Responding to John Hawkins

June 29th, 2010 at 11:32 am David Frum | 92 Comments |

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I don’t usually respond to personal criticism. I write to reach a public audience about public issues. I don’t wish to be drawn into side disputes.

But I’m going to make an exception today and reply to this long post by John Hawkins over at Right Wing News.

Hawkins runs the conservative blogads hive. When FrumForum applied for entry, Hawkins refused. He gives an explanation here of his reasons.

Take a look, I’ll wait right here.


. . .


OK, you back?

Observe a few things:

1) Observe that Hawkins does not say, “We denied FrumForum admission to the conservative hive because they are not conservatives.” He did not say that because it would be too obviously ludicrous to do so. His complaint rather is that we are conservatives who do too much self-criticism.

[T]he mainstream media loves “conservatives” and “Republicans” who will trash whomever the Left hates most. So, if you’re willing to talk about how Sarah Palin is a hick, Glenn Beck is a crank, Rush Limbaugh is bad for the country, and the Tea Party is bad for  democracy, the mainstream media will reward you  –  and because conservatives pride themselves on being open minded, they’ll all too often give you a pass for your atrocious behavior — especially since the MSM doesn’t insist you play their game all the time. As long as you’re willing to say what they want about the people they hate the most, they’ll reward you with a cover story at Newsweek and then in your off time, you can churn out a few articles to point gullible conservatives towards while you’re trying to guilt them into taking you seriously by crying   “epistemic closure!”

Hawkins does not argue that these statements are false – that e.g. Glenn Beck is not a crank. His point is that regardless of truth, these criticisms should not occur. Or anyway, that no conservative should engage in them. Our job is to fall into line and not notice that Beck is in fact a crank or that Palin is not well-informed or that the Tea Party has saddled the Republicans with awful and probably doomed candidates like Sharron Angle and Rand Paul.

Hawkins’ attitude here reminds me of an ancient definition of a political party: “It doesn’t matter what damn lie we tell, so long as we all tell the same damn lie.”

2) Observe next Hawkins’ suggestion as to WHY we do the things we do. It’s not to be considered that we might be trying to solve important problems, even possibly in a wrongheaded way. No – we are total cynics motivated by greed for liberal $.

This point recurs again and again in his blogpost.

“Guys like Frum want to have it both ways. Being a “Republican / conservative” who tells liberals what they want to hear about the Right is a career niche — and it can pay big dividends.”

“This is what David Frum does for a living — and don’t think he doesn’t know it.”

“Everybody has to make a living. But, I’m not interested in helping people like Frum play this little game where they try to cripple conservatives publicly while coming around on the back end to milk us for money. If Frum wants to be a dancing monkey for the Left, let them come up with the money to pay for the tune.”

Now this is really amazing. We live in a world in which conservative radio hosts actually tape commercials for everything from gold coins to adjustable mattresses. Rush Limbaugh frankly acknowledged to an admiring Zev Chafets: “First and foremost I’m a businessman. My first goal is to attract the largest possible audience so I can charge confiscatory ad rates. I happen to have great entertainment skills, but that enables me to sell airtime.” Sarah Palin deserted her elected office before her term to cash in her economic opportunities. And yet it is I who am supposed to be prostituting my principles for money?

The truth, of course, is just the opposite. A lucre-seeking cynic would do much better to conform to conservative groupthink than to challenge it.

3) Hawkins asks with some apparent indignation:

That begs a question: why is David Frum getting a column at CNN? How is it that Time has a guy like this writing for them? What’s the purpose of putting a guy like Frum on TV as opposed to all the genuine conservatives who dwarf his traffic and can obviously draw a bigger crowd?”

It’s a fascinatingly revealing question.

Hawkins seems to be suggesting that we go on TV not as individuals, to express our own ideas as best we can, to offer the most useful information we can discover. No – people should appear as representatives of pre-existing tribes: conservatives, liberals, blacks, whatever, to engage in a ritual of synchronized repetition of pre-existing phrases. You are a conservative? You must say THIS – and never that. You must approve THIS – and never admit to doubts about that.

Hawkins asks: “What’s the point of putting Frum on TV?” Take him seriously though and you have to wonder: What’s the point of putting ANYONE on TV when the job could be so easily automated?


*  *  *


This exchange originated as a sidebar to a discussion of Dave Weigel and JournoList. I expressed disapproval of the whole JournoList enterprise. It looked to me like a device for creating and enforcing groupthink. I complained that it created an undisclosed editorial relationship, in which writers would be monitored and constrained by co-ideologues.

Since my post, a number of participants in JournoList have insisted that no such thing happened. Here for example is Jon Chait, here’s Michael Tomasky, and here on the FrumForum site is Rich Yeselson. On the other hand, here is blogger Scott Winship who participated in the listserve and contends that the list did indeed consolidate conventional liberal views. That seems to me a much more plausible description of how groups like JournoList actually function. On the other hand, I was not there.

