What Romney Gets Right

October 5th, 2011 at 8:50 am David Frum | 138 Comments |

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David Brooks yesterday took up the case for Mitt Romney in his New York Times column. Ramesh Ponnuru today (mostly) seconds it at NRO.

Ponnuru adds a series of questions of which one in particular carries a lot of force.

The [Republican] party has reached a consensus on most issues.

3) Is that consensus correct? If not can Romney supply what it lacks?

On the most urgent economic issue of the day – recovery from the Great Recession – the Republican consensus is seriously wrong.

It is wrong in its call for monetary tightening.

It is wrong to demand immediate debt reduction rather than wait until after the economy recovers.

It is wrong to deny that “we have a revenue problem.”

It is wrong in worrying too much about (non-existent) inflation and disregarding the (very real) threat of a second slump into recession and deflation.

It is wrong to blame government regulation and (as yet unimposed) tax increases for the severity of the recession.

It is wrong to oppose job-creating infrastructure programs.

It is wrong to hesitate to provide unemployment insurance, food stamps, and other forms of income maintenance to the unemployed.

It is wrong to fetishize the exchange value of the dollar against other currencies.

It is wrong to believe that cuts in marginal tax rates will suffice to generate job growth in today’s circumstance.

It is wrong to blame minor and marginal government policies like the Community Reinvestment Act for the financial crisis while ignoring the much more important role of government inaction to police overall levels of leverage within the financial system.

It is wrong to dismiss the Euro crisis as something remote from American concerns.

It is wrong to resist US cooperation with European authorities in organizing a work-out of the debt problems of the Eurozone countries.

It is wrong above all in its dangerous combination of apocalyptic pessimism about the long-term future of the country with aloof indifference to unemployment.

Of all those candidates who have run for the 2012 GOP nomination or contemplated running, Mitt Romney is the only one who has shown any degree of skepticism about the profoundly and dangerously mistaken Republican consensus. Sometimes he shows that skepticism by refusing to join the criticism of the Federal Reserve. Sometimes he says things that reveal a truer understanding of today’s problem – when he cites poor sales, not lack of confidence, as the reason businesses do not hire. On rare occasions, he will affirmatively defy the consensus, for example, in his willingness to challenge China on its currency manipulation – a challenge that the dollar’s exchange rate against the Chinese currency should be lower, not higher.

Am I satisfied with Romney’s position on these issues? No. Do I worry that he’ll fear to deviate from party orthodoxy even after he is elected? Yes.

But I put my hope in three things: (1) Romney is not only very intelligent, but he also has demonstrated through his career a devotion to facts over ideology. (2) Romney has visibly not been caught up in the panic and rage against President Obama that has done so much to distort Republican thinking since 2009. (3) Romney has not signed up for the kind of ultra-deluded tax-cutting as solution to all ills program advocated by Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman. His unwillingness to over-commit himself during the Republican primaries signals an openness to future contingencies should he be elected president.

Slender hopes? Yes. But no other Republican offers any hope at all.

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138 Comments so far ↓

  • ottovbvs

    Basically Frum is saying I gotta support Romney because he’s the least bad of a lot of bad choices. And “hopefully” he won’t take too much notice of the Republican policy platform because it’s largely disastrous. Can you believe this pretzel like logic? Faced with the reality Frum describes any rational person would say he’s not of my tribe and there are lots of matters I disagree with him about but on balance the most sensible choice for the country would be to re-elect the president. Maybe that is the implicit message in this catalog of faint praise of Romney which also contains some innaccuracies about Romney’s record not least his claim that Romney has always chosen facts over ideology. What’s else is his denial that Romneycare and Obamacare aren’t essentially one and the same?

    • PracticalGirl

      I agree- the most sensible thing is to stay the course with the man who has helped the country weather the storm.

      Here’s the thing, though, and I expect to get excoriated for this:

      I WANT the GOP to nominate Romney, just in case the electorate has no sense and decides to swing the pendulum. Out of all the choices, Romney is the only one in the GOP field who has ever had to govern to an electorate comprised of both liberals and GOPers. I’m not necessarily singing his praises and I still support the President. But if American voters lose their collective mind (and they just might), I’d like to know there’s a grown up in the Oval Office.

      • ottovbvs

        Actually I don’t. I want them to nominate Perry because this is going provide the country with the clear choice of governance that would just be blurred with the endless Romney fudges as he tries to bridge the gap between the Republican policies Frum summarised above and the reality we all experience. It really would be better in the long run for the GOP for these idiocies to be decisively rejected because otherwise they are going to have no incentive to find their way back to the center.

      • Saladdin

        Practicalgirl, I agree, but with Romney you never know what you’re going to get… I liked Romney 1.0 and 1.5 (Senate race), but Romney 2.0 is not a pragmatic pro-business politician. Why change from a Democrat to a Republican if both are assumed to be pragmatic, pro-business politicians? Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.

        • PracticalGirl

          Don’t mistake what I said, Saladdin. I have no desire to trade in President Obama for Romney, but for reasons that escape me, I’m not in control of even enough voters or even a piece of the electoral college to guarantee the vote goes my way. So, just in case the pendulum is determined to swing against, I’m hoping for President Not Obviously Devoted to the Church of the Right Wing.

          Criggs, Huntsman would, as well, present a relatively sane alternative. But he has little experience trying to work with a political body that isn’t majority Republican nor has ever shown any real desire to govern in a way that splits a middle ground. Romney, on the other hand, has.

      • criggs

        Thank you, Practical Girl. I too support Barack Obama, but don’t feel thrilled at the prospect of the Republicans nominating a whack job. I also agree that, in case Obama loses, we need to hope that the Republicans nominate a grownup.

        However I question whether Romney can be that grownup. I believe Saladdin has a very valid point when he expresses concerns over Romney’s constant makeovers. I believe Romeny might morph yet again, this time into a born-again Tea Partier.

        I also question Frum’s cavalier disregard for Huntsman’s economic and fiscal sanity. As Mark Thomson points out, Huntsman has also shown signs of budgetary responsibility when it comes to tax matters. On balance, I buy Practical Girl’s thinking, but my choice for Republican grown-up would be Huntsman. And, while some may dismiss that as fanciful, Huntsman is showing signs of life in New Hampshire, and in this fluid of a race, a strong showing in New Hampshire might significantly alter the shape of the race.

        • ottovbvs

          “I also agree that, in case Obama loses, we need to hope that the Republicans nominate a grownup.”

          So Criggs you think Obama loses to a Republican whack job? What a pantywaister.

        • criggs

          Remember that the Republicans are resolutely and relentlessly sabotaging the economy. They have refused to even negotiate on the Jobs Bill, preferring just to prevent it from even getting some sort of hearing on Capitol Hill (like referring it to a committee for a markup in either house or anything like that). Because of that fact, there is a strong likelihood that the government will be able to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the next 13 months that has any likelihood of stimulating the economy even one little bit.

          The great unwashed public is largely unaware, of course, of this footnote. All they know is that too many of them are still employed and Obama is president. If you think that unemployment uncomfortably close to 10% doesn’t constitute a significant drag on any incumbent president, then you have a lot to learn about political reality.

          In that kind of economic environment, whether or not the Republican party nominates a whack job may not have much of an effect on the general election outcome in comparison to the overwhelmingly negative state of the economy. That’s the possible scenario by which a whack job like Perry or Santorum or whoever could defeat Obama in a general election. Better a Republican grown-up run a strong campaign against Obama and win by a squeaker than a Republican whack run a campaign against Obama and win by a squeaker in an upset. The former damages the country, yes, but nowhere near to the extent that a Perry victory could damage the country.

  • Hermain Cain Rising, But It’s Mitt’s Moment (The Note) - ABC News

    [...] @johndickerson: RT @davidfrum: Contra David Brooks, Romney is better than the Republican consensus …. bit.ly/pg88NW [...]

  • Mark Thomson

    the kind of ultra-deluded tax-cutting as solution to all ills program advocated by Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman

    My understanding is that Huntsman advocates reform of the tax system to eliminate distortionary tax expenditures, not an immediate absolute reduction in overall tax revenue.

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    If Frum believes the GOP is wrong on all of these issues, why does favor someone who might possibly agree with him on some of these issues (Romney) over the person who definitely agrees with him on all of these issues (Obama)?

