Sunday, November 04, 2012

David Frum: reward misbehavior

By Frank Moraes

"When President Obama took office in January 2009 the US was plunging downward into the worst recession since World War II. By summer 2009, the US had begun a weak but real recovery, which at last seems to be accelerating into an expansion that more and more Americans can feel.

"President Obama gave the order that killed Osama bin Laden. He ended the war in Iraq on acceptable terms. He is enforcing tightening sanctions against Iran, inspiring hopes of a peaceful end to that country's nuclear program.

"Meanwhile, his opponents in Congress have behaved about as badly and irresponsibly as any opposition group..."

That's how the liberal's favorite conservative David Frum starts his endorsement of... Mitt Romney! So why, after all of the good Obama has done and all the bad the Republicans have done is Frum voting for Mitt Romney? If we don't, his party members in Congress will destroy the United States:

The question over [Romney's] head is not a question about him at all. It's a question about his party—and that question is the same whether Romney wins or loses. The congressional Republicans have shown themselves a destructive and irrational force in American politics. But we won't reform the congressional GOP by re-electing President Obama. If anything, an Obama re-election will not only aggravate the extremism of the congressional GOP, but also empower them: an Obama re-election raises the odds in favor of big sixth-year sweep for the congressional GOP—and very possibly a seventh-year impeachment.

Jonathan Chait notes that David Frum joked about this earlier this year:

Frum isn't alone in this. Pretty much every Romney endorsement from a "reasonable" source was the same. This is exactly what Paul Krugman wrote about on Friday. It is a very dangerous idea that we should elect a Republican president because that is the only way to make the Republicans in Congress behave. And this kind of logic is all the worse when it comes from supposedly reasonable conservatives like David Frum.


Chait also talks about how the same thing was said when Bush Jr. was running. It turned out to be sort of the truth: Republicans did stop blocking legislation. But what was that legislation?

Romney is making promises to the center his base does not want or expect him to fulfill. And that is the downside of his true-but-outrageous argument about the crazy House Republicans. The way he will get them to stop launching kamikaze attacks on the economy and the system of government is to give them what they want, just as Bush did. 

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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