But here’s something I can say: Whether Chait, Tomasky and the others are right about JournoList – or whether Winship is right that it did have more effect than participants now acknowledge – they all agree that it would be a bad thing to negotiate behind-the-scenes a liberal orthodoxy that could not be debated in public. There’s a lot wrong with today’s liberalism, but that agreement at least represents a sign of health. It’s a health that many of us are working to restore to the conservative world: not FrumForum alone, but many others as well. I have no doubt at all that we will prevail.

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92 Comments so far ↓

  • msmilack

    Listening to these conservatives attack each other is like watching a primitive tribe enact a ritual of cultural cleansing, led by these self-anointed judges who are tasked with identifying who is Conservative enough to wear the mantle — what is that about?

    Demanding signed pledges to vote as a group — whether the demands come from McConnell. Boehner, or Club for Growth — is never a good sign. It’s not a position of strength, it’s a position of surrender.

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    David Frum has worked tirelessly for two decades to vilify, besmirch and ostracize anyone on the American Right who disagrees with his version of “conservatism,” just like that whoring phony William F. Buckley Jr.

    Accordingly, it doesn’t surprise me he doesn’t always receive the same warm welcome in conservative circles that he receives from the editors of Newsweek and Salon.

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    DFL // Jun 29, 2010 at 11:56 am

    “David Frum is an intelligent and fine writer. However, I find it a little rich that he complains about being ostracized by other conservatives. It was he in his infamous NATIONAL REVIEW article “Unpatriotic Conservatives” who implored conservatives to “turn their backs” on paleo-conservatives for not supporting an expansive military policy in the Middle East. Five thousand dead, $ 2 trillion, and two election debacles later, the paleos were proved the wiser.”

    Indeed, our country is currently mired in two pointless and futile wars, both of which in addition to money are exacting a horrible toll in human lives (both American and non-American).

    The paleocons that Frum worked so hard marginalize would have kept us out of those countries.

  • JJWFromME

    DeepSouthPopulist, didn’t your version of conservatism lose at Appotomax?

    (Not that I disagree with you on Iraq…)

  • franco 2

    JJWFromME

    “Then there’s the question of whether today’s conservative movement is “conservative,” in any meaningful sense. It’s right wing, surely, but there have been right wing movements that weren’t conservative. (For instance, check out the history books for Franco2’s namesake…)”

    Really, JJW from ME ,you make a lot of assumptions based on a simple name. And YOU are lecturing people as to what conservatism means? What a dipshit you are to try to cast aspersions on me because the only other “Franco” you know happens to have been a dictator in Spain.

    This reveals the level of debate you leftwingers decend to. Are you just trying to convert the stupid people because that’s all that this kind of attack does.

    JJWFromME spent three posts and provided a link chasing down this silly association. Pathetic.

  • franco 2

    LFC Responds to my claim “Frum doesn’t take on Limbaugh or any strong conservatives ideologically…”

    With, “That’s because their “ideology” consists of “I hate Democrats”.”

    Hahahahaha. Obviously you don’t listen to Limbaugh. …believe what you wish but anyone who knows the facts is laughing at you.

    This is what lefties consider reasonable debate, name association games, making civil war references out of nowhere, and deliberate ignorance.

  • franco 2

    Here is what I posted yesterday at Althouse, who by the way isn’t exactly a conservataive but is certainly fair-minded,by the way is a member in good standing of Hawkins’ conservative blog hive:

    Check out the comments section of Frum Forum and it will tell you a lot about who is attracted to Frum and why. Sparing y’all the trouble, most of the comments are from left-wing types pretending to care about the direction of the GOP. Many of them claim they once voted Republican but the party became too “extreme” so now they are only voting Dem because they have no other choice. Poke one of these and you find they are so caught up in the Democrat Party narrative they consider everyone to the right of Nelson Rockefeller, Dwight Eisenhower and Christine Todd Whitman to be an extremist worthy of special attention from Janet Napolitano. Comments are replete with mockery of all things conservative in the guise of good will toward the Frum wing of the GOP, often with the stipulation that they don’t agree with Frum on the war(s) or on his stand toward Israel, but they admire him for telling the GOP “the truth”. Further indications these people are partisan Democrats seeking a schadenfreude fix is they reflexively defend every Democrat and advocate for government solutions for every problem.
    People like Frum provide cover for left-leaning journals to have their cake and eat it too. They can claim they provide a forum for both sides while avoiding the fundamental debates.
    _____________________________________________________________________

    I think this thread alone proves my point quite well….

  • JJWFromME

    If Francisco Franco is not your namesake, Franco 2, I apologize. I was just going on what I’ve heard about certain die-hard movement conservative types:

    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2005/12/francisco_franc.html

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    franco 2 // Jun 29, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    The really hilarious thing about Frum is that he attracts no one who actually agrees with him. He’s not influential in conservative circles because he doesn’t understand the existential conflict and he allows himself to be used to forward the narrative of the left – that anyone who is to the right of Nelson Rockefeller or Colin Powell is batshit crazy.

    He’s being used as a prop, and apparently he’s either unaware or he doesn’t care…”

    I disagree that Frum is unaware of anything. His objective is to move the GOP/Republican party as far to the Left as possible, while also promoting perpetual war and militaristic American imperialism.

