Tuesday, August 02, 2011

I can't believe they still let David Frum be a conservative


I don't know David Frum. I
know people who know him (or used to know him). I even spent a number of my early years in Canada watching and listening to David's mother, Barbara Frum, a respected Canadian television and radio journalist, who died far too young. If you follow the Canadian scene at all, you would know that the Frums are considered to be serious people.

Some time ago David decided to take his career to the U.S. and even worked as a speechwriter for George W. Bush for a while. At some point it seems that he, while holding onto his conservative political beliefs, decided that he was having a hard time with the radicalism coming from so much of the right-wing. Not to speak for him, but it appeared to me that he was having difficulty with the lack of cogent argument coming from so many on the right, especially the Tea Party right.

They weren't arguing the facts, they were simply mouthing platitudes that they believed to be supported by an understanding of what it means to be an American. For conservatives like Frum, who lives to argue the facts, that was crazy making.

I don't support Frum's brand of politics, his conservatism. He says that he's all about free markets, low taxes, reasonable regulation and limited government. Sounds okay in a sense but we all know that the devil is in the details so, no, he and I wouldn't agree about much once we started to get into the details.

But when he speaks, I believe that he is working hard to make a good case and that he would be open to other ideas if presented intelligently. As I said, I don't know the man, but that's the feeling I get. I think we also know that this kind of reasonableness on Frum's part has not always made him popular on the right and that strikes me, from my perspective, as a good thing.

I came across a piece that Frum wrote recently for CNN on the debt ceiling talks and I would like to recommend it to you. Not only does it makes sense, but it reminds me of the way I used to debate with conservatives about politics and economics. It used to be about positions and facts and arguments and maybe a good faith attempt to see things differently.

In the current context, here are three things that David Frum wants us to think about.

1. Unemployment is a more urgent problem than the debt.

2. The deficit is a symptom of America's economic problems not the cause.

3. The time to cut is after the economy recovers.

I don't intend to have this discussion here, only to say that America would be a better place if our political leaders, on both sides of the aisle, were able to have discussions on statements like these based on facts and not blind ideology.

Good on Mr. Frum for suggesting it.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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