David Kirkpatrick

August 27, 2010

From the department of, “no duh” …

… Fox News is a shill for GOP talking points. And that statement isn’t really fair to Fox News because in many ways it’s giving some measure of marching orders to the current Republican Party.

Either way you want to slice that one up, this chart is only the most recent “exhibit A” in the lack of balance (and fairness as far as it goes) in Fox News coverage of issues involving or affecting the GOP:

Mehlmanmention

What this chart refers to is Ken Mehlman, campaign manager of Bush 43’s 2004 successful reelection and subsequent chair of the Republican National Committee, recently announced he is gay. This announcement makes him one of, if not the, highest ranking members of the Republican Party to publicly come out as homosexual.

Although he is being given solid support by party leaders and insiders, this announcement can’t jibe well with the current GOP brand. The party as a whole is fighting the issue of gay marriage tooth-and-nail right now, and the christianist religious right leg of the party considers homosexuality an abomination deserving of nothing less than annihilation.

So what’s Fox News to do? Interview current party chair Michael Steele who said, “His announcement, often a very difficult decision which is only compounded when done on the public stage, reaffirms for me why we are friends and why I respect him personally and professionally.” Or maybe talk to his old boss, George W. Bush, who has also been supportive. Or how about the many GOP insiders in DC and around the country who have no truck with Mehlman’s declaration (or Dick Cheney’s daughter, or any other gay Republicans for that matter.)

No, instead of reporting on this bit of news involving the GOP — you know, the balance part of “fair and balanced” — Fox News just pretends Mehlman’s announcement didn’t happen and spends zero airtime on his coming out statement.

This type of selective reporting does a grave disservice to the Fox News viewers who get no input into the world of U.S. politics outside of the right wing echo chamber. There’s a lot of those people out there, and Fox News execs know it. I even bet some of these people will hear about Mehlman’s homosexuality and claim it’s a plot by socialist “lame-stream” media to sully his image since it can’t be true — Fox News didn’t report on it.

The one-sided reporting from Fox News is bad for the current GOP, bad for United States politics and in the end bad for democracy in America.

Here’s conservative pundit, former Bush 43 speechwriter and administration member; and current GOP apostate and mob-declared RINO, David Frum on the party making the mistake of grabbing a tiger by the tail, “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox.”

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April 6, 2010

When David Frum …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:41 am

… isn’t “conservative” enough for the GOP, the term has lost all meaning.

I guest-blogged at FrumForum (then New Majority) at the launch of the site and quickly figured out as a fiercely independent little “l” libertarian, I had essentially nothing to offer the conversation the GOP was getting into. Now it seems the same is happening to Frum himself. The American political term “conservative” has been stretched beyond belief to the point it either doesn’t mean what most people on the right think it does, or more likely it just doesn’t have any true meaning to speak of anymore.

The politics of Karl Rove are not conservative. The presidency of Bush 43 was not conservative in almost every aspect, and the ramblings of Sarah Palin are absolutely not conservative. And these self-described “conservatives” on the right are further and further marginalizing themselves and the party. The GOP should see some gains this electoral cycle, and in a way that might be the worst possible thing for the long-term viability of the Republican brand. A tiny ray of political hope might keep the party from the dramatic re-imagining that needs to happen sooner, rather than later.

November 4, 2009

NewMajority.com has rebranded …

to FrumForum.com.

From the link, David Frum’s take on the move:

From the time we launched the New Majority site, we have had to cope with a problem with our name. Simply put, there are a lot of “New Majorities” out there. There’s one down the road in Virginia, another at the New World Foundation, a conservative 501c4 here, a liberal one there. All this generated serious confusion, but the worst was with the best known New Majority of them all, TheNewMajority in California, because their mission and ours so closely overlapped. That overlap was leading to very unnecessary conflict with people who wanted many of the same reforms that we did.

The best solution seemed to be: a change of name. But to what?

April 28, 2009

GOP rump happy to lose senate seat

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:49 pm

Nothing from the bitter fringe of what used to be the Grand Old Party — and is now pretty much old, cranky folks who don’t even understand the meaning of political conservatism — would surprise me at this point.