  • franco 2

    msmilack // Jun 30, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Listening to these conservatives attack each other is like watching a primitive tribe enact a ritual of cultural cleansing,…

    Oh please are you serious?

    Are you unaware that Democrats squabble and are just as bad, sometimes worse than conservatives and Republicans in this regard?

    And just to make matters more clear for some of you partisan Democrats who can’t seem to get your ingrained bigotry and easy stereotypes out of your brains, no one is excluding Frum from voting for whomever he wants or trying to censor him or prevent people from reading him. He is free to do what he wishes. We CAN argue with him though, can’t we? We can have “problems” with him, just as he has with us.

    But Frum makes it difficult to have a reasonable debate -with conservatives that is ,He seems to do that well with Democrats because he doesn’t attack Democrats unfairly and he’s very respectful of Democrats. Why doesn’t he act the same way with conservatives? The most annoying thing about Frum is he hides behind the idea that because some conservatives don’t care for his methods and his chosen venues, he runs off whining and pretending that it’s because conservatives are rigid ideologues and won’t listen to alternate views like his.

    It isn’t as stark a contrast as many here imagine. Take this comment from “Christopher” at Althouse:

    “I’ve always viewed Liasson as the adult in that Fox News panel, and I say that as sort of a libertarian/conservative. Sometimes she drives me crazy with what appears to be her views, but I like the way she presents herself. I don’t see her as an “Obamanite stooge” and Fox would be much the poorer without her. And yes I give her a lot of credit for standing up to NPR, which wants to yank her from appearing on Fox.

    Back on Frum, smart guy, good writer, but I finally began to see him as Dinner Party v. Tea Party, and I have to agree with how Hawkins describes his current location.”

    Here is another comment about Frum that makes the distinction between Frum and other not-so-conservative pundits:

    “Hawkins is entitled to do it and he makes a good point about David Frum. David was a good guy, but he is not helping conservatism now, he is hurting it.

    You can have pundits like Medved, Krauthammer, and Will get into it a bit with Rush, Levin, and Hawkins of the world. That is all fine. That is called debate. I know that while Medved, Krauthammer and Will disagree with the more conservative wing of conservatives on many issues, they are still conservatives.

    David Frum, unfortunately, crossed into attacking conservatives to self promote. That does not sit well with people. Do conservatives shamelessly self promote? Of course. Ann Coulter does it all the time (and I am no fan of her)–but she focuses her fire on the other side. Coulter is not a traitor. David is firing back on his (supposed) own side.

    That is why no one trusts him anymore.”

  • Mike Hunt

    “David Frum, unfortunately, crossed into attacking conservatives to self promote. That does not sit well with people. Do conservatives shamelessly self promote? Of course. Ann Coulter does it all the time (and I am no fan of her)–but she focuses her fire on the other side. Coulter is not a traitor. David is firing back on his (supposed) own side.”

    How does this person know that Frum criticizes for self-promotion?

  • franco 2

    DeepSouthPopulist

    “I disagree that Frum is unaware of anything. His objective is to move the GOP/Republican party as far to the Left as possible, while also promoting perpetual war and militaristic American imperialism.”

    Well, it does boggle my mind that a smart guy like Frum is that clueless, but elites like Frum can suffer from the beltway echochamber. What would the motivation be for Frum to promote perpetual war? I don’t agree that America is imperialist. Maybe he’s really a liberal but a staunch defender of Israel a la Joe Lieberman and sees the GOP being in power as the only way to keep Israel secure. What some people derogatorily call a “neocon”.

  • franco 2

    Mike Hunt,

    “How does this person know that Frum criticizes for self-promotion?”

    He doesn’t, but he suspects Frum does. Frum writes for lefty magazines and is employed to bash conservatives. TIME Magazine or Newsweek doen’tt ask Frum for his views on the Iraq War on the Afghan War on the Israel, they want him to write something negative about Rush Limbaugh. He’s not invited on talk shows to talk about these issues either but to answer questions like “What’s wrong with the Republican Party?” and he goes off on conservatives. It’s pretty obvious what his role is.

    And Frum is not above questioning people’s motives himself. He does it all the time.

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    franco 2 // Jun 30, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    “What would the motivation be for Frum to promote perpetual war? I don’t agree that America is imperialist. Maybe he’s really a liberal but a staunch defender of Israel a la Joe Lieberman and sees the GOP being in power as the only way to keep Israel secure. What some people derogatorily call a “neocon.”

    The USA under the Bush/Frum/neocon axis is without a doubt an imperialist nation. For example, we have troops in Iraq for no reason. We also have troops on the other side of Asia, in Afghanistan, also for no reason, troops that are trying to accomplish an objective that no one can explain using simple declarative sentences.

    I mean, really, what would it mean to “win” in Afghanistan? Win what? A pile of rocks? Some heroin fields? Freedom for a largely Muslim nation to recognize gay marriage?

    We also have troops all over Europe, the Middle East and Asia who aren’t doing anything that matters to ordinary Americans.

  • Serr8d

    I left this comment at John Hawkins’. Seems to belong here as well.

    All of your enumerated points were good things, mostly, that happened far away in the past. We tip our hats to Mr. Frum’s good deeds, such as they were.

