If David Frum had not taken to the pages of Newsweek, a one-time news magazine now little more than a dead-tree version of left-wing blog to tell us why he thinks Rush Limbaugh is wrong, I would not criticize him.Â His book, Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again, while dry at times and a bit too trusting in government, offers some serious suggestions for party rebuilding.
Indeed, even in his Newsweek essay, he offers a number of good suggestions, notably this one, “We need to put free-market health-care reform, not tax cuts, at the core of our economic message.“Â And he’s right about Limbaugh’s failure to appeal to the kinds of voters Americans need to reach, especially women who find the talk show host’s message “off-putting.”
Not just that, he’s right to fault Rush’s fellow radio talk show host Mark Levin for calling him a “putz.”Â Levin should stick to the style of his conservative manifesto, articulating the ideas of conservatism rather than insulting fellow conservatives.
But, then again, so should Frum refrain from insulting fellow conservatives.Â In his piece on Limbaugh, not only does he bring up Rush’s past personal problems, calling him a “walking stereotype of self-indulgence,” he also buys into the spin of the MSM/White House Axis, calling Rush the leader of the GOP.Â And he claims Rush is invested in Republican failure:
Rush knows what he is doing. The worse conservatives do, the more important Rush becomes as leader of the ardent remnant. The better conservatives succeed, the more we become a broad national governing coalition, the more Rush will be sidelined.
Hardly.Â Yeah, Rush won’t be as prominent as he is now when Republicans regain the White House, heck, even I called him the interim leader of the GOP in the immediate aftermath of the election.Â But, I don’t think Rush would mind being “sidelined” by a conservative president and Congress.Â (I used to listen to him regularly in 1994 and recall how exuberant he was when the GOP regained control of the House and Senate.)Â He loves this country too much to compromise its national interest for the sake of his personal prominence.