My Farewell Interview with Marketplace

October 12th, 2011 at 6:12 pm David Frum | 37 Comments |

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My final interview with Marketplace is up on the web:

RYSSDAL: So why this move? Why is this no longer a good fit for you?

FRUM: Well, we’ve been doing a point/counter-point here between me and Bob Reich for a couple of years. And it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve certainly learned a lot from it. But I think that there’s a kind of expectation that when you do it that you represent the broad point of view of your half of the political spectrum. And although I consider myself a conservative and a Republican, and I think that the right-hand side of the spectrum has the better answers for the long-term growth of economy — low taxes, restrained government, less regulation — it’s pretty clear that facing the immediate crisis — very intense crisis — I’m just not representing the view of most people who call themselves Republicans and conservatives these days.

RYSSDAL: Let me quote you back to yourself in a post that you made on FrumForum not too long ago. You say: “Under the pressure of the current crisis — intoxicated by anti-Obama feelings and incited by talk radio and Fox — Republicans have staked out an extreme position on the role of government.” That’s where we are in this discussion, right?

FRUM: It’s not just the role of government though. We have got a sick patient — the American economy. And we can see that the patient in the next bed — the European economy — he’s looking even sicker and there’s a real risk of contagion. And what I think we have to do at a moment like this: Have a very, very open creation of money and credit. This is not a moment for government to be cutting back. Here’s where Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes agreed. They didn’t necessarily agree about why to do this medicine, but as to what the medicine was, they did broadly agree. But it’s not the medicine that’s being prescribed now.

Click here to read the full transcript.

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37 Comments so far ↓

  • indy

    This is not a moment for government to be cutting back. Here’s where Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes agreed.

    You know who didn’t agree? von Hayek. This is the exact reason Keynes wiped the floor with him and most economists deserted him and why your party is nuts. He had no answer for this sort of crisis and yet Republicans will follow him off the cliff.

  • Primrose

    I’m not sure , Mr. Frum, what is helped by reducing the number of sane conservatives in the media, but I respect your position.

  • Oldskool

    I speculate that CNN will take up more time and pay enough to make it worthwhile. But the stated reasons have more oomph.

  • Erica

    Until your recent departure from the present Republican rhetoric I rarely agreed with you. Indeed, we are on opposite sides of the political spectrum. But I must commend you for suggesting that the breadth of the economic crisis demands that measures are taken to secure the economic safety net rather than getting mired in political alchemy. Do I hear bipartisanship?

  • Graychin

    Marketplace isn’t a very good program.

    It will be a worse program when you have been replaced by someone more “conservative” who will hold true to the Republican party line.

    • roubaix

      Yeah, MP is second-tier NPR (…well, APM actually).

      Hope to see Frum moving onward and upward. I know a few tepid Sunday roundtables that could stand an upgrade.

  • Elvis Elvisberg

    low taxes, restrained government, less regulation

    I’m under 40, so I can’t see how anyone would think that belief in those guideposts would prevent anyone from being a Democrat. It’s not like Bill Clinton & Barack Obama have pushed for Nixonian levels of regulation & taxation.

    It wasn’t always this way, but at the moment, in the context of the two-party system, this is how it is: If you have rational policy preferences, you are a Democrat. If you think that the Heritage Foundation’s health insurance policy, water fluoridation, and school desegregation are fascism, then you’re a Republican.

  • jorae

    FRUM…” the right-hand side of the spectrum has the better answers for the long-term growth of economy — low taxes, restrained government, less regulation.”

    So, here he states that these are the ‘better answers.’

    Then he states….

    FRUM … “This is not a moment for government to be cutting back…”

    Why do Republicans want to ‘pad’ themself from the extreme right by first ‘kissing up’ to their platform, then, without any mention that you are denying their platform, make a statement completely contrary to the platform?

    He is quitting NPR – known as the mosted trustworty news source in America…Why stop your input? Unless you know, what you will be saying is so far from what the extreme right wing wants to hear, it makes you a target of their propaganda.

    It’s too bad he is leaving. It was a confort to hear him speak as a republican and be so ‘level headed.’

  • rbottoms

    Won’t make a damn bit of difference. The GOP is committed to removing the Kenyan and if it takes wrecking the world to do it, so be it.

  • jorae

    I had not read Frum’s earlier OP…”Conceding One to the Critics” which explains a little better his ideas…

    “But on the issues that today most passionately divide Americans – healthcare reform, monetary policy, social spending to aid the unemployed, and – soon – the American response to the euro crisis, I have to recognize that my views are not very representative of the conservative mainstream.” per Frum

    Then later states about being put on the spot about the contraditions to the republican stance…

    “If I can’t or won’t do that job, then I should make way for somebody who can and will.”

    The policy of putting ‘self’ before country never seems to leave a true Republican.

    Still, I don’t think his opening statement of the Republicans having “best answers” should have been written.

  • JAIK

    I was glad I caught Mr. Frum’s comments on MarketPlace tonight. Although I am a Republican and consider myself somewhat of a fiscal conservative, I agree with a lot of the points David was making. In particular, the part about the Republicans probably having the best plan for the long run, but being wrong about what to do right now. But, of course, the Republicans IN CONGRESS don’t want to do anything but make Obama look bad, even if it means dragging the country down. That top priority, and the one of protecting tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent, will eventually come back to haunt the Republican party, in my opinion. I think that staunch conservatives and staunch liberals share one thing in common – lack of independent thinking. They just holler what and when the head cheerleader tells them to. I am glad that Mr. Frum is showing some independent thinking!

    • LauraNo

      You ought to read one or two liberal blogs if you really believe what you just said. There is quite a bit of dissension, even Obama bashing. The two are not the same but different. Really.

  • armstp

    Sorry to be a skeptic, but maybe David Frum is quiting because he has to if he wants the CNN job. Either CNN is making him quite or he does not have the time to do both. There has to be more to this, as I doubt for a minute Frum would give up any media opportunity.

  • balconesfault

    Well, I listened to the interview on Marketplace tonight on my way home … and I have to admit that the following passage is clear as mud:

    Right now we’re watching state governments try to balance all of their budgets at the same time in the middle of this crisis. We’ve seen half a million public sector jobs disappear. Now, if these were good times, I would applaud that. We need to see a thinner public sector — especially at the state and local level. But we’re seeing what happens when you do that as an anti-recession measure and you make the recession worse.

    Either those public sector jobs are good for society and the economy as a whole … good times or bad … or they are not good for society and the economy as a whole, in which case the money would be better put to use elsewhere.

    Frum’s “shrinking government is best for the long term” mantra just seems more an article of faith at this stage, than a rational position. It’s akin to him being willing to eat pork if the only option is starving to death … or a Christian Scientist allowing themselves an appendectomy while still clinging to their tenants. I become less impressed with each passing day.

  • Graychin

    “Frum’s “shrinking government is best for the long term” mantra just seems more an article of faith…”

    Very definitely. It’s a religious dogma among “conservatives.” Democrats and liberals are accused of wanting to expand government for its own sake, because “conservatives” assume that liberals are the mirror image of “conservatives.” They are not. The difference is that liberals don’t object on grounds of dogma to expansion of government, if it serves a need that isn’t being/can’t be met by the private sector. Like making health insurance available and affordable to all.

    • LauraNo

      I don’t know. Although I am told these days that many objected, at the time I did not hear ‘conservatives’ objecting to the expansion of government when NCLB happened, a lot of liberals did object as I recall on the grounds it wouldn’t work though. They didn’t object to starting not one but two wars (talk about expanding government!), they didn’t object to developing a whole new huge bureaucracy, DHS, and they didn’t object to adding a very expensive new ‘entitlement’!, Medicare Part D all _on borrowed money_. Let them tell themselves all the stories they want but what they are NOT is conservatives. They don’t believe in the things they say they do. Including Mr. Frum. What’s the last big government entity the libruls invented out of whole cloth? Does it work? Is it paid for? Does it trample our civil rights?

