Over at NRO, an entertaining spat has developed between Ramesh Ponnuru and David Frum over Ponnuru’s criticism of Frum’s book Comeback. Ponnuru writes that “none of [Frum’s] facts can be trusted without independent verification” and that Frum’s pose as a “bold truth-teller” is “insufferable.” Frum, for his part, describes Ponnuru’s “distinctive Grand Panjandrum manner” as “abusrdly pompous” and refers to Ponnuru’s “weird combination of vitriol and grandiosity.” Of course, there is a lot of truth to each man’s description of the other.
The irony is that, as Ponnuru writes, both “agree on the need for Republicans to offer an agenda that helps the lower middle class.” As Ponnuru writes, he has even been writing about the need to curb immigration to help the lower middle class for six years!
The deeper irony—one that will be lost on both Ponnuru and Frum—is that the man each of them has vilified, Pat Buchanan, has been forcefully arguing for “Republicans to offer an agenda that helps the lower middle class” and to curb immigration since his first run for President, in 1992. In this, Buchanan was on the same page as Chronicles, which was the first major publication to recognize the need for immigration reform after the disastrous Immigration Act of 1965. It is nice to see that Frum and Ponnuru are beginning to recognize that Buchanan and Chronicles may have had a point all these years. Just don’t expect either of them to offer a word of gratitude, given the all too accurate description each offers of the other.
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