    It’s just more tribal b.s. from Frum. This is what GOPers mean when they say, “Country first.”

    • Anonne

      +1. This is purely tribal politics.

    • gover

      +1 But it’s not tribal, it’s Frum’s business plan. There is an open niche for a “sensible” Republican. The niche for sensible Democrats is a lot more crowded.

  • Southern Populist

    Romney will be more reliable for Israel and American imperial interventionism, and he might take the country to war against Iran, Syria or both. This explains why Brooks and Frum support Romney over Obama even though they agree with little of Romney’s domestic agenda versus Obama’s.

    - DSP

    • MattP

      I thought about that too as the inner reasoning as to why Mr. Frum ties himself up in knots to support Romney – because clearly Mr. Frum is not on the same page with the Republican Party when it comes to economic, environmental, or social/cultural issues. If that is indeed the case, then I would like to see more commentary on this site that calls out the GOP when the party’s candidates seem to be adopting a more isolationist tone. And that includes Romney (see his statements on Afghan withdrawl, for instance) who has failed to articulate anything close to the robust foreign policy that I always thought Frum supported.

    • rbottoms

      Yep, got to keep the Jewish state ready for the Rapture.

    • rubbernecker

      Yes. Frum suspects Obama of “animus” toward Israel (IIRC), so Obama is not an option for him.

    • overshoot

      “he might take the country to war against Iran, Syria or both.”

      Don’t forget Pakistan. If anyone in the White House really needs to demonstrate his machismo, Pakistan is perfect: there’s a much better case for them supporting terrorists than the others, they’ve already been directly uppity regarding American troops on their territory (even firing on aircraft), and best of all there’s no “maybe” about their nuclear weapons.

  • Jamie McFadden

    Solution is simple. Vote Obama.
    If you’re having to write stuff like this in order to vote for Romney, that seems to be a pretty good sign that Obama is the man for the hour.

    • medinnus

      But what if we don’t want to vote for Obama, given his record of endorsing the National Security Dictatorship cult of the President, the trashing of the Fifth Amendment, his complicity in the torture war crimes after the fact, the endorsement of the Bush-era surveillance state, and his lack of promised transparency?

      Not to mention his illegal “not-war” in Libya, the fact that we’re not out of Iraq and Afghanistan, etc.

      On every point of his repudiation of the serious civil rights abuses of the Bush-era Presidency, Obama promised reform and has delivered not just inaction, but further abuses.

      It would be hard for Obama to earn back my vote – fortunately for him, there are no viable GOP candidates for me to feel good about voting for…

      • overshoot

        So which of the Republicans do you expect to be better on those points?

        If you want a better selection of candidates in 2012, you need to get organized and work to build support for ideas like the ones you mention sometime in 1986 or so.

      • jamesj

        You are hitting on an very important point. Obama and the modern Democratic party have co-opted much of the traditional Republican party platform in the economic and foreign policy realms. They are currently right of center by the standards of Western Civilization. I marvel at the way their movement leaves so little breathing room for any sane alternatives to their right flank.

      • nuser

        Every point your post makes , Frum supports! See DSP for the reason he (Frum) supports Romney.

  • MattP

    If the litany of consensus economic positions of the Republican Party outlined above are all wrong (and the opposite is right) then there is an even better choice to support in 2012 than Mitt Romney – his name is Barack Obama.

    Sometimes it gets a bit cringe-worthy to watch people try to rationalize their continued affiliation with a political party that they so clearly don’t agree with nor belong in. That’s what Mr. Frum’s post above seems to represent.

  • LaLupa

    Is this article supposed to be an endorsement for Romney?

  • Solo4114

    It won’t matter, though, if Romney is elected and faced with a GOP majority in the House and/or Congress. Romney alone will not be able to change the wrongheadedness of the GOP’s economic positions. Even in a party like the GOP, which does respond to hierarchy, I do not believe that Romney and his team can change the prevailing attitudes within the party.

    Simply put, for economic recovery to stop being stymied, the GOP has to lose and lose big. Big enough that it cannot snarl further legislation.

    This is a real shame, because frankly I do not fully trust the Dems if they are unfettered. But the current GOP is too nihilistic and self-destructive to be allowed a place in government. Unless and until the party changes, it is not (at least in the aggregate) fit to serve.

    • Traveler

      That’s why most of us here are hoping for Perry as the refuglican nominee. It will reveal the GOPbaggers for what they are, and cause the loss of a ton of races down ticket. Might even mess up the local races where its so important when it comes to redistricting.

      That’s why DF so fervently hopes for Romnification. But I dont see the public being fooled once his vacillation gets hammered out in the general after a thorough thrashing in the primaries. He will be toast. But like some say, even if he wins, he is an adult, which is much less than you can say about any of the viable others.

      But you never now at this point in the game.

  • jme0909

    Seems to me that Frum’s preferred position on most domestic policy is the default Democratic position. I can understand wanting both parties to nominate the most sane technocratic people. I just would have a hard time coming up with a rationale for voting for Romney over Obama if they both seem to have the same approaches and if anything, Obama’s preferred approach is more grounded in reality and economic consensus.

    I guess you could argue that with a GOP congress, Romney could be a more effective executive….in that the Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, and company will be more likely to cooperate with GOP president to pass stimulus, sensible long term debt reduction, etc, than with Obama. But that’s about it. But then you have to trust that Romney really does have those same core beliefs as Obama, in spite of whatever he has to say or do to win the nomination, and will stick to them once he becomes President. So far in his political career he has shown no such inclination to stick with any core belief that could be politically inconvenient for him.

    • jamesj

      I believe what folks like Frum have been arguing is:

      “Listen, we all know that the grass roots of the Republican party promotes terrible policy at this point. That is obvious. And it is hard to tell which Republican presidential candidates truly believe this garbage and which ones are simply pandering to win the nomination. We are offered no choices within the party that courageously promote wise policy. So we should at least take a guess, based on what little we can tell, and try to push the party in the least terrible direction since that can help the party and the country in the long term.”

      I support this slow push towards more sanity in the party. At the same time, it is really sad that we’ve come to this. If the best I can get in the party is a candidate who secretly agrees with wise Democratic policy but who sprinkles his speeches with corrosive pandering to his own party’s grass roots, why would I vote for that? I was hoping someone with actual guts would step up to the plate and run on good policy without the cowardly pandering we’ve seen. I’m ready to vote for that and so are a lot of other Americans.

      The main problem with Obama is a lack of backbone, not a lack of wise policy. After all, most of his policies were proposed and supported by Republicans 20 years ago. If the Republican party gave me those policies with backbone and a hope of controlling the extremists in The House I’d vote for that in a heartbeat. I guess Frum is wishfully hoping that Romney could act in this manner if he manages to win the nomination by pandering to America’s dark side.

  • Graychin

    Didn’t I see Romney raise his hand to the question of “would you accept $1 of revenue increases for $10 in spending cuts?”

    Yes, I did.

    Was he merely pandering? If so, who needs him?

    If not, Mr. Frum’s premise that Romney “gets this right” is way, way off the mark.

    • think4yourself

      You mean raise your hands if you would not accept $1 dollar in revenue increases for $10 in spending cuts.

      And – +1. If you believe in balancing the budget, but won’t take a 10-1 deal in your favor, then you either don’t believe in balancing the budget or your simply lying to curry favor. Neither of which earns my vote.

  • MSheridan

    I have relatively little doubt that Romney could govern reasonably well with a Democratic Congress, although I doubt he’d do better than the incumbent. However, as President he would pose a challenge to the GOP. Do they support him in measures that are nearly indistinguishable from those pursued by his predecessor, or do they stand fast in opposition? The first option would be good for the country, but probably disastrous for the electoral futures of GOP politicians. As well, the Tea Party types, who at this point have gone from useful idiots to actual players, could revolt or bolt. The second option, standing fast, would show reckless disregard for the country’s future, but as the Republican Party now thrives in part because of economic discontent, this might be seen by some as a viable political strategy. I’m far from confident that Romney, if elected, has the steel and charisma to keep his party unified. In fact, I think he’d more likely preside over its dissolution.

