R.I.P… The Frum Forum WAS an Independent Voice, a Rebel from The Engineered Consent of the GOP Establishment


Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.

It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:

(1) It’s a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November – by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.

(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.

So far, I think a lot of conservatives will agree with me. Now comes the hard lesson:

A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.

At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.

Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.

Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.


To Deep South Populist

“Fellow Republicans, it is the cause of Republicanism to resist concentrations of power, private or public, which enforce such conformity and inflict such despotism.

Balance, diversity, creative difference-these are the elements of Republican equation. Republicans agree, Republicans agree heartily to disagree on many, many of their applications. But we have never disagreed on the basic fundamental issues of why you and I are Republicans.This is a party– this Republican party is a party for free men. Not for blind followers and not for conformists. Back in 1858 Abraham Lincoln said this of the Republican party-and I quote him because he probably could have said it during the last week or so.

The beauty of the very system we Republicans are pledged to restore and revitalize, the beauty of this federal system of ours, is in its reconciliation of diversity with unity. We must not see malice in honest differences of opinion, and no matter how great, so long as they are not inconsistent with the pledges we have given to each other in and through our Constitution.

Our Republican cause is not to level out the world or make its people conform in computer-regimented sameness. Our Republican cause is to free our people and light the way for liberty throughout the world.”

Barry Goldwater 1964

Frumtopia a Sanctuary for Intelligent Political Discourse

For anybody who ever wondered who is JG Bennet. He came into existence after reading David Frum’s article called Waterloo & is based on……

JG Bennet is a parody of James Gordon Bennett Jr., hence the one T in Bennett instead of two. . .  My goal on the Frum Forum was to try and get people on an intelligent political blog to react to my screed like they would have to JG Bennett Jr. back in the 1870’s & 80’s but still read it.  It was fun guys!

Who was James Gordon Bennett Jr.?  He ran the New York Herald and is one of the late 19th century’s most colorful and audacious characters.

My goal at the Frum Forum was to do this but with a political twist……  🙂  I hope I succeeded just a little…..

Gordon Bennett !  http://www.peevish.co.uk/slang/articles/gordon-bennett.htm

The use of James Gordon-Bennett’s name as an expletive possibly bears relation to his outrageous lifestyle and involvement in newsworthy stunts. Imagine opening your daily newspaper and reading yet another news item telling you of his latest antics, and as you begin to express incredulity with a “God Almighty”, you restrain your publically unacceptable language and instead say….. GORDON-BENNETT!

“The largest cultural menace in America is the conformity of the intellectual cliques which, in education as well as the arts, are out to impose upon the nation their modish fads and fallacies, and have nearly succeeded in doing so.”
National Review 19 November 1955
 William F. Buckley Jr.



Lost in the flood of Ronald Reagan retrospectives and testimonials is a crucial fact with special relevance for all Americans today: To a great extent, Ronald Reagan was a trade realist.

When major American industries were on the ropes, a combination of national security fears, electoral concerns, and outrage at inequitable, illegal competition prompted Reagan to act, and American manufacturing was unquestionably the stronger for it. Tragically, this is a crucial aspect of his legacy that all three of Reagan’s White House successors have rejected, frittering away American manufacturing and jobs in one ill-advised free trade agreement after another.

The conventional wisdom about Reagan as free enterprise, free market champion is largely true. But on trade policy, Reagan acted decisively in five instances to save major American industries from predatory foreign competition. Moreover, the temporary import relief succeeded spectacularly, resulting in improved performance by these industries and avoiding the captive market prices that conventional economics teaches will always flow from restricting foreign competition.

Reagan’s tactics were flexible. In autos, machine tools, and steel, his administration subjected foreign producers to so-called voluntary export restraints. In semiconductors, Reagan officials negotiated an agreement to secure a specific share of the Japanese market for U.S. companies, and then imposed tariffs on Japanese electronics imports when Tokyo briefly refused to keep a promise to halt semiconductor dumping.




One might make the argument that if you take the long view, the Confederacy actually triumphed. We can start with the Republican Party, founded in 1854 to oppose the Dixie way of life, but now a reflection of Southern attitudes. In capturing the Republican Party, the political descendants of the Confederates are accomplishing through politics what their ideological ancestors failed to accomplish on the battlefield.

To be sure, chattel slavery has long been abolished in this nation. But you could consider slavery a form of cheap labor with no legal protections for the laborers. Now consider the GOP current efforts to bust unions, cut wages and benefits, and reduce workplace safety regulations.
In other words, one essence of the antebellum South’s economic system is becoming part of the national economic system.

Lincoln and the Republicans of 1861 supported protective tariffs, not just to help finance the federal government, but also to support domestic industry and raise wages. The South supported free trade — South Carolina’s first secession threat came in 1832 in opposition to “the tariff of abominations” — and today’s GOP is a big supporter of free trade.

The Old South also opposed federal spending on “internal improvements” — canals, railroads, turnpikes and the like — in the first part of the 19th century. That is, investment in national infrastructure, and where does the anti-investment rhetoric come from today if not the GOP?

Nor was the South big on spending for education. Southern senators and representatives blocked early efforts to establish state land-grant colleges. As for the local common schools, the illiteracy rate in Dixie, even among whites, was much higher than in the North, which supported public education. The Southern heritage of poorly funding public education is now a national Republican policy, which also involves taking money from the public coffers to support private religious schools.

Add all this up, and there’s a strong argument that the Confederacy actually won the Civil War — not by force of arms, but by taking over the political party that had once been dedicated to its destruction.