David Frum


It's Not You, Mitt, It's Your Message, ctd.

Friedersdorf calls an Erick Erickson post "utterly predictable hackery" (it is) while providing a better way of thinking about how we define "elite" conservatives.

An unacknowledged dividing line between "elitist Republicans" and true conservatives, as Erickson defines them, seems to be that the former are unwilling to engage in hackery while the latter are eager to do so. For him, "elitism" effectively means putting intellectual honesty before partisan shilling.

On that subject, I generally disagree with Matt Lewis' feelings on punditry (disclosure: I worked for Matt this summer -- and he's a great guy), where he describes as a "schtick" much of the current argument within movement conservatism. I see how this may apply for some new arrivals, but figures like Brooks, Noonan, et. al. have been part of the conservative movement for decades.They are deeply invested in seeing conservatives winning and governing in a way that benefits our country, and if they're warning the current iteration won't do that, why wouldn't we listen to their advice?

This dovetails nicely with David's post from yesterday, where he described Romney's nomination as the invevitable result of a weak Republican field.

And why that weakness? Because we have a national movement (Tea Party) devoted to rooting out people (Rhinos!) who were ready and willing to govern, rather than merely existing as a protest movement against government. For all the talk about how Chris Christie or Mitch Daniels would have been great candidates, there's no way they'd have succeeded in this year's primary.