How to Beat Trump

April 20th, 2011 at 9:05 am David Frum | 86 Comments |

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This post by Ed Kilgore about Donald Trump seems to me very astute.

The Republican establishment has perceived [Trump] as a threat and launched an all-out effort to tar him. But the truth is that their effort may be a lost cause, for reasons that are intrinsic to the success of Trump’s consumer-focused approach: This year, GOP voters’ hunger for radicalism is so great that it can be filled by essentially anybody. Kill off Trump’s candidacy and the demand will remain, leaving an opening for yet another demagogic charlatan to take his place. …

What [Trump's high poll numbers] show is not a desire to support the faux tycoon per se, but a raging right-wing, anti-establishment fever that has only gotten stronger in recent months. … There may be no coherent body of views you could call “Trumpism,” but even without Trump, there would be a hunger for spicier red meat than is being offered by the current crop of Republican candidates.

This screw-the-establishment sentiment must be understood in the context of what looks to be growing dissatisfaction with compromises made by Republicans in the Tea Party Congress and statehouses. …

This dynamic creates an enormous temptation for non-congressional Republicans to join the revolt, as evidenced by the rapid devolution of Tim Pawlenty into an extremist on budget issues and a favorite at Tea Party rallies. (He’s now opposed to raising the debt ceiling, even though that would damage the U.S. economy on a scale similar to a nuclear attack.) And if there is something that GOP voters want which Pawlenty is unwilling to give them because he decides it’s too crazy, then there will always be Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann, who are receiving rapturous receptions on the campaign trail, to flay him for his equivocation.

If Trump is pushed out of the limelight or off the campaign trail by the conservative establishment, or by his own erratic record on a host of issues, the atavistic longings of the rank-and-file conservative base will simply affix themselves elsewhere as other candidates try to tap the rich vein of anger he’s helped galvanize.

Here’s the thing Republican leaders and pundits need to understand. (I said it yesterday, but let’s say it again today.) America has not had a mass conversion to ideological libertarianism. Instead, Americans who feel robbed and duped by the series of financial and economic disappointments and disasters from the dot-com bubble onward are boiling with rage against their financial and political leadership. Conservative Americans express that rage in terms learned from talk radio and Fox News. But the fact that these conservative voters express their rage by talking about “debt” and “taxes” does not mean that they want what K Street wants: a Ryan budget that cuts spending on people like them to finance tax cuts for people much richer than them. They are just using familiar words to express a new and unfamiliar emotion of betrayal and resentment. The GOP establishment has successfully directed those emotions against the Obama administration. But there’s no guarantee that the emotions will remain fixed in that direction – because after all, the establishment GOP is offering little or nothing to allay the discontents producing the anger. Conservatives like liberals have suffered unemployment, the loss of savings, the decline in housing values. Conservatives like liberals find themselves suddenly poorer for reasons they do not understand. Conservatives like liberals fear and dread that Medicare and Social Security will soon be cut to rescue the country’s finances. If the GOP wants to finish Trump, GOP candidates had better learn to speak to those anxieties – to offer a remedy more effectual than the snake-oil now being peddled by Tim Pawlenty.

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86 Comments so far ↓


    Can’t find a thing to disagree with here, David.

    It’s unfortunate, though, that yours will likely be a voice in the wilderness.

    What we have here is a situation where the GOP candidates are being asked to choose between taking a moderate, adult approach, or pandering to the extremists taking over the Republican party. In essence, to choose between being like Obama, or being like Trump. I think we all know which way most of them will go on that score. And it’s hard to blame them when, as David and as Kilgore say, that’s what the “base” is basically saying it wants.

  • TerryF98

    The bottom 27%. The crazy ones who are always 27% of the population.

    The Smargs, the Carneys, the WillyP’s of this world are never going to be open to reason and responsible solutions to the country’s problems. So the extremists will get their vote in a GOP primary.

    Thankfully there is a 73% non crazy segment to offset these people in a general election, at issue is whether there are enough outside the 27% on the GOP side who are sane enough to vote for someone like Huntsman.

    • Carney

      What’s the reasonable solution I oppose Terry? Raising taxes? You know very well the government will just spend that and more, if it even gets any more revenue from an economy dealt a further body blow.

      And contrary to your caricature, I’m a Romney man thus far, and was as well in 2008, despite being to his right on more than one issue, immigration in particular.

  • TAZ

    Sad, but true.

    It seems the Republican base has dwindled down to a group of people struggling to be the top crazy.

    When is the main stream conservative press going to head off this insanity? I hope before primaries really kick off and we are left with a three ring circus of Trump, Plain, and Bachman.

  • Deep South Populist

    Not to pat myself no the back, but I was well ahead of the curve in detecting serious FEAR of a Trump presidential bid within the GOP establishment.

    The fact that Frum, Rove and the rest of the GOP elites are running scared tells me all I need to know: Trump should be the standard bearer in 2012.

    David Frum is correct that the GOP base has very real and legitimate grievances, but he is also correct they are easily manipulated. So in some respects this fight is about who gets to manipulate the useful idiots in the base during the 2012 cycle (Trump or GOP elites like Rove and Frum).

    If Trump would just drop the Birther nonsense and focus on his populist economic program, he could give Obama fight.

    The GOPs Achilles heel has always been their economic program. A lot of people who abandoned Obama in ’10 will go back to him in ’12 because of the Ryan budget.

  • nhthinker

    Starve the beast.

    Government is too big as a percentage of GDP spending.

    Frum will not say how much it should be shrunk.
    Obama Libertarians (I can’t say that without laughing) won’t say how much it must be shrunk.

    Americans that want it shrunk are being loud. They may give up- if they do, we just follow Greece over the cliff

    Those that pay no income taxes will soon be a majority of voters.

    Those that don’t contribute enough to public and private health care programs will continue to expect government to make up more of what they were too stupid to do for themselves or weren’t austere enough to take care of themselves. More Americans becoming closer to being wards of the state, or human pets.

    Sort of like dogs unable to resist an open bag of dog food: keep eating unhealthy amounts until it is all gone.

  • Sinan

    Frum remains the only sane Republican left. He should join the left. Our nation cannot survive a term of one of these right wing candidates.

  • kuri3460

    Frum remains the only sane Republican left.