    • humanoid.panda

      But if the GOP controls all three branches of government, economic discontent will be pointed directly at them. At this point, Republican rational self-interest will point out the kind of policies, Obama, Frum, and most sentient posters here favor, and Speaker Boehner will get enough Democratic votes to compensate for whatever Tea Party party votes defect once President Romney declares the Ronald Reagan Jobs Act. I think this is the scenario that Frum has in mind. I think the scenario might be plausible in the short term, but it rewards the GOP for its atrocious behavior and is therefore destructive for our political system in the medium to long terms.

      • MSheridan

        I could buy that scenario, except I think it leaves out a few important factors. There are influential media personalities who thrive on dissension and discontent. They don’t actually want or work toward anything other than controversy, so no policy put forward could actually make them happy. Additionally, I’m not at all sure the FOX network can escape its negative slant on politics, even if it wanted to. I doubt it would want to, as all the major financial backers of the GOP who have promoted policies that enrich themselves at everyone else’s expense would not be likely to suddenly become passive just because a GOP administration is now in charge, if that administration were acting in ways they saw as threatening their self-interest.

        Yes, a President Romney could probably get enough support from the Democrats to make up for whatever he lost from the most radical extremists in his own party, if he only had to worry about those extremists. But he’d break his party in two in doing so. That would not upset me, a non-Republican. I doubt the GOP will return to sanity for at least a generation. Heck, if he cared more about the future of the nation (or his own historical legacy) than about party politics, it might not even unduly upset Romney. But a broken party is a weak and useless weapon, and I rather think that those who wield it now would be averse to allowing it to be so destroyed. So I think Romney would end up either caving or facing the combined total of most Republicans in Congress. My bet is he’d cave.

        • humanoid.panda

          I see where you are coming from, but I think you are not appreciating the extent of republican partisanship 0f even the most rabid right wing media types. If they could get behind Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, etc., why wouldn’t they get behind a properly packaged, tax-cuts laden, stimulus-in-all but name package, if it’s the only thing that will stop a Democratic 2014/16 resurgence? There might be some Tea Party types who will oppose it out of principle, but I think the majority of the right-wingosphere will get behind the leader. Again, I am would rather to swallow a bag of live rats than see the Republicans win in 2012, but I think that’s the most plausible scenario if they actually manage to pull it through.
          The bigger question, IMO, is what would a President Romney do to appease the base after they swallowed some form of stimulus: ACA, Iran, social issues, or a real attack on Social Security and/or Medicare, or all of the above? In other words, even under the best case short term scenario, a Romney/Republican Congress is still going to be a frigging disaster..

  • GrandBargainHunter

    This really is a bizarre post if you take a step back. In essence: the Republican consensus is wrong about everything having to do with the economy. The party is now so intellectually unhorsed and/or craven that it can be stampeded by a bunch of goldbugs, wingnuts, evangelicals and know-nothings, even at the risk of triggering a new depression. So pick the person who seems least crazy, even if he is not willing to do more than hint that the consensus may be wrong. It seems Frum is intellectually honest enough to get himself kicked out of the Republican establishment, but not intellectually honest enough to admit that on the economy Obama is a far better, safer choice.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    at least I am thankful dragonfly has not polluted this thread with his “Romney is better than Jeebus and Reagan combined, he created a billion jobs and has like tons of experience more than Owebummer and I loves him so much, I mean might Mitt not Owebummer…”

    I am torn between practicalgirls practicality and Otto’s desire for there to be a real and defining choice. Perry being elected would be an absolute disaster but it will be on America’s head. I have no idea how a Romney Presidency would play out, if times were good then he would be a capable enough chief executive, but we are in uncharted waters and Romney has very little leadership ability.

  • jdd_stl1

    My biggest fear is similar to solo4114. I don’t see how any Republican
    President will be able to control a far right-wing Congress. If a
    Republican wins the presidential race do we see any way that the
    Republicans will not win back the Senate and still control the House?
    And with the Tea Party wing showing no signs of wanting to compromise
    with anyone we could be in for 2 or 4 years of crazy austerity. In my
    view our only hope at that point would be an obstructionist group of
    Democratic Senators who would turn the tables and hold up everything
    until they get some compromise. Not a pretty picture.

    I continue to wonder if the best possible combination would be a Democratic
    President and a Republican Congress (possibly one or both house, not sure).
    But it would have to be a group that was willing to compromise. Then
    each would take the edge off the other’s extremes. But then I don’t hold
    out much hope for such willingness to compromise in today’s poisoned
    political climate. Actually, in the last two years, I believe there has been
    a willingness to compromise from the White House and for a while
    I think Boehner was willing to compromise until he saw that he could
    not control his party in the House.

    The one given is that whoever wins will claim a
    “Mandate from the American People”. Then they
    will be swept out in the next election. No one in
    Washington seems to quite get it.

    • overshoot

      “I don’t see how any Republican President will be able to control a far right-wing Congress.”

      A time-honored way is to buy support. For instance, by nominating Alabama’s former Judge Moore to the Supreme Court. The far Right has been playing a long-term strategic game on judicial appointments for more than 30 years, while everyone else has been willing to trade appointments for short-term tactical advantages. I see no reason why a President Romney wouldn’t continue that tradition.

      • jdd_stl1


        But my problem is that the current Republican House doesn’t seem
        to agree with “time-honored” anything. They think they are there
        to break the mold and do things their way or the highway.
        None of these seem to be in the vocabulary of the far right of
        the current Republicans in the House:

        Maybe I’ll be wrong and they will surprise me.

        • overshoot

          The suicide bombers in the House might not care for time-honored ways of pandering, but that doesn’t mean that President Romney wouldn’t use them anyway. If nothing else, it would buy enough marginal votes on other issues that he might get them to sit out the vote and let the coalition of teenagers and adults keep from shutting down the country altogether.

          There are plenty of cookies President Romney could use. Judicial appointments are one example, but there are others that the Executive has. Ambassadorships, for instance, are a good way of getting annoying Congressmen out of the way to be replaced by appointment or special election of someone a bit less troublesome. Then there’s the Commander-in-Chief thing — the President could by simple administrative order cashier every out gay in the Services. Behind the scenes encouragement of the unofficial policy of evangelism in the military is yet another.

          Presidents have been building up the tool chest for more than two centuries. There are ways.

  • StreetSign

    In otherwords, Romney is Obama. Especially so if you assume Obama doesn’t express outrage at Romney.
    In head-to-head then, voters just have to decide which one is best on national defense.

  • Dragonfly

    That’s right, Frum – Romney uses his brain, and he has a damn good one at that.

    The left and right extremists don’t have a clue about what America is REALLY about – it’s about business, and it’s high time we get someone in there who knows about business.

    Romney fits that bill better than anyone on both sides of the aisle – ain’t no doubt about it.

    • Velocity

      “The left and right extremists don’t have a clue about what America is REALLY about – it’s about business”

      God, no wonder Republicans are morally bankrupt.

      • Dragonfly

        I’m an Independent – you know, one of the ones who will decide who gets in and who doesn’t.

      • MSheridan

        Dragonfly is just quoting Republican President Calvin Coolidge, but not in full:

        After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of the opinion that the great majority of people will always find these the moving impulses of our life. …

        Of course, the accumulation of wealth cannot be justified as the chief end of existence. But we are compelled to recognize it as a means to well-nigh every desirable achievement. So long as wealth is made the means and not the end, we need not greatly fear it… “

        but the last bit of that speech had yet more:

        “It is only those who do not understand our people, who believe that our national life is entirely absorbed by material motives. We make no concealment of the fact that we want wealth, but there are many other things that we want much more. We want peace and honor, and that charity which is so strong an element of all civilization.

        The chief ideal of the American people is idealism. I cannot repeat too often that America is a nation of idealists. That is the only motive to which they ever give any strong and lasting reaction.”


        • Dragonfly

          Coolidge didn’t go to school for business. He was an apprentice in the field of law, becoming a transaction lawyer, then a politician. He probably was saying what he thought poor people, voters, wanted to hear so he could get elected – he was the guy who was saying he didn’t want the rich to get richer, and they bought into it.

          Obama has been doing the same thing, but on a much bigger scale.

          The problem is, it doesn’t do anyone any good – give speeches about the rich, even yell at the rich – it doesn’t do the people at the bottom any good. Being anti-business raises the poverty level – it has an adverse affect on those who it’s suppose to help, and that is because the ones who speak it don’t know any better – they are not well enough schooled in business. Or, they do know better, and also know the voter is stupid.

