Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The conscience of a conservative

I do not much like David Frum, the former Bush speechwriter who penned one of the most idiotic and overwrought locutions I've heard a President deliver in a State of the Union address in my lifetime - "The Axis of Evil" - combining Saddam's Iraq, the Mullah's Iran (which had seen its conscripts subjected to chemical warfare at Saddam's hands in a nine-year conflict) and the isolated outlier of North Korea into some imagined alliance that defied even a wisp of rational analysis.

Frum became identified with the neoconservative movement at its worst. That is, until the GOP think tank, American Enterprise Institute, dismissed him soon after he began questioning aspects of the party line. (I have to say that today neo-conservatism seems like a fading echo within the spectrum of loud noise on the right.) But partly because I have long seen him as herald of a conservative mindset which in all honesty I despise, I also happen to find much of his current analysis of the ideological cul-de-sac of the Republican party's recent parade of political "stars" fascinating and telling.

"You'd have to be half mad to dream me up!"
In short, Frum - of all people - is freaked out by the descent into blindered unreality and unhinged  hsyterics of a Tea-Partyized GOP.  Here's a Frum commentary - reflecting on the aftermath of the 2008 financial meltdown and his own efforts at rethinking a "free market" outlook in it's wake - that captures some of the essence of just how disconnected from reality the current iteration of the GOP has become:
Especially after 2000, incomes did not much improve for middle-class Americans. The promise of macroeconomic stability proved a mirage: America and the world were hit in 2008 by the sharpest and widest financial crisis since the 1930s. Conservatives do not like to hear it, but the crisis originated in the malfunctioning of an under-regulated financial sector, not in government overspending or government over-generosity to less affluent homebuyers.