The overall reaction to Arlen Specter switching sides of the aisle? Happy to see that backstabbing RINO go.

Never mind he gives the Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate majority, and a full 60 vote majority as soon as Franken is seated from Minnesota. And for anyone who doesn’t get that yet, Franken won. Coleman is spinning his wheels, but he’s not getting that Senate seat. Not by the courts, and certainly not by a new election now that that Minnesota public really, really dislikes him.

David Frum laments the loss of Specter, but check out the comments at NewMajority on his post. This is GREAT day for the Republican Party! Er, folks, not so much.

From the link (and do scroll down to the comments):

The Specter defection is too severe a catastrophe to qualify as a “wake-up call.” His defection is the thing we needed the wake-up call to warn us against! For a long time, the loudest and most powerful voices in the conservative world have told us that people like Specter aren’t real Republicans – that they don’t belong in the party. Now he’s gone, and with him the last Republican leverage within any of the elected branches of government.

For years, many in the conservative world have wished for an ideologically purer GOP. Their wish has been granted. Happy?

Let’s take this moment to nail some colors to the mast. I submit it is better for conservatives to have 60% sway within a majority party than to have 100% control of a minority party. And until and unless there is an honored place made in the Republican party for people who think like Arlen Specter, we will remain a minority party.

Here’s one sample comment from “conservative08:”

Good riddance to this clown. And any other “Republicans” that vote like moderate Democrats. These out of touch, crusty beltway types are exactly the reason Republicans have lost the past two elections.

Someone who voted for a trillion dollar stimulus package is somehow the answer for a Republican resurgence? Give me a break.

He’s a joke. And so are so many of the other losers who have spent like Democrats. Bye.

Um, spent like Democrats? How about Bush 43’s eight years of fiscal conservatism. Oh yeah, that didn’t happen and practically no one on the right let out one tiny peep in protest over the entire two terms. Hypocrisy is ugly, and very sad coming from a dying political party.

March 9, 2009

Frum on the GOP and Limbaugh at Newsweek

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:30 pm

David Frum has an excellent cover story at Newsweek on the ongoing “discussion” within the GOP on Limbaughism and the general state of conservatism. It’s a long-form piece, but well worth the time taken to read the entire article.

Frum is doing some great work at NewMajority.com, but his message is being shouted down by the lowest common denominator in the GOP.

I did a guest blog post in the early days of NewMajority back in late January, but have yet to follow-up. The initial plan was for me to provide a few posts a week. A spate of freelance work and a bout with the flu has kept me from keeping that schedule up right now. I do intend to continue contributing to NewMajority as long as Frum will have me, but I also have to admit I’m not sure I have a lot to add to the GOP debate given the current state of affairs.

My libertarian moderate message really isn’t part of a shouting match on exactly what the Republican Party should be going forward. Right now it looks like some sort of “pure” hard right politics that appeals to roughly a third (or more likely much less) of the electorate versus a political party interested in debating the subjects of the day and engaging all voters in some fashion. Depending on the outcome of this internecine conflict, the GOP will either no longer compete on a national scope or it will become a solid opposition party and hopefully inject ideas and policies into U.S. government.

The options are that stark and Frum gets it. Here’s his lede establishing his conservative and GOP bona fides. A laundry list necessary because the rabid right has idiotically decided Frum is just another RINO. Good move there guys. Try to alienate someone who is honestly seeking solutions instead of shouting at walls.

From the first link:

It wasn’t a fight I went looking for. On March 3, the popular radio host Mark Levin opened his show with an outburst (he always opens his show with an outburst): “There are people who have somehow claimed the conservative mantle … You don’t even know who they are … They’re so irrelevant … It’s time to name names …! The Canadian David Frum: where did this a-hole come from? … In the foxhole with other conservatives, you know what this jerk does? He keeps shooting us in the back … Hey, Frum: you’re a putz.”

