I’m not sure how helpful it is for conservative commentators to join the chorus of mainstream media voices piling on Rush Limbaugh. The most recent columns by Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News and David Frum of the American Enterprise Institute give one cause to wonder if conservative commentators have a psychological need to be affirmed by Leftists who control mainstream media.
Take David Frum’s recent essay in Newsweek, “Why Rush is Wrong,” for example. Frum is not merely attacking Rush Limbaugh’s style. Frum is calling for a fundamental capitulation of conservatism to liberalism in response to polls rather than principles. Consider carefully what Frum is calling conservatives to give up in order to secure electoral popularity:
Look at America’s public-policy problems, look at voting trends, and it’s inescapably obvious that the Republican Party needs to evolve. We need to put free-market health-care reform, not tax cuts, at the core of our economic message...
We need to modulate our social conservatism (not jettison—modulate). The GOP will remain a predominantly conservative party and a predominantly pro-life party. But especially on gay-rights issues, the under-30 generation has arrived at a new consensus. Our party seems to be running to govern a country that no longer exists. The rule that both our presidential and vice presidential candidates must always be pro-life has become counterproductive...
In other words, it’s time for conservatives to abandon their principles on fiscal and physical restraint because Frum perceives we can’t win without the votes of the under-30 demographic. Never mind that the under-30 crowd happens to be wrong on both social and economic issues. In Frum’s refashioning of conservatism it looks like polling and not principle would decide policy.
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