Ron Paul holds a very special place in the psyche of David Frum. Frum fancies himself on the vanguard of a modern intellectual conservatism. But when Ron Paul is the topic, he is reduced to incoherent, bile filled rants in both his writing and televised appearances.
In that 2007 post, he compares Ron Paul to Raph Nader, Michael Moore and Howard Dean - which makes no sense whatsoever. In this (poor quality) video clip from December, Frum begins to twitch and blink furiously at the mere mention of Ron Paul. Ali Velshi winds him up with a long-winded introduction including a clip of Ron Paul. You can almost see the bile building up in Frum until, when he finally gets to speak, he erupts in an ad-hominem attack, calling Ron Paul an "ignoramus":
For Frum, this is par for the course. Ron Paul is a frequent target in his blog and columns. He has variously called Ron Paul a codger, crank, bunco artist, liar, racist, crackers, and characterizes Paul supporters as suckers. Remember that this is a pundit who has pretensions to setting the standard for intellectual conservatism, yet he is consistently reduced to plain old argumentum ad hominem and little else when the topic is Ron Paul. On that one subject his mask of intellectual integrity drops away, and he loses the ability to write a cogent argument or a coherent sentence.
Frum is correct about one thing. Ron Paul has no chance of garnering the GOP nomination or becoming President of the United States. Which simply makes Frum's obsession and compulsive need to denigrate the man and his candidacy even more puzzling.
Perhaps we can glean some insight and understanding into his tormented soul by looking at his latest screed, which goes beyond attacking the candidate himself and takes dead aim at his supporters:
How Ron Paul's Minions Plan to Hijack the GOP Convention
"Ron Paul is orchestrating a highly unusual, yet precisely organized, grassroots effort to bring as many loyal delegates as possible to the Republican National Convention. Romney's campaign has some mass appeal but invites little passion. Paul's might have even fewer supporters than Romney but their energetic zeal could culminate in having an outsize influence at the RNC without having won a single primary. ...
The Paul campaign has rigorously organized its volunteers to attend the mass precinct meetings that took place all over Georgia. It has been instructing supporters on parliamentary procedure and state Republican rules. It is also giving advice on convention etiquette...
Members of the GOP may try and find other ways to block Paul's supporters, but their options are limited when the Paul campaign uses each state's Republican Party rules against it. The evidence suggests that events like this one in central Georgia are playing out all across the nation. Only time will tell how effective this is, but it is clear that the Paul campaign is desperate to create a major splash at Tampa this summer any way it can."
Look I won't pretend to know what is going on in this guy's brain. It is not unheard of for an otherwise sane and rational pundit to develop an unexplainable and irrational focus on one personality or issue (examples:Bush Derangement Syndrome, Obama Derangement Syndrome, or Andrew Sullivan's fascination with Sarah Palin's reproductive system). We can only guess at what is motivating Mr. Frum's preoccupation with Ron Paul.
David Frum champions a big government conservatism that is indistinguishable from big government liberalism except as a question of degree. As GWB's speechwriter, he advocated and help promote the "compassionate conservatism" that resulted in a a new unpaid $1T prescription entitlement program. He marries this domestic policy preference to a foreign policy that is again something relatively new to the conservative movement - lets call it "New Conservatism" or "Neo Conservatism" or simply - neocon. He is widely credited with coining the"axis of evil" phrase included in GWB's State of the Union address as a rationalization for the disastrous occupation of Iraq. Frum is and was a leading neocon proponent of preemptive war, indefinite detentions, torture, surveillance of Americans without a warrant, renditions, and military tribunals. He supports the insane and wasteful "War on Drugs". He was an unapologetic advocate for the Bush/Cheney expansion of the "unitary executive" and argues for a virtually unfettered executive branch. He writes favorably about taking military action against Iran and Pakistan. On almost every issue, foreign and domestic, Frum stakes out a position for more intervention, more government, more war and less freedom.
Ali Velshi hit the nail on the head with his introductory comment at the beginning of the clip embedded in this post:
"David Frum - Ron Paul feels entirely opposite from the way you do."There you have it. If Ron Paul represents a vision of the Republican Party as the Peace and Freedom party, David Frum represents the exact opposite. The Ron Paul campaign is raising enormous sums of money, generating excitement and enthusiasm not seen in any other GOP presidential campaign and attracting young people to the Republican Party. More important, they are electing delegates which will give Ron Paul meaningful influence at the party convention this summer. There is the rub for David Frum and the source of his and irrational animus to Ron Paul and his supporters.
You see, David Frum believes he knows what is best for the Republican Party. David Frum is frequently found in print and media criticizing the Republican Party and explaining what the Republican Party must do to survive and thrive. After the 2008 election, David Frum wrote a book prescribing the medicine needed to cure what is ailing the GOP - as diagnosed by Dr. Frum. David Frum presumes to shape the future of the GOP and conservatism in general. But, for all his widely ignored advice, the Republican Party is likely to be more influenced by Ron Paul's delegates and his enthusiastic supporters than by David Frum's analysis and rhetoric. And that sticks in David Frum's craw.
Look - Ron Paul is a flawed candidate and his handling of the Ron Paul newsletters disqualifies him to be President of the United States. But he was never going to be president anyway. The simple fact is that the Republican Party needs a lot more Ron Paul and a lot less David Frum. So - soldier on Minions of Ron Paul! Your guy will not get the nomination, but know that you are having a bigger and more salutary influence on the Republican Party than David Frum could ever hope to achieve. And that is a good thing. A very good thing.