My Sun News Network Interview

October 28th, 2011 at 4:46 pm David Frum | 23 Comments |

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While I was in Toronto on October 27th, I had a chance to interview with Michael Coren of Sun News Network. We discussed what I think is wrong with the economic proposals from many Republicans, but also why President Obama has not been doing his job very well.

You can watch the interview here.

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23 Comments so far ↓

  • valkayec

    Terrific interview, Mr. Frum. Your analysis was pragmatic and reality based.

  • Hunter01

    Time for Frum to man-up. If one listens closely, he’s implicitly telling us the Republicans are completely full of it, outrageously so, and more of their self-interested policies will undo our politcal-eocnomy. Frum is also telling us that he is largely in agreement with Obama, but lacks the stones to admit it.

  • roubaix

    Obama is wrong but his proposals are right, Romney is right but his proposals are wrong.

    It’s hard for me to agree with that.

    Furthermore, I have doubts that Obama will get another opportunity to sign an enormous wishlist for Democrats. Conversely, Romney would surely appease the deranged Tea Party to some degree.

    Other than that, excellent video.

    • valkayec

      Historian and author Jon Meacham, on Morning Joe the other day, made an interesting observation about Romney, whom I guess Meacham has known for quite a while. Meacham said Romney has a hard time saying no to people, and as a result he was more liberal in MA and more conservative now. His observation, though, left me with an unmistakable impression that Romney doesn’t know who he is, what his beliefs are, and will follow rather than lead. He would give way to whichever stronger politician he confronts, be it McConnell or a strong VP or an adamant Secty of State. Heaven only knows how he’d deal with someone like Putin.

      Does that mean the party should go with Perry? Great heavens no. The man is just plain dumb. If he can’t speak well and elucidate a clear point in a primary debate, how will he ever survive discussing (and debating) major policy issues with strong, articulate global leaders?

      The one thing Frum did not note in his interview is that the GOP is so completely fractured between the Tea Party faction and the older establishment faction that it has failed to produce a really good candidate who would be a good leader.

      • Carney

        I don’t buy this thesis.

        In his business history Romney was known for his caution and his propensity for saying no.

        If it were true in politics Romney would have been a liberal Democrat in MA. Instead he strode into the skeleton-littered dragon’s cave to take on Ted Kennedy, as a Republican running on a balanced budget amendment, cracking down on illegals, and welfare reform (at the time yet to be enacted and hugely controversial with liberals screaming about starving children).

        As governor, Romney faced intense pressure from the entire political, media, business, educational, and religious establishment of MA to sign in-state tuition for illegals, but vetoed it instead.

        As a candidate, Romney could have done a Pawlenty style mea culpa including 180 on the existence of global warming, and another one on his former health law. He could have abandoned his former support for ethanol. He could have signed the badly worded and thought-out Susan B. Anthony pro-life pledge, but he refused, knowing full well how vulnerable he was on the abortion issue in the primary.

  • Marquis

    If I were Mr. Frum, I’d be careful in who I antagonize. If it weren’t for the Tea Party’s conservative passion, the GOP would likely be wandering in the sticks as they were in early 2009. Voters are supremely dissatisfied with both parties, and the fact that Obama and gang have massively screwed up the recovery, means that the GOP has gotten a lucky break in being the lesser of two evils.

    Sure, a lot of people on this site like to think of the Tea Party as just a rabble of dunces, but that is far from the truth. Statistics show a Tea Partier is likely to be wealthier, relatively well-educated, and better informed about politics than the average person. This means they know EXACTLY what they’re doing. The fact that they support imbeciles and opportunists like Palin, O’Donnel, Angle, and Cain means that they are starved for leadership in the conservative movement and GOP.

    The same GOP that held Congress and White House for 6 years, yet seemingly could not pass a BB amendment and were content with exploding deficits. The GOP that brought you NCLB, unfunded Medicare mandates, HUD ADDI Program, FHA homeownership drive, and other facets of “compassionate conservatism.” The GOP of Jack Abrahamoff, Mark Foley, Harriet Myers, Abu Ghraib, US Attorney scandal, warrantless wiretapping, Niger Yellowcake, Saddam’s Phantom WMD’s, …the list is endless.

    My point is the Tea Party is trying to save the GOP from itself by forcing it to return to its principles. They’re trying to prevent the Party from self-destructing again, as it did in 2006 and 2008.

