Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 16, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE REVENGE OF THE GUT....Back in 2001, the widely respected scholar John DiIulio spent about half a year in the George Bush White House as head of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Here's what he told Ron Suskind about his experience:

In eight months, I heard many, many staff discussions, but not three meaningful, substantive policy discussions....The lack of even basic policy knowledge, and the only casual interest in knowing more, was somewhat breathtaking.

This weekend, six years after serving in the same White House at the same time as DiIulio, former Bush speechwriter David Frum finally decides that maybe DiIulio was right. What's more, after listening to Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee burble confidently on about absurdities, he concludes that just maybe the entire conservative movement bears some blame for this state of affairs:

Many of us on the conservative side have fed this monster. (Rightly) aghast at the abuse of expertise by liberal judges, liberal bureaucrats and liberal academics, we have sometimes over-reacted by denying the importance of expertise altogether.

....So now instead of holes in our souls, we conservatives are getting candidates with holes in their heads.

Here's the lesson to learn: It's always important to respect the values and principles of the voters. But politicians who want to deliver effective government and positive results have to care about more than values — and have to do more than check their guts. They need to study the problem, master the evidence, and face criticism.

Welcome back to the reality-based community, Mr. Frum. Good luck reining in the beast you and your colleagues have spent the past three decades unchaining.

Via Andrew Sullivan.

UPDATE: Ross Douthat wonders why Frum only mentions Huckabee and Paul:

If you're going to be hard on the current crop of Republican candidates for making bogus claims about public policy, it seems awfully unfair to leave out the candidate given to running ads in which he announces: "I know that reducing taxes produces more revenue. The Democrats don't know that. They don't believe that." (They don't believe it, of course, because in the current fiscal landscape you can't find a serious conservative economist who thinks it's true.)

....If you're looking for cases where the Right's anti-elitism has shaded into outright anti-intellectualism — for cases where, in Frum's words, a GOP politician has deliberately failed to "study the problem, master the evidence, and face criticism" — Giuliani's frequent channeling of Larry Kudlow seems like at least as telling an example as anything Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are peddling.

He's right. The Fair Tax and the gold standard are crank ideas that, while they tell us something about the candidates who support them, will never actually become public policy. "Tax cuts increase revenue," on the other hand, not only tells us something about Giuliani, but about the entire modern Republican Party apparatus. I imagine that's why Frum didn't include it.

Kevin Drum 8:52 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (89)

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Comments

OK, but I don't recall a lot of policy wonkery from Dennis Kucinich or Al Sharpton, either.

Posted by: y81 on December 16, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

I saw Frum talk at Harvard a few years ago. That is one self-satisfied individual. I wouldn't look to him for any kind of information except the direction of the main chance.

Posted by: gmoke on December 16, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

For guy who came up with the line "Axis of Evil", Frum is pretty late to the reality party. Too late, actually. He's not forgiven just because he's now feeling a little uneasy about how things have turned out.

Posted by: David W. on December 16, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh, I knew the new crankier Kevin Drum wasn't going to last.

I would like to see David Frum die on the ice floes trying to row after his Frankenstein.

Posted by: jerry on December 16, 2007 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

How do you abuse expertise????????

Posted by: Mazurka on December 16, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Seeing Huckabee rise to the top in the polls, the neocons probably feel that the monster they have helped create may soon turn around and devour them.

They were thinking that they could feed Christian fundamentalism and dumbed-down conservatism and then use them as tools to achieve their ends. It did not occur to them that they could lose control of the beast.

Posted by: JS on December 16, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

In modern conservatism, stupidity is not a problem. In fact, if you try to be some kind of expert, you are considered an elitist.

This leads to the Bush Adminstration, an administration which has been totall incompetent in all important areas.

Conservatism - stupidity led by religious zealotry into incompetence.

Posted by: POed Lib on December 16, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Abuse of expertise"? What is that, like roughing the passer? Unsportsmanlike conduct? Off sides? Late hit? Face mask? Holding? In tennis, isn't there a penalty for throwing your raquet called "raquet abuse"?

The very fact that this clown would come up with some smarmy, pandering phrase like "abuse of expertise" explains everything about why the conservatives are the way they are, and why they won't change.

Posted by: Martin Gale on December 16, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

"But politicians who want to deliver effective government and positive results have to care about more than values — and have to do more than check their guts."

