August 15, 2009

David Frum, who I don't agree with about much of anything came on Bill Moyers Journal this week, and he took Rush Limbaugh to task for calling President Obama a Nazi. I'm sure he's just put a big target on his head from the right wing hate mongers for even appearing on Moyers' show in the first place, but I'm glad to see at least one Republican speaking up and telling the truth about how dangerous this type of talk is. So here's something I thought I'd never say. Good for David Frum for speaking out on this matter.

BILL MOYERS: I'm reminded that you grew up in Canada.


BILL MOYERS: Couldn't the conservative, a calm conservative make a case for that kind of national insurance plan in this country?

DAVID FRUM: Look, where those plans have grown up, as in Britain, for example, you've seen conservatives make their peace with them, as the British conservatives have done. And once something is integrated into the status quo of your country, it gets conservative. There are I think a lot of reasons not to regard it as a preferable system.

It stifles the possibility of innovation and diversity. It means that ideas that get into the minds of people in Washington are very difficult to get out. And it creates a -- it also creates this tremendous problem where every malfunction in the system becomes the fault of the politicians.

BILL MOYERS: You describe yourself as a calm conservative. But you have certainly aroused those to your right in the Republican Party. You know, talk show hosts like Mark Levin have come after you saying you're kneecapping your own. What about that?

DAVID FRUM: Look, a lot of the conservative movement in this country is conducting itself in a way that is tremendously destructive. Both of the basic constitutional compact of the requirements of good faith and of their own good sense. I mean, when you were going on the air and calling the President of the United States a Nazi as Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly done. When Mark Levin -- you mentioned him -- he said the President of the United States is literally at war with the American people.

And then people begin, unsurprisingly, showing up at rallies with guns. Well, obviously, if the President were-- I mean, folks, if I believed the President of the United States were a Nazi, were planning a Fascist takeover, it would be contemptibly cowardly of me not to do everything in my power, including contemplating violence, to resist such a thing. Every decent person should do that.

That's why you don't say it when it's not true. And I mean, one of the ways that the constitutional system works is with some understanding that the people on the other side have slightly different priorities but they share your constitutional values. They have invested in the same system. The problems they've got are hard problems. And even if you don't like their answers, you have to have some restraint in the way you talk about them, as you would hope they would have about you.

And I think it's just outrageous. It is dangerous. It's dangerous for the whole constitutional system. Now, I'm absolutely prepared to fight with them. And by the way, it's dangerous to conservatives because the effect of the talk of people like Levin and Rush Limbaugh is to kill our cause with voters who are under 65.

You make that man the face and you say let us contrast him to Barack Obama who is maybe too expensive but who seems calm and judicious? That's an ugly comparison.

BILL MOYERS: For this appearance alone, your website,, is going to be besieged by some of those folks, right?

DAVID FRUM: We have been besieged but this is a fight worth doing. And I have to say I'm thinking of changing our slogan. I'm adapting something from the old Panasonic folks, our new motto's going to be "just slightly ahead of our time." I know the conservatives of this country are not with me on these issues today. But I know equally well they will be with me on these issues in the future. They are just going to learn it, unfortunately, a harder way.

BILL MOYERS: The book is COMEBACK: CONSERVATISM THAT CAN WIN AGAIN. David Frum, thanks for being with me on the JOURNAL.

DAVID FRUM: Thank you.

VIRGINIA FOXX: Republicans have a better solution that won't put the government in charge of people's health care that will make sure we bring down the cost of health care for all Americans. And that ensures affordable access for all Americans, and is pro life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.

You can watch the entire interview here.

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