    • Rick123

      Well done on the satire, Marquis. “return to principles”…”know EXACTLY what they are doing”…”massively screwed up the recovery” this is classic stuff. In fact, the first time I read this, I thought you were being serious. But no one could actually believe these things, so it must be satirical. Bravo!

      • Marquis

        Ok, perhaps I was using some hyperbole when I used the words “massively” and “screwed up”. But seriously, the GOP deserves a lot of blame in stonewalling every single Democratic proposal, using the debt ceiling lift as a political weapon, not offering substantial policy alternatives, etc. But the Dems still held the White House and unprecedented majorities in Congress for two years, so they basically owned the recovery for that period of time. And as David says in the video, instead of enacting proven pro-growth policies, they stuffed their Democratic wish list into the stimulus and other bills.

        For example, Obama thought he was killing two birds with one stone by throwing his weight behind green energy, hoping the industry would produce hundreds of thousands of jobs, and spur a clean energy revolution at the same time. But, the clean energy industry is such a minuscule part of the American economy, and much of the technology is very new and commercialy untested.

        Contrast that with the traditional fossil fuel industries, which occupy massive portions of the American, as well as global economies, and have become fixtures in these economies over hundreds of years. The infrastructure is already established, the technology is already proven. For the time being, fossil fuels are relatively cheap, so their is little incentive for consumers to make a mass switch to alternative energies.

        The Dems should have realized this; the fact is clean energy companies exist in a fledgling industry, and for the most part cannot compete with established industries for market share, despite govt support. So there is no need for this support, especially during a recession. Oil, coal, and natural gas companies are bright spots in these tough times, and besides, if you want to clean up dirty energy , it will happen automatically. As developing countries grow and consume more energy, energy prices will rise worldwide, causing the price of everything else to increase. Companies will be forced to make their products more efficient and economical for the average consumer, and dirty energy output will be reduced overall.

  • Ann Thomas

    I hardly find the GOP the lesser of 2 evils. As a Christian, only one party seems to care about the lower and middle class, issues of economic injustice, and actually addressing the problem of unemployment while the other party has publicly stated it’s only goal is to defeat this president. There is no excuse that Republicans won’t even let the Jobs Bill be debated. Many of the ideas in it have been sponsored by Republicans. 75% of Americans-including strong numbers of Republicans-support the Jobs Bill. They won’t support anything President Obama is “for” (very mature reasoning!) and they don’t want the rich to pay a
    penny to help fix the problems they helped create! It’s perplexing that you seem to support the policies of President Obama but want to do everything you can to elect someone like Romney who supports a Ryan-like economic plan that would continue disastrous consequences for 99% of us and someone that has no backbone (how many times can he change his position on really important issues?) The tea party is the reason the GOP is the greater of 2 evils. WWJD? Pretty sure he’d be voting for President Obama.

  • jdd_stl1

    Mr. Frum: Nice interview. Touched on a lot of ground.

    One item of interest was when you said something like:
    “If the Democrats were to get another chance they would probably
    do the stimulus very differently”
    But you also seem to believe that the Republicans just don’t get what
    is needed right now economically. So how can you possibly
    believe that a Republican administration starting in 2013 would
    be good for the country? Do you really believe that Mitt Romney will
    go back on his campaign promises and do what you seem to
    think is needed in our economic crisis?

    Also, if you do read these comments, could you comment some time
    on John Dean’s series:
    Here is the first in the series, the other two are linked from there:
    http://verdict.justia.com/2011/09/23/gaming-american-democracy
    I’d be curious what you think of his depiction of the current
    Republican politics as “Nixonian Politics on steroids”.

  • Moderate

    Thanks for posting this.

  • rbottoms

    Takeaway from the interview:

    - GOP is wrong, their “facts” don’t comport with reality

    - Romney is dishwater but can do the job

    - Frum can’t bring himself to say he can’t vote for a dimwit like Perry

    That last one is the most damning indictment of this so-called principled, smart conservative.

    If you flat can’t bring yourself to say Perry is unqualified, and by your own admission you voted for McCain with his idiot running mate in 2008 then all you are about is hot air and “the Democrats would be worse.”

    • ScottPilgrimVersus

      Do you feel that Joe Biden is of greater intelligence than Sarah Palin?

      • rbottoms

        The community college educated dipsh*t from Wassila?

        I know the GOP is populated by we don’t need no college edumacation anti-intellectualism but, no I don’t think Sarah Palin or Joe the Plumber are the intellectual equavalent of Obama, Biden, Putin, or Sarkozy.

        They are trailer park dumbasses. Someone has to be in the bottom 50%, doesn’t make them bad people, just Wal-Mart greeters mostly.