    I think that actually makes you a Democrat in this day and age.

  • cdorsen

    One thing that I disagree with is that liberals seem to always assume that conservatives are somehow disingenuous. Frum hits on this with him saying that anger about debt and taxes is really driven by something else. It couldn’t possibly be that people fear what is going to happen to our country if the debt spirals out of control. Obama made the now infamous comment about people clinging to guns and religion as if people believing in second amendment protections or religious beliefs could only be had by those that really were frustrated because they don’t have jobs. That also goes for all the charges of racism against conservatives as well. Conservatives oppose redistribution schemes, racist. Conservatives oppose the President who happens to be black, racist. It is almost innate that liberals will never believe that conservatives have true values and principles that vary from them. Of course, this diverts the true debate away from the actual merits being discussed devaluing the entire conversation. Take conservatives at face value once in a while and watch for a more meaningful debate.

    I am of course waiting for the litany of responses demonstrating how conservatives do the same to liberals….

  • jg bennet

    So what about we Trump supporters who are not republican, have never voted republican and prefer a candidate who is not a handled bought off puppet?

    Look at how the voters on both sides have a huge tendency to believe our leaders are puppets to people like Soros, Koch, The Heritage, CATO, The Club for Growth, the unions etc.

    Politicians because of the campaign finance laws are for sale to the highest bidders hence our economic and political situation.

    What is appealing about Trump from my independent side is he is not an ideologue, he does not need lobby money, he does not kiss up to the wealthy and is not a professional politician.

    The establishment got us in this mess and want to continue their destructive grip on our political leaders and I’m so fed up with them I would vote for a republican but not just any republican just one.

    Trump’s appeal goes beyond the right wing fringe. The Unions and the Oil companies will love him once he pushes his drill here, jobs here, no outsources, America first presidential campaign.

    There is not a single politician in DC that covers such a wide ranging field of the political spectrum, not one.

    I said on here months ago that Trump was going to rocket to the top of the Republican polls and I was right and I’m also right about his broad appeal. Political hacks won’t like him but they are inconsequential nowadays. Rove, Club for Growth…. Give me a break.

    Trump makes the GOP establishment irrelevant and my next prediction is they, including Frum, will start siding with him after they see his financials because welcome to the world of the juggernaut.

    What excites me most of all is Trump will give a very very loud voice to the marginalized heterodox economists and introduce their common sense approach to economics that the majority of Americans from both sides will support. The establishment has already started crapping their pants and that makes me soooo happy :) They have crapped all over us since Reagan left so now it is their turn.

    Here is an example of just one of those heterodox voices and you will be hearing many more in the near future as Trump keeps the common sense economic drum beat going………

    Why Donald Trump Is Right on Trade

    The usual suspects are racing to debunk Donald Trump’s foray into the most serious protectionism — a 25% tariff on China — proposed by a major presidential candidate since Patrick Buchanan ran in 1992.

    They know this is serious stuff. Our long-delayed national trade debate has begun in earnest.

    • Deep South Populist

      ^^^^Spot. On.

      • kuri3460

        Trump is running a dumbed-down campaign centered on telling the loonies in the party exactly what they want to hear. Don’t get me wrong, most other candidates do this as well, but Trump isn’t even paying lip service to the idea that the world is complicated and the “America, F***yeah approach” makes for pretty poor policy.

        You like Trump because he “has a backbone” and “isn’t in anybody’s pocket”. These are only pseudo-qualities, though, that require a gross oversimplification of reality in order to rally behind. Candidate Trump can say whatever he wants, but President Trump would quickly realize that America doesn’t have the power to force its economic will on the world unilitarily.

      • PracticalGirl


        Trump is also a one-man wrecking crew, a serial bankrupt who has left a string of people and businesses high and dry along the way to riches. Sure, let’s talk about his “business solutions”.

        Trump is also a one-man jobs killer, who has fired thousands of people in his organizations over the past two years while telling us he knows how to create jobs. Ask the 1300 people his casino operation fired in 2010 (250 at Christmas) about his “creativity”… Sure, let’s talk about how he can create jobs.

        Trump is also a Constitutional dolt, as witnessed by his stunning ignorance on the real foundational issues given as deciding factors for Roe v Wade. Not here to argue the case, just pointing out that he’s as ignorant as the base is on this, an issue he wants to lead on. Sure, let’s talk about his understanding of important, historic Court cases…

        The man is an individualist who has gotten rich by thinking about himself. Fair enough, and viva la American Dream. But what SERIOUS leader announces that he’ll announce his intention to announce on the final episode of his ratings-dependent TV reality show? That’s a really good marketer, not a good leader. And he’s going to disappoint. He’s not running for anything, except for the title of Most Successful Marketer and the one who can get the most money for the advertising slots for his final episode…

        • Cforchange

          Well said. The quiet middle will remain unhappy and it will be Obama for 8.

    • Carney

      Protectionism is poison. Illegally slapping a tariff on Chinese goods, thus dealing our poor and working class a further body blow by making their goods and services more expensive will not bring back manufacturing jobs. It will just ignite a trade war for which our exports will be severely sanctioned, dealing yet another hammer blow to US jobs.

      Hiding behind tariff walls makes industry lazy, fat, and unresponsive to consumer wishes and price pressures. The Japanese live much poorer lives than we do.

    • kimmah

      Trump isn’t in the pocket of DC lobbyists, but he is neck-deep in the pocket of advertisers and network execs. He plays for ratings. He will be a trainwreck because he appeals to the lowest and dumbest common denominators with this birther crap.

  • NRA Liberal

    100% right on, Frum.

    The anger here is against elites. Conservatives are taught to conceive of elites as overeducated, East Coast snobs in cahoots with the underclass. Liberals are taught to conceive of elites as the servants of Big Business.

    It’s just the same group of people being looked at from two different perspectives.

  • Deep South Populist

    Never thought I’d see the majority of FF commenters lining up behind Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove.

    They both want Trump out.

  • jg bennet


    Fat & Lazy? Well tariffs did keep the Hogs rolling

    Lay off the kool-aid bro.

    From the CATO Institute January 12, 1984
    Taking America for a Ride:
    The Politics of Motorcycle Tariffs

    It would be nearly impossible to conjure a scenario in which the concentrated, temporary benefits to a specific industry receiving protection were not overwhelmed by the costs of that protection on the broader economy….. (Same argument you give and it is over quarter century later and the economy boomed after the tariff.)

