David Atkins observes:
Frum on Morning Joe: a remarkable 15 minutes of television: Former Bush speechwriter David Frum made a remarkable appearance on Morning Joe.... He begins with this:
Mitt Romney's message is "I am going to take away Medicare from everybody under 55, I'm going to cut Medicaid for everybody but about a third, and I'm going to do that to finance a giant tax cut for me and my friends, and the reason I'm doing that is because half the country contribute nothing to the national endeavor."Then about four minutes in, something even more attention-grabbing after Scarborough bloviated about Thatcher and Reagan appealing to the common man:
Since the loss of the election, we have heard an enormous amount of discussion from Republicans on television and newspaper columns about immigration as an issue... but all of us who are allowed to participate in this conversation, we all have health insurance. And the fact that millions of Americans don't have health insurance, they don't get to be on television. And it is maybe a symptom of a broader problem, not just the Republican problem, that the economic anxieties of so many Americans are just not part of the national discussion at all.None of the panelists on Scaraborough--not Joe himself, not David Gregory, not Chuck Todd, none of them--dared to answer Frum's devastating indictment of them. Not of the Republican Party, but of them. It was uncomfortable, and then blithely ignored.
I mean, we have not yet emerged from the greatest national catastrophe, the greatest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. And what are we talking about? The deficit and the debt. And these are important problems, but they're a lot easier to worry about if you are wealthier than you were in 2008, which most of the people on television now are again, if you are securely employed, which most of the people on television now are. But that's not true for 80% of America. And the Republican Party, the opposition party, needed to find some way to give voice to real urgent economic concerns held by middle class Americans. Latinos, yes, but Americans of all ethnicities.
After five full minutes of inside-baseball speculation on Republican leadership games during which Frum looked like he might pull a Howard Beale... he finally got a chance to speak again
I believe the Republican Party is a party of followership. The problem with the Republican leaders is that they're cowards.... The real locus of the problem is the Republican activist base and the Republican donor base. They went apocalyptic over the past four years. And that was exploited by a lot of people in the conservative world. I won't soon forget the lupine smile that played over the head of a major conservative institution when he told me that our donors think the apocalypse has arrived.And to think that the guy who coined the phrase "axis of evil" is now the moral conscience of the Republican Party.
Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex.... Because the followers, the donors and the activists are so mistaken about the nature of the problems the country faces the nature--I mean, it's just a simple question. I went to Tea Party rallies and I would ask this question: "have taxes gone up or down in the past four years?" They could not answer that question correctly. Now it's true that taxes will go up if the President is re-elected. That's why we're Republicans. But you have to know that taxes have not gone up in the past. And "do we spend a trillion dollars on welfare?" Is that true or false? It is false. But it is almost universally believed.
That means that the leaders have no space to operate.
How low they have truly fallen.