          In 2009, 14.3% of people in America were living in poverty. The nation’s poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010. About 46.2 million people are now considered in poverty, 2.6 million more than last year.

          Give all the speeches you want, yell at the rich, the result is always the same.

          America runs on business – when business does well Americans are able to keep a roof over their head and a meal on their table – the better business does the better people do.

        • MSheridan

          Silent Cal was famously one of the most pro-business Presidents this nation has ever had. He was precisely the small government, anti-regulation President that the Tea Party side of the Republican Party now yearns for. And he wasn’t a bad guy. The thing is, though–his tenure may have been perfect for encouraging the 20′s to roar, but it led directly to Black Thursday and the Great Depression.

          Some quotes:

          “The man who builds a factory builds a temple; the man who works there worships there, and to each is due, not scorn and blame, but reverence and praise.”


          “Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business. Government shouldn’t play a part in everyday life.”

    • jdd_stl1

      But isn’t the problem that we need to understand what is wrong
      with Business right now?
      Is it demand?
      Is it regulation?
      Is it uncertainty?
      Is it taxes?

      What does Romney really believe is the problem? And can he
      convince a Republican Congress that he is right?

      • Dragonfly

        Have you ever worked for a place where the boss was an idiot about business, and didn’t know what he was doing because of it?

        Have you ever worked for a place where the boss was smart about business, schooled in business, and knew what he was doing?

        It’s like night and day.

        Romney saved failing companies, helped grow companies, stepped into Mass. as governor facing a $1.5 Billion deficit and turned it into a $600 Million surplus, restructured government while creating 80,000 new private sector jobs, stepped into the Olympics facing a $300 Million deficit and turned it into a $100 Million surplus.

        Romney received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University, and thereafter earned Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration joint degrees from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.

        If you look at it from a hiring standpoint, especially keeping in mind how important the old adage “it’s the economy stupid” is, Romney is the best qualified person for the job on both sides of the aisle.

        As for working with Congress, I don’t think he will have any more difficulty than anyone else. On the contrary, after having governed with an extremely liberal legislation in Massachusetts, it will be a breeze for Romney to govern with a Republican-controlled Congress.

        Real good things will start happening for America starting January 2013 if Romney becomes president and we get a filibuster proof Senate – ain’t no doubt about it.

        • jdd_stl1


          Serious question.
          Do you know what Romney thinks is the problem with the economy right now?
          Does he think it is:
          a) Lack of Demand
          b) Regulation
          c) Taxes
          d) Uncertainty
          e) Federal government deficit
          f) some combination of the above.

          And will he be able to convince the Republicans in Congress that he is right?
          What if his business sense and background tell him that we really do
          need some stimulus to put some money back into the middle class engine
          of the economy? Will he be able to make that happen if he really believes
          that demand and not austerity is what is needed right now?

        • Dragonfly

          Romney covers your points in his 59 point plan, and then some.
          I’m sure it’s not etched in stone, and it will be massaged for the better as he goes along – just like a business plan. Smart people continue to re-write their business plan, the one that got them into business, throughout that business’ duration. It’s the blueprint of the operations.

          Romney is a business-minded person.

          The first thing you learn in working in business management is how to interface with others and how to plan, set goals, establish policies, and resolve issues. Not only interfacing with other politicians and cabinet members, but also with skilled advisers, company leaders, in America and around the world, as well as leaders from other countries.

          Romney will have no problem in this respect.

          On the contrary, he’s well schooled and experienced and up to speed – they won’t have to talk slow or explain concepts to him. He will pretty much be grabbing the reigns from day one.

          Being the business leader he has been for so many years, he’s a team-player, as well as a leader. You have to be in order to be successful, and Romney has been highly successful in all his past endeavors, so it’s stands to reason that he’s a good team player and will do well.

        • Velocity

          And how did he do those things, Dragonfly? Oh, wait – “Having vowed in the campaign to oppose any general tax increase, Romney quickly won approval from the legislature for a variety of spending cuts. But when those came far short of balancing the budget, Romney turned to closing what he called “loopholes” in the corporate tax code. That, along with higher local property taxes, produced millions in new revenue”

          Huh. Closing corporate tax loopholes. Raising taxes.


        • Dragonfly

          Romney did well for Massachusetts.

          But, hey – how about Obama?

          We are sitting on a true 20% unemployment rate, along with millions on furlough (less hours with less pay), and millions who haven’t seen a raise in a few years because of the terrible economy. Yet, Obama and company got nice fat raises and added perks. Under Obama, seniors haven’t seen a COLA in their Social Security in a couple of years, then he intimidated them saying their checks may be held back if he didn’t get his way, as well as the military’s. Ya, keep the welfare and schooling going to the illegal aliens, no mention of maybe that being affected, while threatening the seniors and military.

          And how about the debt of the nation due to Obama? Nearing $15 TRILLION.

          Obama’s spending is so humongous that one has to go back to all the presidents in history – combined!

          Now take a look at the rise of the poverty rate under Obama – it’s horrible.

          Trying to find a minor flaw with Romney, while overlooking the major disasters of Obama, is laughable.

        • japhi

          Unlike you, I’ve worked for firms that have been taken private. I was with Kinko’s when we were bought by CDR. If you think private equity firms are about job growth you’re nuts. Consolidation and elimination were how we rolled. Our managers took huge pay cuts, and were asked to work large territories. Our founder – the real job creator, 20k employee company he built- was banned from our locations. CDR didn’t create jobs, Orfalea did. Bain didnt create Staples, Stemberg did. Are you following?

          I currently work for a firm held by KKR. We are cutting jobs to ready for an IPO.

          I dont have anything against private equity firms, but you know nothing about business if you think that PE is about job creation, or that Bain created jobs.

        • Dragonfly

          A lot of companies would not exist if not for investors.

          If not for investors………. maybe you should………. never mind.

          Bain Capital Private Equity has raised ten funds and invested in more than 200 companies.

          I’m not sure where you’re from, but in America that’s a very good thing.

    • overshoot

      DF, I’ll posit for the sake of discussion that Romney’s business experience has taught him how to get the country back on track. Which leaves the question:

      How may of the citizenry will he have to RIF to make the USA profitable enough to sell?

      • Dragonfly

        Please, spare me the BS – to even begin to say that Romney hasn’t been highly successful in the business world, and that many companies and people haven’t benefited from that…………

        it’s just stupid.

        • overshoot

          Of course he’s been successful. That’s not at issue. As for how many people have benefited (besides himself and his family), I’m sure that there are other stockholders.

          Anyone else? Not in evidence but I’ll take your word for it.

          However, the methods he’s used to become successful, when applied to the USA (and that IS presumably the point, else all that experience would be of no value) would involve reducing “staff” by a margin large enough to make a major difference on the balance sheet. How many would that be, and how will he distribute the pink slips?

        • Dragonfly

          Many people directly benefited when failing companies were saved through restructuring. Many people directly benefited when companies were created, as well as built through investment capital through Romney’s company. Over 200 companies – companies – not single buildings with people working in them, but entire companies with many building with people working in them, were the result of investment capital brought about by Romney. And how many companies were spurned to supply these companies, as well employ all the people to build all these structures and maintain them?

          Then there’s Massachusetts with a $1.5 Billion deficit which he turned into a $600 Million surplus, then the Olympics with a $300 Million deficit which he turned into a $100 Million surplus, being the most successful Olympics in history, and during a time just after 9/11 with major security concerns and needs.

          Romney is what America really needs right now, and to think otherwise is really stupid, or biased, which is stupid within of itself.

  • nhthinker

    Frum is disappointed that there are no Keynesians left in the Republican party except for him.

    He pretends that Romney can become a Keynesian even after seeing Romney’s “Believe in America” prescription.

    Frum is hallucinating …if he were honest he would admit to all of us that his economic views are much more consistent with Obama and Democrats that with ANY Republicans in the Presidential race.

    I expect Frum will continue to hope that Romney will morph into Obama-lite so Frum won’t end up endorsing Obama.

    I predict that once Romney locks up the nomination, the economic prescriptions between Romney and Obama will become even more stark and Frum will either close his eyes and ignore it or honestly endorse Obama.

