Oct
14

Since You Asked…




Posted at 16:29 by HTML Mencken


Above: ‘Why is everybody always pickin’ on me?
Cuz I look like Louis Tully and write hackery?’

David Frum whines:

I receive emails from readers every day who tell me that the only possible motive I could have for expressing doubts about the McCain ticket is my desire to attend cocktail parties, appear on TV, apply for a job in the Obama administration etc. Now I see this line of accusation appearing in the Corner too.

Let’s develop this thought a little. Suppose it were true? Suppose I were indeed a venal, light-minded chaser after television appearances and social invitations. What difference would it make?

Do my correspondents (and now my Corner colleagues) truly believe that – but for my pitiful media and social ambitions – nobody in America would have noticeed that Sarah Palin cannot speak three coherent consecutive words about finance or economics?

Morons like Levin and K-Lo can develop their own theories on Frum’s hackery, but here’s mine:

You, David Frum, are a hack, full of shit, and a complete opportunist. You are venal, have no principles, but I doubt you’re doing it just for the money (though that has to be part of it, since I doubt Conrad Black can afford to keep paying you thousands in “consulting fees”). Rather, I think you are doing it for ego and for position within your party. Certainly you’re not doing it out of principle or intellectual consistency: Digby makes the excellent and obvious point that, when it suited your career, you had absolutely no problem with incoherent and clueless, fucktard-stupid candidates. And for that matter, your latest tome Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win makes many proposals that call for the sudden Republican endorsement of the welfare state, and at least philosophical acceptance of some degree of government protection for the middle class’s economic well-being. I found it especially hilarious coming from the same man who’d written Dead Right, recommending that Americans endure Donner Party levels of duress so that they might rediscover their “lost” moral character. (The one thing you have remained consistent on is the thing you’re most bugfuck insane about: War on Everybody, All the Time, for which you proselytized –with Richard Perle — with sociopathic lucidity in the book An End To Evil.) But then in the age of economic meltdown, openly wishing that people be deprived to Donner Party levels might get your fat carcass eaten. So, go with what’s popular — and pretend you’ve been consistent all along (certainly never admit that your God failed).

Incidentally, while we’re on the subjects of your grossly opportunist inconsistency and spontaneous hackery, I see you were on Rachel Maddow’s show recently, in one of those appearances which have so vexed your fellow Cornertards K-Lo and Levin. Actually, they should be proud of you: though you were inconsistent and wrongheaded when not hypocritical and dishonest in argument, you were a wingnut through and through in the sense that you were dependably vile:

Frum: You were talking, through much of the show, about the matter of tone in our politics. Yet, I think we are seeing an intensification of some of the ugliness of tone that has been a feature of American politics of the past eight years — and this show, unfortunately, is itself an example of that problem with its heavy sarcasm and sneering and its disregard for a lot of the substantive issues that really are important and I would hate to see Republicans go probably into opposition sustaining this terrible cycle of unseriousness about politics, turning it into a spectator sport. The Party’s going to have some important rebuilding to do, and it’s going to have to do that in an intelligent way, and we’re all gonna have to do better than we’ve been doing including in the last forty minutes.

Where to begin? First, Frum was replying to Maddow’s question about what Frum himself called the McCain/Palin campaign’s stirring up of conservative “fury.” So what does Frum do? Equate it with “eight years” of things said in opposition to George Bush! In other words (and Maddow takes him to task for this), he’s begging Republicans, who are shouting things like “Kill Obama” at McCain rallies, to not be as bad as people like… Rachel Maddow! Frum is just being too subtle for the likes of Levin and K-Lo: he’s not criticizing John McCain nearly as much as he’s intentionally insulting liberals. Also, Frum has always had a problem with real comedians: he hates them. On the other hand, he’s never had a problem with witless sarcasm (the Commentary style of political discourse), or, for that matter, utter nastiness. Nor, incidentally, has Frum ever thought there was anything much wrong with hypocrisy.

Also note how quickly Frum gets to the “rebuilding of the Party” line. Frum’s shtick here is self-serving, all right; but it’s all about his personal ambition to mold the Republican Party — how, he doesn’t care much, so long as it’s successful.

Maddow asks him if he’s implying equivalence; does he mean Rachel Maddow’s sarcasm is equivalent to some yahoo yelling, “Bomb Obama!”? Frum weasels out of that one and says:

I don’t think that’s the important question. I think the question is: Given the small plate of responsibility that you personally have, how do you manage that responsibility? The fact that other people fail in other ways is not an excuse for you to fail in your way.

