the scroll

Best of FF: A Party of Jerks

December 30th, 2011 at 12:00 am 41 Comments

As 2011 comes to a close, FrumForum plans to re-run some of our best featured pieces from the year. Here is Eli Lehrer’s observation on the GOP leadership.

I’m not the first to make this comment, but the current debt limit debate shows what the Tea Party movement (which I once basically supported) really values: being a jerk. Speaker Boehner has a close-to-perfect voting record on conservative issues, is not terribly warm in person (heck, Newt comes across better) and has proposed a good, tough spending cut plan. But he has also demonstrated a modicum of willingness to work with the president and appears to want to bring the debt ceiling crisis to a close.

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Ron Paul: No Pro-Lifer

December 29th, 2011 at 2:26 pm 30 Comments

For at least some of the Republican candidates, I don’t doubt that the position that abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape, incest and the mother’s life stems from sincere, deep moral conviction.

But Iowa front-runner Ron Paul’s position that states should outlaw abortion even in these “hard cases” but the federal government should not extend any rights to the unborn ought to be more disturbing to the pro-life movement than even an outright pro-abortion position.

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Iran’s War on America

December 29th, 2011 at 2:18 pm 41 Comments

It has been a busy month for Iran in its ongoing conflict with the United States. First, the Iranian government displayed what it said is a crashed U.S. drone discovered in Iran. Then, the nation’s deputy oil minister admitted that U.S. sanctions against Iran are inflicting damage on its economy.

As a result, the rogue state announced that it will hold war games along key shipping lanes and that any further U.S. sanctions would result in the closing of the most important of those lanes, the Strait of Hormuz—the pathway for more than 20% of the world’s oil supply. Next, the trial of American-born Iranian Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, whom the Iranians claim is a U.S. spy, began this week.

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As 2011 comes to a close, FrumForum plans to re-run some of our best featured pieces from the year. The following reprint is of a piece by David Frum discussing the shortcomings of the Wall Street Journal’s op-ed page.

I used to write editorials for the Wall Street Journal myself, 20 years ago now.

So I’m well aware of the challenge faced by those assigned to compose these documents. The strict demands of the paper’s ideology do not always lie smoothly over the rocky outcroppings of reality. It can take considerable skill to match the two together.

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Lest We Forget

David Frum December 29th, 2011 at 9:51 am 49 Comments

As the gold market tumbles, time to recall: even if the price of gold had remained high forever, people who trusted in Glenn Beck would still have been cruelly cheated.

I’m trying to recall a worse case of media ethics malpractice than Glenn Beck and Goldline, but thus far I draw a blank.

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The recent fight over the extension of the payroll tax holiday has once again shown that the Republican Party does not particularly care about the middle class tax burden. The party is quite interested though in cutting taxes on the highest earners. What gets completely ignored is the fact that most billionaires already have lower effective tax rates than some segments of the middle class.

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The Gold Bubble Pops

David Frum December 29th, 2011 at 8:30 am 12 Comments

(Source)

The price of gold dropped $31 an ounce yesterday. Gold has dropped $400 since the summer. Gold still shows gains over one year ago. And of course people who bought gold at the prices that prevailed before 2008 can claim profits of 50% or better on their investment. (NB: The best returns have flowed to large-scale investors who eschewed physical gold in favor of futures. And as always, coins are for suckers.)

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As 2011 comes to a close, FrumForum plans to re-run some of our best featured pieces from the year. D.R. Tucker wrote an especially provocative piece about how he changed his position on climate change and global warming.

I was defeated by facts.

It wasn’t all that long ago when I joined others on the right in dismissing concerns about climate change. It was my firm belief that the science was unsettled, that any movement associated with Al Gore and Van Jones couldn’t possibly be trusted, that environmentalists were simply left-wing, anti-capitalist kooks.

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As 2011 comes to a close, FrumForum plans to re-run some of our best featured pieces from the year. Kenneth Silber’s piece on the libertarian movement is especially important in light of Ron Paul’s recent surge in the polls

Last fall, I wrote for FrumForum about “How I Joined the Vast RINO Conspiracy,” tracing how I, a longtime self-described “libertarian conservative,” got out of step with the right as the right moved further right and as I moved toward the center. Some readers applauded my independent thinking and others invited me to drag my backside out of the Republican Party (something I’ve declined to do).

A new book The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America, by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, respectively the editors of Reason.tv and Reason magazine, has given me much to contemplate, on how libertarianism fits into American politics, how Reason fits into libertarianism, and why I, a onetime fairly regular contributor to that magazine, eventually failed to fit in at Reason.

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As 2011 draws to a close, the issue of Wikileaks disclosures remains to be resolved – a breach of trust to some, the right to know to others.

However, if one examines the record, it’s pretty hard to see much of a  threat to American (or intentional) security, in the disclosures by Wikileaks that has embarrassed allied governments.

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Anger is Not a Policy

David Frum December 28th, 2011 at 9:53 am 109 Comments

Kevin Williamson at National Review posts a powerful piece denouncing self-dealing in Congress and wrongdoing on Wall Street.

