David Frum has been having an extended mea culpa in contributing to the George Bush anti intellectual mind-set, which is still the reigning orthodoxy of the GOP, a stubborn fact that now terrifies Frum, as it has for the rest of the world, the last 7 years.
NYT: As a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former speechwriter for President Bush, you're surprisingly critical of him in your new book, claiming he has appointed "consistently mediocre people" (Frum apparently the notable exception) to important jobs and made "a shambles" of the Iraq war.
DF: No. Mea culpa is a kind of hand-wringing, breast-beating, woe-is-me attitude that I don't share. What I am saying is that there is exhaustion, intellectual exhaustion on the part of Republicans and conservatives.
I expect George Bush has been intellectually exhausted for most of his lifetime. When he was in Austin, he enjoyed playing video games during the work hours of his day job as governor.
I can't say I know David Frum; different eras, mine was Vietnam and Wastergate and different temperments, but I knew his sister and I considered myself a good friend of his liberal mother, Barbara Frum, lots of tears and laughter together. She offered me, my first real journalist job in 1974, when I was in London, working on political conspiracy stories. But it appears there must be some residual gene influence at work here afterall, and David is finally rexamining what he has helped create, as one of the neocon's leading philosophers.
Just as Vietnam changed almost everyone of my generation, the shambles of the neocon misadventure in Iraq has changed Frum. Let's hope in his self-examination he reflects on why he could have been so deluded into thinking that neo cons were interested in any intellectual ideas other than arming their own predjudices or enriching their own private pocketbooks at public expense. To borrow a Canadian phrase, 'corporate welfare bums', (war resource and big oil spurred by a preemptive war) have proved a much more costly substitute than the entitlement culture and a few welfare bums that were left after 'workfare', another of Frum's pet intellectual projects.
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