I was trying to think of what to say about the passions of the Frum, sacrificed to Conservative Shibboleths, then realized there aren't any conservative shibboleths left. Oh, maybe one new one: Don'tCriticizeTheGOP (harder to pronounce than you'd think). As Frum pointed out in the blog post that cost his job at the American Enterprise Institute (and presumably his AEI Diners Club discount card):
But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.
Yeah, it's uncomfortable when one of your own points this out. I guess tough love hurts. The entire episode recalls last September, when the conservative establishmen went similarly apesh*t after Frum wrote the following (that time, in a column):
On the one side, the president of the United States: soft-spoken and conciliatory, never angry, always invoking the recession and its victims. This president invokes the language of “responsibility,” and in his own life seems to epitomize that ideal: He is physically honed and disciplined, his worst vice an occasional cigarette. He is at the same time an apparently devoted husband and father. Unsurprisingly, women voters trust and admire him..
And for the leader of the Republicans? A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as “losers.” With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence – exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party
The maxim: "Do as we say we say, not as we said." All of which reminds me of that old Bugs and Daffy saw:
During the last election (and throughout the healthcare debate), I was dreaming of a day when there would be principled conservative arguments that found airtime in the public forum. Perhaps I'm wistful for something that never happened -- think Bill Buckley's challenging interview of Noam Chomsky on Firing Line. Sure, there are Ross Douthat, and Reihan Salaam, and (formlerly) Frum -- but I was waiting for the day when their distinctively marginalized ideas received a broad airing in conservative and republican circles (I mean in a New Big Tent, not the New York Times). Looks like I'll be waiting a while.