Effective government? The conservatives/republicans want to shrink government and drown it in the bathtub. Republicans of today do not believe in having an effective government. But now that the results of their bizarre extreme world is coming home to roost they want to claim a desire for effective government.
Evil bastards.

Posted by: joeis on December 16, 2007 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Welcome back to the reality-based community, Mr. Frum.

Sorry Kevin, but this asshole is pretty far from the reality based community.

I agree with Jerry in the above post...ice floes bitch. Of course that will depend on if there are any ice floes left when its comeuppance time.

Posted by: SnarkyShark on December 16, 2007 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Um, knowing the importance of the need to "study the problem, master the evidence, and face criticism" is a "value," dammit. Why is conscientiousness distinct from one's values?

Does a belief or view of the world have to have some religious undertone to be a "value"?

Posted by: airron on December 16, 2007 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

How do you abuse expertise?

By pointing out that some reactionary or religious doctrines are utter nonsense and need to be stopped or, at least, corralled into a place where they don't do much harm.

Expertise in biology is 'abused' when you point out that Young Earth Creationism is a religiously-motivated lie and nothing else.

Too bad Frum won't suffer from the evil he has unleashed and exploited. The Republicans exploited the ignorance of their religious followers and indifference to competent government by their pseudo-libertarian followers. Their business folks, of course, kept exploiting their access to federal monies. They didn't care what their co-conspirators did, as long as they got the money and the regulation that Bush's incompetence allowed them to get away with. Frum should have some shame, but like the rest of the Bush administration, that would require him to have morality and a conscience, neither of which are evident anywhere in the White House.

Posted by: freelunch on December 16, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

This is the sound of money-cons trying to ride the theo-con tiger.

I don't know why Kevin is so smug. Frum's conversion has nothing to do with Kevin or the reality-based community. It has everything to do with internal republican party politics.

Posted by: Adam on December 16, 2007 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

They need to study the problem, master the evidence, and face criticism.

Crazy enough, it just might work.

Posted by: NTodd on December 16, 2007 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

This is the sound of money-cons trying to ride the theo-con tiger.

We have the theocons hearting Huckabee, Governor Romney telling us that he never changes his positions (apparently his position is that he will say whatever he has to to get elected and that he doesn't actually care about policies), Rep. Ron Paul getting treated like a real candidate on Meet the Press next week after Rudy then Romney stunk up the place two weeks running. The money-cons may be realizing that they have found a couple of hacks who actually are willing to publicly disdain the religious folks who have mindlessly been feeding the money-changers. Aside from Senators Clinton, who is a competent defender of the money-cons who has a prayer of being nominated?

Posted by: freelunch on December 16, 2007 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

OK.

We know that Bush (Cheney, really) has populated, almost without exception, his administration with incompetent cronies. (Quite in contrast to President Clinton, I might note.)

Bush hired Frum.

Ergo Frum is likely an incompetent ideologue.

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 16, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Hmm, that's funny. Liberals are now makeing a viture out of "elitism".

My neice who's a first grader in public school just started learning about evolution. Sad thing is, when you look into her eyes now, its a different person.

Think about that next time you want to tout the merits of "expertise."

Posted by: egbert on December 16, 2007 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, I was wondering why the nonfundie Republicans were in such a panic about Huckabee. It's that national sales tax proposal. They've been perfectly happy to go along with the religious "values," the gay-bashing, the bible-thumping, the forced childbirth, the racism and bigotry, and the immigrant bashing. No problem there.

But his tax policy! It would mean that they'd have to pay taxes like the little people!

Posted by: James, Los Angeles on December 16, 2007 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Expertise? I think the problem is certainty. Liberals are considered weak and wishy washy because we often use "It depends" as the start of an answer.

Conservatives had all the answers.

They just didn't work out terribly well.

This whole representative democracy thing can only work out to the country's benefit if it isn't being gamed. That's what Frum and friends forgot.

Posted by: Porco Rosso on December 16, 2007 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

we have sometimes over-reacted by denying the importance of expertise altogether.

That's the understatement of the entire Bush administration.

The sincerity of these mea culpas, which are coming ever-so-conveniently in the last year of a totally discredited Bush administration, are manifestly suspect. Please don't be gullible and give these people credit for a change of heart - they've known all along that their extremism was amoral and damaging not only to rational discourse but also to the constitution and nation itself. It might have meant something had they spoken out when it mattered. Really his only regret is the harm this behavior will do to his future employment prospects.

Posted by: Augustus on December 16, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert YESSS!!!

You nailed the stupid Liberals here. Can you believe they think evolution is real? Teaching it DOES destroy the soul of children. We have proof. And they think they have their "science." It is to laugh.

You are a true American, and I am pleased you join me here in teaching them a thing or two or thousand.

Posted by: Free Lover of Freedom and Free Liberty on December 16, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

I am not sure that Mike Huckabee's appeal is limited to hot button issues. Rank and file middle class outside the beltway Republicans used to be Reagan Democrats. They might talk a conservative game, but they demand their government services be delivered and delivered efficiently just like everybody else. They want full employment and raises. They want to send their kids to college. They want health care. They are feeling the strain on the middle class just like Democratic members of the middle class. They are feeling really, really betrayed right now.

They still have their baseline pro-life beliefs and yes, just like everybody else, they aren't very tolerant of people they don't understand.

What Huckabee and Paul are tapping into is pretty basic. Its the economy, stupid.

Posted by: corpus juris on December 16, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

I have to agree with the general tenor of the commentary so far. While Frum might in theory have just taken a step back towards reality, before he took that putative step he was so close to the precipice of irrevocable disconnect that safety is still so far away as not to be noticeably closer.

In fact, that step wasn't even a step so much as a net that broke when he fell through it on the way off the precipice. Frum is, more or less, Wile E. Coyote, doomed to fall of the cliff and hit the ground at full speed, regardless of any intermediary realizations.

Posted by: R Johnston on December 16, 2007 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

Frum is speaking for the conservative intelligentsia which had it all wrong (yet again) and they are going to turn around and pin the upcoming humongous economic debacle on the evangelistas! These people were nothing but tools for them, but they are going to make them out as some sort of pseudo-Bolshevik abortion that has to be purged.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 16, 2007 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Here is the correct Mike Huckabee link.

Posted by: corpus juris on December 16, 2007 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Welcome back to the reality-based community, Mr. Frum.

Please. Just because Frum is beginning to realize that the dark ages aren't all that they're cracked up to be doesn't mean he is anywhere near the modern world.

Posted by: Disputo on December 16, 2007 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

Welcome back to the reality-based community, Mr. Frum. Good luck reining in the beast you and your colleagues have spent the past three decades unchaining. Via Andrew Sullivan. —Kevin Drum

And Sullivan spent at least three years supporting. Fuck him.

Posted by: JeffI on December 16, 2007 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

What Huckabee and Paul are tapping into is pretty basic. Its the economy, stupid. Posted by: corpus juris

Yes! And either the Baptist minister from the poor Southern state of WalMart or the economic flat-earther from Mars is certainly the man to lead us to a bright and shiny day.

Actually, the economy, while bad, is a distant second to our shredded foreign policy and the fucking albatross of Iraq that Bush will bequeath to the next Democratic president.

Posted by: JeffII on December 16, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Frum also said:
But if it is elitist to expect politicians to be able to see through glaringly false and stupid ideas -- well in that case, call me elitist.

I hope he means "policy ideas" here, because otherwise he is going to be a very disappointed elitist. Every single candidate, both Republicans and Democrats, are unable to see through the glaringly false and stupid ideas they picked up at church...

Posted by: skeptic on December 16, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII I would put civil liberties ahead of the economy, but all of the issues, shredded foreign policy, rotten economy, civil liberties assault, Katrina and all the rest, are parts of the same presidency, a presidency you, me and all the Huckabee and Ron Paul supporters might count as failed, but a presidency that has been spectacularly successful in stripping the middle class of its wealth, shifting that wealth to their friends and strengthening the hand of that top 1% if they ever feel threatened by the rest of us.

Tonight there is a report that the Bush program of expanded illegal spying on Americans started within the first couple of weeks of February 2001-- long before 9/11.

Posted by: corpus juris on December 16, 2007 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

precipice of irrevocable disconnect

Heh, since the discussion is of Republicans, I must admit I read that as prepuce of irrevocable disconduct.

Posted by: jerry on December 16, 2007 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

In his 2003 book, The Right Man, David Frum had nothing but the highest praise for Bush and his whole administration.

Posted by: bobo the chimp on December 16, 2007 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

My neice who's a first grader in public school just started learning about evolution. Sad thing is, when you look into her eyes now, its a different person -Egbert

Let me help you understand. Creation runs in reverse. Think about that.

