Exit Stage Right (or, the GOP’s ‘Binge and Purge’ Eating Their Own Disorder)

March 26th, 2010

Inspired by Conservative pundit and former GB2 speechwriter David Frum’s statement on Nightline, and his employer AEI’s reaction to it. For more information, read David Frum, AEI SPLIT: Conservative’s Position ‘Terminated’ By Major Think Tank (Huffington Post 3/25/10), David Frum and the Closing of the Conservative Mind (Bruce Bartlett, Capital Gains and Games 3/25/10). Thanks to commenter “Da Facts” on  Ben Smith’s Politico blog for the “Binge and Purge” subtitle.

 “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 vitriolic talking heads on conservative talk radio and shock TV have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted 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 Sleep Number beds.” — David Frum, How GOP can rebound from its ‘Waterloo’(CNN.com 3/22/10 1:29 pm)
“The leadership stoked the anger and then discovered that they had no maneuvering room as a result of the anger… Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us and now we’re discovering we work for Fox. And the balance here has been completely reversed. The thing that sustains a strong Fox network is the thing that undermines a strong Republican party.”– David Frum (Nightline 3/22/10)
“Dear Arthur,
This will memorialize our conversation at lunch today. Effective immediately, my position as a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute is terminated. I appreciate the consideration that delays my emptying of my office until after my return from travel next week. Premises will be vacated no later than April 9.
I have had many fruitful years at the American Enterprise Institute, and I do regret this abrupt and unexpected conclusion of our relationship.
Very truly yours,
David Frum” (FrumForum 3/25/10)

David Frum has been fired

Because he about GOP tactics inquired.

Or maybe it was just a coincidence

That his termination followed critical comments.

He had the temerity to criticize the Great and Powerful Rush,

Which for conservatives means your career down the toilet to flush.

Is that the real reason why

AEI said good-bye?

This kind of thing has happened before,

And as the GOP shrinks and moves right, I’m sure it will happen more.

For example, Bruce Bartlett was fired by the right wing National Center for Policy Analysis

For writing a book critical of GB2’s policy paralysis.

(Bartlett previously criticized Reagan’s economic policy;

Little wonder conservatives view him contemptuously.)

Bartlett also exposed something Frum had privately to him revealed

About a dirty secret AEI had successfully (until then) concealed:

AEI “scholars” had been ordered not to comment publicly on healthcare reform

Because their views didn’t with the GOP Party line conform.

AEI had found its own experts “agreed with too much of what Obama was trying to do”

Which naturally AEI didn’t want them to.

But as Paul Krugman points out in the New York Times,

Even the farther right Heritage Foundation was guilty of such crimes.

As if we hadn’t already known,

The Republican Revolution eats its own.

And as I’ve said before, you are what you eat,

So get used to a diet of defeat.


Here’s Countdown’s 3/25/10 report on the Frum incident.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Here’s David Frum 3/22/10 on Nightline.

Here’s an excellent longer interview by Canadian television, courtesy of Frum Unplugged (Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish, 3/26/10 6:22 pm). I gotta admit, I’m starting to like this guy (anyone who works references to This is Spinal Tap into an interview must be OK, right?). Conservative, yes, but a thinking, reasoning conservative.

And here’s your theme music for today, Exit Stage Right by the Bee Gees (“I’ve got a one way ticket to nowhere…”). Check it out in our Amazon store, or download this and other songs, movies, and other entertainment with the Real SuperPass trial.

It should be noted that Frum (unlike Bartlett, who as noted above wrote some highly critical things), isn’t a firebrand by any standard. His most recent book Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again is not an anti-GOP screed by any stretch of the imagination, and is only mildly critical of the president that Frum previously served (and in his other book lauded as the “Right Man”). That notwithstanding, his recent truth-telling remarks were apparently more than enough to merit excommunication.

Opposing views: Here is the Wall Street Journal’s response to Frum’s allegations of Republican misconduct and mistake (there weren’t any, of course), and a counter-attack on Frum himself. In addition to other serious spinning and distortion, the article misrepresents the same CNN poll that Boehner used to falsely claim that the majority of Americans are against healthcare reform (see our earlier post Waterloo for more on that).  And in a breaking news flash, Steve Clemons reveals in My Fault: Apologies to David Frum! (Huffington Post 3/26/10) that he and Benson the basset hound (canine companion to DC power couple Martin Walker and Julia Watson) are the real reason that David Frum was fired.

Another conservative rising up in Frum’s support: Self-confessed conservative and “fully paid-up member of the mushy political center” Anne Appelbaum (The GOP’s Waterloo warning, Washington Post 3/25/10) defends Frum and supports his accusations, drawing an interesting and useful parallel to the UK, where Tories indulged in angry xenophobic rhetoric and refused to “modernize,” and have for that reason remained in the minority for the last 13 years. Frum’s wife Danielle Crittenden also comes to his spirited defense.

PS to my readers: The reference above to the GOP’s “Binge and Purge Eating Their Own Disorder” is tongue-in-cheek, but eating disorders are real, and are no joke. If you think you suffer from one, please get help. Click here for more information and/or to make a tax deductible donation to help combat eating disorders.

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Posted in Healthcare, Republicans | 3 Comments »

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3 Responses to “Exit Stage Right (or, the GOP’s ‘Binge and Purge’ Eating Their Own Disorder)”

  1. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Happy Birthday Bo (or, Bo Bo Bobama) Says:

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    […] Exit Stage Right (or, the GOP’s ‘Binge and Purge’ Eating Their Own Disorder) […]

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