Friday, March 13, 2009

David Frum's advice to the Republican Party: Even Job didn't have a comforter this bad

There's an expression to describe them: "Job's Comforters."  These are people who come to you in times of trouble and, with the best intentions, give you the worst advice. Which brings me to David Frum...

Frum, the Canadian conservative who has made a vocation of lecturing American conservatives on what American conservatism is, has written a cover piece for Newsweek Magazine claiming that Rush Limbaugh is bring the Republican Party down.  In the article, Frum wags his finger at Republicans and tells them that they need to get with the times.  This process of being brought up to date involves, apparently, the need to "modulate" their social conservatism.

Frum is one of a number of people who are advising Republicans that, in
order to win elections, they're going to have to stop..., well, being so conservative.

Now I have talked before about the absurdity of this advice, and have pointed out that there is no convincing evidence that the Republican's social conservatism had anything to do with the defeat of Republicans at the polls in the last election.  But when has lack of evidence ever stopped Frum?

Exactly what is it that Frum doesn't understand about the fact that the Republicans lost after nominating one of the least socially conservative candidates in the primary (and the media darling at the time) who was running in the shadow of an unpopular president who had repudiated financial conservatism, and who lost to a Democratic candidate whose speeches sounded like sermons and made a big deal out of the fact that he was a Christian and not Muslim?

And the thing about it is that Frum's argument is not a novel one.  Every time the Republicans lose an election, the social conservatives are blamed.  Social conservatives are the Jews of the Republican Party: it doesn't matter that they didn't have anything to do with it, they're blamed for everything that goes wrong anyway.

Frum is basically saying that the Republicans should become something other than what they actually are, which is just another way of saying that they shouldn't be Republicans.  But the Republicans don't need to apologize for what they believe; they need to apologize for not acting on their beliefs.

Frum's advice is not terribly different from that of Job's wife: "Curse God and die."  But the Republican Party doesn't need to do that: it needs to repent in dust and ashes.

1 comment:

Lee said...

As one of the heinous social conservatives, I could deal with all this Frum and gloom if the GOP would quit calling me up and asking for my vote and my money. I always figure if they don't want my input, then they don't want my vote or my money. But somehow, that's not the way it plays out.

I always tell them, hey, you know I'm a social conservative. One of the card-carrying religious right. You want *my* vote? *My* money? I think you have me confused with David Brooks or Arlen Specter.

But oddly enough, they still want my vote and my money, even after I reveal their tainted origins. Imagine that!

I always tell folks like Frum a simple truth, that America does not need two liberal parties. One liberal party is quite sufficient.

So I would ask Frum, in his next column, to follow up with a message to the social conservatives. Something like, "Hey, ya hoos! Let me speak in one syll a bull words so you will git this: Keep yer dough. Keep yer vote. We don't want them. Yer the sickniss, not the cure!"

But no, they never talk like that in an election year. Strangely enough!