Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Advice to Democrats

David Frum advises the Democrats to follow Harry Truman’s hard-ball and gutsy campaign. It may be good advice, and the way the Demos are starting to go after President Bush during the last few days--he is not winning the war on terror, etc.--this advice may just well be heeded, if it’s not too late. (via Powerline)

Discussions - 5 Comments

Mr. Frum does not seem to be too popular with the conservative leaders at the American Conservative Union.

See this this press release for the conference on "Revitalizing Conservatism." The other leader of the ACU, David Keene, also had a good column on this.

Mr. Frum is likely a liberal masquerading as a "conservative."

While I do not consider myself a fan or a critic of Frum, I think it is more than a little ridiculous to suggest that he is a liberal because he has a tendency toward attacking those conservatives that he believes are not living up to the ideology of the conservative movement.

I am one to generally favor the so-called "big tent" concept of conservatism, wherein one is accepted by virtue of agreeing on the main things rather than rejected for disagreeing about the details, so Frum’s attacks on conservatives with trepidation about the war in Iraq are not useful in my opinion. However, I fail to see how being an overly righteous conservative somehow makes him a liberal...

"I think it is more than a little ridiculous to suggest that he is a liberal..."

Actually, Frum, author of the "axis of evil" phrase, had major problems with Bush’s "compassionate conservative" spin, and hesitated before joining the White House for his brief tenure as speech writer.

As far as this piece goes, I thought, not only does Frum make an awful Truman (Truman would’ve never apoligized for leaving out the "girls"), but the whole idea of the Democrats reclaiming Truman as one of their own is just too laughable, imho.

As an aside, I found this little paragraph lacking:

"The problem isn’t just that so many of you got the Iraq war wrong, although just about all of you did. What’s so tough about saying: "We’re at war--and I support our forces and our president"? That’s what Ike kept saying when he was preparing to run against me in 1952."

1952? Earth to historian Frum, Ike didn’t run against Truman in 1952! Does anybody remember who Ike did run against, in 1952?

The key part of the Truman quote is "preparing to run." No, Truman didn’t end up running against Eisenhower (Adlai Stevenson did, of course). However, his decision not to run did not come until the end of March 1952. Up to that point, Ike was expecting to face Truman, and not Stevenson, in the general election.

I stand corrected. Frum is much more clever than I give him credit for.

Still, there must be some point I’m missing here... Ike trounced the Democrats in ’52, so why even mention it? I will grant Frum that Truman’s Cold War doctrine is similar to Bush’s WOT (and not the Pearl of 1941), and even that Bush may have some blindsides that Democrats could hit on (Ike’s return to normalcy?). But Ike was a general and a hero of WWII, who among the Democrats could persuade America he’ll be a tough-minded warrior while they return to a sense of normalcy?

E.J. Dionne is thinking the complete opposite, btw, he’s looking for the next liberal fighter in the ’My Gawd, he’s gonna run as Barry!’ vein. :)

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