David Frum’s Palin Obsession; UPDATED

Admittedly, that David Frum is obsessed with Governor Palin isn’t exactly a news bulletin, but Frum’s Palin Derangement Syndrome (PDS) has reached a level of hysteria hitherto unseen. Frum, of course, is the faux armchair conservative who believes the path to Republican ascendancy is for us all to become Democrats. The thorough drubbing Democrats took at the hands of Republicans three weeks ago, most of whom ran on solidly conservative platforms, demonstrates just how wrong Frum is. But I digress.

In the past three days, Frum has written no less than six posts on Governor Palin. Can you say obsession? On Friday, Frum criticized Governor Palin for retaining the services of the very able former C4P editor Joshua Livestro to assist her in researching the European Debt Crisis. This prompted Livestro to respond in kind, and he wasted no time in exposing just how juvenile and baseless Frum’s attack on him was. Leaving aside this nonsense, that Governor Palin’s interest in researching this issue destroys Frum’s narrative that she isn’t “intellectually curious” eludes him entirely. In another post the following day, Frum walked back his attack on Livestro, allowing that he is indeed well-qualified to provide the assistance for which he was employed, although Frum continued to question Palin’s decision (as if any conservative needs Frum’s blessing on, well, anything at all).

Later on Friday, Frum, apparently, took another childish shot at Governor Palin, this time by attacking her new book, America by Heart. Frum divines that Governor Palin has “ghostwriters” who are “messing with her”. To get there, Frum combines his usual habit of assuming facts not in evidence with a vivid imagination and an advanced state of PDS. The result is an indecipherable word salad meant, presumably, to disparage the Governor but comes off as nothing more than infantile gibberish from someone with a very big chip on his shoulder. My guess is that Frum is unhappy that Governor Palin’s book will likely sell more on the first day than any of his have sold in total. Shocking, I know. But really, who knows what his motivations are? Who cares?

Frum followed this post on America by Heart with another one: “Bigger Problems with Palin’s New Book“. In his post Frum takes issue with the following passage from Gov. Palin’s book:

“But from what I’ve read, family life at the time of the founding was a lot like family life for Americans today: full of challenges, sure, but also full of simple pleasures.”

A pretty innocuous passage, right? Perhaps Governor Palin is referring to the importance of family life in the late 18th century, or to the fact that Americans had challenges then as now. Or maybe it’s merely a sense of nostalgia for a simpler time in American history. In any case, there is nothing sinister in it. But wait, that’s not so according to the brilliant David Frum:

For the 1 in 6 Americans who were held as slaves in 1790 – often unable to marry legally, and always liable to be sold and separated from spouses or children – family life was quite a lot different at the time of the founding than it is today.

A would-be president should remember that part of the American story too.

Aha! Clearly that quote is evidence that Governor Palin is a closet racist, and she secretly yearns for a return to slavery or something. I’ll be forever grateful to Frum for clearing that up for me. But seriously…does Frum really believe this idiocy? I think the answer is yes. That was the entire extent of his post until he was compelled to elaborate further via an explanatory update that was roughly five times larger than the original post. Unfortunately for Frum, his “explanation” is even more asinine as he goes into a lengthy recitation of slavery in America, the old 3/5 clause in the constitution, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. What any of this has to do with the above quote is unclear to everyone but Frum. What is clear to the rest of us is that Frum sees wheels spinning inside wheels and is in need of a good psychiatrist.

Frum took a break from his Palin obsession Sunday before jumping back in with both feet today. First, Frum approvingly quotes Roger Ebert wannabe Matt Labash’s critique of Sarah Palin’s Alaska. I don’t know much about Mr. LaBash or his motives, but his anti-Palin screed will no doubt put him in good stead with the powers that be at the New York Times and MSNBC. However, the numbers suggest that his budding career as a TV critic will be short-lived. In his post in an uncharacteristic moment of clarity, Frum points out the obvious: that Labash’s piece is only the latest in a string of increasingly hysterical attacks on Governor Palin by the Washington establishment:

The review is worth reading as a marker of an important trend: the Republican establishment’s increasingly frantic search for ways to stop the Palin for President campaign.


There really is a GOP party establishment. That establishment took up Palin as a useful tool in 2008, deployed Palin as an edged anti-Obama weapon in 2009 – and is now horrified to see that they may have set in motion a force possibly too powerful to halt when its time has ended. The story of the behind-the-scenes struggle to squelch Palin – and her ferocious determination not to be squelched – will be the big GOP-side story of the coming year.

This is surprisingly lucid for Frum. The good old boys in the GOP establishment used Governor Palin when they realized how unique, formidable, and unprecedented her talents were. But now that the mid-terms are over, they want her to go sit in the corner, only emerging as a cheerleader from time to time when it suits them. To anyone who hasn’t slept away the past two years, this is clearly not how Governor Palin is wired. Washington Republicans are now learning what Alaska Republicans did before: she’s nobody’s fool, nor does she suffer fools. In short, they can’t co-opt and harness her power to perpetuate theirs. This is what really scares the hell out of them, for they want the Republican Party to remain the Cocktail Party, and in this endeavor she will resist them.

Frum’s 6th anti-Palin post in the preceding three days belies that fear. Frum, in a hilarious twist of irony, now sees Mike Huckabee as the savior of the GOP. Yes, the same David Frum who famously proclaimed that Republicans need to minimize social issues, if not forget them entirely, now looks to the one potential candidate whose only claim to conservatism at all is his singular focus on social issues. Heh! Frum’s new found respect for the Huckster is based solely on Frum’s opinion that Huckabee is the only candidate in the GOP who can stop Governor Palin. I’m not making this up. Follow the link and see for yourself.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of Frum’s piece is the title:

How Huckabee Could Stop President Palin

President Palin? Huh? I thought the reason Frum and other establishment Republicans want to prevent Governor Palin from winning the nomination is that she can’t beat Obama. Frum’s choice of title makes it clear that he believes she can, and that the only reason to stop her is not that she can’t win, but rather that she can. This, I believe, is the foundation upon which Frum’s unhealthy obsession with Governor Palin is based. It also explains the abject fear establishment Republicans experience at the mere prospect of her so much as competing for the nomination. She could win.

Exit question: If Governor Palin does indeed become the next president, will David Frum move back to Canada? Follow-up exit question: If he does, will anyone notice…or care?

(h/t VO)

Update: sisu: Dear David Frum: It’s time to begin thinking seriously

Update II: (h/t Michael van der Galien) More from David Forsmark at Newsreal Blog here.

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