    I do not think there is any chance of Frum coming to realize that his current prescriptions are “Dead Wrong” … And ironically completely opposite of his prescriptions in “Dead Right”

  • balconesfault

    So what happens if President Romney rolls out an economic stimulus plan of the sort that Frum envisons?

    a) no matter what, the GOP can’t pass this legislation on their own – even if they ended up with majorities in both houses, even if the Dems didn’t filibuster in the Senate.

    Why? Because the Tea Partiers won’t buy it. There are the Boehner/McConnell Republicans who understand what is the right thing to do right now, but just won’t do it because they’re afraid of the Tea Party and because they would rather wound Obama than save the country.

    But then there are enough Tea Partiers in the House and Senate GOP Caucuses – likely to be even more if the GOP actually dominated the elections enough to get Romney elected – who really do believe to their core that social spending programs in America need to be cut to the core, and the only way to get there is to starve government until it has no alternative but to shed those programs.

    Tea Partiers will still work to block any stimulus not simply because they hate Obama, but because they hate the idea of any of their tax dollars ever going to help someone they don’t personally want to help.

    b) So the Dems, after being … excuse the language … quite bluntly fucked over royally by McConnell and Boehner for 4 years, are now going to be expected to jump aboard and vote to support an agenda which will make heroes out of Romney and McConnell and Boehner.

    c) As disorganized as the Dems can be – does anyone really believe that they’re going to do this without demanding a significant pound of flesh?

    In other words – look for an economic stimulus bill that includes Cap and Trade, or a massive reversal of the attacks on union rights, or provisions to accelerate implementation of the ACA, or big tax increases on the wealthiest Americans.

    d) Can Boehner/McConnell keep enough of their own troops in line to pass such a stimulus while the Tea Partiers are calling them every bad name in the book, Cantor is about to cut Boehner’s kidneys out from behind, and Corporate America is abandoning them because of the Democrats demands?

    If you think the best pathway out of the current clusterfuck we’re in is to give into McConnell’s and Boehner’s demands and put a Republican in the White House, I think you just are in denial of the even greater clusterfucks that rewarding this outrageous behavior by GOP leadership will be bringing to the country down the line.

    • MSheridan

      +1. That’s exactly right.

    • Traveler


      Masterful analysis. No way a refuglican president is going to be good for the country. The humanoid.panda, MSeridan and jdd_stl1 threads had a hopeful discussion of this possibility, but your take takes the cake. The Dems will filibuster and place holds like there’s no tomorrow to stall massive changes for the worse. Whether it works or not is anyone’s guess.

      We just have to hope for a massive collapse of the GOPbaggers on their own. Hence Ottovon’s (and my) hope for a Perry nomination. But way too early to tell. Too many interesting clusters going on Europe to be comfortable about any prognosis.

  • jamesj

    I don’t understand. The policies advocated in this piece are currently heavily supported by the Democratic party establishment and heavily opposed by the Republican party establishment. I’m not sure if this piece is a compliment to Romney or a thinly veiled insult. If the best you can say about the man is that he keeps his mouth shut and doesn’t pile onto the bandwagon when bad policy is being promoted by his fellow party members, I’m not thrilled.

    Listen, I want to see a return to rational policy in my party, the Republican party. I wish Romney, or anyone else in these Republican debates, gave me confidence in that return to mature statesmanship. But all I see is a lot of pandering to the most corrosive ideas in the country at the moment. Romney and Huntsman are essentially the least terrible choices from a crop of absolutely terrible choices. No one on that stage has the guts to promote the pragmatic positions advocated in this piece. In the primary I’ll support the least terrible choice I can. In the general election I will again have to cast my vote for the least terrible choice, and I seriously doubt that choice will be a Republican form what I’ve seen so far.

    • fracguru

      jamesj: I feel your pain. I wish someone could explain how the Republican party has fallen so hard. I want sensible Republicans back. They were a good check in the system, but now they’re just a cancer.

      • Velocity

        Your modern day Republican “leadership”:

        “In reality, McConnell thought he was playing a fun little game. He knows Senate Democrats aren’t united on the American Jobs Act, so he figured if he could force a vote, there would be bipartisan opposition, which Republicans could then use against the White House. If Harry Reid blocked the move, McConnell could get a few cheap laughs by saying Dems blocked a vote on the president’s jobs bill. “Honoring” a presidential request was the furthest thing from McConnell’s mind. But even this stunt wasn’t quite what it appeared to be. For one thing, McConnell wasn’t trying to bring the jobs bill to the floor, he was trying to tack the entire package on as an amendment to a bill on Chinese currency manipulation. For another, McConnell swore up and down yesterday he wanted a vote on the American Jobs Act, but Republicans were still going to filibuster — he wasn’t calling for a vote on the bill, he was calling for an opportunity for the GOP to obstruct a vote on the bill. Indeed, the whole charade was farcical. Since when does the Senate vote on a $450 billion jobs package without any debate? Without so much as an opportunity to make changes to the bill? Mitch McConnell is less a Senate leader and more a child, playing games in the midst of a crisis. For his part, Reid called McConnell’s bluff — the Democratic leader blocked the GOP stunt, but told the Minority Leader that if he’s eager to debate the American Jobs Act, the Senate could take it up immediately after the China bill, with a lengthy debate on what’s best for the economy. McConnell balked.”


  • Oldskool

    Romney would probably pick Rubio for vp to win Fla and to appease the far right. So the question is, would someone like Rubio be as dangerous as Cheney.

    • valkayec

      He well might choose Rubio. But Rubio is being challenged by the same birther movement that objected to Obama. Because his parents were not born here, they believe he’s ineligible to be President.

  • valkayec

    Mr. Frum, reading the litany of negatives on the GOP side of the chart, I found myself not just amazed but in full agreement with you. However, can you be sure that if Romney wins, he will not go along with current orthodox GOP economic ideology?

    Romney has stated that he would overturn ACA and Dodd-Frank, to be replaced apparently with nothing…or maybe he’d promote Paul Ryan to drafting new comprehensive health care laws (see Ponnaru’s Bloomberg editorial on Ryan’s new ideas).

    And while Dodd-Frank is a bit of a mess and changes very little, at least it offers some help such as higher capital requirements and maybe, just maybe someday transparent derivatives markets. Eliminating Dodd-Frank and replacing it with nothing (which is what much of Wall St wants) will just put the nation right back where it was during the disastrous previous decade.

    He’s said he wants more tax cuts to the wealthy and to corporations, but I’ve not heard him say how he’ll eliminate the deficit when revenues are at historic lows. He’s said he’s a job creator, but his ideas all appear to follow the same old policies of previous decades of GOP thinking which, so far, have proven to fail.

    Frankly, I don’t see that he understands – or at least at this point is able to articulate – the need for new policies and a complete change of direction from the policies of the past to get the economy going again. The GOP is stuck in the past and just doesn’t seem willing or able to understand this is not 1980 or 1950 or 1890. Is Romney strong enough and willing to challenge his own party’s antique ideology to move the party into the 21st Century? Does he have the capacity to understand the lives of people earning a median income of $48K or living on $200/wk unemployment? It’s not just intellectually understanding their pain in a nice speech but understanding it at the gut level. Will he govern for all those OWS people marching and protesting now or will he govern for the Wall St/corporate CEO types?

    I continue to have my doubts about him.

  • dafyd

    Come on David please explain this. Andrew has some good advice for you that you should listen to.

  • Banty

    OK, well, David, this ex-Republican is sticking with Obama. Under certain circumstances I could consider Huntsman, but he’s not going to happen.

    But thank you for a very good list of economic delusions. And thanks doubly for listing the canard about the CRA-dunnit among them. That’s a nasty piece of demagoguery that was patched together just after Lehman.

  • LFC

    David Frum said… “Of all those candidates who have run for the 2012 GOP nomination or contemplated running, Mitt Romney is the only one who has shown any degree of skepticism about the profoundly and dangerously mistaken Republican consensus.”

    David seems to forget that this is the man who, along with the rest of the Teabots on the stage, said he would vote against a deficit reduction deal that was 10:1 in spending cuts vs. revenue increases. That means Romney is either not a sane person or he is the biggest Pander Bear in today’s Presidential race.