    But things have changed remarkably since Reagan’s days, since Buckley lived and died. We’ve been dragged as far left as was at Buckley’s time unimaginable, and going forward we will find it very difficult to stay intact as a Republic. Some think it’s only a matter of time before this Republic ends, in an economic flameout that can be blamed on both Republicans and Democrats alike.

    To counter today’s far-left political climate, we don’t need any more center-right folk like Mr. Frum. We need Rush Limbaugh and Tea Partyers. We need OUTLAW!, we need strong-speaking sorts who aren’t afraid to draw a line and say, “This you will not cross”.

    Mr. Frum is not that sort of person. He’s a man of the past, who with his excessive give and little take, shares some of the blame for where we find ourselves now: drawn and quartered farther Left than ever before.

    Let Frum go. For the sake of the Republic.

  • Rabiner

    Serr8d:

    Why do you prefer the ideology of Rush Limbaugh and Tea Partyers to the ideology of Frum? What is it that draws you to the more extreme of today’s civil discourse and the hypocrisies that come from it?

  • dafyd

    Serr8d,
    What??? We need ignorance to get things back to whats right… what ever that means. Lets look back at Mr. Reagan’s time, he was not the GREAT CONSERVATIVE that the suppose Reagan conservatives think he was. I am not trying to knock Reagan down, he did a lot of good, but he did do things then that would have people like Limbaugh calling him a RINO ( which i hate btw). to say that Obama is mr. left wing is crazy. give me one example on how he so radical. and you must know that i am not trying to defend him. i am writing this b/c i want to try to have a disscussion on the facts not some partisan arguement that will never accomplish anything. i just cant stand it when people defend those indivusls like Limbaugh and Beck and so one and look over people like david frum and others like him. please go to Andrew Suvallian page, he writes that David Frum did not really change like Suvallian did. Frum is pretty much the same man who used to work for Mr. bush. Its that Frum does not need to say STUPID LIES like Limbaugh does to get the country to follow the conservative way.

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    Rabiner // Jun 30, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    “Why do you prefer the ideology of Rush Limbaugh and Tea Partyers to the ideology of Frum? What is it that draws you to the more extreme of today’s civil discourse and the hypocrisies that come from it?”

    I prefer the Tea Partiers because of their emphasis on liberty and its related policies (gun rights, low taxes, etc.) and their support for social and cultural conservatism.

    What is extreme and hypocritical about that?

    The only downsides I see to the Tea Party agenda is that most Tea Partiers support the pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Otherwise, I’d say the emergence of the Tea Party on the American the political scene is a promising development.

    Hopefully the Tea Partiers will drive David Frum, David Brooks, Colin Powell and their lackeys like McCain to the margins and bring Rand Paul and others like him into power.

  • Rabiner

    DeapSouthPopulism:

    An emphasis on liberty and social and cultural conservatism are in direct conflict with each other. Either people should have the liberty to do what they choose when it does not impact the lives of others directly or they shouldn’t. Social conservatism is directly opposite to this belief in liberty and would prefer that everyone lives by their standards of piety regardless on if those beliefs when practiced by an individual affect the people around them in society.

    I can agree with you on not supporting foreign proactive wars as opposed to defensive ones but their main objectives are domestic not foreign policy related. They want low taxes, to balance the budget but not to cut Medicare or Social Security. That is also in direct conflict as you can’t lower taxes, not cut entitlement spending AND balance the budget.

  • Rabiner

    DeepSouthPopulism:

    On a deeper note my issue with Tea Partiers is that their policy positions are slogans rather than nuanced policy positions. You want lower taxes but don’t specify which taxes you want lower, how much lower you want them, and what you are willing to cut in services and government programs to pay for them. And when you specify which services you cut, you don’t rationalize it with a reason beyond ‘we don’t like that program’. What don’t you like about it? Is it ineffective? Do you think government shouldn’t respond to society in that manner? These are the types of in depth thinking that is required before I’d ever consider a ‘movement’ legitimate in wanting to govern.

    The Republicans used to have this type of in depth policy prescriptions for the nations problems but for the last 10 years they’ve been pretty absent in their ability to propose common sense solutions and really as far back as the Clinton Impeachment trial I can’t remember a Republican idea on a fundamental problem being useful.

  • connor25

    David Frum moving to the GOP to the left? Deep South Populist, franco 2 and others, anyone to the left of you is a flaming liberal.

    Frum is a pragmatic conservative which means he would work with liberals to find a common solution for problems in the country. Progress in America was done through bipartisanship.

    dafyd, you are right. Reagan and Goldwater would’ve been called RINO’s if they tried to get into the party.

    Rabiner: Your first response to DeepSouthPopulism I agree with you 100%

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    Rabiner // Jun 30, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    An emphasis on liberty and social and cultural conservatism are in direct conflict with each other. Either people should have the liberty to do what they choose when it does not impact the lives of others directly or they shouldn’t. Social conservatism is directly opposite to this belief in liberty and would prefer that everyone lives by their standards of piety regardless on if those beliefs when practiced by an individual affect the people around them in society.”

