You wouldn’t think I’d get too bent out of shape about this story. And actually, I’m not really too concerned about it, at least from Mr. Frum’s or Republican’s personal point of view, but is is a story worth getting press, because, like the hypocrites in the religious arena, there are hypocrites everywhere. There is a overlap between the religious Right and conservative Republicans, so it’s makes sense that we’ll see hypocrisy within that overlap too. This story has free speech ramifications that should concern us.
David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush the Lesser, was sacked from his job with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, after he had the temerity to criticize Republicans for their no-compromise position on the Health Care Reform bill. He basically opined that the Republican Party shot itself in the foot. And he said so on his blog, calling it the Republican’s “Waterloo“.
For “breaking the ranks” he was soundly criticized by the Wall Street Journal, who called Frum the “media’s go-to basher of fellow Republicans”, as if that was a bad thing. Frum used to work on the editorial board of the WSJ, and as he replied, it should
credit me with the acuity to know where the highest price is paid: and that it’s not where I’ve raised my flag.
A few days later, as he relates it, he was told that he could still work for the AEI, but without a salary and without an office. Subtle, weren’t they?
Now, even Frum doesn’t take that too hard, defending their right to fire him. And, again, from an employment point of view, they have that right. Most employment in this country is “at will’, so few people have the right to continuing employment.
But it certainly says a lot about a “think tank”, where opinions and discourse are the stock in trade of what they exist for, when they sack someone who has impeccable credentials simply because he disagrees with some peripheral aspect of the thinking, on his own time and on his own blog. Here is an organization
dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare.
They have scholars on their masthead from all colors of the political spectrum, from Newt Gingrich to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Yet if the Wall Street Journal (another Rupert Murdoch publication) deigns to attack their scholar, the wayward thinker is unceremoniously ejected from the tank.
Do you think that might send a signal to the rest of the scholars to perhaps modulate their opinions in the future, especially if they have mouths to feed? Is that a rhetorical question? Does the Pope shit in the woods?
I don’t necessarily always agree with David Frum, but I certainly hate to see his voice squelched over something like this. By all rights I should be standing on the sidelines, cheering another conservative Republican tasting dust.
But somehow the taste of dust is in my mouth.
And in the interest of fair and balanced reporting of hypocrisy, I note that the ACLU royally fucked up, when it rejected a contribution from the American Humanist Association to help organize an alternative prom in the Mississippi town that canceled their prom rather than allow a lesbian couple to attend. It did so because, and I quote
Although we support and understand organizations like yours, the majority of Mississippians tremble in terror at the word “atheist”…
Mississippi, of all places, should be prepared to tremble; and then get over it.
Hypocrisy should be denounced wherever it raises its ugly head.