Frum becomes GOP pariah

By A. James Memmott

March 27, 2010 at 9:26am

David Frum would seem to be suffering the consequences of violating his political party’s 11th commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.”

On Sunday, the conservative commentator and former George W. Bush speechwriter, used his FrumForum website to post his column critical of Republicans for not negotiating with Democrats on health care.

On Thursday, he was forced out of his position at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank.

Frum had been a resident fellow at the institute since 2003. Reportedly, he was asked to stay there on an unpaid status, but he declined.

Later, he told Politico’s Mike Allen that he believed he lost his $100,000-a-year position because of donor reaction to his health-care post.

In his column, Frum wrote: “Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.”

He went on to argue that opponents of Obama’s health-care proposals adopted a losing strategy early on:

“No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo,” Frum wrote.

Instead, the health-care debate became a Republican and conservative Waterloo, Frum contended, in part because Obama had the numbers on his side in Congress.

“We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat,” Frum wrote.

He singled out radio’s Rush Limbaugh for overheating the debate, making political negotiation difficult.

This is not the first time Frum has found himself raising a contrarian’s voice. During the 2008 presidential he was critical of Sen. John McCain’s choice of then Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Frum wrote in National Review online that the pick looked like a cynical effort by McCain to draw women, conservatives and younger voters to his side.

A native of Canada and the son of the late Barbara Frum, a radio journalist in that country, Frum, 49, graduated from Harvard Law School where he was the president of the school’s chapter of the conservative Federalist Society.

Now a U.S. citizen, he has been a senior editor at Forbes and an assistant editor of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. He is also the author of several books on political issues.

Frum was a speechwriter for Bush from 2001 to 2002 and is said to have coined the “axis of evil” phrase that the president used to describe Iran, Iraq and North Korea in his January 2002 State of the Nation address.

Frum served as a senior foreign policy adviser for Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign.

He’s married to writer Danielle Ann Crittenden, who on Friday posted on FrumForum a message defending her husband and deploring what she said was “a hostile environment towards free thought and debate” in the conservative movement.

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