Posted by: Ya Know... on December 16, 2007 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK
precipice of irrevocable disconnect

Heh, since the discussion is of Republicans, I must admit I read that as "prepuce of irrevocable disconduct."

Well, I wouldn't be surprised if Frum is meandering a little to closely to that cliff as well, but I have no particular reason to believe that eight year old uncircumcised boys have anything more to fear from Frum than does the rest of humanity. Frankly, that's already more than enough fear for an eight year old boy to have to handle.

Posted by: R Johnston on December 16, 2007 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

This is really rich.

The modern Rethuglican party is a Balrog.

Frum spent years feeding the Balrog its lines. Sullivan spent years cheerleading the Balrog as it cracked its whip at Gandalf, who he mistook for a Clinton.

Now we're supposed to believe them when they notice the Balrog is primordial? They celebrated its stench well enough way back when. Feh.

Actually, I think Frum, being one of the scummy brand of Canadians, comes honestly by his sense that government ought to do things competently. He just mistook the bushies' contempt of everything liberal for honesty.

But he still lined up with the Balrog.

Posted by: Altoid on December 17, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

For more background on Mike Huckabee the dangerous extremist and radical reactionary, see:
"Top 10 Moments in Mike Huckabee's Extremism."

Posted by: Furious on December 17, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

This panic at the rise of Huckabee explains the urgency with which Lieberman is expected to endorse McCain -- tomorrow, according to politico.

Posted by: JS on December 17, 2007 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

jerry - I had to look up what "prepuce" meant. Two medical articles and several images later, I'm sure to need several more years in purgatory to cleanse my soul.

Off to flagellate myself in contrition, now.

Posted by: anonymous on December 17, 2007 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK
This panic at the rise of Huckabee explains the urgency with which Lieberman is expected to endorse McCain
The rise of an insane Republican completely incapable of winning a general election explains the urgency with which a completely irrelevant "Independent Democrat" is expected to endorse a completely irrelevant Republican, in an act that will influence no one except David Broder?

That sounds like insane troll logic to me.

Posted by: R Johnston on December 17, 2007 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

Frum is an interesting case in family pathology. His father Murray, a former Toronto Forest Hill dentist, owns or owned hundreds of millions of dollars worth of shopping centers accumulated as an investment vehicle for his large tooth-based income. His mother Barbara was THE premier female news personality on Canadian television at the time of her death, 15 or 20 years ago. His sister Linda obnoxiously compiles rankings of campus social life at Canadian universities and colleges. All in all, a hyper-achiever bunch altogether. His mother was vaguely progressive in her own way. I am betting on grave rolling at what her son got up to. He is ostentatiously revolting in his opinions and demeanor.

Posted by: anon on December 17, 2007 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

David FRum is trying to convince us that this is a new phenomenon and the previous standard bearer of the party did not have a hole in his head.

Well, look what happened during the last seven years.

Posted by: gregor on December 17, 2007 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

R Johnston, the point is that McCain and Lieberman are both neocons. And the neocons are making desperate moves to stop Huckabee. And that jibes with the Frum article.

You may disagree -- but "insane troll logic" sounds like you forgot to take your meds.

Posted by: JS on December 17, 2007 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

the neocons are making desperate moves to stop Huckabee.

"We need to get all those deck chairs onto the port side! I'm sure that'll help keep the ship afloat. Right? Right??"

Posted by: jimBOB on December 17, 2007 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

Two medical articles and several images later, I'm sure to need several more years in purgatory to cleanse my soul.

Better stay away from the Holy Prepuce!

(Xians are so damn hilarious.)


Posted by: Disputo on December 17, 2007 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

Anti-intelligence is part and parcel to the right-wing corprotocracy.

They learn the answers only long enough to pass the tests, then throw them out - or go somewhere the questions and grades are rigged. These guys laud power and money, and nothing else. Anything that stands in the way - like rational thinking - is thrown aside like the bullies did to the nerds of yore.

It's painful watching these people talk and operate, unable to do simple tasks, and yet we make the world around us adapt to their intentionally ignorant ways.

"Why would I vote for someone who called me ignorant?"

...Because the other guy is lying to you? Hello?

Posted by: Crissa on December 17, 2007 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

It's painful watching these people talk and operate, unable to do simple tasks

*

Posted by: scudbucket on December 17, 2007 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Frum just had his Dorothy moment:
There's no place like logic, there's no place like logic...