Indeed. Like, just because David Frum, who was then a paid “consultant” for the candidate in question, effusively cited Rudolph Giuliani’s obnoxiousness (over John McCain’s relative civility!), it doesn’t excuse me from saying, with much sneering and in sarcastic tone, that David Frum is a horrible human being who should be set on fire and shot into outer space; but there it is, my cross to bear.

63 Comments »

  1. D.N. Nation said,

    October 14, 2008 at 16:38

    Frum has now adopted the permanent grimace that Bill Kristol wears. Both, I’m sure, realize that 99% of the civilized world hate their guts, and that they can do nothing to stop it.

    Oh well, them’s the breaks. Mercy would state that your Century of scorn would last no longer than the New American one. As for the rest of us…

  2. Righteous Bubba said,

    October 14, 2008 at 16:38

    Let us support David Frum in his efforts to cut loose the, uh, intellectual fraction of his party from its tribal base.

  3. EnfantTerrible said,

    October 14, 2008 at 16:54

    I understand Frum’s concern’s about Maddow’s “small plate of responsibility”. He suffers from plate envy.

  4. Turdor said,

    October 14, 2008 at 16:57

    David Frum is a dick.

    ’nuff said.

  5. The Goddamn Batman Does Not Shirk His Responsibility To Punch A Dude said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:01

    You know, there are some faces that just begged to be smacked. I’m not saying that I would, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t. I’m just saying, you know what I’m saying?

  6. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:02

    Could it possibly be worse?

    Just before I traveled to Afghanistan, I accepted an invitation to appear on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC when I returned. This was not something I’d normally agree to do: I don’t watch the show, but I had (or thought I had) a rough idea of what it was like.

    The stupid pig-ignorant fucker was trying to lecture Maddow on sins he thought she may have committed. Fucker doesn’t even watch the show.

    My thoughts are with the late great Barbara Frum, her legacy being soiled by the reprehensible garbage coming out of her son’s bilge-hole.

  7. actor212 said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:17

    Frum shot his cum.

  8. Trilateral Chairman said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:19

    I understand Frum’s concern’s about Maddow’s “small plate of responsibility”. He suffers from plate envy.

    Heh–I’d forgotten about that bit. Frum doesn’t seem to understand that there are some arguments that can’t really be combined. For instance, it’s almost impossible to effectively argue that:

    (a) your work is so obnoxious and hurtful that it merits lengthy comment and criticism, and
    (b) your work is trivial.

    No wonder he spent the whole interview looking as though he was about to vomit. That level of cognitive dissonance, especially when combined with the sense of foreboding over the coming GOP Armageddon, just *has* to have some kind of effect on you.

  9. handy said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:21

    Let us support David Frum in his efforts to cut loose the, uh, intellectual fraction of his party from its tribal base.

    Who would be left? A wanker who styles himself an intellectual? My friends, that’s not a party.

  10. tigrismus said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:21

    Yet, I think we are seeing an intensification of some of the ugliness of tone that has been a feature of American politics of the past eight years

    “Liberals are to blame for all ugliness in politics because they said mean things about Bush. Clinton? Never heard of him.”

    I don’t think that’s the important question. I think the question is: Given the small plate of responsibility that you personally have, how do you manage that responsibility? The fact that other people fail in other ways is not an excuse for you to fail in your way.

    “OK, it’s not really about moral equivalency like I just said it was. But it’s still all the fault of Liberals.”

  11. Trilateral Chairman said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:23

    My thoughts are with the late great Barbara Frum, her legacy being soiled by the reprehensible garbage coming out of her son’s bilge-hole.

    Christ on a Segway, is Frum a legacy hire too? Just off the top of my head, the conservative nepotists consist of Goldberg, Podhoretz, Frum, Buckley Jr., and Kristof Jr. No doubt there are others I’ve forgotten, but good God, that’s more than enough.

  12. rotten mcdonald said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:23

    Based on his comments Dragon-King quoted above, he thought that it was going to be a liberal version of a Tucker/Hannity style shout fest.

    So you can see where logic and reasoned argument would discombobulate him.

  13. handy said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:25

    From the NRO link above:

    and instead of being asked about Afghanistan I was asked about how awful and hateful the John McCain campaign was

    Priceless!!! Yeah, like anybody tuning into a discussion about the McCain campaign really cares about your precious fact-finding mission to Afghanistan, Davey! God forbid the freaking host of the damned show determine the subject matter to discuss.