    What specific conflicts do you have in mind. Can you give some examples?

    It seems to me that much of the Left agenda is substantially more in conflict with liberty than anything proposed by Limbaugh, etc. For example, it is impossible to fund a massive social welfare state that includes things like European style universal health care without imposing an outrageous and onerous amount of taxation on the people that deprives people of their most basic right — the fruits of their labor.

    Even social security is a massive infringement on individual liberty from my perspective because because of what it does. It forces people to pay into the system, and seizes their money throughout their working life, whether they want to participate in the system or not. If people should have the liberty to do what they choose, then they should have the liberty to decide if they want to pay into a government retirement and health plan, no?

    The Left also works hard to oppose gun rights, and in some cases free speech as well. There are many on the Left who love nothing more than to use governmental power to silence Limbaugh, Beck and others using things like the Orwellian named “Fairness Doctrine” and other means.

    As for slogans, both sides do that.

    I would argue Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck actually use cliches and slogans much less often than most Left commentators because their medium is radio. On TV both sides have to sound bite everything because of time constraints whereas with talk radio there is time to go deeper into a subject.

    Finally, Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Michelle Bachman, Ann Angle and others have put forward some major specific proposals. Ron Paul favors abolishing the Fed, and, unless I am mistaken, Ann Angle has called for abolishing the Department of Education.

    The GOP has been moribund for a long time; I agree with you on that. It seems to me that having the Tea Party candidates stir the pot and shake things up with some new ideas is a good development.

  • Rabiner

    DeepSouthPopulist:

    “What specific conflicts do you have in mind. Can you give some examples?”

    Conflicts that arise are Abortion rights, Gay Marriage, Legalization of Drugs, and the Doctor Assisted Suicide. Social Conservatives attempt to curtail access to Abortion, a legal procedure. They have prevented Homosexual couples the legal benefits of marriage than heterosexual couples receive. Legalization of Drugs since the ‘War on Drugs’ has failed just as Prohibition of alcohol failed in the 1920s. Right to Die is all about the liberty to choose when to end your life if you are right of mind and terminally ill. Historically Social Conservatives have advocated anti-sodomy laws and anti-misogyny laws as well. And should I bring up Social Conservatives and Terri Schiavo?

    You bring up freedom of speech and mainstream Liberals do not advocate the ‘fairness doctrine’. But Conservatives pushed an Amendment of the Constitution to ban flag burning which is a freedom of speech infringement.

    Regarding fiscal related policies however:

    “For example, it is impossible to fund a massive social welfare state that includes things like European style universal health care without imposing an outrageous and onerous amount of taxation on the people that deprives people of their most basic right — the fruits of their labor”

    I think you’re wrong that ‘the fruits of their labor’ is the most basic right. I would figure life, liberty and land are those most basic rights. Taxation is a necessity, what levels of taxation are up for debate however. At what level does it become onerous and outrageous in your opinion?

    “Even social security is a massive infringement on individual liberty from my perspective because because of what it does. It forces people to pay into the system, and seizes their money throughout their working life, whether they want to participate in the system or not. If people should have the liberty to do what they choose, then they should have the liberty to decide if they want to pay into a government retirement and health plan, no?”

    I disagree once again. The State or Government has an interest in providing its citizens with a minimum standard of living. If 50% of senior citizens are living in abject poverty since during their lives they were unable to save sufficiently due to low lifetime earnings then it has an impact on civil and political society.

    Regarding the Liberal and Conservative pundits:

    Liberal pundits have far less influence on Democrats than Conservative pundits have influence on Republicans. I’ve never heard a Democrats criticize a liberal pundit and later go on their show to apologize as has happened a few times for Rush Limbaugh.

    “Finally, Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Michelle Bachman, Ann Angle and others have put forward some major specific proposals. Ron Paul favors abolishing the Fed, and, unless I am mistaken, Ann Angle has called for abolishing the Department of Education.”

    Yes I have heard some of their proposals. Angel has come out for privatizing Social Security and against fluoride in water. Ron Paul has said he thinks anti-smoking laws are unconstitutional. Michelle Bachman has said we should solve unemployment by eliminating the minimum wage and that the American media should investigate Congresspeople and Senators to determine which are Pro-America and which are Anti-America.

  • westony

    I like you David. But then again. I’m a Progressive. Republicans should listen to you. They’re in Big Trouble by moving further to “the right”.
    Demagraphics are NOT on their side. However, they think we don’t know what we’re talking about. I guess they’ll figure it out one day.

  • JJWFromME

    “But things have changed remarkably since Reagan’s days, since Buckley lived and died. We’ve been dragged as far left as was at Buckley’s time unimaginable, and going forward we will find it very difficult to stay intact as a Republic.”

