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April 28, 2009

David Frum: See, I Told You So

DrewM. snarked that Frum had emailed to say "the heart of true conservatism is now dead." (Snark, guys.)

But his snark was prescient, because Frum does kinda-sorta say that. A little.

f the Democrats do succeed in pushing through national health insurance, they really should set aside a little extra money to erect a statue to Pat Toomey. They couldn’t have done it without him!

Pat Toomey is of course the former president of the Club for Growth who planned to challenge Arlen Specter in the 2010 Pennsylvania Republican primary. Polls showed Toomey well ahead – not because he is so hugely popular in the state, but because the Pennsylvania GOP has shriveled to a small, ideologically intense core. Toomey now looks likely to gain the nomination he has sought – and then to be crushed by Specter or some other Democrat next November.

The Specter defection is too severe a catastrophe to qualify as a “wake-up call.” His defection is the thing we needed the wake-up call to warn us against! For a long time, the loudest and most powerful voices in the conservative world have told us that people like Specter aren’t real Republicans – that they don’t belong in the party. Now he’s gone, and with him the last Republican leverage within any of the elected branches of government.

For years, many in the conservative world have wished for an ideologically purer GOP. Their wish has been granted. Happy?

Ah. Toomey is the bad guy, and Club for Growth too, for, you know, challenging a politician who didn't represent their views.

Frum's position is odd. I don't claim to know exactly what he thinks -- I really don't care, to be honest -- but I know that many of these Obamacans and "moderates" claim the following: We must jettison our angry, ugly social-con monsters in order to focus on what really matters, which is sound economic policy.

But Arlen Specter wasn't merely a social liberal -- he also turned out to be an economic liberal, too. He was indispensable in getting Obama's Spendulus passed. And note that the choice here was not binary, as on immigration, up or down. Almost every Republican wanted a stimulus too, but a "targeted" and "temporary" one, one that didn't grow the federal government years and decades down the road.

If Arlen Specter had voted with Republicans to continue debate, Obama and Nancy Pelosi would have been forced back to the negotiating table to bargain for a more sensible and affordable (and fiscally responsible) stimulus. Which, in turn, would have passed.

Instead Specter cast his vote for full-fledged tax-and-spend budget-busting liberalism. Actually I don't know if liberalism is the right word -- we've seen liberalism in the past, and it's never looked so ruinously irresponsible before. This is some sort of mutated, insane liberalism -- like the Reavers in Firefly. Liberals went all the way to the edge of the 'Verse and went crazy staring into the void.

And now Frum castigates conservatives for daring to challenge Arlen Specter, demanding that a "place of honor" be carved out for such people.

Well, see if you can follow me on this, Davey: If he a social liberal, and he's also a fiscal liberal, and if he opposes conservative judges too, I'm sorry, why are we doing the Democrats' job for them by electing a liberal Democrat as Senator? Shouldn't they carry that burden themselves?

Frum is big on labels. To him it doesn't matter how liberal a senator might be, so long as he is nominally a Republican.

JackM wrote this in an email:

If the GOP had any balls, they would tell everyone else who straddles the line (I'm looking at you Maine gals) to play ball or leave. The votes don't matter now, so it's a good time to clean house.

It will be interesting to see how the Dems treat Specter in terms of honoring his seniority. He may end up as a committee chairman as part of this deal, either now or in 2010, and bump other Dems in good standing out of the way.

I think that's about right. The thing we feared -- and the thing we'd hoped to avoid by following Frumian logic -- has now come to pass. There may have been good arguments for purity vs. pragmatism before, but it seems that decision has been made for us. Purity it is.

Voters have a lot of brand-confusion about what Republicans (and conservatives) stand for. As our product isn't selling right now, perhaps it's time to clear that confusion up and re-enter the market with a strong brand identity.

Oh... Olympia Snowe and Lindsey Graham also bash conservatives and the Club for Growth for driving out poor dear Arlen Specter.

Links swiped from Hot Air.

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posted by Ace at 02:07 PM

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