In a discussion on Bloggingheads, David Frum offers his thoughts on the sad state of the GOP these days:
He blames the predicament, in part, on the “conservative entertainment-industrial complex,” a term coined by Andrew Sullivan. In Frum’s telling, this complex has “distorted conservative dialogue to suit the wishes of the Fox audience.” He says that drawing on such a group, “you can get seriously rich out of that, but you can’t govern a country with that kind of voter base, it’s a tiny minority-within-a-minority.”
This is an interesting thesis. Frum was the coauthor of a seemingly successful, widely discussed foreign-policy book titled An End to Evil, which posited that terrorism posed a “threat to the survival of our nation,” and in foreign policy, “there is no middle way for Americans. It is victory or Holocaust.” Are these the sorts of carefully considered judgments on which the GOP is going to ride back into office?
It’s probably true that pushing the American nationalist button over and over from 2002 forward contributed to getting Bush reelected in 2004, but the results after then have been rather less encouraging. John Boehner colorfully remarked recently that the GOP “took it in the shorts with Bush-Cheney, the Iraq War, and by sacrificing fiscal responsibility to hold power.” I’m not sure that my preferred foreign policy is the key to political success, but I’m pretty sure that the zany world view that Frum has traded on isn’t the way forward either.