Much Ado About Nothing
John Cole and Andrew Sullivan, both bloggers I respect a great deal, link approvingly to this post by David Frum over at New Majority about how Republicans still haven’t figured out how to deal with Barack Obama. Here’s Frum:
Let me add here a personal editorial comment. A large part of the secret of President Obama’s political success is his self-presentation as calm, judicious, and fair-minded – and his ability to depict his opponents as intemperate and extreme. You’d think by now that Obama’s opponents would have figured out this trick. You want to beat him? Great. Be more calm, more judicious, and more fair-minded. Don’t be provoked. Don’t throw wild allegations. Don’t boycott. Don’t lose your temper.
Instead, we get Anger Theater. It’s not smart. And it’s not working.
Emphasis mine. Both Cole and Sullivan act like this admission by Frum is some sort of revelatory statement. Now, perhaps by the standards of the modern GOP, it is, but this kind of obviousness doesn’t deserve to be lauded. Obama is, by almost all accounts, calm, judicious and fair-minded. He’s also been blessed by having a cast of clowns standing in opposition to him at this moment in time. He doesn’t have to “depict his opponents as intemperate and extreme” because they’re doing a rather good job of that that by themselves.
And let’s get back to Mr. “Axis of Evil” for a second. Yes, he speaks in reasonable tones, but he’s offering up a lot of the same crazy, just in a slightly diluted form. He’s still defending torture as a necessity, for example. And, no, I’m not impressed that Frum denounced Rush at CPAC and in the pages of Newsweek, for one simple reason…Frum doesn’t really have the ability to control or effect much (any?) of the power structure on the American right at the moment. He’s not taking a brave stand because all of the true believers have already written him off as being out of step and saying that Rush Limbaugh is an asshat is like saying A-Rod is a self-absorbed douchebag; everybody already knows that to be the case, so you get no points for bringing it up.
I suggest we give David Frum a bit of this. It’s really the only thing that makes sense.