  14. henry lewis said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:28

    since I doubt Conrad Black can afford to keep paying you thousands in “consulting fees”

    Especially from prison.

  15. biff diggerence said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:29

    Frum is another candidate for a slow boat to Haifa.

    Permanent Exile.

  16. ray said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:35

    I would roll my eyes whenever I would read a comment about needing a shower after reading/watching so and so. That has forever ended. Do they still sell LAVA soap?

  17. henry lewis said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:42

    Shower?

    We’ll be needing pressure-washers soon.

  18. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:44

    TC,

    Actually the difference between all those other jackaninnies is that Barbara Frum was an actual journalist.

    Also, since Barbara Frum did most of her work for the CBC, it’s unlikely that that had any part in David gettin into the cushy gig he’s got now. His multi-millionairs real-estate tycoon dad probably had more to do with that.

  19. Me said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:49

    The man was able to drone on, virtually uninterrupted, for much of an 8 minute segment. He was treated with respect by the host. No wonder he was confused. Doesn’t Rachel Maddow realize that the correct format is to put 5 different talking heads on the screen at once, each of them allotted 10 seconds to speak their memorized talking points, and then end the segment by shouting over each other? And that the viewer should come away from all of that with absolutely no new insights or knowledge about anything?

  20. Ken Lowery said,

    October 14, 2008 at 17:56

    Is he seriously suggesting that Republican talking heads and pundits have not yet sunk to sarcasm and meaningless theater?

  21. jim said,

    October 14, 2008 at 18:09

    Some kinds of ugliness don’t require vision.

    I think Frum knew he was in hot water for failure to toe the party-line & wave his pompoms for the home-team, so he tried his best to make the interview all about how nasty Maddow is – on HER show no less. All he succeeded in doing was making himself look like yet another butthurt loser, as the gap between the parties rapidly grows too big to enable another stolen victory.

    “The fact that other people fail in other ways is not an excuse for you to fail in your way.”

    The same Goebbels-wannabe who coined the retarded phrase “Axis Of Evil” & gleefully tossed Bush’s salad for years while he split America down the middle, boo-hooing about how US politics has become a lowbrow spectator sport?

    24-karat fail.

  22. Djur said,

    October 14, 2008 at 18:10

    I can’t look at that picture of Frum without thinking of this caption.

  23. Athenawise said,

    October 14, 2008 at 18:13

    I saw the segment. Maddow was poised, informed and tough. She was respectful, and she stayed on point. She didn’t back down from Frum after he tried his “gotcha” move.

    Just imagine the shrieking reaction if a lefty guest on FauxNews tried Frum’s clumsy ambush tactic. Frum doesn’t know how lucky he is. Maddow made him look as good as he possibly could (which isn’t much, I admit).

    BTW Frum threw out a challenge to Maddow: Invite Paul “Hair Spit” Wolfowitz on her show to discuss his assessment this week that the U.S. needs MORE nuclear weapons to counter China. She wasn’t planning to invite him, but nw I hope she does. If he shows up, great. If he declines, she tells viewers he said no. Frum gave Maddow a gift. Great sense of strategy there, David.

  24. justme said,

    October 14, 2008 at 18:28

    She really should have slapped the shit out of him for…

    and that opens the way to some, uh, to some potentially very destructive changes.

    I mean, come on. Mewling about the level of discourse, and then dropping a turd like that? He is a two-bit sack of soggy horseshit. Without benefit of the sack.

  25. MzNicky said,

    October 14, 2008 at 18:34

    Viewing this again, I’m struck by how rude and insulting this little shit is to Maddow. Who, by contrast, is nothing but thoughtful, polite and respectful to him. That’s how you do it, people: Take the high road and leave them down in the dirt. Sort of like Obama has been doing all along.

  26. rotten mcdonald said,

    October 14, 2008 at 18:43

    MzNicky, I loved that. When he started going off on how her show was an example of the ‘poor tone’. Maddow got a studied look on her face, jotted down a couple of notes, apologized for getting off track, but plainly said she was following his lead, then took him apart like a high school biology frog.

  27. Mr. Wonderful said,

    October 14, 2008 at 18:49

    “David Frum is a horrible human being who should be set on fire and shot into outer space…”

    Always the utopian, Mencken. You can’t have both. The fire would go out in the
    vacuum of space. Pick one.

  28. sagra said,

    October 14, 2008 at 19:03

    Just before I traveled to Afghanistan, I accepted an invitation to appear on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC when I returned. This was not something I’d normally agree to do: I don’t watch the show, but I had (or thought I had) a rough idea of what it was like.

