David Frum has had enough. As Bernie Sanders supporters and media observers note new Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden’s very clear cognitive decline, Frum has taken to Twitter to advocate for an “ethic of care and respect” in politics.
If your politics are not founded upon and limited by an ethic of care and respect, you are working for a worse world, not a better one – no matter what you tell yourself about the grand ends that justify your cruel means.
— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 6, 2020
It’s hypocritical. Frum, a senior editor for The Atlantic, doesn’t really care about ethics or respect. At least not for everyone. As a former member of the George W. Bush administration who helped write the president’s “Axis of Evil” speech, his commitment to respect only covers people in power and ones who hold sufficiently conservative beliefs.
“David Frum is partially responsible for selling the American public on the Iraq War,” says Common Dreams senior editor Eoin Higgins, “so it’s clear what he means by ‘civility’: being mean to elite politicians.”
Indeed, Frum is one of the grisliest Never Trump Republicans in media. He’s used the Trump administration’s unpolished clumsiness to position himself as the Adult in The Room, someone who knows how to communicate with the elevated tone elites are used to hearing. But he’s really only objecting to style. He’s admonishing Trump’s for being an uncultured boor while advocating for many of the same brutal, inhumane policies using more politically acceptable language. Mere days before the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, Frum published a cover story for The Atlantic headlined “How Much Immigration is Too Much?” in which he makes roughly the same anti-immigration argument as the shooter.
david frum posting about an “ethic of care” are you fucking kidding me
— Alex Press (@alexnpress) March 7, 2020
And like many other Never Trumpers (*cough* Jennifer Rubin *cough*), Frum fancies himself an expert whose advice the Democrats sorely need. He knows how to defeat Trump, which, surprise, surprise, means rejecting Bernie Sanders’ Democratic socialist agenda. But even while delivering primary analysis Frum can’t hide his disdain for poor Americans, referring to Sanders voters as “unreliable” people who “may forget to pay their cable bill entirely.”
“Joe Biden appeals to people who pay their cable bills on the day they arrive. Bernie Sanders appeals to people who may forget to pay their cable bill entirely…. the first group is more reliable.”
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) March 3, 2020
For anyone who reads Frum’s tweets with even the tiniest bit of perspective, it’s infuriating to see a warmonger pushing for hardline immigration caps attempt to sell himself as decent and sensible. But Frum’s hackery might be harder to spot if it weren’t straight out of the reasonable Republican playbook. He (and others) whine about “respect” in dealing with Biden’s verbal slips, but will surely be the first to call them concerning during a general election matchup with Trump. Meanwhile, Frum fans the flames of Russian conspiracy and whines that Sanders supporters are writing Trump’s opposition script, as if Trump hasn’t been bullying Biden directly and calling him “Sleepy Joe” for the better part of a year. In the end, Frum et. al. will conjure up a reason that Biden is too far left that will rationalize their eventual votes for Trump.
Biden's brain is the new Hillary's health on Russian TV and Sanders Twitter pic.twitter.com/WSE6ObQGdt
— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 8, 2020
To Frum, anybody to the left of Joe Lieberman is the problem. He purports to provide the reasonable perspective to help Democrats navigate their way to defeating the Trump monster. But in reality he’s the same species of world-ending fascist, just with better manners and snappier vocabulary. If there were a Hall of Fame reserved for the worst grifters of the Donald Trump era, David Frum would make it in on the first ballot.