    A matter that further obscures the motivations for the action is that even with the tariff hike there is a good chance that Harley-Davidson will fold…. (WRONG)

    According to the economic analysis and estimation that have been done on the Harley-Davidson case, the new tariff will unambiguously prove to be a setback for the American economy….. (Reagan boom years followed)

    Reagan was surely aware of the economic consequences of the tariff, yet he may well have felt that in the long run his decision was best for our “national economic interest.”….. (CORRECT)

    After the American motorcycle industry has the advantage of the protection of a tariff for five years, it is likely that additional protection will be demanded….. (Harley demanded the tariff be dropped early)

    Kawasaki’s main response to the tariff has been to shift more of its assembly activities to its U.S. plant in order to escape the duty…………..(GOOD FOR THE HOMELAND)

    • Carney

      jg, many Americans, even non-bikers, have an emotional attachment to H-D and prefer to see it thrive, but putting it on the welfare of tariffs, absent a national security imperatives, was questionable. Nor was the fact that the economy did well refute CATO’s point that on margin, the economy was depressed slightly by that action and would overall have done that much, if only slightly, better without it.

      That’s “Economics in One Lesson” by Hazlitt. That’s what Bastiat talked about it “What is Not Seen” in “The Law.” It’s easy for a statist/redistributionist/interventionist to point triumphantly to the thing he caused to happen with tax dollars, subsidies, preferences, etc.

      What’s harder to see but no less real is what is NOT seen, the general interest that was harmed by serving the special interest, the countless small plans and decisions that would have gone otherwise, etc.

      Maybe the Harley Tarriff was small in overall effect, but a general regime of tariffs like you support would have much bigger and more negative effects.

  • cdorsen

    “The Japanese live much poorer lives than we do.”

    I have lived in Japan and my wife and family are Japanese. The Japanese actually live better than we do. Japanese per capita income is higher than here (Japan = $35,474; USA = $33070). They also have much less of a homeless problem and a much larger middle class. The above sentence could use some editing….

    • TerryF98

      That is because they pay about a third as much for health care is we do.

    • Carney

      And yet with their marginally higher incomes, the Japanese are able to afford MUCH less than Americans.

      • Saladdin

        The average net worth of the American at 35 is around $80K, the average net worth of Japanese at 35 is around $250K. The reason they are able to afford MUCH less than Americans has more to do with natural resource and space availability than anything else.

        In the 90′s, real estate prices were insane. You needed a minimum of $1.5 million to purchase even a small home, that’s why the Japanese have a higher net worth. Also, Japan, unlike the US, isn’t necessarily a credit society. They are moving towards that direction, but not yet.

      • Cforchange

        Maybe they live quite nicely without the clutter that comes with all that cheap Chinese junk you most likely are acquiring. Chinese junk consuming and hoarding probably isn’t all that treasured by the majority American either. Getting the standard middle class neighborhood back on track is and has been what most American’s desire. (Code phrase for jobs,jobs,jobs. For governement this means create a competitive, simplified business environment.)

        What one can mostly surmise from all the GOP noise is that this crowd strongly desires the trends of the millennia to continue. Most likely they believe that the only American dream consists of a gated community of big plastic houses filled with imported cheap junk. Your awe of your buying power reveals plenty.

        The spending power to which you refer has done little to improve America. Should you seek out American made products they far exceed the average retail consumer products in both price and quality – no comparison. Buying American made products requires budgeting not impulse buying. Certainly it is the minority who shop like this but with Wal-Mart’s “humans through the door” count dropping, change might be at the doorstep. Perhaps the majority is coming to terms with the fact that the strong buying power of goods not made by Americans is precisely why US businesses have shuttered and government spending is off the maps.

        If you haven’t been paying attention – the only thing affordable is the junk from China. Healthcare, insurance of all types, food, transportation, education and well made American products are pricey for the average middle class American. Finally, major thumbs down on Chinese shoes – simply embarrassing.

  • jg bennet

    President Trump

    Get used to it because, that folks is more than likely the future….Obama is in way over his head and incompetent, look at his job czar. The other GOP candidates except for Huckabee are all free trade/outsourcing multinational corporation lovers…….Bad juju for them good juju for Trump.

    I think Trump and Huckabee are going to run together as a team in the primary by the way. Have you heard how positive they are on each other? Team Trump & Huck, how could they lose the primary? Plus it will be unique and a double fisted run……

    On to Obama’s bone headed jobs move, Trump will have a field day with this one.

    In January, the White House appointed Jeff Immelt (pictured), the CEO of GE, as its “jobs czar,” charged with finding solutions to America’s unemployment crisis. Three months later, despite some positive signs, employment rates have barely budged, Americans are more pessimistic about the economy than they’ve been in a while–and Immelt is under fire amid news that GE reportedly paid no taxes this year.
    And some new jobs data may not help things. The Wall Street Journal reports (sub. req.) that during the last decade U.S. multinationals reduced their domestic workforce by 2.9 million, according to Commerce Department figures. During the same period, those same companies increased their overseas workforce by 2.4 million.

    • PracticalGirl

      “…during the last decade U.S. multinationals reduced their domestic workforce by 2.9 million, according to Commerce Department figures. During the same period, those same companies increased their overseas workforce by 2.4 million.

      Go further, please. Those same companies, during the same time period saved how many billions in tax evasive loopholes? And how might The Donald solve this massive exodus of workers, not according to speculation but to his own words?

  • rbottoms

    Can’t wait for the ‘Triumph of Will’ style rallies.

    David Frum gingerly whispers that a blood thirsty mob screaming approval of anyway who tells them who to blame is a bad thing.

    Liberals are shocked, shocked at this naked outpouring of hate after 30 years of the Right Wing pushing the same idea, all that’s changed is the willingness of so-called serious candidates joining in the ‘Two Minutes of Hate’.

    • Carney

      Calling Frum a Nazi eh? Stay classy.

      • rbottoms

        Don’t Republican MF’s know how to read?

        Nuremberg refers to a particular style of staging and calls to nativism, to shift the blame to “them” as the righteous “take back their country.” It’s the leeches, the bloodsuckers, the sub-humans who are to blame, the blacks, the brown, and the shifty jooos.