Now, of course, Mark Levin knows perfectly well where I come from. We’ve known each other for years, had dinner together. I’m a conservative Republican, have been all my adult life. I volunteered for the Reagan campaign in 1980. I’ve attended every Republican convention since 1988. I was president of the Federalist Society chapter at my law school, worked on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and wrote speeches for President Bush—not the “Read My Lips” Bush, the “Axis of Evil” Bush. I served on the Giuliani campaign in 2008 and voted for John McCain in November. I supported the Iraq War and (although I feel kind of silly about it in retrospect) the impeachment of Bill Clinton. I could go on, but you get the idea.

I mention all this not because I expect you to be fascinated with my life story, but to establish some bona fides. In the conservative world, we have a tendency to dismiss unwelcome realities. When one of us looks up and murmurs, “Hey, guys, there seems to be an avalanche heading our way,” the others tend to shrug and say, he’s a “squish” or a RINO—Republican in Name Only.

February 2, 2009

Obama’s power

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:27 pm

David Frum made a great point today at NewMajority on the strength and confidence Obama has carried into the White House.

From the link:

In three cases, President Obama’s nominees have encountered potentially nomination-wrecking problems. Richardson withdrew, Geithner brushed past all objections, and to date anyway Daschle is benefiting from senatorial courtesy.

So: multiple sloppiness on the part of the Obama vetters? Not impossible, but unlikely. Richardson’s issue was common knowledge; Daschle volunteered the information about his tax difficulties.

The Obama administration went ahead anyway – even though Geithner’s and Daschle’s issues were at least as serious as those that blocked the confirmation of Linda Chavez in 2001 and Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood in 1993.

So why is Obama succeeding where Bush and Clinton failed?

It’s not just that President Obama has the votes in the Senate: Clinton and Bush both started with Senate majorities too. (50 votes plus the vice president in Bush’s case.)

It’s not just that he has the press on board: Clinton started with a favorable press too.

What Obama has that Clinton and Bush lacked is the self-confidence that comes from facing a thoroughly defeated opposition.

Frum analysis is on the money. I’m hoping Obama will make good use of this strength. I voted for him, but at the same time I have concerns any time one party controls the White House, Senate and the House.

I’m not even sure the GOP is offering a true opposition right now. It comes off as much more simple obstructionism than honestly engaging the debate on issues.

January 29, 2009

If this chart doesn’t wake the GOP up nothing will

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:10 pm

Talk about a marginalized party. Whatever the base really is, it isn’t a wining coalition. This story at the New York Times and research from Gallup ought to be very, very sobering.

From the link:

Yesterday Gallup released a report on its survey of political party affiliation by voters at the state level. The results, depicted in the map above, show that only five states have a statistically significant majority of voters who identify themselves as Republicans. The data come from interviews last year with “more than 350,000 U.S. adults as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking.”

Here’s the dirty truth from Gallup:

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And here’s some analysis from David Frum at NewMajority.com, taken rom the NYT link:

David Frum at the NewMajority.com asks “Base? What base?”:

These are the numbers that make yesterday’s flexing of muscle by Rush Limbaugh over Georgia congressman Phil Gingery not merely ridiculous but actively dangerous. When Republicans line up behind Rush Limbaugh in this way, they are dividing the country 80-20 against themselves. Our supreme priority now has to be to reinvent ourselves as a pragmatic, inclusive, modern party of free enterprise and limited government. We have to relearn how to talk to moderates, independent, younger voters, educated voters, women – it’s a long list.

Instead, our congressmen talk to and about Rush Limbaugh like Old Bolsheviks praising Comrade Stalin at their show trials. Rush is right! We see eye to eye with Rush! There is no truth outside Rush!

January 24, 2009

My first NewMajority post

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:40 am

Here’s my first offering at NewMajority. The site is dedicated to bringing the GOP back around. I’m going to provide an independent voice coming from the “little l” libertarian stance, plus I’m a voter who votes for both parties with no compunction. Exactly the sort of voter the GOP needs to court to start winning elections again.

The site broke the story on Palin’s campaign clothes going undonated and sitting in plastic garbage bags at the RNC headquarters, and it’s funny because the comment section is already populated with the 20%-ers who will likely keep the party out of anything other than local office for a long-time coming.

