Best Wishes

On Frum's Departure

Bon courage to David Frum, and may conservative "reformers" listen to him.

David Frum is taking a little break from things, he announced on his Beast blog today. You should read his farewell-for-now post, and the five difficult pieces of advice he offers for conservative "reformers," a word that I initially did not surround in irony quote marks, but stared at and thought the phrase looked too unserious to exist without them.

Frum advises these reformers that they need to take climate change seriously, for one thing, and for another, that they do need to the thing I've been writing about and acknowledge that the rage is harmful. David writes:

Dissent too much from party orthodoxy, and you find yourself outside the party altogether. Still … conservative reformers should admit, if only to themselves, the harm that has been done by the politics of total war over the past five years. Now Republicans are working themselves into a frenzy that will paralyze Congress for the next 18 months at least, and could well lead to an impeachment crisis. As it becomes clear that the IRS story is an agency scandal, not a White House scandal, conservative reformers need to be ready to do their part to apply the brakes and turn the steering wheel. There will be a Republican president again someday, and that president will need American political institutions to work. Republicans also lose as those institutions degenerate.

My one disagreement with Frum here would be over the phrase "if only to themselves." What good does that do? I would imagine that these men do admit all this to themselves. I would hope so. That's actually an interesting question. But the point is to write about it or say about if they believe it. I wonder how many Republican reformers believe the IRS scandal is an agency scandal.

Anyway Frum will be badly missed. I have very little doubt that history will look upon his criticisms of today's GOP in a favorable light. I hope he gets back in the scrum soon and has some useful r & r until then.