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The fairy tales of David Frum

The nation’s top arbiter of patriotism recently posted an anti-endorsement of Ron Paul after the nation’s only real conservative, Andrew Sullivan, endorsed the libertarian in the GOP primary.

Frum begins by claiming that the perceptions held by Ron Paul enthusiasts are “not very realistic” -- and, in a practical sense, I agree. But what has Frum really upset is that libertarian ideas are infecting the GOP; distressing because any reverence the conservative base had for the brand of technocrat Frum holds in such high esteem is gone.

Then there's this:

The thing most wrong with present-day Republicanism is its passivity in the face of the economic crisis, its indifference to the economic troubles of the huge majority of the American population, and its blithe insistence that everything was fine for the typical American worker up until Inauguration Day 2009 or (at the outer bound of the thinkable) the financial crisis of the fall 2008.

None of this is true.

To begin with, is there any “present-day” Republican (by which Frum, I assume, means Tea Party types and friends) who hasn't also criticized the Bush Administration for our current troubles? Has any leader of new Republicanism “blithely” suggested that everything was peachy before Inauguration Day 2009? If so, who exactly? My perception is that the opposite is true. This is why so many conservatives are desperately seeking ideological purity and deeply distrustful of the establishment. They blame Republicans, as well.

But even if Frum were right … really, is the “thing most wrong” about a political party that it tends to blame the opposing party for the nation's troubles? Is that unheard of? Do Democrats blame the 2006-2010 congress for the turmoil they helped create?

Frum also claims that one side is “indifferent” to the suffering of the middle class because of its “passivity” in opposing dependency and large-scale social engineering – or, in other words, because it embraces ideological positions contrary to his own. According to Frum its “nuts” to want tighter money during the worse economic recession since the 1930s – and not in “a theoretical or marginal way that denying evolution is nuts,” mind you, but “nuts” nuts! If you believed Frum you might also believe that we have consensus on this issue and that economists aren't arguing about them every day.

What’s not nuts? A president cashing in on his immense political popularity on the front-end of a great recession to pass an unpopular bill that creates the infrastructure for government-run health care but does nothing to mitigate the problem of jobs or prosperity? Joining a war without congressional OK? Is it sane for congress to institutionalize moral hazard or pass a “stimulus” plan that hands out a trillion dollars we don’t have for pet projects we don't need?

Those are the things that make Ron Paul look more sane every day, not nihilism or insanity or whatever David Frum believes has taken hold of the right.


Follow @davidharsanyi.

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