    • TerryF98

      He was also the man that stood absolutely mute when a serving soldier was booed by the tea party fools. What sort of coward does that?

      • LFC

        And yet he’s the best man the Republicans can field. Reagan must be spinning in his grave.

  • rbottoms

    About that immigration thing.

    Mohamed Ali Muflahi, the first person arrested under Alabama’s strict new immigration law, is actually residing in the United States legally, his attorney proved on Monday.

    Muflahi, a 24-year-old born in Yemen, was arrested Friday during a drug raid in Etowah County, Alabama, along with two other Yemenis, the Gadsden Times reported last week. According to local Sheriff Todd Entrekin, the three men were taken into custody for obstructing a government operation, and upon processing at the jail, only Muflahi was unable to produce documentation of his legal status.

    This is a misdemeanor violation according to the new Alabama immigration law that went into effect late last month, and, Entrekin told the Times last week, the first arrest carried out under the new measures.

    But it turns out that Muflahi is not in the U.S. illegally, as some had suggested. His attorney provided documentation of his legal status on Monday, Etowah County officials told the Associated Press.

    The controversy could put a kink in a recent push by Alabama state senators, local NBC affiliate WSFA reports. Earlier this week, the publicity surrounding the arrest prompted several Alabama state senators to draft a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder calling for the Justice Department drop its ongoing lawsuit against the law. But that letter never saw daylight.

    From WSFA:

    The letter was set to be released to the media Tuesday morning, but the news conference was cancelled for unspecified reasons. The letter requests that Holder launch an investigation into how a citizen of Yemen settled in Alabama without detection or documentation.


    The clown car party strikes again.

  • Sinan

    Good luck with changing the GOP David. Perhaps you could start by doing a piece on a real Republican, Ike. Here is what the last great Republican said:

    The worst to be feared and the best to be expected can be simply stated.

    The worst is atomic war.

    The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labour of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

    This world in arms is not spending money alone.

    It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

    The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

    It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

    It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.

    We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.

    We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

    This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

    This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. These plain and cruel truths define the peril and point the hope that come with this spring of 1953.

    This is one of those times in the affairs of nations when the gravest choices must be made, if there is to be a turning toward a just and lasting peace.

    It is a moment that calls upon the governments of the world to speak their intentions with simplicity and with honesty.

    It calls upon them to answer the question that stirs the hearts of all sane men: is there no other way the world may live?

  • think4yourself

    I don’t dislike Romney (or Huntsman for that matter), but I also voted for McCain in the 2000 primary cause I thought he really was a GOP Maverick, when he just ended up being a panderer as his latest Senate campaign showed.

    Romney as President would go where the Tea Party led him so long as they are the loudest voices in the room. That clip posted in here from the Daily Show convinced me. The Romney who was Governor of MA, had a chance of winning my vote (but not the GOP primary). The Romney of today may win the primary but I don’t think the election.

    As to flip-flopping. All I can say is if you continue to straddle a fence for 10 years, eventually you won’t have any balls.

    • Dragonfly

      Romney was the only one who had balls during the last GOP presidential run – during one of the debates, when asked about GITMO, the other candidates blew with the liberal wind and said they’d close it, while Romney said he’d double it. And how about Obama – he also blew with the liberal press wind saying he’d close it, but he didn’t, which goes to show that not only does Romney have balls, he has brains – he knew of its usefulness.

      And while governing in a liberal state he could have just went along for the ride, but he didn’t. On his own, by his lonesome, he went against the liberal tide and trained his State Police to do the right thing – and he was ahead of the curve – ahead of Arizona – they modeled after Romney – see for yourself;


      • Velocity

        Oh please. Romney is the only quasi-sane one in the Republican field, I’ll grant you that, but there is no candidate, Democrat or Republican, left or right, who bends to the expedient political winds like Romney does:


        “Even if Republican voters know who the real Mitt Romney is, Mitt Romney doesn’t.”

        • Velocity

          A video compilation showing Romney contradicting himself over and over again is “liberal crap”? God no wonder you guys are so confused.

        • balconesfault

          Particularly given that the portion of their campaign against Kerry that wasn’t just sleeze-bucket Swift Boating was that Kerry was a flip flopper.

          Will they be bringing their sandals from 2004 to Tampa next September?

        • Dragonfly


          Romney’s record as governor, CEO, business owner, and as head of the Olympics is outstanding.

          Romney took Massachusetts’ deficit of $1.5 Billion and turned it into a $600 Million surplus without raising taxes. Romney took the Olympics’ $300 Million deficit and turned it into a $100 Million surplus – the most successful Olympics on record, and just after 9/11 when there were major security concerns and needs. Bain created over 200 companies – 200 companies, not individual businesses, but 200 companies, and many spurned from them to feed them.

          Sure, you can say in 1982 he said, then in 2001 he said, liberal talking point crap that went nowhere then and will go nowhere now.

          This may help solve some of your concerns with where Romney really stands on issues;


          But, what about Obama the true flip-flopper – he said he would end the wars – nope – we’re in 4 now and he took Bush’s 30k in Afghanistan to 100k – he said he would close GITMO – nope – still open – he said he would be bipartisan and work across the aisle – nope – locked the door and they said we would know what’s in the Bill after they pass it – he said he would unite the country through less rhetoric – nope – he’s divided it even more and leads the charge on the rhetoric – he said his Trillion dollar stimulus monies would bring down unemployment and help the deficit – nope – one could go on forever with what he said and what actually happened.

          Obama’s record?

          Unemployment at a true 20%, along with millions on furloughs (less hours with less pay), and millions who haven’t seen a raise in a few years because of the economy, yet Obama and all his aids got nice fat raises and added perks.

          And what about under Obama seniors not getting a Social Security COLA for a few years now? And his intimidating them about not getting their checks if he didn’t get his way with the last Bill, as well as the military’s pay?

          This was said some time ago:

          “Obama inauguration, when the accrued debt was $6.307 trillion, to the end of fiscal year 2013, when the debt is projected to reach $12.784 trillion. Yes, more than the previous 43 presidents.”

          BUT, we are actually approaching $15 Trillion – Obama is worse than projected.

          If you look at national debt, look at it before the Dems took over the majorities in Congress on Jan. 2007, then compare to beyond that, especially after their rubberstamp became president.

        • balconesfault

          But, what about Obama the true flip-flopper – he said he would end the wars – nope – we’re in 4 now and he took Bush’s 30k in Afghanistan to 100k

          He actually said that he would increase the number of combat troops in Afghanistan, and he committed to the Status of Forces Agreement withdrawal schedule in Iraq – it looks like by the end of 2011 we’ll be down to about 3,000 trainers, advisors, and embassy guards. And I do hope you’re not counting Libya as a “war”. What’s #4?

          – he said he would close GITMO – nope – still open

          He is a President – not a dictator – and Congress refused to fund him moving detainees from GITMO to any US prisons. I suppose he could have had his Justice Department draft internal memos to give him the ability to ignore Congress on this somehow, but I’m kind of glad that he didn’t, since it demostrates his respect for Constitutional limits on the power of the Presidency.

          – he said he would be bipartisan and work across the aisle – nope –

          How do you be bipartisan when your opposition has declared their primary goal is to make you fail, no matter what the immediate consequences to America?

          locked the door and they said we would know what’s in the Bill after they pass it –


          he said he would unite the country through less rhetoric – nope – he’s divided it even more and leads the charge on the rhetoric –

          Again, by these standards, Lincoln was the greatest failure in American history, since he failed to persuade the Confederate States from seceeding from the Union.

          he said his Trillion dollar stimulus monies would bring down unemployment and help the deficit – nope –

          Trillion dollar stimulus monies? You might start by being accurate. Second, just about every economist acknowledges that unemployment is lower than it would have been without the stimulus. Third, he never said that the stimulus would bring down the deficit in the near term. But as a matter of fact, much more of the deficit has been caused by plummeting tax revenues thanks to the Bush economic collapse, than to any spending program increases by Obama.

          one could go on forever with what he said and what actually happened.

          By the way – making a wrong prediction is not “flip flopping”. Changing your fundamental positions on issues in the absence of new information except for voter preferences in your party is flip flopping.

