David Frum is so gosh-darned proud of his broadside last year about Andrew Breitbart, published the day of Andrew’s death, that he reprints the whole thing in full today. Those who have ever read Frum will be less than shocked to learn that Frum’s reprint is prefaced by a self-aggrandizing paean to his own amazing courage in being willing to parrot clueless left-wing criticisms of a deceased family man. Here is a passage from last year’s bid for an invitation to all the right cocktail parties:
This indifference to detail suffused all of Breitbart’s work, and may indeed be his most important and lasting legacy. Breitbart sometimes got stories right (Anthony Weiner). More often he got them wrong (Sherrod). He did not much care either way. Just as all is fair in a shooting war, so manipulation and deception are legitimate tools in a culture war. Breitbart used those tools without qualm or regret, and he inspired a cohort of young conservative journalists to do likewise.
For the record: as many who actually knew Andrew Breitbart have written, and I will second, this is utter bilge. Andrew didn’t always get every story right — who does, David Frum? — but he was honest about it when he didn’t. He was honest about everything. Honesty came naturally to him, to the point where he would tell stories on himself that would leave you shaking your head at his forthrightness.
Frum beats his chest about how important it is to tell the “truth” about people, including on the day of their death or on the anniversary of their death. But Frum didn’t know Breitbart and it is the height of arrogance for him to claim that he had some special insight into whether Breitbart cared about getting the story right.
It’s not so much the timing of Frum’s piece that is offensive, although it is. It’s that Frum, quite simply, doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
I suppose Frum would defend himself by saying we must generally make judgments about people without meeting them. I suppose that’s true. So let’s apply that principle.
I haven’t met Frum, but based on what I have read of his writing, I don’t believe he cares about truth or policy anywhere near as much as he cares about promoting his self-image as a “reasonable conservative.” See if you can find any piece of any length where Frum criticizes conservatives, but fails to congratulate himself profusely for doing so. Today’s piece is, of course, no exception:
What America needs now, and what the Republican party most especially needs, are moderate-minded people who are also tough-minded – who won’t be shrieked down and who won’t be intimidated. “Civility” cannot mean: you yell, I yield. Conservatives deplore those old-line 1960s liberals who shriveled up when challenged by student radicals and Black Power militants. Well, now it’s happening in our house, and it is we who are being tested: Do we dare confront our own radicals? It’s not enough to have greater wisdom, greater tolerance, and greater patriotism if you don’t also muster courage, endurance, and will to win. Otherwise, you’re playing by Weimar rules.
Oh, my. Not only is Frum wiser, more tolerant, and more patriotic than you (and Andrew Breitbart) . . . he also has the courage to tell you so!!!
And thank God he does. Because otherwise the Nazis win.
Frum pats himself on the back so often that his own palm print is permanently embedded between his shoulder blades. I can’t think of a single national figure who is more self-absorbed, other than — perhaps — Meghan McCain, or Barack Obama. His goal could not be more clear: to suck up to the leftists in power in Big Media, and to gain accolades from those who cluck their tongues at the likes of Andrew Breitbart.
This might seem like a good idea, I guess. It will probably get you invited to the desirable soirees. But I believe people can inherently recognize phonies. And David Frum is a phony.
David Frum, I suspect that when you die, people won’t much care. Do you think people will put David Frum avatars on their Twitter accounts? That they’ll talk about how the spirit of David Frum lives on in all of us? Try voicing that possibility out loud without laughing. You can’t do it.
When David Frum dies, people will kind of shrug their shoulders, and say something like: oh, yeah. That guy. Whatever. Hey, what’s for dinner?
Andrew inspired passion. David Frum, not so much.
So let Frum dance on Andrew’s grave to get some more attaboys from people who secretly hold him in contempt. It may seem tasteless of him — and it is — but in the end, Frum is lashing out because he knows he is comparatively insignificant. Andrew has a legacy that he leaves behind. Frum will not.