Over the past week, David Frum, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research organization, has emerged as one of the leading critics of the way Republicans dealt with President Obama’s health care bill.And Frum is not alone:
The party, Mr. Frum said, put politics over policy in trying to damage Mr. Obama’s agenda, and lost both the political battle and the ability to influence a key piece of legislation. In a column Mr. Frum posted at the FrumForum, he wrote that the House passage of the health care bill had become the Republicans’ “Waterloo,” rather than Mr. Obama’s, as a leading G.O.P. senator had once warned.
As of Thursday, Mr. Frum had become a former fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Mr. Frum said he was taken out to lunch by the president of the organization, Arthur C. Brooks. He said Mr. Brooks told him the institute valued a diversity of opinion, and welcomed that one of its scholars had become such a high-profile critic of Republican legislative leaders. Mr. Frum, who has been with the institute since 2003, said that he was asked if he would considering being associated with the institute on a nonsalaried basis.
Mr. Frum declined.
As some readers of this blog may know, I was fired by a right wing think tank called the National Center for Policy Analysis in 2005 for writing a book critical of George W. Bush's policies, especially his support for Medicare Part D. In the years since, I have lost a great many friends and been shunned by conservative society in Washington, DC.This quote by Joe Klein puts it in stark terms:
Now the same thing has happened to David Frum, who has been fired by the American Enterprise Institute. I don't know all the details, but I presume that his Waterloo post on Sunday condemning Republicans for failing to work with Democrats on healthcare reform was the final straw.
Since, he is no longer affiliated with AEI, I feel free to say publicly something he told me in private a few months ago. He asked if I had noticed any comments by AEI "scholars" on the subject of health care reform. I said no and he said that was because they had been ordered not to speak to the media because they agreed with too much of what Obama was trying to do.
It saddened me to hear this. I have always hoped that my experience was unique. But now I see that I was just the first to suffer from a closing of the conservative mind. Rigid conformity is being enforced, no dissent is allowed, and the conservative brain will slowly shrivel into dementia if it hasn't already.
Sadly, there is no place for David and me to go. The donor community is only interested in financing organizations that parrot the party line, such as the one recently established by McCain economic adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin.
I will have more to say on this topic later. But I wanted to say that this is a black day for what passes for a conservative movement, scholarship, and the once-respected AEI.
Thre[sic] is a mania among Republicans right now. They thought they had Obama down for the count when Scott Brown won in Massachusetts. They didn't. The President managed to pass the one bill they hated (and feared) the most. Their reaction has been to get even more extreme...drinking their own kool-aid. I just said on Hardball, "It's getting pretty close to Jonestown."