[H]edge-fund titans, i-bankers, congressional nabobs, committee chairmen, senators, swindlers, run-of-the-mill politicos, and a few outright thieves (these categories are not necessarily exclusive) all feeding at the same trough, and most of them betting that Mitt Romney won’t do anything more to stop it than Barack Obama did. …

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As 2011 comes to a close, FrumForum plans to re-run some of our best featured pieces from the year. We will be running past pieces up until January 2nd of 2012. We start with an analysis of ‘Fox Geezer Syndrome’ by Richard Ramsay.

Conor Friedersdorf remembers what a pain it was to live with a liberal roommate who watched Keith Olbermann every night, and would subsequently sulk around in a pissed-off mood. Friedersdorf too got a negative contact buzz from the show. He writes: “It seems to me that Olbermann’s show often brought out the worst impulses in people: petulance, self-righteousness, and blind anger at ‘the other side.’”

Sounds familiar to me, though from the other side. Except in my case, it’s not my liberal roommate. It’s my conservative parents – and maybe yours too.

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The Republican Party of Virginia is on the verge of the appearance of a significant scandal. Allegations, fueled by a post by Richard Winger at Ballot Access News, are swirling, suggesting that the Virginia GOP changed the rules for the validation of signatures in October 2011:

But what has not been reported is that in the only other presidential primaries in which Virginia required 10,000 signatures (2000, 2004, and 2008) the signatures were not checked. Any candidate who submitted at least 10,000 raw signatures was put on the ballot. In 2000, five Republicans qualified: George Bush, John McCain, Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, and Steve Forbes. In 2004 there was no Republican primary in Virginia. In 2008, seven Republicans qualified: John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and Alan Keyes [Not actually on the 2008 ballot--FB].

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The Coming Rand Paul Campaign

David Frum December 26th, 2011 at 11:20 pm 70 Comments

Andrew Sullivan predicts a future Rand Paul run. Fascinating that a movement of self-proclaimed individualists would manifest itself as a dynastic cult of personality.

In my column for CNN, I discuss what Ron Paul tried to achieve with his infamous newsletters:

Texas congressman Ron Paul now leads among Iowa Republicans and has tied Newt Gingrich for second in New Hampshire. Republican conservatives have cycled through a series of “Not Mitts.” Is it now Paul’s turn?

Paul’s core following has been small but fervid. However, Paul now is gaining a larger following, especially among younger voters attracted by his message of drug legalization and his comprehensive — if utterly wrong-headed — explanation of the country’s economic crisis.

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The Real Ron Paul

December 26th, 2011 at 11:17 am 54 Comments

Ron Paul’s former senior aid, Eric Dondero, has gone to RightWingNews.com and written a damning indictment of his former boss. The essay shows that Ron Paul is beholden to terrible conspiracy theories and has many questionable personal beliefs. While he is supposedly not homophobic, he reportedly would not shake the hands of a gay supporter.

Dondero also claims that Ron Paul is not anti-semitic, but that he does want to see Israel abolished and does not believe that “saving the Jews” was a good reason to fight against Hitler.

Here are a selection of some of the most incendiary revelations:

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During the 2008 campaign one of Barack Obama‘s major themes was attacking the Bush anti-terror policies: warrantless snooping by the N.S.A., renditions, targeted assassinations, Guantanamo Bay detentions, enhanced interrogation techniques, military tribunals, as unconstitutional.  He promised to close Guantanamo on his first day in office and end all of the other policies as soon as militarily feasible.

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Here’s a question to worry about in 2012: Does the inability of Speaker Boehner to lead his House caucus foreshadow the inability of a President Romney to lead a dual-chambered Republican Congress?

One of the dominant factors motivating the decisions of rank-and-file right-wing House Republicans—and not just freshmen—is their lack of trust in Speaker John Boehner. They like him, but they just don’t believe he’s a dependable defender of their interests and beliefs. Those suspicions aren’t entirely groundless. Yes, Boehner has gone out of his way to cultivate the most conservative members of his caucus—every time he has hit an impasse, his first move is to the right, to accommodate them, not to the middle to replace some of them with willing Democrats. But the Speaker has also shown a penchant for compromise that right-wing House members can’t abide.

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It’s Still Romney’s Turn

December 26th, 2011 at 7:40 am 16 Comments

Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich’s mutual failure to qualify for the Virginia ballot raises lots of questions about their long term viability, funding, and organization. But it isn’t that surprising at all for one simple reason: neither has run for President before while the two candidates who qualified, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, both have.

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With Ron Paul for the moment topping polls in Iowa the Republican Party is moving into full freakout mode. Unfortunately the GOP panic over Paul is about a decade too late and entirely misdirected. Despite the brief surge, Paul has no more chance of winning the Republican nomination than you do (excluding you, Mitt). Paul isn’t likely to be the nominee, but that should not offer Republicans any comfort.

The Presidency isn’t the only prize in politics. In the measures that really matter Ron Paul is probably already the winner of this year’s race. By patiently accumulating power he has built a political block that will influence policy regardless of who wins the White House in 2012.

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