The big tent, if there ever was one, just got folded up.
I’ve met David Frum twice. Both times with the French (first, breakfast with the ambassador, then lunch with a visiting Internet aide to the French presidency). I was prepared not to like him, but the more I chatted with him, the more reasonable he sounded. I’ve since spoken to friends who know him, and they like him too. I’m not saying he’s going to turn all hopey-changey any time soon, but he has an interesting mind. And that’s probably what got him kicked out of AEI.
The party, Mr. Frum said, put politics over policy in trying to damage Mr. Obama’s agenda, and lost both the political battle and the ability to influence a key piece of legislation. In a column Mr. Frum posted at the FrumForum, he wrote that the House passage of the health care bill had become the Republicans’ “Waterloo,” rather than Mr. Obama’s, as a leading G.O.P. senator had once warned.
As of Thursday, Mr. Frum had become a former fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Another conservative, Bruce Bartlett, added this:
Since, he is no longer affiliated with AEI, I feel free to say publicly something he told me in private a few months ago. He asked if I had noticed any comments by AEI “scholars” on the subject of health care reform. I said no and he said that was because they had been ordered not to speak to the media because they agreed with too much of what Obama was trying to do.
It saddened me to hear this. I have always hoped that my experience was unique. But now I see that I was just the first to suffer from a closing of the conservative mind. Rigid conformity is being enforced, no dissent is allowed, and the conservative brain will slowly shrivel into dementia if it hasn’t already.
Sadly, there is no place for David and me to go.