        It’s poison, it’s infected the GOP to the highest levels and David Frum is shitting his pants over it as well he should be.

        But he’s a little late to be blaring out the wake up call that Limbaugh is simplistic racial provocateur, the Beck is a conspiracy obsessed charlatan, and in both cases he can’t bring himself to call them the outright racists they are.

        The GOP has slurped up this sweet syrup of ipecac and they stand ready to vomit up a wave of putrid slime as has never been seen in politics. He went on dutifully pulling the lever for the clown party and is now surprised to see clowns disgorging from their hateful little clown car.

        Too late.

        • Carney

          I could just as well ask when you will learn to write. Your ridiculously purple prose is more carefully crafted to induce nausea than to clearly communicate ideas, but I’m sorry I misread you. Instead you merely accused Frum of being so soft on Nazi-ism as to be little better than a collaborator. Better?

          Nazi, nazi, nazi.

          If everyone’s a Nazi, no one’s a Nazi, rbottoms. Yes, the lessons of the Holocaust must be learned and remembered. But every lesson can be over-learned too.

          Not every statement and policy stance that advances the views and interests of the majority, even when and if they are in direct competition with those of various minority groups, is a prelude to or morally comparable to genocide; in fact the vast majority are not and fall within the boundaries of legitimate discourse and practice.

          Those who object to calling a supporters of old-age and widows’ pensions “Marxists” or “Stalinists” and who denounce “McCarthyism” should practice what they preach.

          Finally, I recall that Jeremiah Wright’s mentor Louis Farrakhan used the term “bloodsuckers”…


    jg bennet sounds exactly like the Perot crazies in 1992. What they got for their efforts was President Clinton. What Trump supporters are increasing the chances of is a second term of President Obama.

    If there is a shred of sanity left in the GOP — a grand assumption — they’ll nominate someone sane who can win, like Romney. If they go with a kook they will get what they deserve.

    Trump’s candidacy reminds me a lot of that of Carl Paladino last year in the NYS governor’s race. Heard the same anti-establishment rhetoric and excitement from the right-wing, the same exaggerated and hand-picked polls, the same “straight talk” exuberance. Andrew Cuomo made mincemeat out of him. NYS is bluer than the US in general, but the same thing will happen to a lesser extent in 2012 if a clueless dogmatic egomaniac like Trump gets the GOP nod.

    • PracticalGirl

      What they got for their efforts was President Clinton.

      And those years of expansion and prosperity really sucked, didn’t they?

    • Deep South Populist

      Mitt Romney is a milk-toast, warmed over Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, John McCain-style loser.

      Mitt Romney has no chance against Barack Obama. Trump is a wild card, so anything can happen.

  • cdorsen

    Carney, not to be a jerk, but stick to topics you actually know something about. You clearly are clueless when it comes to Japan. Able to afford much less? Maybe in the sense of land (I really hope I don’t have to explain the reason). As for everything else, they have probably more. They actually save and pay for their children to go to college not to mention all the money for eikaiwas and after-school-schools. They spend tons more than we do on education and have a better education system. They have higher per capita home broadband access and all manner of technology than we do. They own nice cars and eat nutritious high quality food. They have bullet trains and clean city streets. In what way are they able to afford MUCH less?


    “And those years of expansion and prosperity really sucked, didn’t they?”

    Based on how the right wing has behaved since then, they seem to think so.

  • politicalfan

    Another great one Frum!

    “GOP candidates had better learn to speak to those anxieties” –

    If they don’t pay attention. Some unlikely person will slide on in and chant the tune that people will want to hear!!! And they will win!!!

  • rbottoms

    “GOP candidates had better learn to speak to those anxieties” –

    They have been speaking to them with death panels, FEMA concentration camps, and episodes like calling a simple speech from the president about not dropping out of school into a Maoist indoctrination scandal.

    Not a damn thing has changed except that even more elected GOP officials are saying the crazy out loud and getting rewarded for it by the irrational nativist cohort of older whites in a panic about the blacks and the browns overwhelming their cherished fantasy about the old days when a black knew his place, women stayed the hell home, and America was run by the right people.

    Not some gorilla in a pinstripe suit.
    Los Angeles

    An e-mail by an Orange County Republican Party official that shows President Obama’s face superimposed on a chimpanzee is a fresh blow for a state Republican Party already teetering on the brink of political irrelevance.

    State party officials have categorically condemned the e-mail by Marilyn Davenport, which shows the altered picture of Obama with the caption: “Now you know why – No birth certificate!” California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro said “the actions in question are completely unacceptable.”

    Yet the fact that a Republican official in Orange County – sometimes called “the most Republican county in the US” – so obviously endorses the “birther” movement and promoted it in a borderline racist e-mail runs the risk of confirming negative GOP stereotypes for some California voters.[/blockquote]

    Repeat the mantra, “bad apples”, “isolated incident”, “not representative.”

    Here’s another word: Bullshit.


    “Mitt Romney is a milk-toast, warmed over Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, John McCain-style loser.

    Mitt Romney has no chance against Barack Obama. Trump is a wild card, so anything can happen.”

    This, of course, is a classic example of magical thinking. It’s also exactly the same reasoning that the GOP in NYS used in nominating Carl Paladino.

    Sure, Trump is a “wild card”, and there’s some small set of circumstances under which he can beat Obama. But it’s a very small set.

    Romney has no chance to beat Obama? Please. The president is not exactly swimmingly popular, and if the economy has not improved next year he is quite vulnerable. Romney is a solid candidate who can appeal to the middle, which is really all that matters in a general election.

    • Deep South Populist

      TRS: Romney is a solid candidate who can appeal to the middle, which is really all that matters in a general election.”

      I’m not sure what evidence you see to support this claim.

      You don’t win elections by appealing to the middle with a milk-toast candidate like Mitt Romney.

      See Ford, Bush I, Dole, McCain, Gore, and Kerry.

      You win elections by firing up your party’s base and then overwhelming the other party.

      See Reagan, Clinton, ’94 midterms, Bush II, ’06 midterms, Obama, and ’10 midterms.

      By that standard, Trump is just what the doctor ordered.