    Are you kidding? Buckley was fighting the remnants of the New Deal. I’m reading Whitaker Chambers’ biography right now. He actually worked with a cell in the US government that spied for Russia in the 30′s. We are not farther left than we were back then. That’s ridiculous. One of Buckley’s last columns was complaining that there we have *too little* regulation, which was a cause of the mortgage crash: http://article.nationalreview.com/341626/regulation-time/william-f-buckley-jr#more

  • franco 2

    DeepSouthPopulist

    Though I don’t agree with you about the wars, I respect your point of view. I am a conservative /libertarian hybrid and the conservative part of me understands that we have to accept the world as it is and respond accordingly. The world is not a democracy or a republic and it never will be. It is more like a prison in the sense that raw power rules and one person or one gang won’t change it. Once you relinquish power, another gang will take that power. The war in Iraq DID accomplish something – we got Sadaam. If some thug – a sworn enemy of the USA – keeps sticking his finger in our eye well it might be worthwhile to off him and take our lumps. Nevermind we are sent to solitary or have a few years tacked onto our sentence, the other gang leaders know that they can’t bully you. If, and I admit it is a big “if”, Iraq becomes a relatively stable country in the ME, then the payoff in geopolitics for the USA will be huge.

    Afghanistan was similar. The message is you can’t allow terrorists to freely operate in your country and attack the US without consequences.

    Where guys like Ron Paul go wrong is that they seem not to understand that any withdrawal of our troops from South Korea, Japan, Europe and closing bases there inhibits our ability to respond to potential threats. Worse still, it sends a signal to our enemies and our allies too. Afghanistan is now being lost politically because Obama telegraphed our exit date. Anticipating the US departure people have to chose sides (think gangs again) and Karzai wants to live, so he’s already making deals with the Taliban. The whole effort will have been pointless if that happens. You could say, “It was pointless anyway” and perhaps you’d be right. However, once committed to a fight it is much less dangerous (in the prison setting, again) to carry it through rather than capitulate because that will make other fights MUCH more difficult to win and cost more blood and treasure. Vietnam was a DOUBLE mistake. It was a mistake to go there, but even worse not to win. That more than anything else is costing us now in Iraq and Afghanistan, because they have the template they know works. They think (know?) they can outlast us, that they can work the political angles and the anti-war sentiments, etc. Had we won decisively in Vienam they may have given up by now.

    This same thing would occur around the globe. North Korea would promptly invade the South for example, China would bully Taiwan and much more. The USA would lose every ounce of trust from friends and potential friends and allies. Our enemies will be emboldened. We would be isolated and alone. The world would re-align under another power axis and then we would be next. Just like a gang in prison. So the question is which gang do you want to belong to, not whether the world shroud be free of gangs, and since we have a powerful gang why cede power to these thugs?

    When I look at the world today under the USA’s hegemony I believe it is far better off than, say under China’s or Russia’s hegemony. It’s pretty easy to verify. Look at Eastern Europe post WWII till now vs Western Europe ostensibly under USA’s “imperialist occupation” . Kind of laughable when put that way, no?

    Speaking of “imperialist”, Japan WAS imperialist and we have troops there today, but that does not make us imperialists. I doubt many Japanese wish for us to close our bases there. We won that war and Japan ultimately thrived. That’s not what would have happened had Japan won the war to the countries they occupied. There is a huge difference. The Japanese we big time racists and any cursory look at how they conducted themselves during WWII shows we were fully justified in fighting them to the death, and STILL we rebuilt their country and gave them a second chance.

    Lastly Ron Paul arguments could have been applied to WWII just as well. I doubt whether, once Hitler and Stalin and Hirohito prevailed in their initial conquests that they’d stop there. Ultimately we’d be speaking Russian, German or Japanese and they would have executed a good many innocent Americans on the way. The world is a badass place, my friend, and there are no easy solutions.

  • CentristNYer

    Rabiner // Jun 30, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    “An emphasis on liberty and social and cultural conservatism are in direct conflict with each other. Either people should have the liberty to do what they choose when it does not impact the lives of others directly or they shouldn’t.”

    Thanks, Rabiner; you’ve totally nailed it. The tea partiers are so clueless about this paradox because the vast majority of them have a bumper sticker mentality. Like DeepSouthPopulist and Franco, they spout nonsensical talking points with no depth or real meaning.

    I’ve never understood why they even bother coming to a site like this one when there are thousands of blogs that pander to that kind of thinking.

  • franco 2

    Hey center-left NYer,

    Freedom does not consist exclusively in the “personal” domain. You and Rabiner have half your brains missing if you don’t understand that the ability to keep the fruits of your labor isn’t a HUGE part of freedom. Regardless of even the most socially conservative Republican can’t really regulate what you and Rabiner do in your bedrooms and I have to say your side is downright paranoid when it comes to these things, but government CAN take money from you quite easily, and force you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t. But I guess you losers don’t pay taxes or own businesses And by the way Democrats are not going to legalize drugs either, unfortunately.

    Funny how my posts are much longer and more nuanced than yours and your pals and you are accusing me of a “bumper sticker mentality” You guys are projecting again.

  • franco 2

    Funny how JJWFROM ME picks on my name trying to associate me with a dead dictator in three of his/her posts and DFL says in effect that Rush Limbaugh’s only message in 15 hours of weekly talk is “I hate Democrats” and these are supposed to be non-bumpersticker arguments?

    Oh and BTW JJ, you need not apologize as I was not harmed by your attempt to associate me with Francisco Franco, YOU were.