        • Dragonfly


          Elect me president and I will stop the wars, I will close GITMO, I will repeal the Patriot Act, I will end the division in America, I will work in a bipartisan manner, I will give amnesty to illegal aliens, I will embrace gay marriage, I will require employers to provide seven paid sick days per year, I will reduce the threshhold for the Family and Medical Leave Act from companies with 50 employees to companies with 25 employees, I will develop an alternative to President Bush’s Military Commissions Act on handling detainees, I will Increase the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, he gave a ‘they have rights too’ speech and now he’s taking them out with drones, he promised to end the wars and we’re in 4 with 70k more in Afghanistan than when Bush was in, and blah, blah, blah I promise I will do……..

          He had all the majorities, crammed ObamaCare down our throats for the health insurance companies and AMA, spent a ton of taxpayer dollars for the union bosses calling it stimulus, but all those things he promised? NOPE.


          Yes, he flip-flopped on just about everything he ran on – ain’t no doubt about it.

        • balconesfault

          “Obama inauguration, when the accrued debt was $6.307 trillion, to the end of fiscal year 2013, when the debt is projected to reach $12.784 trillion. Yes, more than the previous 43 presidents.”

          Do you believe that on January 23, 2009, the US should have defaulted on all obligations under Social Security and Medicare?

          If not, then the $6.3 trillion debt figure right wingers keep throwing around is a lie. It only represents debt held by non-Governmental sources, and ignores the $4.1 trillion that Government had borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund.

          The Public Debt is a useful tool for evaluating the implications of interest rates and bonds as the Government has to seek outside capital to fund operations. It is a poor tool for evaluating what the US has to do to regain solvency, unless you consider immediately stopping Social Security benefits to be a reasonable part of the solution.

          You know who DID double the REAL debt of the US Government while they were President? Ronald Wilson Reagan.

        • Dragonfly


          No, I know the debt was different – it was posted to make a point about how someone felt at the time and how things turned out – worse – under Obama things turned out worse – ain’t no doubt about it.

          Regardless of the numbers being precise in the quote, it does not excuse Obama of having accumulated more debt than hella anyone and everything. We’re nearing $15 Trillion.

          Now, if you want to see when it really started to climb, do your homework – you will find that after the Dems took control of both houses in Congress it started to climb, then when their rubberstamp, Obama, got in it went out of control,m and here we are today with the worst debt in the history of the nation.

          Now Obama is running around with another SPENDING Bill while telling everyone they have to pass it or we are ………….. the sky is falling………….. blah, blah, blah. And now the Dems in Congress are throwing him under the bus to save themselves – Reid won’t let Obama’s Bill come to the floor to be voted on.

          The sooner the Dems are out of the White House, Congress, and every elected position in the country, the sooner America can get back to real business and bring the country back on track.

          The Dems have made a mighty, mighty mess of things – ain’t no doubt about it.

        • balconesfault

        • Dragonfly

          Notice how it skyrocketed from 2008 on – the chart makes the case for the Dems being the culprits – thanks.

        • dbtexas

          I visit and read on many of these forums. Have rarely encountered someone so resistant to facts as “Dragonfly.” Keep up the good work “blaconesfault.” I assume you are a Texan. Always good to find a sensible Texan.

        • Dragonfly


          Romney did a good job with everything he did – it’s on record.

          Obama? He will go down on record as one of the worst presidents this country has ever seen – right along with Carter – a one-term loser.

          And if Clinton didn’t have the good fortune for most of his tenure to see a Republican-controlled Congress, he’d be joining them.

  • Elvis Elvisberg

    Goodness gracious, David. Your greatest hope for the GOP is that, even though the frontrunner is saying a bunch of insane shit, he’s probably lying?

    Are you familiar with the phrase “soft bigotry of low expectations”?

    And the entire raison d’etre of his friggin campaign is the lie that Pres. Obama is running around apologizing for America, which is something that never happened in real life. So if Romney has avoided the Obama Derangement Syndrome that’s afflicted the other 99.997% of the GOP, he’s sure got a funny way of showing it.

    this plainly dishonest claim is at the core of Romney’s entire campaign message — it’s in every speech; it’s in every debate; it’s even in the title of his book. And the underlying point of the lie isn’t just over some routine policy dispute — Romney desperately wants Americans to question the president’s love of country. The “apology” claim is a lie, but it’s also an ugly smear.

    Let’s face it: Republicans are wrong about pretty much everything. We have to hope that Romney is lying when he says false things. Therefore, it is the duty of every patriotic American to deprive the Republican Party of power.

    • SpartacusIsNotDead

      “Your greatest hope for the GOP is that, even though the frontrunner is saying a bunch of insane shit, he’s probably lying?”

      I’ll be pleasantly shocked if I read a better than that one anywhere this week!

      • Elvis Elvisberg

        Ha, thanks SpartacusIsNotDead, glad you liked it, but I really was feeling more exasperated than self-amused when I wrote that…

        I’d felt bad when I returned late to a thread last year in which you’d nominated me for a Pulitzer Prize & I’d never said anything about it, so, thanks for that comment too, I thought it was pretty funny. http://www.frumforum.com/department-of-self-correction#comment-156006 (Easy to find; only one hit at Frum Forum for “Kevin Kolb”).

      • Anonne

        That’s about as concise a statement of the problem as we’ll ever get. Brilliant, Elvis.

  • jjv

    If the Romney slogan becomes “Romney-he will keep spending and raise taxes” he is doomed. I suspect his inability to breach 25% in polls is because most of the Republican electorate believes Mr. Frum is spot on.

  • ottovbvs

    One wonders when Frum, who allegedly is the “balls” of the Republican party, is going to actually acquire some cast iron gonads. Basically this entire original article says my party’s platform is crap, Romney is our only marginally sane candidate and “might” ignore the general lunacy of our party platform so therefore I support Romney. Jeez. What a recommendation. I see the CBS poll out today has Romney the alleged “front runner” level pegging with Cain for godsake. Face it David, the GOP is deeply f***** up. There is only one viable candidate for president next year. And it’s the incumbent.

    • Dragonfly


      are you on Obama’s payroll? It’s the only explanation for your endless trolling in the Obama interest.

      A real 20% unemployment under Obama, along with millions on furlough (less hours with less pay), and millions without a raise in a few years because of the rotten economy.

      More debt accumulated under Obama than 43 presidents combined.

      A horrendous poverty level under Obama.

      ottovbvs, it’s very obvious that you are backing a major LOSER.

      • Sinan

        The fact that you use these issues to frame your views on Obama show you to be woefully ignorant of current affairs and our current economic crisis. Rather than spew endlessly here online, perhaps you could make better use of your time by reading some non-fiction books. Start with “The Quants” then “Too Big to Fail” and if you want partisan faire “The Shock Doctrine”. I find folks like you to be the bane of our existence for what you think you know is actually more harmful than what you do not know.

        • Dragonfly

          I know the truth hurts, Sinan, but it will set you free if you accept it.

      • balconesfault

        More debt accumulated under Obama than 43 presidents combined.

        Again, Dragon repeats this idiotic lie.

        Unfortunately for him, this forum is not like the GOP debates, where blatant lies go unchallenged.

        When Obama took office, the Federal Debt was $10.6 trillion.

        For Dragon’s claim to be true, the Federal Debt today would need to be $21.2 trillion.

        It’s not.

        You know who DID accumulate more debt than all the previous Presidents combined?

        Ronald Reagan!

        Doesn’t that make you proud to be a Reagan Republican?

        • Dragonfly

          This was said some time ago:

          “Obama inauguration, when the accrued debt was $6.307 trillion, to the end of fiscal year 2013, when the debt is projected to reach $12.784 trillion. Yes, more than the previous 43 presidents.”

          BUT, we are actually approaching $15 Trillion – Obama is worse than projected.

        • kuri3460

          And 2+2 = 6.

        • balconesfault

          Obama inauguration, when the accrued debt was $6.307 trillion

          Except that the accrued debt at the time of Obama’s inauguration was $10.6 trillion.

          Anyone who tries to tell you that the debt was only $6.3 trillion is assuming that the US could simply default on all Social Security and Medicare obligations on January 23, 2009.

          Is that your final answer?

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  • NRA Liberal

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: How is there any difference between you and a conservative Democrat, Frum?

    Your Canuck heritage is showing.

