While I have frequently appreciated David Frum’s observations, neither I nor many other conservative bloggers and pundits would rank him among the top tier of conservative columnists and opinion leaders, those I deem the Olympians. And sometimes I think he resents that others do not include him in that number.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Frum’s a good columnist, sometimes very good, but not a great one. It seems almost that he agreed to do the recent cover essay for Newsweek badmouthing Rush Limbaugh primarily in order to get the attention that the great ones attract. But, in doing so, he curried the favor not of conservatives and those sympathetic to conservative ideas, but of those antagonistic to them.
Lately, he seems to have become a conservative contrarian who opposes primarily for the sake of opposing.
Those Olympians don’t always hold firm to conservative orthodoxy even when their own ideas and observations help shape it. Readers of this blog are well aware that I place Peggy Noonan in their number, comparing her to the goddess Athena. Others who join her in the Pantheon include Charles Krauthammer, most like the wise Apollo, with a gift for prophecy. While Victor Davis Hanson more closely resembles a muse, Clio whose bailiwick was history, than (he does) any of the Divine Twelve, he has clearly earned his place on the Olympus on punditry
There’s Michael Barone whose attention to detail calls to mind that of the divine craftsman Hephaestus, the hardest-working of the Olympians. The wit, wisdom and playful prose of Mark Steyn make him the Hermes of punditry. Rush himself could be compared to Dionysus, the last to enter the pantheon. For like that god of wine, the conservative talk show host appreciates, indeed delights in, pleasures associated with the appetite, that is, his love for good food and cigars.
George Will is like a Titan, one who reigned supreme in a previous era, but has seen been overthrown by the new generation of deities indicated above.
And just as there are other Greek deities, who did not sit in the high councils of Olympus, but still contribute to the divine work, so are their conservative columnists and pundits not among the Olympians of commentary who do good work. Perhaps, Frum would be less of a curmudgeon if he realized the nobility of being among their number.