The conversative elites who have spent the better part of two months smashmouthing Sarah Palin are really starting to tick me off. David Frum, who is not exactly the best judge of electoral success himself, is going to get the business today, not because he’s worse than the others but because he was lucky enough to pop up on my radar today. Here’s His Frumliness:
“The people who defend her have already given up any serious thought of Republicans’ wielding governmental power anytime soon,” Frum says. “They have already moved to a position of pure cultural symbolic opposition to a new majority. The people who criticize her do so because we have some hope that we could be in contention in 2012, and there’s some risk that she could be the party’s nominee, and she’d probably lose—and even if by some miracle she won, she’d be a terrible president.”
Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of Frum’s insults and half-baked suppositions. I understand that he doesn’t like Sarah Palin. I get that he thinks that she’s crude and rough and a complete novice. It’s quite clear that he thinks her supporters are barely-sentient lumps of Wal-Mart loving, gun-fondling rubes who only know what Merlot is because they caught a few minutes of Sideways on the magic picture box that’s hooked up to the big radar dish.
Here’s the thing – at some point he’s going to have to put up something that looks vaguely like evidence to back up his unshakeable faith in the Neanderthalism of the Palin Republicans. When I say that I believe that Sarah Palin is a successful politician and an effective executive, it’s because I actually have evidence to back me up. I’ve seen how she’s won tough elections. I can point to instances where she had to get stubborn to get her way politically. There’s no way that a complete flibbertigibbet backs down the oil companies on their own turf and negotiates an incredibly lucrative pipeline deal with the Canadian government. But I can also see times when she laid aside her personal beliefs and governed fairly and in the best interests of the people of Alaska. Frum, on the other hand, has a few big steaming handfulls of nothing. He believes that Palin will lose. He thinks that her supporters don’t want Republicans in power. He is certain, based on nothing at all, that Palin would make a terrible President.
How in the hell can he be so certain? Who died and made him Nostradamus? In the end, he may well me right. Sarah Palin may, despite all evidence to the contrary, turn the White House into a moss-infested ruin and doom Republicans to wander, Israel-style, in the political desert for 40 years. Still, I feel much more confident betting that Sarah Palin will continue to improve as she has done her entire political career rather than than on David Frum’s dour dreams of her abject failure.
Frum worries later in the article about “fundamentalists” inside the conservative movement, but Frum is the one hewing to the fundamentalist stereotype. He’s the one making assertions without evidence. He’s the one making the stark comments. He’s the one throwing the rhetorical bombs. He’s the one letting his current worldview warp his memory. Consider this quote:
Frum points out that it took the Democrats twelve years after the epochal 1980 election to make a substantial break with the party’s past. “And I think there were probably more people in the Democratic Party in 1980 who were willing to rethink the New Deal than there are Republicans in 2008 who are ready to rethink our party’s first principles,” he says. “So I think it’s going to be a very long, very difficult conversation.”
And how did all that rethinking go? Well, the Democrats are running a candidate who is explicitly promising to create a New New Deal. He’s talking about vast public works project and the Democrats in Congress are all to eager to get things project rolling. Who’s Frum kidding here? Save the eight years of Reagan glory, Republicans have been going at each other over first principles since William F Buckley, whose shoes his feckless son is not fit to tongue-polish, first stood athwart history and yelled “stop” in 1955. In fact, you could make a very good argument that Buckley’s God And Man At Yale was a broadside in the first principles debate aimed at the assorted rabble who called themselves conservatives at that time. I would expect him to recognize that, considering that he works for National Review, where some of the most vigorous debate has been happening for years. Vigorous first principles debates largely disqualified candidates like Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Huckabee from the Presidential nomination. The only reason John McCain is the nominee right now is that there was no one left after all the smoke cleared. The Democrats main choices, meanwhile, were a Saul Alinksy-trained radical redistributionist and a Saul Alinksy-trained slightly-less-radical redistributionist. So don’t tell me that the Republican’s haven’t been thrashing things out. You don’t get a variety of ideologies like we saw during the Republican primaries with a real and continuing debate of what really matters. When you stop debating, you get lockstep, which is what the Democratic party, whose candidate Frum apparently supports, has had for the past dozen years, at least.
I’m sorry, but I’m not buying whatever Frum’s trying to sell. I suggest that if he really wants to sway people to his way of thinking, he bring some evidence and reason next time instead of the rank insults and historical fantasy that he’s used thus far.