      • Carney

        You’re partly right and partly wrong. Dennis Kucinich or Rick Santorum could fire up their bases, but would then be wiped out in the general. On the other hand, I suspect that if the Dems had nominated Ben Nelson or if the GOP had nominated a pre-switch Arlen Specter, there would have been so much of a depressed turnout among the base as to have ensured defeat.

        The task is to find the sweet spot, the intersection between maximum conservatism and maximum electability. As National Review said four years ago, that’s Mitt Romney, and I think that’s still the case.

  • JimBob

    Frum is so fundamentally dishonest. No one on the GOP is talking about tax cuts for the rich. What Paul Ryan and others have proposed is lowering rates and closing loopholes. Broadening the tax base. Barry Hussein’s own debt commission recommended the same thing. In fact the Simpson Bowles plan lowers rates more than the Ryan plan. Just like the Chicago Street Hustler, Frum can’t help but demagoguing on this. Simply pathetic.

    And it was the establishment of the both parties that got us stuck in the Middle East.

  • gmckee1985

    Republicans usually do a decent job of nominating the most electable candidate. The sillyness of 2009 and 2010 makes me a little worried about the primary though. I mean, nominating Buck, Angle and Oddonnell kept us from having a split Senate.


    “You don’t win elections by appealing to the middle with a milk-toast candidate like Mitt Romney.”

    The word is “milquetoast” and your use of that word to describe Romney is simply your personal opinion.

    “You win elections by firing up your party’s base and then overwhelming the other party.”

    That only works when the party’s base is in the same zip code as independents. When it isn’t, you lose. Cf: Paladino analogy mentioned above, along with all the senate seats the GOP gave away in 2010 by nominating utter nutcases.

    If the economy is still poor in 2012, people will want a sane alternative to Obama. A candidate like Romney is one. Donald Trump is not.

    • Deep South Populist

      TRS: The word is “milquetoast” and your use of that word to describe Romney is simply your personal opinion.”

      I stand corrected.

      Let me put it this way. You said that in order to win all that matters is appealing to the middle. Your evidence for this claim, as far as I can tell, is that Carl Paladino lost to Andrew Cuomo in New York, one of the Deepest of Deep Blue states in the country.

      I said that you win by firing up the base. My evidence is 13 national elections where the party that did the better job firing up its base won big.

      Your Paladino analogy is weak. Firing up the base is what matters.


    “Repeat the mantra, “bad apples”, “isolated incident”, “not representative.””

    Consider it repeated.

    Just as your insanity is not representative of blacks.

  • rbottoms

    Barry Hussein’s own debt commission recommended the same thing.

    Remember, we’re not racists. Don’t ever call us racists, we watch Oprah and the black chick in X-Men is pretty hot.

  • JimBob

    Republicans will win regardless of what hacks like Frum say.

    With gasoline at 5 dollar a gallon, unemployment over 8 percent and stagflation, the Chicago Street Hustler will be sent back to community organizer school.

    The man is a walking disaster.

    • anniemargret

      jimbob. A ‘Chicago Street Hustler?”

      What? What a disgusting thing to say about the POTUS. He is about as far away from that denigrating slur as Palin is to being a Rhodes Scholar.

      Barack Obama went to Columbia, then Harvard, then the Senate, then won the Presidency of the US in a fairly wide margin against the McCain/Palin idiocy.

      Street hustler? Gee…how low can you go?

      You guys ought to start looking for a candidate. Throwing slurs against the President won’t work in 2012…. People are smarter than to fall for this hateful rhetoric.

  • gmckee1985

    I find myself in agreement with talkradiosucks..weird.


    “Republicans will win regardless of what hacks like Frum say.”

    And here, the bookending foolishness to the one that says to give up on a rational approach to beating Obama.


    Am I missing something?

    If one believes a conservative budget such as Ryan’s means to tax
    middle class folks in order for the wealthy to keep more of their
    money, isn’t that validating the very class warfare argument being
    made by the galactically dishonest “progressives”?

    Don’t conservatives believe that a tax cut for ANYONE is not giving
    them a benefit but, in fact, leaving them with more of their OWN

    Don’t we believe that raising taxes on anyone kills jobs?


    Alan Glover

    • Elvis Elvisberg

      “Don’t we believe that raising taxes on anyone kills jobs?”

      Yep, conservatives believe that raising any tax anywhere spells doom and destruction, and that cutting taxes balances the budget.

      They have no memory of the past 20 years of American history.

      (Hell, of the past 100 years, nor any other time and place in world history that has actually existed).

      • Carney

        Revenue went up after the JFK tax cuts, the Reagan tax cuts, and the Bush tax cuts.

        • Elvis Elvisberg

          “Federal revenue is lower today than it would have been without the tax cuts. There’s really no dispute among economists about that,” said Alan D. Viard, a former Bush White House economist now at the nonpartisan American Enterprise Institute. “It’s logically possible” that a tax cut could spur sufficient economic growth to pay for itself, Viard said. “But there’s no evidence that these tax cuts would come anywhere close to that.”

          Economists at the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and in the Treasury Department have reached the same conclusion. An analysis of Treasury data prepared last month by the Congressional Research Service estimates that economic growth fueled by the cuts is likely to generate revenue worth about 7 percent of the total cost of the cuts, a broad package of rate reductions and tax credits that has returned an estimated $1.1 trillion to taxpayers since 2001.

          The truth is that there is virtually no evidence in support of the Bush tax cuts as an economic elixir. To the extent that they had any positive effect on growth, it was very, very modest. Their main effect was simply to reduce the government’s revenue, thereby increasing the budget deficit, which all Republicans claim to abhor.

          It’s worth remembering where the Bush tax cuts came from in the first place. In 1999, in the midst of one of the biggest economic booms in American history, then Texas Gov. Bush convened a group of Republican economists to draft a tax plan for him. Contrary to Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cut, which was a simple across-the-board marginal tax rate reduction, the Bush plan was a hodge-podge of tax gimmicks designed more to win the support of various voting blocs than stimulate growth. …

          Rather than defend his proposal as one that would increase growth, Bush argued that its main purpose was simply to deplete the budget surplus, which had grown under President Bill Clinton to $126 billion in 1999. …

          Subsequent analysis showed that the rebate had virtually no stimulative effect, exactly as economic theory predicted. By and large, people saved the rebate rather than spend it. And the saving didn’t even do any good because the deficit, which is negative saving, increased by the same amount. In any case, the economy continued to deteriorate and unemployment rose sharply despite the tax cut.

          tax increases are not the worst thing in the world—Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times, including in 1982 when the economy was still in recession, and contrary to right-wing predictions Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax increase did not send the economy into a tailspin.

