by Karen Kwiatkowski
Recently by Karen Kwiatkowski: We Are What We Watch
To be fair, the American Enterprise Institute apparently offered to keep him on in a non-paid capacity. My first thought was "You mean they were paying him?"
I don't mean to be unsympathetic. After all, David Frum has had to put up with a lot. First, he is Canadian. And you know what his fellow conservatives tend to say about Canadians, behind closed doors and, on the front pages too. And then, Frum got let go as a Bush speechwriter, after his wife let it be known that it was her fuzzy little Frumster who created that memorable bit of Amurcan warspeak "Axis of Evil."
This is old news, of course, and should have no bearing on David's outstanding work at AEI, including the writing of several books. Although, it would appear from the titles and the dates, what David Frum believes, and what David Frum predicts is a good indicator of what isn't true, and what isn't going to happen.
For example, after leaving the White House, he wrote a lovingly crafted novella entitled The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush about how George W. Bush was both uh… a surprise and er…. right for the job. Next, in 2004 he co-wrote a peachy little book justifying American wars in the Middle East and advocating more of them, with another AEI neoconman Richard Perle. An End to Evil called for a quick end to other people's evil through the glorious virtues of American military might, economic intimidation, and intelligence manipulations. Not surprisingly, and sadly undercutting the Perle/Frum thesis, by 2004, the collapse of American military might, as well as the U.S. ability to economically intimidate and even to manipulate intelligence was widely apparent to most Canadians, as well as the populations of the Middle East and everywhere else on the planet.
Frum has been an eminent flack for both the National Review and AEI for most of the century, although neither organization could be legitimately accused of reporting, analysis or introspection relating to conservatism or American enterprise. Frum's 2008 book Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again was kind of a flop. I haven't read the book, but it seems as if he advocated conservative politicians to chase the tail of the dog to get votes. Well, that's certainly politics as usual.
Frum wrote Comeback after a short-lived stint as Rudy Giuliani's senior foreign policy advisor. Rudy Giuliani? Who dat?
It is certainly no tragedy that Frum is gone from both National Review and the AEI. Who cares, really? But I do think that David Frum as iconic political commentator and advocate of "the way things ought to be" is something worth considering, now that he is in the news briefly, and has lost part of his media platform.
First, he was always way out of his league as a solid idea guy. The only time he got a book right was apparently in 1994, with "Dead Right." One needs read no more than the title, because it is this one prediction, unwittingly, that Frum gauged correctly. The modern Right, standing like a stout Prussian soldier for warfare-welfare statism is a dead party walking — dead broke, bereft of ideas, and stark naked in its hypocrisy.
Out of his league — but the right man, the popular man to bring forward the U.S. mainstream war and centralization of state power message over the past decade. Frum was — and may continue to be — a blinking "check engine" warning to analysts of the state.
Curiously, Frum also wrote a book — which today the marketplace values more than Comeback — about the 1970s. I was intrigued — what a crock of crap, I thought! I grew up in the 70s, and I always thought of it as a deservedly lost decade in terms of American history, culture, impact, you name it. Obviously, I could be wrong. But Frum's careful reading of that decade makes it EVEN more important than the 1960s, if you can believe that!
As recently as 2007, just as most wise Americans were seriously looking for bug-out locations, offshoring their resources and their lives, and watching HGTV's Househunters International, Frum becomes an American citizen. This is exactly what I am talking about — he means well, but he so continually gets it wrong. Which is probably what he was told at his AEI exit luncheon earlier this week.
The ostensible reason that Frum is in the news today is his assessment of the GOP "mistake" of opposing Obamacare — and his prediction that there will be no repeal of the legislation, even with a GOP majority in the Congress in 2011. This week, one more bill was made law by our masters in Washington. Americans have suffered one more thousand-page rape, and Frum's advice is to "lie back and enjoy it." So speaks the state, and its pimps.
As DC goes broke, attempts to tighten the screws of extraction, and steals the remainder through the printing press, my political reaction is less David Frum "go along to get along," and more along the lines of the late Farrah Fawcett's performance in Extremities.
My mother always said, "If you can't say anything nice, …." Clearly, I don't follow her advice very often, but I will this once. One good thing about David Frum? His father's name was Murray.
March 27, 2010
LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for MilitaryWeek.com, hosts the call-in radio show American Forum, and blogs occasionally for Huffingtonpost.com and Liberty and Power. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here.
Copyright © 2010 Karen Kwiatkowski