  • LFC

    franco 2 said… LFC Responds to my claim “Frum doesn’t take on Limbaugh or any strong conservatives ideologically…”

    With, “That’s because their “ideology” consists of “I hate Democrats”.”

    Hahahahaha. Obviously you don’t listen to Limbaugh. …believe what you wish but anyone who knows the facts is laughing at you.

    Do you mean people who actually note what Limbaugh says, fact checks these things, and then create a list of the vast number of lies he tells? You might want to read this list (for comprehension) and pick up a copy of Al Franken’s actually well researched “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot.”

    But that’s OK, Mr. Bubble. You just cling to what Rush tells you.

  • CentristNYer

    franco 2 // Jul 1, 2010 at 10:11 am

    “Funny how my posts are much longer and more nuanced than yours and your pals and you are accusing me of a “bumper sticker mentality””

    Um, drivel doesn’t count as content, unless you’re a disciple of Limbaugh/Beck/Hannity.

    And the idea that any of your posts are “nuanced” is officially the funniest thing ever to appear on Frum Forum. You really deserve a prize for that one.

  • anchovy

    From Hawkins website today:
    “Let me also add that Frum’s last line there is particularly funny — “A lucre-seeking cynic would do much better to conform to conservative groupthink than to challenge it.” Really? Because it’s no surprise that an unaccomplished airhead like Meghan McCain has a column in the Daily Beast. David Brooks? He’s a very fuzzy thinker — so why does he have a gig at the New York Times? How is it that Kathleen Parker of all people is getting a new TV show on CNN? David, why do you think you have a column at CNN? Do you think Newsweek would have given you a cover story if you were going to say nice things about Rush Limbaugh?”

    He is tearing Frum a new one
    http://rightwingnews.com/2010/06/right-wing-news-vs-david-frum-little-green-footballs-media-matters-excitable-andy/

  • franco 2

    anchovy,

    Devastating. Frum should give up before he embarrases himself further.

    “Actually, I, like most conservatives, do not advocate groupthink or demand people rigidly stick to the “company line.” We actually have a simpler request: We just want people who are billed as Republicans and conservatives to actually be on the same side we are. The editorial pages in the newspapers slant liberal. The columnists slant liberal. Even the news in the newspapers slants liberal. Hell, even the TV shows and movies slant liberal. So finally, after all that, you run across a “conservative” in the mainstream media giving an opinion and guess what? He’s been given a platform to speak because he agrees with the liberals. That’s what people like David Frum get paid to do, I’m sick of it, and I’m not doing anything else to reward people like him, including allowing them to get into the Blogads Conservative Hive.”

    Note Frum’s supporters are all Democrats. What’s that tell you? By the way “DFL is a big fat idiot” If I had the spare time like Franken did, (or if DFL was anyone remotely important) I’d go through his posts and take every joke and statement out of context and make a list. As it stands Limbaugh has been talking three hours a day five days a week for 15 years making all kinds of jokes and funny tongue-in-cheek speculations. These lists are pretty lame if you ask me. These folks are AFRAID to listen to Limbaugh lest he sway their feeble minds.

    CentristNYER is a LIAR as he completely misrepresents himself. He’s a Democrat strongly on the left-wing of the party. He hasn’t posted anything other than standard DNC talking points.

    Now I must go make a living and pay my taxes so that the losers clamoring for socialism because they can’t support themselves can keep their food stamps.

    Bye y’all til next time.

  • easton

    I simply do not understand how it is that so many Right wingers do not understand that there is a great middle ground of public opinion, that it is not a matter of simply turning out your base to win elections. Frum is appealing to the middle ground making the pitch for the Conservative candidates using language the middle can understand and respect. I have voted for Republicans in the past, Tom Kean, Christie Todd Whitman, Reagan, Papa Bush, etc. because they spoke in a way that was not offensive and idiotic. Democrats had the sense to welcome a pretty large number of Centrists, and it is why they have such a huge majority in the Senate, winning in states they pretty much have no business winning in. Based on Geography, Republicans already have a built in advantage in that rural, small population, and conservative states send as many Senators and big, liberal California. You gotta be quite the wingnut not to be able to win as a Republican in these states.

  • Right Wing Nut House » HAWKINS AND THE TRAGIC FLAW OF THE IDEOLOGUES

    [...] in Hawkins’ response to Frum’s pique over the ad controversy, Hawkins claims that he and other conservatives don’t mind being [...]

  • DeepSouthPopulist

    Rabiner and Franco, I will respond later if this discussion is still going.

    LFC,

    1) Limbaugh has been on the air 15 hours a week for 20 years. Of course, he will make factual errors from time to time.

    2) Just about all of those other quotes that are not factual errors are taken out of context on purpose.

    3) Al Franken’s commentary is a partisan interpretation of events just like Limbaugh’s, so if you don’t think Rush is reliable based on allegedly non-mainstream partisanship, I can’t see why you or anyone else who objects to Rush on those grounds would rely on Franken for anything.

    Al Franken also named his book “Rush Limbaugh is an Idiot” which shows he lacks the intelligence to debate political ideas without resorting to ad hominem attacks and that the people who admire Franken are too stupid to recognize elementary logical fallacies.