          Once upon a time not too long ago there were serious people in the Republican Party willing to negotiate with Democrats in good faith on the issues of the day for the betterment of our country. Now they are all gone. Until they reappear our fiscal situation will get worse. Democrats can’t do it by themselves; they need someone on the Republican side with whom they can negotiate. I don’t see any such person anywhere in the country at the moment.

          The Republican Party is 100% unwilling to learn the simplest lessons of history. It is 100% insane.

  • gmckee1985

    Ryan’s budget isn’t going to go anywhere. Entitlement reforms, deficit reduction will have to happen on a bipartisan basis. ..

  • Frumplestiltskin

    DSP, Romney won the Governorship of Mass. not South Carolina, of course he can appeal to Democrats, I have doubts though how much he can appeal to the fundamentalist base of the Republican party (I am not saying they will vote for Obama but will they donate to Romney) Of all the Republicans he probably has the best chance to appeal to independents and some Conservative Democrats (of course, what will happen if Huntmen runs is a whole other issue) Romney has to win the nomination first. I just don’t see how he does. Granted considering how lameass all the rest is he might win it by default.

    JimBob, read Ryan’s plan, he is going to take the savings from Medicare cutbacks to lower the top rate down to 25%, don’t you realize if you cut rates for the rich they pay less in taxes, ie a tax cut?
    Look at what you wrote: No one on the GOP is talking about tax cuts for the rich. What Paul Ryan and others have proposed is lowering rates…

    On what planet does lowering rates not count as a tax cut????
    As to closing loopholes, oh horseshit. One man’s loophole is another man’s essential provision for business or life.
    And it wasn’t Obama’s commission…good lord, it was bipartisan which meant it wasn’t his.

    • JimBob

      His savings on Medicare go towards reducing the deficit and debt.

      I think Rand Paul and Paul Ryan have changed the debate in Washington. Now even uber liberal Dick Durbin is saying that Social Security is going to be cut. It has to be.

      The welfare entitlement state is collapsing. One more time. It is called medical technology and demographics. More and more people are living a third of their lives on SS and Medicare. Simple arithmetic says that’s not sustainable.

    • Carney

      Frumple, Romney was endorsed in 2008 by Bob Jones. I’m not sure how much more hardcore fundamentalist you can get than that. But you’re right that he won’t be the Southern religious voter’s first choice, and would probably get the nomination when anti-Romney voters divide their support among several alternatives. I’d say it was the usual Establishment candidate play, except that the Establishment candidate usually suffers humiliating defeats in IA and NH only to rally in SC. What Romney seems to be doing is writing off IA (after going all in there last time), winning NH, and writing off SC in favor of NV, and doing a long expensive slog.

      As for the donation / enthusiasm gap, he will have ground to make up, and in my view will HAVE to name a Protestant and preferably an evangelical rather than mainline Protestant as his running mate.

      Thus no Catholic need apply. Sorry, Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, etc. (most of whom have other flaws as running mates anyway).

      Huckabee might be good if he and Romney could overcome their mutual antipathy. I think a more likely and better choice is John Thune. Evangelical enough for the base, but non Southern (no accent either) to avoid tripping the global leftist media hate machine’s fear and mockery reflex. Soothe the soccer Moms with a GQ smile and a calm demeanor.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    JimBob, here is Chait with the facts:
    A number of conservatives have asserted that, contrary to what I’ve written, the House Republican budget written by Paul Ryandoes not cut taxes for high earners. (See John McCormick, Ramesh Ponnuru, Charles Krauthammer, and McCormick again quoting Ryan.) Here’s the argument. Ryan keeps overall tax levels the same as they are right now by making the tax cuts permanent. He would then reduce the corporate tax rate and the top income tax rate by ten percentage points, from 35% to 25%. But he would make up for that additional revenue loss by closing “loopholes and deductions,” many of which benefit the rich. Therefore, his plan doesn’t really cut taxes on the rich.

    There are four problems with this claim, each of them fatal.

    First, the argument simply reflects a legitimate difference in baselines. Under current law, the Bush tax cuts are in full effect, but expire at the end of 2012. Keep Bush-era tax levels in place is not a tax cut compared with the tax code now, but it is a tax cut compared with the tax code in 2013. Which is the true baseline? I think both sides have a point, and Congressional scorekeepers have taken to using both baselines.

    When President Obama accuses Ryan of cutting taxes for the rich, he’s using the post-2012 baseline. I consider that the best point of reference because the most important force in our political system is inertia. Given our multiple veto points, it takes great effort to enact a policy change that the parties disagree upon. Ryan proposes to make that change. Therefore, I think it’s fair to describe him as “cutting taxes,” even if revenues did remain at present levels (which dispute, but more on that later.) I do think there’s merit in both baselines. The argument that Obama is lying about Ryan — that calling him a tax-cutter is, in Krauthammer’s characteristically understated phrasing, “scurrilous” — rests upon the assumption that the current-policy baseline is not only more preferable but the only remotely honest point of reference. That seems like a huge stretch.

    Second, even if we accept Ryan’s preferred baseline, his description of his plan is hard to accept at face value. Tax reform is a trade where you take away deductions (that’s hard) and use the money to reduce rates (that’s easy.) The rate reductions are specified. The reduced deductions aren’t. Another way to put this is that Ryan has proposed a specific tax cut that would benefit the affluent, accompanied by utterly vague promises to find offsets. At the very leas, the rate-lowering portion ought to carry more weight than the deduction-closing portion.