David, you helped birth that baby. You nurtured it and raised it. And now that the child proves to be f@$%ing idiot, you say, "Hey, maybe I was wrong about this. But I was right about Liberals's and Socialist's!"

FRUM should be a new four-letter word. "Well, I FRUMMED that up, didn't I?"
"Yeah, you did.. FRUM YOU!!!"

Frum: What an asshole!

Posted by: c u n d gulag on December 17, 2007 at 2:33 AM | PERMALINK

Without Stephen Colbert, this could never have happened. He articulated that movement conservatives think with their gut! That this was a bad idea was implied by the fact that it was satire, but it's overwhelmingly nice for a conservative decision-maker to value changing it.

Posted by: Rionn Fears Malechem on December 17, 2007 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Hmm, that's funny. Liberals are now makeing a viture out of "elitism".

My neice who's a first grader in public school just started learning about evolution. Sad thing is, when you look into her eyes now, its a different person.

Think about that next time you want to tout the merits of "expertise."

Egbert, thanks for your brilliant satire. You almost had me convinced that this was a real comment, and not a terrifically subtle but effective and surgical knife thrust. But the three typos gave it away. Maybe one typo would be more effective next time. Don't get me wrong, creationists are idiots, but three typos? I think that's a bit much.

Posted by: gfw on December 17, 2007 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

Fuck David Frum, and may he rot.

Posted by: Mike on December 17, 2007 at 3:08 AM | PERMALINK

I haven't got the stomach to read the rest of what he writes, but Isn't he on Giulianni's payroll?

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on December 17, 2007 at 4:13 AM | PERMALINK

Hah. Frum's fronting a new wave: "We may be Republicans, but we're not, like, iggerant."

See, the Republicans will do a Frum ("Who knew competence mattered?") and vow to elect competence (not Paul! not Huckabee!)--or at least the semblance and talking points thereof--and the voting public will fall for it.

When they start touting the Republican nominee as "at least he's competent," then you'll know the plan.

Posted by: JM on December 17, 2007 at 7:38 AM | PERMALINK

Boys and girls if we don't watch ourselves Democrats could end up in the position of defending the establishment in the face of an anti-establishment Republican. A neat trick that is entirely possible if we select the very establishment Hillary. Do you really want to defend the establishment this cycle?

Posted by: corpus juris on December 17, 2007 at 7:39 AM | PERMALINK

In the end you have to understand. Faithbased initiatives was part of a community plan. They wanted to overthrow the existing structure. to rupture And the throw off the car dog show. All initiatives are faithbased or think God deosn't know.

Posted by: 911 sent many to heaven on December 17, 2007 at 7:43 AM | PERMALINK

Corpus has a point. I dunno as it works, that it applies to Clinton who is politically a sort of opposite pole to Bush, but this IS likely to be a "throw 'em out" election.

Governors have a couple natural advantages in Presidential races -- for one thing, they're defined by a job outside Washington. For another, since they're not defined as legislators, they don't have a bunch of votes that are mired in the context of whatever legislative mess the Congress gets itself into.

The only governor Democrats have in the race barely registers on the scale, so we're giving away something significant right there. But it's worth remembering that a Romney vs Clinton or Obama vs Huckabee election will have a different dynamic regarding "Washington vs the People" than "Democratic Governor vs Republican Governor".

I don't think Frum sees that far, but his "abuse of expertise" line is intriguing anyway: I think he was doing an updated version of Wallace's objection to "pointyheaded intellectuals", only without Wallace's populist flair. (Frum IS a pointyheaded intellectual himself, after all.)

Corpus is right that this dangerous for progressives: Adlai Stevenson never recovered from being tagged the original egghead.

PUH-leeze, for once get the dynamic of it: it isn't that it is a bad thing to know what you're talking about, which is after all the meaning of 'expertise'. The DYNAMIC of the phrase, I think, is what Wallace called on folks to do to pointyheaded intellectuals: "Send Them a Message."

The technique emphasizes the distance many people feel between the self-satisfied pointy headed folks who have been making all the national mistakes, and the folks who are pissed off at 'em and want to thrown 'em all out.

Let's not jump to be on the wrong side of that "abuse of expertise".

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 17, 2007 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

Hey I know, maybe staff people like Frum were the source of problem to begin with, you think?

What's more, after listening to Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee burble confidently on about absurdities

Jeebus, isn't it stange how Rudy and Romney aren't burbling on about absurdities but merely the lowly Huckabee and Ron Paul - why do Repug debates look like the wacko comedy hour?