    4) FAIR is a propaganda organization.

  • msmilack

    Franco
    There is no cultural cleansing in the Democratic party comparable to what the conservatives are doing to themselves; I’m not even aware of cultural cleansing at all; there are fringe members but they can’t castigate or expel less fringe members; they just complain a lot. And there are no pledges to sign from organizations like Club for Growth, and no bloc voting (it there were, Obama’s agenda would have passed on every bill). Why must every criticism of the conservative movement be met by a response of “you do it too”? Such a response makes it impossible for anyone to learn anything.

  • Rabiner

    Franco 2:

    “Freedom does not consist exclusively in the “personal” domain. You and Rabiner have half your brains missing if you don’t understand that the ability to keep the fruits of your labor isn’t a HUGE part of freedom. Regardless of even the most socially conservative Republican can’t really regulate what you and Rabiner do in your bedrooms and I have to say your side is downright paranoid when it comes to these things, but government CAN take money from you quite easily, and force you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t. But I guess you losers don’t pay taxes or own businesses And by the way Democrats are not going to legalize drugs either, unfortunately.”

    You’re inability to realize that taxation is a necessary ‘evil’ to have a modern civil society is problematic. And yes, Republicans have been trying to regulate people’s personal decisions for the last 30 years since they became the party of the Moral Majority which is in direct conflict with liberty.

    What is it government is forcing you to do? Basically taxation is a fee for living in this country. For all the benefits government provides you have to pay a portion of your income and the more successful you are, the more that fee is since you’re benefiting more than the person who is less successful. Government isn’t forcing you to be a teacher, fire fighter, businessman, agricultural worker. Government doesn’t care how you earn a living so long as you do it legally. So what is government forcing you to do exactly beyond pay taxes that you otherwise wouldn’t normally do?

    And Franco 2, considering you’re labeling all the posters you disagree with, I’m sad you left me out. :( But if I was born 50 years ago I’d of been voting for Nixon over McGovern.

  • Rabiner

    DeepSouthPopulist:

    You really can’t say people aren’t taking Rush into context but then do the exact thing to Al Franken when saying his book title. Al Franken before being a senator from Minnesota was a satirist whose job it was to push the envelope and say some crazy things. But then during his career he didn’t try to enter the political fray as that same satirist and now seems not nearly as wacky as he once was.

    I’d compare Rush Limbaugh in terms of how to the right on the political spectrum he is to someone like Michael Moore. The only difference is Michael Moore has no influence on the Democratic Party on policy positions like Rush seems to have.

    Looking forward to hearing from you though.

  • JJWFromME

    Franco 2: “Oh and BTW JJ, you need not apologize as I was not harmed by your attempt to associate me with Francisco Franco, YOU were.”

    I don’t think I’m harmed by National Review’s endorsement of Francisco Franco. But I do apologize for associating your views with 1950s National Review, and suspecting that you named your commenting pseudonym after him. (And as far as errors go, I think this is an understandable one, and forgiven with a minimal amount of charity.)

  • Rob_654

    Dang – was that a picture of John Hawkins?

    Dude – take some personal responsibility and lose some weight – I sure don’t want to pay for your medical bills when you develop Type 2 Diabetes and you move onto Medicare when you hit 65.

    Or is he going to be a good Conservative and not expect the rest of us to pay for his fat related problems when he goes on the public dime?

  • Krom

    This “controversy” coupled with quite a number of responses in this thread are positively frightening to me. I essentially agree with Frum point and loathe the rhetoric coming from Hawkins (though my reasoning may be slightly different than Frum’s). In short, I think it’s patently idiotic to immerse yourself in a two-party world. We work within a two-party system, but primarily for two basic reasons: because it’s practically more manageable than multi-party systems, and because an inertia of sorts makes it more likely for people to distill into two large competing groups. But *ideas* don’t work that way; reality is complex, problems are complex, solutions are complex, and so on. And the blind ideology that arises from thoroughly subscribing to a two-party world view generally ignores that complexity in a way that’s damaging to the art of coming up with workable solutions.

    It’s critically important in a democratic system that participants are able and willing to “switch sides” either when another group is presenting a more compelling set of policies or a more competent leadership, or alternatively when their current group is failing to do so. This consequently relies on the capacity of said participants to make some semblance of an impartial judgment as to what their interests are and who best can serve them. This doesn’t happen when people start tying their political identity into their social identity to the point where they believe they *belong* in one group or the other, and has the unfortunate side effect of driving division between people who otherwise may have much in common.

    Politics shift, parties shift, problems shift. So really, I find this idea of “political loyalty” to be utterly repulsive. While I suppose that Frum may still be embroiled in a conservative vs. liberal world view, he’s clearly a thinking man, and generally demonstrates the intellectual power to stand behind his opinions and suggestions, and the intellectual honesty to carefully consider the opinions and suggestions of those he may disagree with. And he usually has the dignity not to vilify his perceived opponents.

    There will always be partisan hacks who make a living off of riding a divide that’s largely imaginary, but to hell with them.