Which brings us to GOP hack David Frum's lengthy piece in today's Outlook section.
The first half is an unobjectionable argument for the GOP letting McCain sink or swim on his own, and putting all its resources into close Senate races. I've got no dog in that fight.
The second half of the piece is about what the GOP should say to the voters to win those races, and that's where the hackery comes in.
That's especially true because of two unique dangers posed by the impending Democratic victory.
First, with the financial meltdown, the federal government is now acquiring a huge ownership stake in the nation's financial system. It will be immensely tempting to officeholders in Washington to use that stake for political ends -- to reward friends and punish enemies. One-party government, of course, will intensify those temptations. And as the federal government succumbs, officeholders will become more and more comfortable holding that stake. The current urgency to liquidate the government's position will subside. The United States needs Republicans and conservatives to monitor the way Democrats wield this extraordinary and dangerous new power -- and to pressure them to surrender it as rapidly as feasible.
If you're going to talk about the dangers of one-party government rewarding its friends and punishing its enemies, then remind me, David, of your opposition to: Tom DeLay's K Street Project, the steering of Iraq contracts to GOP-friendly firms who were never held accountable when billions just plain disappeared, the use of the Department of Justice as a partisan cudgel, the staffing of the Coalition Provisional Authority with Heritage Foundation interns, and so forth.
And also remind me of how the current GOP minority has used its filibuster power to rein in Dem power grabs, such as SCHIP expansion and a minimum wage hike.
Eventially, maybe. But now? Gimme a break. There's nothing in what we've seen in the past two years to suggest that Pelosi and Reid are iron-fisted rulers, pushing unpopular legislation through Congress. Quite the opposite: they've pushed legislation favored by large majorities of the public, but have lacked the ruthlessness to turn it into law.
There's just no connection between reality and the dangers Frum describes.
Second, the political culture of the Democratic Party has changed over the past decade. There's a fierce new anger among many liberal Democrats, a more militant style and an angry intolerance of dissent and criticism. This is the culture of the left-wing blogosphere and MSNBC's evening line-up -- and soon, it will be the culture of important political institutions in Washington.And what color is the sky in this world?
Unchecked, this angry new wing of the Democratic Party will seek to stifle opposition by changing the rules of the political game.
It's not that there aren't angry people on the left; of course there are. It's just that we tend to get angry about things like the thousands of Americans and Iraqis dead in a needless, senseless war; the fact that the U.S., by far the richest country in the world, is the only advanced democracy that doesn't provide health care for all of its citizens; the giveaway of hundreds of billions of dollars to the people in our society who already have the most; and acts of torture committed in the name of the United States of America.
The GOP gets angry about trivia, and often fictitious trivia at that: lapel pins, Bill Ayers, Obama being a Muslim or a terrorist or a socialist or a Nazi.
There's a big difference about being angry about major injustices, and being angry for the sake of being angry.
I don't blame Frum for taking advantage of the forum the WaPo gives him to push his hackery. He's a party hack; hackery what he does. The problem here is the WaPo giving him an acre of space in its Outlook section to spread bullshit memes like this. Frum is entitled to his opinions, but not every opinion deserves the assist it gets by being put in the WaPo opinion pages. It's the WaPo Outlook editors who've dropped the ball here.