David Frum Vs. The Liberal Media
As Peter Hart of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting noticed, Newsweek, liberal rag that it is, has now subjected its readership to not one but two essays on the virtues of President Obama by fire-breathing socialists. The first was from self-avowed dyed-in-the-wool Leftist Andrew Sullivan who, like the unrepentant Trotskyite that he is, spent much of his piece assailing the President’s left-of-center critics for not understanding how stupid they are for wanting him to propose, advocate, and implement Left-wing — rather than centrist — initiatives. It is in his tut-tutting of liberals for wanting the left-of-center President to be more Left-wing that Sullivan reveals the immovable Leftism of the mainstream media.
Thankfully, at some point someone at Newsweek must’ve locked editor Tina Brown into her office, because the latest issue has a thorough take-down-cum-response from Andrew Sullivan’s polar opposite: David Frum. Unlike Andrew Sullivan, who was once a boisterous defender of George W. Bush before finding himself utterly alienated from the GOP, David Frum is a former speechwriter for George W. Bush who has since found himself utterly alienated from the GOP. And while Sullivan has skeletons in his closet from his writings over the past decade — most infamously when he implied that Left-wing opponents of invading Iraq were de facto traitors — David Frum is the man behind Bush’s famous “Axis-of-Evil.”
I draw the clear distinction in order to emphasize that one should not judge Frum’s rebuttal to Sullivan too harshly, understanding that he is indeed a modern Daniel in the most harrowing and dangerous lion’s den of our time. So if you happen to notice that Frum never even attempts to engage with the specifics of Sullivan’s piece — and obliquely concedes throughout that the many fish in Andrew’s barrel are bullet-ridden — don’t take it as a sign that David cannot contribute to the mainstream political conversation in America as it actually exists.
Even if he argues on behalf of a conservatism/Republicanism that’s conspicuously absent, that doesn’t mean that his writing in this regard is little more than self-regarding frivolity. It just means that the liberal media has so permeated every nook and cranny of our discourse, it’s even managed to turn the American Right into a grotesque and partisan caricature of itself. Things have gotten so bad that, in a classic Leftist attempt to “heighten the contradictions,” liberals are now intentionally thwarting themselves with an immovable Right of their own making. Frum, wisely, sees how this is all, in the end, still the left-of-center’s fault:
Conceded, this president inherited the worst economic disaster since the 1930s. The recession was not his fault. But he did have options in his response, and too often he chose wrongly.
The national government has two main tools against recession: fiscal policy and monetary policy. This president has wielded both tools weakly.
People argue over the size of the president’s fiscal stimulus, but the real problem was its shape. Only about one dollar in eight out of the nearly $800 billion stimulus was devoted to the most effective form of anti-recession spending: infrastructure.
Where did the rest go? About one third took the form of tax rebates, notoriously the most useless form of fiscal stimulus. Members of the Obama administration like to blame Republicans for forcing these rebates upon them, but that’s not right. During the presidential campaign, candidate Obama had sought votes by promising a “tax cut for everyone earning less than $250,000 a year.” He welcomed the tax rebates as a means to honor that (now obsolete) campaign promise….
The president does not direct monetary policy. But he does nominate the members of the Federal Reserve Board. Through much of his first term, that seven-member board was riddled with vacancies, sometimes lacking even a quorum for emergency action. Yes, senatorial obstructionism made it difficult for Obama to fill those slots. But senators obstruct all the time. The statement “The Senate wouldn’t let me” sounds very like “This job is too hard for me.”
As an unrelated aside: some people think that David Frum is more or less the same guy who worked for George W. Bush and who was fool enough to not understand that he wasn’t at the American Enterprise Institute because wealthy Righties wanted to make sure there was someone with Republican cred assailing Senator Jim DeMint; and that, when he’s not getting pats on the head from liberals and moderates alike for being smart enough to notice that Sarah Palin is not quite a positive influence on the American body politic, he’s more or less a tribe-less Serious Person with an unconvincing way of saying nothing much at all. Some people definitely think that about David Frum.