    Oh. My. God. I saw that clip earlier and thought he was an asshole. Now I owe assholes an apology.

  29. sagra said,

    October 14, 2008 at 19:04

    Mr. Wonderful,

    All you have to do is provide a source of oxygen to keep the fire burning. In fact, that’s how rockets work.

  30. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said,

    October 14, 2008 at 19:05

    MzNicky said,

    October 14, 2008 at 18:34

    Viewing this again, I’m struck by how rude and insulting this little shit is to Maddow. Who, by contrast, is nothing but thoughtful, polite and respectful to him. That’s how you do it, people: Take the high road and leave them down in the dirt. Sort of like Obama has been doing all along.

    Yes, MzNicky.

    And let us never forget what murderous, thieving cowards these scumsuckers have been and always will be.

  31. justme said,

    October 14, 2008 at 19:09

    then took him apart like a high school biology frog.

    If it looks like a frog…

  32. dex said,

    October 14, 2008 at 19:31

    shorter david frum: “well, listen, maybe if we start dancing, other people will join in!”

  33. Mr. Wonderful said,

    October 14, 2008 at 19:36

    sagra–

    I know. But I take “shoot him into outer space” to mean, once up there, send him on an EVA with no vehicle, no space suit, no oxygen. Just let him fry/freeze/explode in the v. of s.
    Or perhaps I’m very old fashioned…

  34. justme said,

    October 14, 2008 at 19:39

    Also, Frum lecturing anybody this side of Foday Sankoh about civility in political discourse is sort of like Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot complaining about out of place tea cozies.

  35. Righteous Bubba said,

    October 14, 2008 at 19:40

    The technical details require experiment and verification. Let me call Acme for some testing equipment.

  36. g said,

    October 14, 2008 at 19:57

    I can just imagine encountering Frum at a cocktail party. He’d be the pompous asshole you find an excuse to walk away from – “Just going to freshen up my drink. Talk to you later.”

  37. thebewilderness said,

    October 14, 2008 at 20:19

    Accuse your opponent of whatever vile or illegal thing you are guilty of. Claim ownership and take credit for any good idea your opponent has.
    Standard authoritarian behavior. The thing that strikes me about it is that it has been so awkwardly used during this campaign that it has become transparent and obvious that it is no longer as effective.

  38. Bagelsan said,

    October 14, 2008 at 20:42

    “Just going to freshen up my drink. Talk to you later.”

    “Just going to put an IV in…”

  39. draftmama said,

    October 14, 2008 at 20:54

    As a proud Canadian (living herein the US) I am sure the late great Barbara Frum must be turning over in her grave.

    She was one of the journalists responsible in part for the extraordinarly quality of Canadian broadcasting, back from the early l970′s, and I admired her enormously.

    How this totally amoral pos could have come from such a grand and classy woman is completely incomprehensible.

    Rachel handled him with aplomb and class (though it was clear she was a bit taken aback by his horribleness) which just goes to show she is much smarter and more gracious.

    Frum incidentally made some toxic comments on his diary about his excursion into sensible television – quite funny to read if you can stand it.

  40. slag said,

    October 14, 2008 at 21:05

    Apparently, Frum is tired of inciting reckless wars and general indecency and has moved on to advocating for enervating monotony. I call it an improvement.

  41. chowderhead said,

    October 14, 2008 at 21:23

    This guy looks like he is suffering from deep existential pain. I don’t believe he has smiled in forty years. No wonder he hates everything.

    Life is good, Mr Frum, but you gotta share. If you make others unhappy, you will be unhappy. It’s human nature.

    You ARE human, aren’t you?

  42. Bagelsan said,

    October 14, 2008 at 21:25

    …And now that I’ve actually watched the clip: Wow, Rachel’s picture belongs in the dictionary next to “classy.” I was soo glad she called him on his bullshit, but she did it in this awesome, polite way too. I loved how she looked sort of delicately skeptical the whole time, and how she completely pwned him with the last word. It was a very “disagree with what you’re saying but defend your right to say it” kind of vibe.

    And, well, the more talking time people like Frum get the better they solidify their opponents’ arguments. Nothing is as damning to his point of view as having to watch him smirk obnoxiously about it for 8 min.

