes no sense at all. He started out as a conservative and made his career as one. But inside he was never one, and in fact was deeply uncomfortable with conservatism. So kept picking up conservative positions and then dropping them and endorsing the opposite position. Then he took the final leap after the 2008 election and began attacking conservatism itself, as epitomized by his Newsweek cover article attacking Rush Limbaugh and mainstream conservatives as extremists. In developing and justifying his new anti-conservative position, he had to tell lies so big that he lost the ability to tell the truth.
See VFR on David Frum: a collection, in particular the October 2009 entry, “Frum on the make,” concerning bizarre charges he makes against other conservatives in an interview with Hugh Hewitt. In that entry I wrote:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 22, 2010 11:50 AM | Send
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.