  • mightyhotdog

    Mr. Frum, please don’t muffle your voice. I’m a middle of the road Democrat. I’ve never supported wild swings of the pendulum. I think we need many more moderate voices. I did not support the “W” and Cheney administration, but I certainly didn’t adhere to the shrill screams from the extreme left. My motto was, “Live your life. This too will pass and we’ll have another swing to the left. Then we’ll return to the middle” Why do you think we don’t need your moderate voice from the right? I know not all Republicans are mindless morons. If the moderate Republicans, those that could find common ground and work with Democrats, are gone….we’re lost. If those like are are silenced we’ll only hear voices that would make Barry Goldwater blush, and those extreme lunatics add nothing positive that would move the country forward. Please read the other comments on the Marketplace site.

  • ottovbvs

    …” the right-hand side of the spectrum has the better answers for the long-term growth of economy — low taxes, restrained government, less regulation.”

    Domestically speaking Frum’s arguments are completely contradictory. For example we have exceptionally low taxes at present. He knows they have to rise if we are to put a serious dent in the deficit. I think he’s said so. The Democrats are not proposing to return them to 50′s levels. As they say. It don’t compute.

  • nuser

    “low taxes, restrained government, less regulation.”Mr. Frum, these are Republican talking points. How low do you want taxes to be?Most countries in the world pay a certain percentage of their earnings including the very rich. Restrained or small government means what? Example please.Less regulation, again we need to know exactly what that entails. All the nutters out there have adopted that mantra without having the slightest idea what it stands for, so please tell us.Republicans put the country in this mess(including the wars ,you so keenly supported) all because you want to get rid of that( elegant) black man.

  • TJ Parker

    Frum: I still bet that you’ll end up endorsing Obama, once the GOP nominates Cain or some other Tea Party wingnut.

    • Clayman

      More often than not, Frum will end up endorsing whomever Limbaugh anoints.

      • balconesfault

        At the very most, Frum might withhold his endorsement from any candidate.

        I see no scenario where he endorses Obama … even were Palin to somehow snag the nomination

        • LauraNo

          Right. He has a living to make. There is no money in switching sides and sounding reasonable. Being the anti-nutjob has potential though.

      • Graychin

        Mr. Frum doesn’t dance to Rush’s tune. But neither will he ever vote for a non-Republican.

        For some of us, party affiliation is acquired early in life – and it’s permanent. It’s like one’s religion – heresy is as unthinkable as disrespecting Mom and Dad’s graves. Mr. Frum is like this – a “tribal” Republican.

        Mr. Frum will endorse the eventual Republican nominee – whoever it is. You can take it to the bank.

        • TJ Parker

          Sounds like you want the other side of my bet! Recognize, please, that its contingent on a wingnut getting the nomination, i.e. someone other than Romney or Huntsman.

          Me, I still wanna see a Perry/Palin ticket.

  • saybome

    Thanks David for bringing some serious intellectual heft to the burning debates of our time. I was always eager to hear you every other Wednesday on Market Place. It was refreshing to hear someone from the right articulate some sensible pragmatic positions in a debate that is all too frequently a reharsh of old tired party dogma. In time, more people will come to appreciate the value of your intellect which outshines blind party loyalty.

  • jamesj

    While I don’t listen to Marketplace, or much radio at all, it seems fitting that the comments on the Marketplace website include extreme right wingers angry at David and extreme left wingers angry at David. Always a sign you are doing something right. : )

  • mcarson

    I agree with you rarely, but I read you to understand the conservative perspective, and I’m sorry to see you go. I do admire your integrity in admitting you don’t agree with some of your party on the economy.

  • yhpso

    Good for you, David Frum. Someone with integrity. It’s so rare. You have made my day just when I lost hope. I am an Independent, but I enjoy reading your opinions, even when I may not agree. They are at least thought provoking, not a bunch of political dribble.