    Third, even if we accept both Ryan’s baseline and assume he will match every dollar in lost revenue from the rate cuts with another dollar in reduced deductions, he will almost certainly wind up cutting taxes for the rich relative even to the post-Bush tax code. Ryan implies that his plan would leave the rich paying the same effective tax rates as they do now because he’s “getting rid of loopholes and deductions, which by the way are enjoyed by the top [tax] rate filers, the people in the top two brackets.” But he hasn’t put out any details. In 1995, House Republicans loudly promised to promote shared sacrifice by rooting out corporate welfare in the tax code. The actual savings they produced turned out to consist of proposals that hurt the poor (by cutting the Earned Income Tax Credit), benefited business (by letting them swipe funds from employee pensions, keeping the money as profit and thus increasing corporate tax revenue), or other reverse-Robin Hood measures.

    Now, Ryan was not around then. But we can get a measure of his intentions from the more specific tax plan laid out in his “Roadmap” from 2010. That plan constituted a massive tax cut for the rich, combined with a tax hike on the middle class.

    The Tax Policy Center examined various proposals to reduce tax deductions while using the revenue to lower rates across the board. All the plans decreased the tax burden for the top-earning 1%. The problem is that tax deductions are just not worth as much to very rich people as low tax rates.

    It’s true that the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan includes proposals that would lower rates to around 25% while increasing the effective tax rate paid by the very rich. To do that, you have to do things like raise the estate tax rate and completely eliminate the preferential treatment of capital gains. But Ryan’s budget promises instead — and this is the only specific policy commitment in its tax section, other than lowering rates — to expand the preferential treatment of income from wealth:

    Raising taxes on capital is another idea that purports to affect the wealthy but actually hurts all participants in the economy. Mainstream economics, not to mention common sense, teaches that raising taxes on any activity generally results in less of it. Economics and common sense also teach that the size of a nation’s capital stock – the pool of saved money available for investment and job creation – has an effect on employment, productivity, and wages. Tax reform should promote savings and investment because more savings and more investment mean a larger stock of capital available for job creation. That means more jobs, more productivity, and higher wages for all American workers.

    Fourth — almost there! — even if you reject everything I’ve written to this point, Ryan’s plan includes the repeal of all the taxes in the Affordable Care Act, including the taxes on the affluent. Here’s the Path to Prosperity’s description of health care taxes he proposes to undo:

    The new law imposes a 0.9 percent surtax on wages and a 3.8 percent surtax on interest, dividends, and capital gains. Both taxes only apply to filers in the top two income brackets, but as discussed elsewhere in this section, those filers include small businesses employing millions of Americans, and the new taxes on capital will reduce the pool of capital available for investment and job creation.

    There. Per Paul Ryan, these are upper-bracket taxes he proposes to lower. He could keep those taxes in effect, and cover a few of the uninsured people he throws off their coverage, or make the progressively-more-inadequate health care vouchers he uses to replace Medicare slightly less inadequate. But he chooses not to do that, because he believes it’s more important to tax capital at lower rates. It’s fine for him to believe that. But he and his defenders have to stop insisting that he doesn’t propose tax cuts for the rich. He indisputably does so.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    JimBob, will you at least address what was written, that link has been thoroughly rebutted already.

    Here is one piece of garbage from Rameesh: “The CBO’s actual projections for the Ryan plan show a debt level in 2021 that is $4.7 trillion lower than its projections for Obama’s budgets.”

    This is based on current projections and not taking into consideration how Obama will let the tax cuts for the wealthy expire next year, as well as the fact he has not put out his own plan in details. In fact, if Obama were to allow all the tax cuts to expire it will be lower than Ryan and Obama has to do nothing to bring this into effect. Ryan has a fairy tale budget that will never pass the Senate or be signed into law by Obama.

    That was pure garbage by Rameesh. Let me repeat, his shit was already rebutted above, yet you post something that ignores it all. Do you really imagine that Republicans using this years baseline is accurate? That Obama will make permanent the Bush tax cuts?

    Have you no shame?


    “Revenue went up after the JFK tax cuts, the Reagan tax cuts, and the Bush tax cuts.”

    Dunno about the first two, but definitely wrong on the third.

  • WillyP

    How to Beat Trump?
    Let him talk and bring up his past.
    Kelo? Reagan? He’s not even a liberal. He has no bearing. He’s a self-aggrandizing punk. In another month he’ll be gone.

  • gmckee1985

    Romney will pick someone such as Bob McDonnell or John Thune as his running mate, if he ends up getting the nom.

  • armstp

    I think the gloves should come off with regard to Trump. I think the press should start digging up the real dirt on Trump. This guy has got an incredible amount of skeletons in his closet.

    I think you could start with all the womanizing he has done over the years when he was married. This guy use to party with the P Diddy and all the hip hop artists. I am sure there are many sex related stories on Trump. A scandal or two just waiting to come to the surface.

    Then someone should move on to his real estate-gambling “empire”. He drove his businesses into bankruptcy not once, but twice. I am sure there are many many shady deals and big government subsidies and benefits he got over the years.

    Then someone can move on to his taxes. Given his shady business practices and real estate in general, I am sure he has had many tax issues over the years. Has Trump paid all his taxes over the years?

    Then someone could move on to his lobbying both at the city and state level? Has he ever manipulated the system to his favor? Has he ever put politicians in his back pocket. etc. That is generally what real estate developers do. They game the system or manipulate the system through lobbying and political donations. Real estate is one of the biggest scumbag businesses, particularly in NY.

    etc. etc. etc.

  • steven08817

    The chickens are coming home to roost! All the crap the right has thrown at Obama (socialist, alien, Muslim) to delegitimize is now going to be used by Trump to discredit the GOP. Trump is exposing the GOP as a crazy bunch of nuts. They are so brainwashed they cannot distinguish between conspiracies and the truth.

  • anniemargret

    armstp: That’s why Trump won’t run. For all the reasons you list above. Trump is not a fool in the end. He wouldn’t want his tax records or his womanizing to see the light of media glare.

    By the way, folks, he has a three or four year old at home. Some father. Never home. Another swat at him as far as I’m concerned.

    And Trump’s dad made his millions as a slumlord in NYC.

    Nope. Trump is doing it for his own super-sized ego and to make more money. Like he doesn’t have enough. But then again, what millionaires ever have enough?

    The GOP needs to get serious. Please. Stop giving America these morons and self-serving hucksters. The country deserves better.

  • anniemargret

    steven: You are so right. The GOP has dug so far down in the dirt they cannot recognize a normal candidate or support one if their life depended on it. The sane people – the few, the brave – are so sane that they are too boring for the average Republican voter.