Maybe the problem is with the words "the abuse of expertise by liberal judges, liberal bureaucrats and liberal academics" -- the abuse of expertise by the "communist" is how McCarthy-Fund has now found descent in the ranks of the supposed conservative voters all with his make believe liberal hate mongering. What has the word “liberal” come to mean anymore but truth against the incredible lies of this administration, of this Repug Party that Fund help to create, want to continue.

Why did Repugs ask why liberals hated Bush – when the real truth was why did Bush and his many cronies like Fund hated liberals, and how Karl Rove was nothing but a reincarnated act of McCarthyism all over again. So why should Repugs be surprised that with the sowing of hate, it all would have the same tragic ending? The “if you don’t follow Bush, you must be a traitor” is exactly the same as the fear mongering of McCarthyism -the same as “you must be a communist if you disagee". Fund is not the solution – he is the problem.

So you see, Ron Paul and Huckabee are the least of the Repugs worries these days. I see that Ron Paul has raised another 6 million dollars in a single day. And that must really have the Repugs worried, seeing as how they were really banking on American's ignore for support, but the rednecks aren't fellowing Bushism - they are following Ron Paul (not as stupid as the Repugs thought they were, I guess) and there is NO reason for Ron Paul NOT to run as an independent in the end. And like the Howard Dean incident showed, a leader must have faith in his people, listen to his voters and NOT have faith in a tricksy - false Party, certainly not a party as seriously corrupt as today's GOP.

And having a Republican backed blogger like Kevin Drum saying Ron Paul has "holes in his head" as if seriously corrupt Rudy and "do anything for corporations" Romney aren't following the much more desirable path of Bush corruption WILL NOT CUT IT ANY MORE.

The holes in Ron Paul's head are nearly as big as the HOLES in Repug Party's soul - and that is fact in issue pal.


Posted by: Me_again on December 17, 2007 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

fuck frum.

Posted by: mestizo on December 17, 2007 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

What Frum is really saying is that Bush has oiled the "axis of evil", making the world less safe than it was before 9/11.

Posted by: Frank on December 17, 2007 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

That snip is right on except about one thing - liberal bureaucrats which seems to me a bit of of an oxymoron. Bureaucrats are much too status quo and resistant to change to be liberal in the derogatory sense that Frum is using to word. They are used to being on the job no matter who the political hack at the top is. Politicians and their pet interests/ideologies come and go, but the bureaucrat is eternal. They keep the government (no matter the level) running when people like George Bush are in office.

Posted by: ET on December 17, 2007 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

No doubt Frum and Michael Ignatieff can sit down some late summer afternoon at the lake in Cottage Country, sipping their 18 year old Wiser's and wondering how the Americans could have screwed up so royally--and very glad that they were able to pack their carpetbags and get out before the collapse, back to a country where the government promises only what it can deliver--order and good government--instead of life, liberty, yadda yadda yadda.
And where men like themselves are always safely kept in opposition, even when their party's in power.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on December 17, 2007 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Fuck, him Kevin. Since leaving the White House, all this guy has done is pen columns scolding the administration for all the shit HE HIMSELF HELPED MAKE POSSIBLE by penning trite propaganda for so long. He's worse then Rove, Bush etc. He wants it both ways. Sorry, pal.

Posted by: Pat on December 17, 2007 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

So Frum suddenly wants less gut based politics.
And Noonan suddenly wants less religion in politics.
And Krauthammer wants more tolerance.
And Howie Kurtz from the Wapo, home of Novak and the Obama rumors stories, wants less anonymous attacks on other politicians.

None of this means anything except that the Republicans are gearing up for a civil war and want to ensure its doesnt get too ugly. Once its over its back to business as usual.

Posted by: NYT on December 17, 2007 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

My neice who's a first grader in public school just started learning about evolution. Sad thing is, when you look into her eyes now, its a different person.

Egbert is just pissed because now, his first-grader niece is smarter than he is.

Posted by: DJ on December 17, 2007 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

My neice who's a first grader in public school just started learning about evolution. Sad thing is, when you look into her eyes now, its a different person.

Eggy, That look is called intelligence.

Posted by: apeman on December 17, 2007 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

All true. Still, its understandable that anyone related to Egbert would question evolution.

Posted by: Pat on December 17, 2007 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

We know that this Admin was driven by pure politics, since the "perpetual GOP majority" was the goal all along. But this President also surrounded himself with 'big ideas' people, and no 'details' people. Effective policy wasn't going to happen in the first place.

