by Locker Room contributor
Stanley Kurtz critiques for National Review Online the arguments put forward by No Labels backer David Frum:
The root of the problem, I think, is that Frum?s analysis of conservatism?s dilemma in 2008 has served him poorly. Frum?s ostensible purpose is to ?build a conservatism that can win again.? But we already won, and did so by taking a very different route than that recommended by Frum. A look at Frum?s 2008 book Comeback helps to measure the distance we?ve traveled in two years. In Comeback, Frum warns against reviving a ?more principled? Reagan-style conservatism ? as the Tea Party has just done, with great success. ?Most Americans [want] the federal government to spend more rather than tax less,? said Frum in 2008. On issues like health care and the environment, Frum declared, ?conservatives find themselves on the less popular side of the great issues of the day.?
Obama?s radicalism changed all this, reviving conservatism and uniting all wings of the party. Comeback was about changing with the times. Well, the times now demand a very different approach than Frum recommended in 2008. Two years ago, Frum founded a website dedicated to pulling Republicans toward the center. Since then, he?s been unwilling to acknowledge Obama?s radicalism, because that?s what has rendered his 2008 critique of conservatism moot and counterproductive. By rashly attacking his party?s base, Frum has unnecessarily isolated himself from his fellow conservatives. The result is No Labels, an ill-conceived attempt to suppress the very truth about Obama that has upended Frum?s plans.
No one can gainsay Frum?s intelligence, or his contributions to conservatism. To take but one example, Frum was a leader of the movement to sink the Harriet Miers nomination. Frum?s book on the Seventies will stand the test of time. But Obama changed everything. Obama is now the issue, and rightly so.
If you’ve forgotten Frum’s arguments about the future of conservatism, he discussed them at N.C. State University in March and with Carolina Journal Radio: