"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wSaturday, March 02, 2002

HE'S GOING TO DISNEYLAND?: What is David Frum going to do now? After coining the "Axis of Evil" line in President Bush's state of the union (well, half of it), after writing the definitive social history of the '70s, after almost becoming editor of The American Spectator (a narrow miss!), what's left? Go to Disneyland? Crank it out for The Weekly Standard? Return to a Conrad Black-less National Post? I thought he might be a shoe-in when Safire vacates the Jewish neoconservative ex-presidential speechwriter slot at the New York Times, but the stubborn old wordsmith probably won't give up that plum for another couple of years.

There's no polemical point to be made here. I'm honestly curious about what Frum has cooking, and why he left the White House. A mini-scandal erupted when Slate's Tim Noah leaked Danielle Frum's letter to friends boasting about her husband's authorship of the A of E line and many stupid reporters drew the conclusion that the leak-averse Bush Administration was pushing him out as payback. This overestimated the tactile sensitivity of the Administration by a staggering order of magnitude. Frum was hired in spite of the fact that he was sharply critical of Bush's pick of Cheney, calling him (if memory serves) "conservative but not a conservative" in the New York Times.

A more likely possibility (hint to enterprising reporters) might be that Frum's ideology had begun to collide with Bush's expansive pragmatism. In a column last year, I pointed out just how much of his own laissez faire streak Frum had to swallow in order to become the president's chief economic speechwriter, and that was before Bush was trying to appear a bipartisan war leader.

Bush stands poised to sign campaign finance reform, which Frum has likened unto socialism. He has muzzled any opposition to the vast expansion of that Clinton boondoggle, Americorps. The Administration is only a couple of glasses away from consummating its romance with Big Steel and imposing drastic tariffs on imports from competitors. Worse, as Peter Brimelow has pointed out in Forbes, September 11 has ushered in a new era of Big Government.

The David Frum that I knew (via his books, articles and the odd e-mail exchange) would at some point have found that too much to swallow.

posted by Jeremy at 6:39 PM