    They want red meat! Serve it up with a lot of mashed potatoes and gravy. Throw it at em” Birtherism! Socialism! Gays marrying! Obama was a community organizer! Obama is a half black man!

    They need a leader….there’s not a one in sight. Even for the sane ones, they have to get on board the Nut Train. No hope for the Republicans in sight.

  • 24AheadDotCom

    Frum is one of the few GOP leaders who aren’t nuts.

    However, his idea that the TPers are just using “debt” etc. as proxies for something else isn’t entirely accurate: many of them mistakenly believe that debt/spending are the most important issues facing the U.S. Their ideology is what I call “LibertarianLite”. They aren’t full-on crazies, but they’re close. And, they’re buying everything their oftentimes corrupt leaders (Armey, Koch, etc.) sell them.

    For an example, for a couple years now I’ve been trying to get them to go after illegal immig. instead of having OCD on spending. I’ve had no success whatsoever, and the TPers have largely ignore immig. That’s despite the fact that’s it’s far more fundamental and vital than spending and – unlike spending – it’s where the Dems are most vulnerable.

    Certainly, the TPers have been duped. But, it takes two to tango and they’ve been following right along.

  • rbottoms

    Finally, I recall that Jeremiah Wright’s mentor Louis Farrakhan used the term “bloodsuckers”…

    Farrakhan was an asshole, so was Wright.

    Was there a point there somewhere?

    Donald Trump is appealing to the racist, gay basher, anti-science nuts who have overrun the GOP. I truly despise the GOP, but mainly for their use of the Southern Strategy to entice the Dixiecrats to jump ship into the welcoming arms of the GOP.

    It’s why 90% of black Americans vote for the Democrats and will continue to do so so long as the weekly parade of some GOP official sending nigger jokes continues.

    You feel all icky being compared to an Orange County GOP official who compares Obama to a chimpanzee, and you willingly blind yourself to the disgustingly blatant nature of the bigotry so it doesn’t itch so much.

    The main difference between Louis F., the all-purpose bogeyman of the 90′, lies in what he wasn’t, a Democratic Party official, member of congress, or presidential candidate. When one of yours goes full birther fascist, it usually turns out he’s mayor, or party official. Hence the need to engage in the frantic hand washing.

    Fuck Donald Trump and the birther enablers of the GOP.

    • Carney

      Yeah, Wright was only the man who:

      by Obama’s admission, converted Obama to Christianity, and then only because of his social/political message, not so much belief in things like saving your soul for eternity;

      officiated at Obama’s marriage;

      baptized both of Obama’s children;

      supplied the catchphase that became the title of Obama’s autobiography;

      preached for decades as Obama sat smiling and nodding in the pews, while somehow supposedly remaining blissfully unaware of the anti-white racism and anti-American extremism in the pulpit.

      A bit more influential than some random state rep out of tens of thousands, or some wacked local party official.

      • rbottoms

        Holy f*****g crap!!! This is so earth shatteringly… old ass 2008.

        That’s it, that’s your A game to take down a sitting president?

        Because that’s some pretty weak shit.

        • Carney

          Crowing that the facts did not get enough attention in 2008 does not make them, or their importance, go away.

          You’re the one who accused those you disapprove of of using the term “bloodsuckers”. The fact remains that it has far closer ties with the top of your preferred political faction than mine.

        • Crime Dog

          Didn’t get enough attention? I’d guess most politically aware people have heard of Jeremiah Wright.

    • Bunker555

      The Nation of Islam has done a lot of good charitable work for poor and destitute people. You may hate Farrakhan but don’t ignore some of his organization’s good work. Similarly, there are groups like the Islamic Brotherhood, Muslim Charities Forum, and thousands of philanthropy groups, that are not crazy like the Tea Jihadists.

  • Bunker555

    Trump’s pole will not rise come Easter. His numbers have peaked.

    Question: On what day did Christ rise from the dead?

    Answer: Christ rose from the dead, glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday, the third day after His death.

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  • jamesj

    I don’t see how any rational observer will disagree with Kilgore’s central point. Over the last couple years the Republican party has cultivated a huge block of voters who’ve been purposefully misinformed about important issues and purposefully riled up about meaningless issues (like the president’s birth certificate). You reap what you sow. There is no turning back now. They can’t wish the mess they’ve created away.

  • PatrickQuint

    Carney: “Protectionism is poison. Illegally slapping a tariff on Chinese goods, thus dealing our poor and working class a further body blow by making their goods and services more expensive will not bring back manufacturing jobs. It will just ignite a trade war for which our exports will be severely sanctioned, dealing yet another hammer blow to US jobs.”

    China levies some heavy duties on American products. I think it’s appropriate to reciprocate.

    Manufacturing of the kinds of things imported from China isn’t absent in North America. There are still American companies making lamps, toys, toolboxes, and a host of other products. The prices on these goods won’t increase as much as you’d think from the way it’s told.

    • Carney

      Protectionism is poison for China too. Just because they’re hitting their own face with a hammer doesn’t mean we should “retaliate” by doing the same to our own.

  • Oh Dear. : MCCS1977

    [...] Here’s the thing Republican leaders and pundits need to understand. (I said it yesterday, but let’s say it again today.) America has not had a mass conversion to ideological libertarianism. Instead, Americans who feel robbed and duped by the series of financial and economic disappointments and disasters from the dot-com bubble onward are boiling with rage against their financial and political leadership. Conservative Americans express that rage in terms learned from talk radio and Fox News. But the fact that these conservative voters express their rage by talking about “debt” and “taxes” does not mean that they want what K Street wants: a Ryan budget that cuts spending on people like them to finance tax cuts for people much richer than them. They are just using familiar words to express a new and unfamiliar emotion of betrayal and resentment. The GOP establishment has successfully directed those emotions against the Obama administration. But there’s no guarantee that the emotions will remain fixed in that direction – because after all, the establishment GOP is offering little or nothing to allay the discontents producing the anger. Conservatives like liberals have suffered unemployment, the loss of savings, the decline in housing values. Conservatives like liberals find themselves suddenly poorer for reasons they do not understand. Conservatives like liberals fear and dread that Medicare and Social Security will soon be cut to rescue the country’s finances. – DAVID FRUM [...]

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