  43. Smut Clyde said,

    October 14, 2008 at 21:50

    Suppose I were indeed a venal, light-minded chaser after television appearances and social invitations. What difference would it make?
    He’s right. Would that revelation come as any kind of surprise to you?
    Hypothetical questions like that make Frum sound as if he’s sidling towards a self-exposure moment. “I have, umm, a friend who’s a venal light-hearted chaser after televsion appearances.”

    “Just going to put an IV in…”
    Bagelsan understands the rules for a good drinking party.

  44. justme said,

    October 14, 2008 at 21:50

    I’m still trying to figure out which cartoon character looks like that mudflaps-tacked-onto-a-buckboard face.

  45. Righteous Bubba said,

    October 14, 2008 at 21:51

    FYWP!

  46. justme said,

    October 14, 2008 at 21:51

    “Just going to freshen up my drink. Talk to you later.”

    “Just going to do something more pleasant than talking to you, like lancing a few genital boils.”

  47. Bagelsan said,

    October 14, 2008 at 21:59

    *looks at photo at the top of the post*

    You’re gonna need a bigger lance…

  48. MaineMan said,

    October 14, 2008 at 22:01

    Who would be left? A wanker who styles himself an intellectual? My friends, that’s not a party.

    During my seven years of arduous undergrad work, I attended many a “festive gathering” attended almost exclusively by “wankers who styled themselves intellectuals”. And none of them was a party by any stretch of my imagination. Even with the drugs.

  49. MaineMan said,

    October 14, 2008 at 22:08

    All you have to do is provide a source of oxygen to keep the fire burning. In fact, that’s how rockets work.

    Would Frum’s screaming suffice?

  50. moeman said,

    October 14, 2008 at 22:12

    As a polite Canadian admirer of both Mme. Maddow and the late Barbara Frum, I’ll just add that Rachel came across as classy and intelligent as did David’s mother in her respectful interviews.

  51. noshrub said,

    October 14, 2008 at 22:29

    haha! Wolfowitz on Maddow…now that’s a show I gotta see! Is Frum really talking about Wolfowitz–the same guy that the World Bank canned, oops I mean, the same guy who “resigned” from the World Bank? That guy? The comb licker in Fahrenheit 911? I’d love to see him talk about nukes and some other stuff with Rachel.

    Frum…what an ass.

  52. g said,

    October 14, 2008 at 22:57

    The guy who the World Bank canned because he gave his girlfriend a hefty raise? Yeah, him.

  53. Sergeant Fottrell said,

    October 14, 2008 at 23:08

    Sorry that I’ve got nothing funny to add but, damn, this was a great post.

  54. henry lewis said,

    October 15, 2008 at 1:03

    haha! Wolfowitz on Maddow

    Do it by video feed, Rachel. You really don’t want his stinky hair in your studio.

  55. lobbey said,

    October 15, 2008 at 6:49

    I saw the segment. Maddow was poised, informed and tough. She was respectful, and she stayed on point. She didn’t back down from Frum after he tried his “gotcha” move.

    I also love her expression as Frum wibbles on, its kind of; “… yeah, yeah, yeah, your talking shit, but I’m going to let you make a fool of yourself…”; I know the look well, my wife does the same thing when listening to morons, myself included, on occasion.

    As for Frum, not to be lookest here, but he is a bit ‘lop sided’, if you know know what I mean. His chin seems to be larger on one side. Not that there is anything wrong with that, its just a bit odd.

  56. Anonymous said,

    October 15, 2008 at 7:06

    As for Frum, not to be lookest here, but he is a bit ‘lop sided’, if you know know what I mean. His chin seems to be larger on one side. Not that there is anything wrong with that, its just a bit odd.

    Also a bit odd was that he seemed to be getting buggered during his opening statement. Weird to watch a Bush flunky being interviewed while out of shot he’s apparently the guest of honor at a Fucking Machines shoot.

  57. Rob A. said,

    October 15, 2008 at 10:17

    Frum? The name’s familiar… I think I bought a book awhile ago he authored about the ’70s. Thankfully, after having seen his odious performance on the Maddow show, I have yet to read it and have no need to now. Honestly, I was experiencing an out-of-body experience as he misogynistically reprimanded Maddow; clearly this was his desired effect. You know, if I looked and acted like Frum I’d be a misogynist too. I’d have no choice.

  58. me said,

    October 15, 2008 at 11:42

    “During my seven years of arduous undergrad work, I attended many a “festive gathering” attended almost exclusively by “wankers who styled themselves intellectuals”. And none of them was a party by any stretch of my imagination. Even with the drugs.”

    The exception being yourself, of course.

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