I think the idea of NewMajority is great and I’m very pleased David Frum, the founder and editor, has given me the opportunity to contribute to the conversation. The site launched on Tuesday and it’s already embroiled in a bit of GOP controversy.

Regular readers of this blog wonder why I’d contribute to a blog dedicated to bringing the GOP back to prominence? It’s simple. I want at least two viable choices and no third party could hope to challenge the Democrats for many years. There’s just no coalition, organization or structure for that fight from any political party other than the Republicans. I also fear the GOP might just go the way of the Know-Nothings if the extreme edge isn’t sanded down a bit.

Given the opportunity, I’ll contribute to a left-leaning blog and challenge that group from the right. For NewMajority I’m doing just that, only from the other direction.

From my first NewMajority post:

Is it possible to be less than conservative on social issues and still be a part of the Republican coalition? Of course it is. Many voters, such as myself, vote GOP for the fiscal conservatism the party has traditionally espoused. The last several years has shaken that somewhat, but fiscal conservatives are not going to bail on the party for the sins of one administration.

Culturally, the public’s focus regarding the Republican Party is on the Religious Right and a series of hot-button topics such as abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research. One area that gets very little truck these days is civil liberties – particularly the notion that government ought to stay out of our lives. The notion that the individual knows best in terms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Civil liberties is one area in which true conservatives and libertarians have been largely in agreement.

January 23, 2009

Palin’s campaign clothes at RNC headquarters

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:41 pm

NewMajority.com (I’m to be a guest blogger at the site, but my first post hasn’t run yet in this wild and woolly first week for the new blog) broke a major story today — the clothes bought for Sarah Palinfor the campaign trail are sitting the Republican National Committee headquarters in garbage bags.

These are the infamous $150K in designer outfits for the vice-presidential nominee to wear while on the stump. They were to be donated to charity after the election. It looks like the Alaskan governor kept her end of the bargain and returned the clothing. The RNC, however, has dropped the ball completely.

From the link:

Despite the Republican National Committee’s promise to donate Sarah Palin’s $180,000 campaign wardrobe to charity, word has it the Alaska governor’s clothes remain stuffed in trash bags at RNC headquarters, NewMajority has learned.

While Palin followed through on her promise to return her controversial wardrobe after the election, it seems the RNC has not followed through on its promise to give most of the clothes away.

During the 2008 campaign, GOP vice presidential candidate Palin was pummeled with accusations that she had overspent on clothes for herself, and even for her family — down to baby Trig. Palin asserted at the time that the clothes belonged to the RNC. They were not her property and would be returned at the end of the campaign. A campaign spokeswoman backed up those claims, saying, “It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign.” It was also understood that those that had not been worn would be returned to the appropriate retailer; those that had been worn would be used for some other purpose, perhaps auctioned off for charity or to retire campaign debt.

NewMajority founder and editor, David Frum, added this on the big scoop for the fledgling website:

This story is not a story about Gov. Palin. In this matter, the former vice-presidential nominee did exactly the right thing. She promised to return the wardrobe at the end of the campaign, and she did return the wardrobe.

The story is about a dysfunctional party apparatus. Because of their own inability to act, the RNC has left Gov. Palin looking like a promise-breaker – and left everyone who donated to the McCain-Palin campaign feeling like a fool.

The rage in the donor community about the wardrobe is real and intense. Our party was gasping for funds in 2008. We could not afford to waste a dime. More to the point: not every Republican donor is rich. Many are people to whom the $200 or $500 or $1000 they give represents a real sacrifice. They need to know that their sacrifice has not been used frivolously. The RNC’s protracted delay in donating the clothes as promised raises a troubling question: Will our party be embarrassed by what those bags contain?

November 25, 2008

The right wing fights back against the far fringe

After the Palin veep picked proved to be an electoral disaster — and exposed a very ugly theocrat faction that before Bush 43 has always been coddled and marginalized. Now they seem to want blood of some sort. Right now that blood is taking form in the GOP brand. Beaten down, sullied and starting to rend where does the GOP go from here?