        • ScottPilgrimVersus

          lol, you think Joe Biden is of greater intelligence than Sarah Palin.

        • indy

          Yeah, I do too. I think in any random sampling of 10 people, 4 are going to be smarter than Palin and maybe 1 or 2 will be smarter than Biden. And I’m not really very fond of him either.

        • rbottoms

          The GOP psyche is fixated on the idea that somewhere some college educated assh*le thinks he’s better than you. Not better, just more informed.

          Frum himself said Republican solutions are built on magical thinking. If you say it loud enough then upward mobility will be like it was when the America was run exclusively by white guys. Now that women and blacks are competing for those same jobs it must be the liberals fault everything went to hell since they forced those changes.

          Life was better 50 years ago, but only for some people. Palin represents longing for those good old days. If a man with an average education could feed a family then and he can’t now it must be the fault of liberal eggheads. So Palin must be smarter than them.

          All that education does is make you support lesbians and homosexuals over God fearing people so it must mean they’re dumb and you’re smart like Sarah.

        • ScottPilgrimVersus

          I have no great illusions about Palin’s intelligence, although on the other hand I respect the apparently smart and well done deal on a pipeline she did as Governor that people noted was more successful administrative experience than either Biden or Obama. I just think it’s really awesome that Biden’s astounding, effervescent, ineffable even, efforts to make everyone within a continental radius make their jaws drop still doesn’t have the blast radius of the Palin is dum media theme. It’s quite similar to how most people I know had an impression of McCain, maybe the most bipartisan senator, as “extreme” and Obama, one of the 2 or 3 most liberal senators, as moderate. A lot of that was Obama’s campaign skill but a lot of it was media impressions.

          An interesting thing about the same-sex marriage debate in Canada (Canadjyan here) was that the only people who made any kind of a serious and thoughtful intellectual case were the conservatives, right in their campaign website. One person, also a conservative, made an ‘intellectual’ case for gay marriage, quoting J.S. Mills even. He was made fun of. To the liberals, making that kind of case was tantamount to admitting that there was a debate of equals, rather than the smart people one one side and the dumb ones who probably didn’t go to college and believed in gauche stuff like Jesus on the other. I’m not a God fearing people but it seems that the conviction that they are dumb bigots is dumb bigotry even more so.

        • ScottPilgrimVersus

          … also, imo it is far and away easier to feed a family today than 60 years ago. Honestly I would say “Michael Moore is my intellectual hero” 3 times if you were to look at a graph showing food as a percentage of income that even stayed flat over that time. Buying a fridge was something you brought the neighbors around to see back then, kinda like buying the latest phone nowadays.

      • drdredel

        @Scottpilgrimversus,

        I “feel” that Palin is a lot dummer than Biden… I can’t prove that though.

        I KNOW that Palin is a lot less informed than Biden… that is very easy to demonstrate.

        I also “feel” that anyone that can’t intuit that Palin isn’t as smart as Biden is probably dumber than both of them.

  • usedtobegop

    “Republicans have lost money. Republicans have children that can’t find their first job.”

    Who are these Republicans supposed to vote for for congressional seats? If the congress gets any more Tea Party in makeup it doesn’t matter who is president; Romney, Perry, or Obama, we’re never going to get out of the Great Recession. Why aren’t Frum Republicans leading a movement to take back the Republican party. Not only would they pick up the votes of those Republicans of whom you speak but a lot of Independents and Democrats also I expect.

    • drdredel

      Yeah… I think that the substantive policy distance between Romney and Obama is essentially nothing (give or take). It’s difficult to rationally blame the president for anything given that everything he suggests is met with immediate rejection, absent any consideration or constructive criticism. So, it really does prove that all three branches of the government need to be carefully constructed, and this singular focus on who the president is, is short sighted.

      BTW, Daivd, what’s so brilliant about Ryan?! You heap unwarranted praise on him, and then point out that he’s completely full of shit (correctly). It wouldn’t have hurt to note that the budget he proposed was a nonsensical piece of Tea-Party crap that in standard modern GOP form defied reality in favor of wishful thinking, and sought yet again to heap all fiscal burden onto the backs of those least able to support it, so, aside from being fiction, it was also quite mean spirited, making ryan not just ignoramus but a ass-hole ignoramus!

      • Oldskool

        Ha, beat me to it. That was the revealing part; how a person who strongly identifies with a party, or a branch of a party, has to make so many leaps of judgement to retain that identification. After awhile it must become a subconscious thing.