    • Primrose

      Conservative democrats are not actually democrats so that it is not as telling a remark as it seems.

  • nhthinker

    Both Frum and Jon Chait have vacillated as to Romney’s chances with the Republican Primary. Both secretly hold out hope that Romney will tack closer to their points of view, musing that Romney will become a Keynesian once he is elected.

    Both are sadly mistaken.

    Romney believes in reducing the size of government: neither Chait nor the new Frum could stomach the reduction in the size and scope of government. Bring back the “Dead Right” Frum.

    • ottovbvs

      “Romney believes in reducing the size of government:”

      I guess that’s why he expanded the size of the MA government. But then perceived inconsistency is why much of the Republican party doesn’t like him. Given that in that latest CBS poll Romney is being beaten by no hoper Cain what does this tell you about the enthusiasm level amongst Republicans should Romney be nominated. When you have basically hardcore Republicans like Frum writing stuff like this and a party obviously pining for some new magic bullet candidate like Christie there is obviously something deeply wrong in the GOP.

      • nhthinker

        Massachusetts is a liberal nutcase of a state. Romney tried to get it under control. The Dems voted for by the liberal electorate of Massachusetts overloaded RomneyCare. Much to your chagrin, the anti-federalist message Romney is using for RomneyCare versus ObamaCare is playing reasonably well with a sufficient portion of the Republicans. Liberals hate states rights trump federal rights messages.

        Frum WAS a hardcore Republican when he wrote “Dead Right”…Since then he has become a hardcore Israel defender and a big federal government to solve all problems socialist- you think that makes him a “Hardcore Republican” ? …hardly. Frum would go third party in a minute if he thought it would be good for Israel.

        Joe Lieberman is probably Frum’s view of an ideal candidate.

        Three years ago, liberals and Obama were all pointing to Europe and the EU as a model for the US to emulate… You don’t see liberals now pointing to how the EU has all the answers anymore now do you?

        • balconesfault

          Three years ago, liberals and Obama were all pointing to Europe and the EU as a model for the US to emulate

          Really? How exactly were “liberals and Obama” pointing to the EU as a model for the US to emulate?

          Concrete examples, please.

        • nhthinker

          I think this article covers it pretty well…


          [i]More than 200,000 Germans turned out in Berlin on July 24 to hear a carefully stage-managed Barack Obama tell them exactly what they wanted to hear: If he becomes US president, America will become a whole lot more like Europe.

          Amid roaring applause, Obama told the assembled masses that he shares Europe’s utopian globalist worldview. The junior senator from Illinois promised to beat American swords into European plowshares, and American spears into European pruning hooks. Obama declared that the world should be rid of nuclear weapons, the war in Iraq should end, and that the world should join together to confront global warming, reject torture and welcome immigrants. Under Obama, nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

          Obama was also careful to indulge German narcissistic anti-Americanism by criticizing the United States on foreign soil: “I know my country has not perfected itself,” he said. “We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.” Germans are loving it.

          And especially the German news media, which has taken upon itself the task of elevating Obama into a cult-like figure. The leftwing magazine Der Spiegel says Obama would make a good “President of the World.” The mass circulation tabloid Bild calls Obama a “political pop star.”

          Obama’s Berlin speech followed weeks of controversy surrounding the appropriate venue. German Chancellor Angela Merkel successfully prevented Obama from using the symbolic Brandenburg Gate for “electioneering” purposes. Her thinking is that only sitting presidents should be afforded that honor; anything else would be presumptuous rather than presidential.

          As a result, Obama ended up delivering his address at the Prussian-era Siegessäule (Victory Column), a militaristic monument that celebrates the founding of the German Empire in 1871, as well as the concomitant conquest of other American allies in Europe.

          Are there any historians among Obama’s 300-plus foreign policy advisors? The Siegessäule was moved to its current location by Adolf Hitler in 1939 to make way for his planned transformation of Berlin into the Nazi capital “Germania.” Hitler saw the column as a symbol of German superiority.

          Or did Obama deliberately choose the Siegessäule venue because in recent years it has served as ground zero for the Love Parade, an annual dance festival/political demonstration for love, peace and international understanding?…[/i]

        • balconesfault

          First off, what’s basically an op-ed piece in American Thinker, penned by a virulent Islamophobe, isn’t usually going to be immediately persuasive to anyone who doesn’t already agree with what you’re saying.

          Second, I note that nowhere in the bit you cite does Obama mention the EU, which makes your response … well … unresponsive.

          Third, if you believe the quote “I know my country has not perfected itself. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.” represents Anti-Americanism, you are pretty much an idiot, preferring rabid jingoism over any honest discussion.

          Which come to think of it – does a good job of summarizing the positions you usually take here.

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  • balconesfault

    posted earlier.

  • nhthinker

    What a joke you are…
    Here is Obama and Biden Campaign literature if you don’t believe the quotes in the American Thinker…


    “Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe in a strong U.S.
    partnership with the European Union. The Bush administration’s policy of “divide and rule,” splitting Europe into those who were “with us or against us,” has been counterproductive. The United States has an interest in a strong, united, and peaceful Europe as a partner in global affairs. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will continue to support Europe’s strategy of enlargement, which has been history’s most successful democratization strategy and has brought peace, stability and prosperity to millions. They will maintain an open economic relationship with the European Union, thus preserving the largest trade and investment partnership in the world and creating millions of American jobs and export opportunities. ”

    “To renew American leadership in the world, I intend to rebuild the alliances, partnerships, and institutions necessary to confront common threats and enhance common security. Needed reform of these alliances and institutions will not come by bullying other countries to ratify changes we hatch in isolation. It will come when we convince other governments and peoples that they, too, have a stake in effective partnerships.”

    Barack Obama, Foreign Affairs, July 2007
    Here we have the NYT agreeing with American Thinker on Obama and the EU…


    Europeans admire Mr. Obama’s political skills, and welcome his apparent readiness to respect opposing points of view. For many here, that raises the prospect of a sharp break with the policies of the Bush administration, especially in its first term, when the United States chose to ignore the Geneva Conventions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, rejected the Kyoto accord on global warming and invaded Iraq, starting a war that some of America’s European allies opposed.

    “Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world?” Mr. Obama asked in his speech, then added pointedly, “Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law?” The huge crowd applauded and waved American flags.

    “On the positive side, we can expect somebody who reasons the way we do in Europe,” said Pierre Rousselin, the foreign editor of Le Figaro, a French newspaper, after the speech. “That said, on climate issues, the economy and world politics there are still questions. There will be a difference, but very quickly Obama will be faced with concrete questions, like Afghanistan.”

    Eberhard Sandschneider of the German Council on Foreign Relations said, “The Obama who spoke tonight did not put all his cards on the table.” Mr. Obama “tried to use all the symbolism of Berlin to indicate that as president he would reach out to Europe,” Mr. Sandschneider said. “But between the lines he said very clearly that Europe needs to do more,” especially on Afghanistan and Iraq.

    I can’t wait til Obama says we need to bailout Europe prior to the Presidential election.

    • balconesfault

      I shall simply repeat my previous question, and allow you to search through the things you post to see what actually may be relevant as a response to the question.

      How exactly were “liberals and Obama” pointing to the EU as a model for the US to emulate?

      Good luck with that!

  • JoeWalton

    These are slender hopes indeed. I question how willing Romney will be to displease the base whose active support he needs to be elected and re-elected. Romney may prove less willing to oppose the Republican base than Obama has been to oppose the Democratic base.

    It’s possible that a second-term Obama will do a better job than a first-term Romney in delivering on the sensible economic policies David Frum favors. This is partly because Obama will not need to run for re-election, partly because Obama has already demonstrated a willingness to displease his base, and partly because the policies Frum favors lie closer to the center of the Democratic opinion than Republican opinion. They are not so much a stretch for a Democrat.

    I have to wonder why David Frum is trying to put a party into power whose consensus positions on today’s most important issues he considers downright harmful. (And Frum didn’t even mention the GOP do-nothing positions on climate change, financial regulation, and universal health care.)

    • Dragonfly

      WRONG – the Republicans will hold the majorities in Congress and Obama will be as useless to the betterment of the country as he is now. The only difference will be that he won’t be able to continue causing as much harm as he has up to this point.

  • balconesfault

  • nhthinker

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