In a review of New York Time’s White House correspondent Peter Baker’s book on George W. Bush’s presidency ‘Days of Fire’, David Frum concludes that on reflection, the ideology of the younger Bush is wholly preferable to the current incarnation of conservatism:
From the N.S.A. to TARP, many of the most bitterly controversial achievements of the Bush-Cheney administration have been quietly adopted and followed by its successor. It’s within his own party that the Bush record is repudiated and rejected, in favor of a more radical brand of conservatism that cannot win national elections and could not govern if it did. Someday, and maybe someday soon, Bush’s party will have to do what Peter Baker has so exhaustively done in “Days of Fire”: come to a full and fair reckoning with the legacy of the 43rd president.
Frum writes that ‘Days of Fire’ is “not a dispassionate book. Its mood might rather be described as poignant: sympathetic to its subjects, generous to their accomplishments and extenuating none of their errors.” I’m not entirely sure how anyone rational can extend sympathy to a team of politicians who spent 8 years ripping up the welfare state, illegally invading Middle Eastern countries and laying the foundation for a global economic meltdown, but then White House correspondents for official media outlets aren’t know for their commitment to critical reporting.
Either way, Frum’s whimpering pleas for the Bush years is an astonishingly sad spectacle. A former speechwriter for Bush, Frum turned his back on the administration when defending its extremism no longer became tenable. Through the rose tinted glasses of a colleagues book, Frum now thinks it wasn’t actually all that bad, particularly given the current state of the GOP. While Frum wants us to reconsider the Bush years, there are only three real lessons we can take from his flaccid review: 1. David Frum is still a hack. 2. The Bush years really were that bad, and 3. The Republican Party is even more nuts today than it was under Bush.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.