Well, there’s a lot of opposition to this electoral suicide. The American Conservative has fought against Bush 43 anti-conservatism for quite a while; a relatively new blog of young conservatives, Culture11, is seeking a new way as well; Taki’s Magazine also has been a fierce critic of Bush 43 politics; and now John Derbyshire of National Review fame has started a new blog, Secular Right.

And coming in January is another new blog by a National Review alum, David Frum. His offering is NewMajority.com and should be a very interesting entry into this moment of conservative/GOP/right wing soul-searching.

I’m very excited about Frum’s site because I’ve been offered the opportunity to blog at the launch. I’ll be coming at this debate from farther left than most I’m sure, offering my take on little “L” libertarianism — quite fiscally conservative and culturally liberal to moderate. I’m betting I ought to expect some very exciting feedback from the more partisan contributors, and especially readers. The challenge is welcome and I’m already planning topics to hit the gate running.

From the NewMajority pre-launch splash page:

NewMajority.com is a new political group blog edited by David Frum, and is scheduled to go live on Inauguration Day, January 18th 2009.

Update — I left Rebuild the Partyout the above list because I didn’t know about it until right now. Actually read about it first on a left wing site — Daily Kos. Looks like there’s going to be a total explosion of critical thought on fixing conservatism in general and the GOP in particular.

I’m still not certain the GOP as a national party is fixable right now. Something new may well arise out of all this intellectual activity and the GOP may become a party of marginal theocrats. Hopefully the theocrats get booted to their own little marginal party and the GOP returns to its small government roots and accepts a live-and-let-live cultural stance. Maybe too much to ask for, though.

November 7, 2008

David Frum still making sense …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:49 pm

… out of a dismal GOP cycle. I’ve done some recent blogging on the failings of the Republican Party, even going so far as to seriously suggest the party might be heading down the path to oblivion.

The Libertarian Party is not the answer because of its track record, but as a small “L” libertarian, I’d love to see a serious alternative party — maybe if the GOP turns off enough of the brain trust all of us can get together and create an actual opposition party. I’m guessing the GOP eventually rights the ship, but it’s going to require a sea-change in attitude at this point because the infighting is taking casualties on both sides.

And there’s always questions and recriminations after a beatdown like this Tuesday, but the viciousness seems particularly high in the GOP. Especially the regarding Palin. I honestly can’t believe there is a faction of the party that really thinks she’s the answer and the future. Sure she has charisma — for about ten minutes.

It’s long been a joke that the GOP was a party of redneck crackers (not be mistaken there’s just as many, if not more, in the northeast as in the south) and angry old white men. The joke looks like reality circa 2008. “Joe the Plumber?” That fool and Sarah Palin are the two faces the GOP wants the entire world to see? It’s like a race to the stupid line. “I’m dumber than you!” “No man, I’m dumber than you!”

At any rate, Frum cuts to the chase in the link way up there in the top graf:

But there is another way to reinforce Joe – a path so old and dusty as almost to feel new and unexplored. A generation ago, Republicans were dominant among college graduates. Those days are long gone. Since 1988, Democrats have become more conservative on economics – and Republicans more conservative on social issues. College-educated Americans have come to believe that their money is safe with Democrats – but that their values are under threat from Republicans. There are more and more college-educated voters.

So the question for the GOP is: Will it pursue them? This will involve painful change, on issues ranging from the environment to abortion. It will involve even more painful changes of style and tone: toward a future that is less overtly religious, less negligent with policy, and less polarising on social issues.

That’s a future that leaves little room for Sarah Palin – but the only hope for a Republican recovery.

(via Daily Dish)

October 31, 2008

The GOP is broken

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:22 pm

I’m talking splintered. Sarah Palin busted the three-legged stool and apparently the “faithful” got all the shrapnel and are now cranky. And more than a little dumb.

How else do you explain this comment at Power Line about David Frum, a man whose conservative bona fides are unimpeachable?

Frum is indeed a “third-way” conservative, which is to say, a little conservative here, a little progressive there.

Screw him and the RINO he rode in on.