Further, even when they coined a phrase I considered sellable, like the 'MBA Presidency', people continued to make the big mistake of equating the message with the messenger. Bush has always been a screw-up: a failed businessman on multiple counts, and a very poor business performer.

Maybe a good idea, but handed to the wrong guy. And it was very obvious, too. Just conveniently ignored.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on December 17, 2007 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Frum, the Ivy League Canadian in love with Empire, is coming up against the provincial anti-government of Dixie’s fair land. George Bush, Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee represent three Southern types. Although Bush has Yankee roots he is a typical, and unremarkable, aristocratic Texan with a taste for extraction resources and crony government. His cultural model of government has more in common with the planters of the Caribbean than with the enlightened democrats of Europe. Ron Paul is a small town no government idealist. For him it is plain fundamentalism in liberty and the Constitution. Huckabee is a Southern paternal populist. Although he will not shy way from a fight he will take into account the well being of the good herrenfolk democracy of the Christian community. This makes him less of an imperialist than careless aristocrats like George Bush.

The Southernization of the conservative movement is what Frum does not like. Southern conservative anti-intellectualism, the rejection of experts, the provincialism, the crippling cronyism, the top-down organization, low infrastructure investment and the worthless small town moralism do not make a competent empire. Empire needs experts, knowledgeable bureaucracy, and money.

The conservative movement in the US is really just a Southernization of national government and the economy. Huckabee even says that the US was founded on honor. He really means the culture of the Southern US is an honor society. This is not the whole story but it accounts for the particular tenor of conservatism in the US.

Posted by: bellumregio on December 17, 2007 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Damn, bellumregio, that's one sharp post. Couldn't agree more.

Posted by: Auto on December 17, 2007 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Good morning Kevin Drum...

If $4.3 million raised online by Ron Paul's supporters is a "buttload", uising your words, then what's your description of $6.4 million shattering all online fundraising records?

Double-ass load?

I think raising over $18 mil for the quarter, more than any of his GOP competitors make him a damn serious candidate, don't you?

Posted by: Sean Scallon on December 17, 2007 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

...herrenfolk democracy of the Christian community

Interesting phrase. You've highlighted basically one schism of the modern Republican party. What about the division between the neocon imperialists and the paleocon isolationists? I see a three-way split in the Republican party.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 17, 2007 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

My neice who's a first grader in public school just started learning about evolution. Sad thing is, when you look into her eyes now, its a different person.

Next thing you know, she'll be shooting up a megachurch in Colorado Springs...no wait, she has to have a deeply religious upbringing to do that.

Posted by: Bourgeois Liberal on December 17, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Gotta love the Paul-tards. Christ!

Off topic, by the way, but all of you tough guys who were commening on two threads here over the last week or so that wimps like Harry Reid "just needs to make Republicans filibuster," are in for a treat. Chris Dodd is filibustering today. Not a Republican, obviously, but let's just see how effective this brilliant attempt at message politics is. BY the way, I only mention it here, because I suspect very few other places will mention it. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Posted by: Pat on December 17, 2007 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

The conservative movement in the US is really just a Southernization of national government and the economy.

To be fair to the more intelligent Southerners, it's more akin to a "Snopesization" of the US government & economy, in which both democracy and capitalism get turned into One Big Racket.
Lefties tend to paste labels such as "Corporate State" or "Fascism" on this phenomenon, but any courthouse in the Deep South has been run this way for more than a century at least. Corrupt and parasitical oligarchies consisting of shit-kickers contemptuous of "deep readin'" are nothing new down there.

Posted by: Bourgeois Liberal on December 17, 2007 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

I think the war in Iraq has highlighted a split in the nation. Old style isolationism is long gone. But we do have the elites on one hand who embrace neoliberal economic policies including global labor arbitrage and immigration to some degree, reject risk-sharing schemes that put a burden on the haves, and are prone to foreign interventions to prop up Pax Americana. Opposing this economic axis we have anti-imperialist progressives and the old herrenfolk democrats who find their sense of patriotism betrayed. The later find Ron Paul and Huckabee attractive candidates. In essence there is a national move across the political spectrum against the elites for a Middle Class America-first politics that rejects the foreign for the domestic. It will become isolationism or worse if the elites do not respond by governing for the many and not the few who benefit from neoliberalism.

