David Frum, former speechwriter for President Bush, conservative author, pundit and writer for National Review is now leaving NR altogether to start up with a group called New Majority that will include non-conservatives and non-Republicans. He was one of the harsher GOP critics of Governor Sarah Palin.
My friend Joe Wierzbicki, who created a PAC called "Our Country Deserves Better" wrote a letter to David and it's well worth the read.
David: Good luck to you with the New Majority. I say that as someone who admires your thinking and your writing, not so much your decision to leave National Review.
I respect you more than most people who have been down on Gov. Sarah Palin (for example your colleague, Kathleen Parker) because while you have shared her concern about the political considerations of how to cobble together electoral majorities (or winning pluralities) you have also done a better job of advocating for the embrace of ideas as the core of what should drive the debate over the future of the Republican Party.
That the Republican base has shrunk over the past several years is an undeniable truth. That does not mean, however, that Republicans should change their ideals in order to win election contests. That serves only to elect the likes of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, who is my Governor.
I can promise you that the fate of the GOP in California has not been helped one iota by Schwarzenegger’s election, but instead he has managed to decimate the party.
We no longer stand for anything, we instead have a governor who governs based on where there is some political consensus. Thus did the governor stand by as Democrats in the legislature spend like drunken sailors, and push for greater government bureaucracy, and now a Republican governor has announced plans for tax increases – tainting the GOP brand even more as being the party of higher taxes.
I found it appalling to see Obama win the tax issue in the race for the presidency, but seeing what happened here in California it was easier to understand what was happening.
Parties and ideologies experience cyclical peaks and valleys as their fortunes wax and wane with the times and the changing events of the world we live in.
What’s important to remember is that leadership is not brought about through the abdication of one’s own convictions, but rather through the realization that the electorate might very well reject your ideological worldview if they feel the environment is not well-suited for your ideas to better their lives and their concerns for the future of their children and the nation they live in.
Either Barack Obama will be a bad president, and thus the opportunity for a conservative renewal will be made accessible at an earlier point in time, or he will be a good one, and it might then be further down the line that Americans seek smaller government, lower taxes, and an embrace of traditional values as espoused during the era of Reagan and the post-Clinton years. But we shouldn’t change what we believe is right to try to advance that timetable.
That would be inauthentic and immoral. Your foreign policy views that you lament might not have been so right after all were not only principled but I feel have indeed been validated.
One need only look to the post-Surge landscape in Iraq to see that staying the course was valid. One can look at the lack of any terror attack on American home soil to see the war on terror did successfully weaken Al Qaeda to a great extent. One must read the new reports about Iranian nuclear advancements to see that those who preach isolationism or accommodation in the face of evil are just as wrong today as they were pre-9/11 and pre-World War II (I’m of Polish blood and let me tell you that my people have a unique understanding of what happens when good people take the easy way out and appease evil in the name of “peace” or “world harmony” – you end up with millions killed or subjugated to authoritarian rule by the likes of Hitler and the Cold War Soviet Union).
Gov. Sarah Palin was the only thing that excited conservatives in this most recent election, and while you were not a fan, I hope you will reconsider your hesitation towards her role as a national figure.
There are few national political figure who have her decency in the pursuit of being a good public servant, combined with an authentic conservative disposition and a willingness to engage her ideological opponents and not run from the battlefield of ideas.
I’ll hope that you are one of those who will help her to fine tune her involvement and awareness of issues of national security, and not dismiss her because she doesn’t come out of the marbled floors of Washington, D.C.
We tried that in 1996 with Senator Dole, and while everyone respected his establishment pedigree and track record of experience, not so many of those same people voted for him. Remember that our enemies on the Left and in the media also said Reagan was a rube who was clueless about much going on in the world.
But with the backing of solid conservative minds, Reagan proved them all wrong. Again, good luck to you in your efforts with the New Majority. I just hope you’ll come to see that we need not change what we stand for, but must instead resist the temptation to abandon those principles (as President Bush did at times when it came to domestic policy).