By now, many Chronicles readers have no doubt heard that David Frum was fired from his cushy job at the American Enterprise Institute, following an online column claiming that the passage of Obamacare was the GOP’s “Waterloo,” which could have been avoided if the GOP had been more willing to negotiate with Obama. Frum is now charging that AEI tossed him because it was responding to pressure from its donors, a charge eminent AEI scholar Charles Murray has denounced at National Review Online as “despicable,” since it is unsupported by evidence and is calculated to appeal to the leftist media. But if Murray is only now discovering the nature of Frum, he has not been paying attention.
From the beginning, the Canadian carpetbagger has sought to climb the greasy pole by attacking those on his right, in ways designed to curry favor with the left. As an undergraduate at Yale, he joined leftists at Yale in urging the university to take control of the Yale Literary Magazine, then run by future Chronicles editor Andrei Navrozov. He made his first big splash in America by attacking Pat Buchanan in The American Spectator. And back when he was welcome at all the places neocons congregate, Frum wrote a cover article for National Review attacking Pat Buchanan, Sam Francis, and Tom Fleming as “unpatriotic” for having the good sense to oppose the Iraq War. There was no evidence supporting Frum’s slander of these men, the despicable nature of which was confirmed by my good fortune in knowing them and knowing that their opposition to the Iraq War was rooted in a deep love for our country. Frum’s despicable attacks on those on his right continued, with Frum making false statements about Pat Buchanan’s position on the use of military force against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as I noted for this website.
More recently, Frum has expanded launching fusillades on those to his right into a more or less full-time job, as an examination of his modestly named Frum Forum website shows. The only difference is that Frum’s new broadsides are no longer aimed solely at paleoconservatives. Indeed, Frum was rewarded with a cover article in Newsweek to attack Rush Limbaugh. Along the way, Frum has picked up some strange new friends, including writer Alex Knepper, still featured at Frum’s website even after Richard Spencer pointed out that Knepper is an admirer of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan and a member of the Facebook groups “F**k Christianity” and “F**k the Pope.” (It takes little imagination to realize how Frum would react if someone who wrote for Chronicles was a member of a “F**k Israel” Facebook group). Frum has also picked up many new enemies, as evidenced by the fact that National Review Online is now publishing attacks on Frum, something that did not happen when Frum was attacking far wiser men than he as “unpatriotic.”
Frum is defending himself from his new enemies in typical fashion. Frum’s website now features testimony to his wonderfulness from such leftists as Joe Klein, Ezra Klein, and Jacob Heilbrunn, as well as a paean to Frum’s greatness from his wife. (Somehow, I don’t recall Shelley Buchanan or Gail Fleming writing about how their husbands really were patriotic after Frum attacked them.) The criticism from former friends seems to be getting to Frum: He is particularly incensed that former colleague Tunku Varadarajan has portrayed him as a Beltway social climber rather than as a brave martyr to the truth. To illustrate his bravery, Frum tells his readers that when he was in London during the runup to the Iraq War, he was recognized on the London streets and then singlehandedly debated an enraged mob of anti-war Britons. (Leave it to Frum to tell a tale that involves his being recognized as a famous man, the way Frum no doubt sees himself.)
Still, if Frum wishes to dispel the charge of being a Beltway social climber, there is an easy way to do that: Leave the Beltway. America’s best magazine is published in Rockford, Illinois, a city Frum disdained as a “rusting industrial city” in the same essay in which he besmirched the patriotism of anti-war conservatives. No one can accuse Tom Fleming, Scott Richert, or Aaron Wolf of being Beltway social climbers. He can join me here in Cleveland, though my preference would be that he live on the other side of town if he comes. Or, better yet, he can return to his “home and native land” and leave behind the hard life of being a Beltway pundit. Perhaps he can become an insurance salesman in Waterloo, Ontario, while continuing to favor us with an occasional blog from the Great White North. But my guess is that he will stay in Washignton, and continue to do what he can to be noticed in the media.