Posted by: bellumregio on December 17, 2007 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

I like that analysis. It sounds like the neo-liberal elites versus everybody else. Hmmm. Very interesting times ahead.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 17, 2007 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

If I understand the "crank idea" correctly, the gold standard took us through WWII and all the way to the moon. I haven't seen many accomplishments like that since then.

What exactly makes getting back to the gold standard a crank idea?

Posted by: jerry on December 17, 2007 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

What exactly makes getting back to the gold standard a crank idea?

Polished shells are so much prettier.

Posted by: Brojo on December 17, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

bellumregio, thanks for your posts. The real story IMO is the collapse of globalist neoliberalism.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 17, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

jerry:

The Brits abandoned the gold standard in 1931, the US in 1933.

World War II -- 1939-1945

First landing on the moon -- 1969

You do the math.

Posted by: cailte on December 17, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

I've been sayin' for years that if you tich the chilren that this here world is a-round, insted a flat like it rilly is, you gonna have a whole lot a trouble. And now thar out there a-havin sex and drugs and innernets and all that flapdoodle.

Posted by: Flat Earth Party on December 17, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

And then you have pop culture/media figures like Sherri Shepherd, who's not sure if the world is flat, and thinks that no religion existed before Christianity.

Posted by: Speed on December 17, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

And what about the crew in office right now? Do they actually listen to criticism or allow any dissenting voices? Refuse to listen to scientists? Refuse to look at facts? For heaven's sake, this administration is the poster child for sticking it's collective head up it's arse.

Posted by: Diane on December 17, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans don't need no stinkin' expertise. They got think tanks for that. Heritage, Cato, and the Federalist tell 'em what to think.

...Ron Paul's supporters .... make him a damn serious candidate, Sean Scallon at 11:00 AM
Nope, they make themselves into even bigger fools than their beloved crackpot Ron.
...wimps like Harry Reid... Pat at 11:19 AM

Harry Reid's contact page
Use address Virginia Street, Reno NV 89501. Share the respect for being such a sell-out.

Posted by: Mike on December 17, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

cailte, I sure ain't no economist or historian, but lots of people on the net say it was Nixon that took us off the gold standard in 1971.

You are right though, the wikipedia does tell me that we were off the gold standard for WWII, and then went back on it after.

1971, Nixon takes us off the gold standard

1969, gold standard takes us to the moon.

You do the math too, and then we can both ask Kevin why the gold standard, good enough for almost everything but WWI and WWII and certainly good enough for taking us to the moon, is now considered a crank idea.

Posted by: jerry on December 17, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

"I saw Frum talk at Harvard a few years ago. That is one self-satisfied individual."

I am Canadian. Frum is Canadian. Frum's mother hosted a daily public-affairs talk show on CBC, the national broadcaster. She was brilliant. She interviewed everybody who was anybody. She gave no quarter, and yet was charming, humorous, and diplomatic. She was a most thoroughly grounded member of the "reality-based community".

Unlike her son. Frum is like Rosemary's Baby. He has his mother's brilliance, but none of her good sense. The neo-conservative demon seed of comic-book extremism took hold early and never let go. I find him totally unreadable. Like Conrad Black, he has spent decades heaping contempt on Canada's left/liberal moderate public policy consensus. Like Conrad Black, Frum can stay in your country as long as possible thank you very much.

Posted by: canu on December 17, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Have to catch up with your posts, but what I loved about Frum's article:

the irony of his position seemed totally lost on him; all he wrote could have been applied to his beloved George W Bush. Whom he and his ilk of "anti-elitists" ennabled at every turn.

Posted by: Gracedog on December 17, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Gracedog, the difference is that Bush was owned by the neocons -- he was their tool. That's a model they like. They have no control over Huckabee, though, and that's why they are scared of him.

Posted by: JS on December 17, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Just Huckabee and Paul? Dig a little deeper, Dave. Best to just pull the band-aid right off.

Posted by: BBpd on December 17, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

I believe the 1933 and 1971 dates deal with different ways of being "on the gold standard." FDR took us off the domestic gold standard in the sense that, before 1933, we could take our federal reserve notes to the federal reserve bank and ask for some gold out of Fort Knox, and after 1933 we couldn't. But the value of our currency was still pinned to the price of gold. What Ron Paul is against is the notion of currency's value not being tied to a commodity -- what he calls "fiat money." So he's advocating a return to pre-1971 days, as far as I can tell.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on December 18, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK
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